Employer incentives: becoming a ‘Trusted Employer’ to hire foreign workers - Immigration Lawyer Vancouver, Canada | Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre

BlogEmployer incentives: becoming a ‘Trusted Employer’ to hire foreign workers

15 August 2023

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Those who can demonstrate a history of compliance with the LMIA program will soon be rewarded with a faster application process

As immigration lawyers we are frequently consulted by Canadian employers about how they can hire foreign workers to fill job vacancies. The generic answer without knowing anything about the employer or the foreign worker is that all Canadian employers can hire foreign workers through the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process, which requires an employer to demonstrate that it has a job vacancy and that there are no qualified Canadians or permanent residents who are available to fill it.

Every experienced immigration lawyer will tell you that their main goal when advising employers is to avoid the LMIA process, if possible, because the process is notoriously strict and time consuming. The last thing that an employer wants to hear is that it will take many months (oftentimes 4+ months) of advertising and application processing to fill an urgent vacancy, let alone the time it takes for a prospective foreign worker to apply for and obtain a work permit before they can officially start work.

Thankfully, the Department of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has made a recent announcement to facilitate faster processing of LMIA applications for “trusted employers”.

The concept of implementing a trusted employer program to address slow processing times has existed since at least 2016 when a report was presented to Parliament that contained numerous recommendations to improve the LMIA application process. Consistent with those recommendations, on August 8, 2023, ESDC finally announced its intention to launch the Recognized Employer Pilot (REP) with the goal of reducing the ‘administrative burden’ and ‘red tape’ associated with hiring foreign workers in Canada.

The REP will allow Canadian employers to register with ESDC as a trusted employer to receive preferential processing over the next three years. Beginning in September 2023, employers in the primary agriculture sector will become eligible to register themselves under the REP and all other employers will be invited in January 2024 to register themselves until REP registration closes in September 2024.

Under the REP, eligible employers will obtain LMIAs that are valid for up to three years (an increase from the standard of 18 months), while also benefiting from a simplified application process.

To be considered an eligible employer, registrants must meet the following criteria:

  • The employer must be known to ESDC, meaning that they must have received a minimum of three positive LMIAs over the past five years for the same occupation they wish to fill; and
  • The occupation they wish to fill must be shortlisted by the government as occupations in which there are known and expected labour shortages. Please see the below link to review the jobs which have been determined to be in shortage in Canada:


Those employers who can demonstrate a history of compliance with the LMIA program will soon be rewarded with a less cumbersome and faster application process, which is designed to help employers meet their staffing needs under more predictable timelines.

The announcement of the REP is very encouraging news for Canadian employers who regularly rely on LMIAs to fill their labour shortages. The REP represents a solid step towards improving processing times for Canadian employers who have a long history with ESDC and have proven a demonstrated labour shortage in their industry. Employers take note – this is a positive step to assist you in bringing foreign workers to Canada!

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