How Having a Professional Immigration Lawyer Can Help You Navigate Exemptions

Bringing a foreign worker into Canada is no small task. It needs to be done properly, well in advance of the professional’s expected start date, and in compliance with all regulations and laws surrounding working in Canada.

Too often, we see companies attempt to navigate this important, and complex, process on their own. They have Human Resource departments file the paperwork, or think that it will be easy since they have hired a foreign worker in the past.

The truth is, companies who are asking employees to immigrate to Canada for business should seek out assistance from a licensed immigration lawyer. Not only can they help you with the large volume of paperwork, documents, and applications required, they also have the knowledge and experience to identify the right channel and exemption that will give you the best chance of receiving a positive result the first time. With fewer delays, you will be able to get your employee on the job and contributing to your business as soon as possible.

Here are three ways immigration lawyers can help you navigate exemptions for foreign workers.

1.   Completing the Required Documentation and Applications

While exemptions may speed up the processing time for applicants, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done before submitting all the required documentation and paperwork. Going through the exemption process can be complicated, and a single mistake or omission can make the difference between a positive result and a negative one.

Not only is this time consuming for HR departments who have other work they need to do, but it is also difficult for someone who is not a lawyer to understand all of the requirements and language on the forms.

Qualifications for exemptions can change over time, meaning even if you have done this in the past, you may not be up to date on the latest information.

An immigration lawyer can help remove the burden from your internal staff, ensure all paperwork is done accurately and completely, and stay on top of any changes or new requirements.

2.   Choosing the Right Exemption for Your Situation

Canada has a number of exemptions and programs that can accelerate business immigration to Canada under specific circumstances. These exemptions may allow companies to bypass the normal Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), for example, or make it easier for the professional to start working.

The challenge for companies, however, is that there are many different exemptions, and they only apply to very specific conditions.

Just because one employee has successfully applied for one exemption does not mean that another will be able to receive the same exemption.

For example, the Global Skills Strategy that was implemented in 2017 introduced a two week processing time for people who had specialized knowledge. This allows high value work and skills to be brought in to Canada. However, what qualifies as “specialized knowledge” is very specific and well-defined, and if you do not fall into this definition, you will not be approved for the exemption.

This is where an immigration lawyer can be invaluable. They have the knowledge to be able to identify the right exemption for each unique situation to give you the best chance of getting a positive result. 

3.   Assisting Once the Professional is Working For You

It is important to remember that you, as the employer, still have responsibilities once the professional is in Canada and working for you.

For example, the professional may only be allowed to work for a certain period of time, or there may be renewals that need to be done in order for them to keep working. There is also the possibility that you may be audited to ensure the employee is actually working for you, doing the work that they were originally hired for, and being paid the right salary for their work.

Skilled immigration lawyers will continue to help you once the application is approved. They will tell you what documents to retain for your records in case of an audit, what your requirements are, and how to prove that the professional was working for you. They can also help when the employment comes to an end to make sure everything is done correctly.

Do Not Risk Doing It Alone

Businesses who are bringing foreign workers to Canada can try and do so on their own. But when it comes to navigating exemptions, it is always better to have the assistance of an immigration lawyer in order to get the best results.

The applications and documents required can be time consuming and complex, and a lawyer will have a better understanding of what exemption best applies to the worker you want to hire. They will also help you meet your requirements and responsibilities once the employee is working for you. This way, you can focus on your business while knowing that you are complying with the law with all of your foreign workers.

Ashley Fisch B.A., J.D. is an Associate at Kaminker & Associates Immigration Law in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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