Canadian employers hire hundreds of thousands of foreign workers every year - and the demand is growing. Recent headlines announced that dozens of foreign workers hired at the popular resort Canada's Chateau Lake Louise and other nearby hotels were being detained for deportation. 31 contract foreign hotel workers employed through a staffing agency were required to leave Canada after an investigation determined that were improperly hired and required immigration documentation was missing. Out of 32 detained foreign temporary workers who were hired through the staffing agency, all but one had improper documentation, including work permits and visas.
Why Were The Foreign Workers Detained?
Calgary immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah explained,
In this situation, the foreign workers were not at fault and did not know their paperwork was incomplete. Fairmont Hotel and Resorts outsourced the recruitment and hiring of temporary foreign workers to a 3rd party staffing agency, who apparently did not follow Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's requirements and policies. The 31 workers lost their jobs through no fault of their own, were deported and the hotel suffered staffing issues at the height of the tourist season. All this can be avoided by hiring qualified immigration lawyers who understand IRCC's requirements and have the technology and resources in place to ensure policies are in compliance with federal requirements.
Hotels and other businesses are facing severe labour shortages and Fairmont Hotel and Resorts used an outside staffing agency to recruit and hire foreign workers. When Canada Border Services Agency officers discovered the regulatory issues, hundreds of temporary foreign workers' paperwork was reviewed and those affected were detained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, resulting in over 2 dozen workers being deported. CBSA spokeswoman Rebecca Purdy said,
“If an individual is found to be working in Canada without a valid work permit, the CBSA will consider appropriate enforcement action, which may include issuance of a removal order. The Agency has a legal obligation to remove all foreign nationals found to be inadmissible to Canada under the IRPA (Immigration and Refugee Protection Act).”
How Employers Can Avoid Immigration Problems When Hiring Foreign Workers
With a growing labour shortage, Canadian employers need to hire international workers, and Canada's government has many programs in place to make it possible for foreign workers to live and work in Canada. IRCC has very clear, consistent policies and requirements for hiring foreign workers and managing their cases, said Evelyn Ackah:
Employers can't always keep track of IRCC's foreign worker hiring requirements. That's why businesses hire experienced immigration lawyers and qualified consultants who do understand immigration compliance and have systems in place to ensure all immigration employment law requirements are met and documented.
Employers and businesses can avoid immigration problems when hiring foreign workers by proactive decision making:
1. Perform Due Diligence
Canada has a severe labour shortage, but the good news is there are many qualified individuals who want to come to Canada to work. Immigration law is complicated and a simple mistake can cause delays, denials and even deportations. When outsourcing immigration recruiting and hiring, it's vital that experienced immigration lawyers and qualified immigration consultants are hired to ensure compliance. Unfortunately, there are many unethical immigration consultants and scams who have taken advantage of unknowing foreign workers and businesses.
2. Implement Compliance Procedures
IRCC has strict compliance requirements for immigration documentation, and penalties for businesses determined to be out of compliance include fines, work stoppages and even prison. IRCC conducts audits and inspections, and it is an offence to provide false documents or information to IRCC officials.
3. Hire An Immigration Legal Professional
Consulting with an immigration lawyer can protect your business and ensure you are in compliance. Even companies that have internal HR staff and procedures to manage foreign workers have difficulty keeping up with the many immigration regulatory and compliance requirements and changes. An experienced immigration lawyer who exclusively practices immigration law is an investment in protecting your business and proactively addressing potential problems and issues.
Ackah Law Foreign Worker Compliance Services
Ackah Business Immigration Law provides foreign worker compliance and employment law services for businesses. Our Compliance Audit Services can assist employers prepare for a Compliance Review/Inspection and ensure that your organization complies with IRCC’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (LMIA) and the International Mobility Program (LMIA exempt) requirements. With offices in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver, contact Ackah Law Today at (403) 452-9515 or email [email protected].