To hire a foreign worker, a B.C. business would need to go through the confirmation process in order to hire a foreign worker for an initial 1-3 year period. The confirmation process in the skilled labour area requires the employer to show that there is a shortage of this type of worker in Canada, and that the hiring of this person will either have a positive or a neutral impact on the Canadian labour market. This can also be done if the employer can show that the hiring of this person could be a benefit: such as transfer of new skills and knowledge.
Applications are filed with Service Canada’s Foreign Worker Unit, which has grown since its inception in the late 1990’s as a centralized office at 300 W. Georgia Street in Vancouver from a half dozen staff to some 40, as a result of the enormous labour market demand pressures of the past few years. Although those have largely evaporated in the lower skill areas, there remains considerable demand for foreign labour in certain sectors.
Traditionally, with the wine industry it has not been terribly difficult to prove shortages of people involved in actual wine making and technology. It has been a bit more difficult in the areas of sales & marketing and other aspects of the wine profession, as there are generally more Canadians available with the right skills set. Nevertheless, the rules for hiring the two groups are largely the same.
As you will note from Appendix A, I have included the advertising requirements which would apply to both wine professionals and sales & marketing professionals. These are both described under Skill Level “A”.
Skill Level A is a broad employment category, taken from the National Occupations Code which the Canadian government uses to classify various professions. Classifications are divided by job types, but minimum education level and training requirements. Skill Level A jobs generally have a higher training and mandatory education requirements and as such requires less in the way of advertising than lower skill jobs do.
Skill Level O, A and B are deemed “high” skilled by both Service Canada and CIC, whereas Skill Level C and D – where you will find such professions as truck drivers, forklift operators, and agriculture workers – are seen as low skilled professions.
Key Points About the Confirmation Process
For a job offer to be confirmed, the employer must ensure that (1) the wage offer is competitive within the standards of that industry; (2) the minimum advertising requirements for that category need to be met. There are exceptions to this particular policy directive if one can show that alternative recruitment means were used and that they were insufficient to get a candidate.
Applications can greatly vary in terms of their speed with which they are processed, but employers are almost always contacted and questioned as part of the procedure to ensure program integrity. This is so even if a third party filed the application on the employer’s behalf, such as a lawyer.
Obtaining a Work Permit
Once a confirmation is issued, the perspective worker can then apply for a work permit either at a Canadian Consulate abroad that has an immigration processing section, or at a Canadian port of entry if they are from a visa exempt country. Once a work permit is issued, the worker is free to work for the employer that has brought him/or her to Canada, but only for that employer. They can use that work permit to obtain a temporary social insurance number (one starts with the number “9”) as well as to get health coverage and a local British Columbia I.D. In the cases of the spouses of skilled workers, they are also entitled to a work permit, but on an open basis which means that they can work for any employer although the duration of their work permit is tied to that of the principal applicant.