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Job Offers and Canadian Immigration:  Increased Enforcement

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An Arranged Employment Opinion (or an AEO) refers to the points given under one of the factors under the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program. Points are awarded for a job offer that has been approved by HRSDC, an in-Canada administrative office. An AEO effectively a job offer that is confirmed to be a real one by HRSDC that increases the chances of success under the FSW program.

The increased chances of success are realized by the awarding of five points under ‘adaptability’, and a further 10 points under the factor of ‘arranged employment’. The logic behind an AEO is sound; an employer in Canada must prove to HRSDC that the hiring a foreigner (and would-be immigrant) will have a neutral effect on Canada’s labour force. HRSDC also confirms very basic facts such as whether or not the employer is a real employer, running a real business.

The problem of fraud and arranged employment lies in the fact that there is a list of ‘in demand’ occupations. The occupation list, in effect since November 2008, is in contrast to the FSW program as it existed after June 2002. Between June 2002 and November 2008, the particular job title and duties performed by an applicant were not relevant, but rather, the level of education required for the job was decisive in determining which jobs could be acceptable in order to immigrate to Canada. The actual amount of occupations open for immigration to Canada was thus huge. After November 2008, only 38 occupations were eligible for immigration to Canada under the FSW program.

Those who did not have experience in one of the 38 occupations would generally not qualify under the FSW program. The exception to this was if you had an AEO. Given the value of an AEO for someone who did not have experience in one of the 38 occupations in the current list, the potential for a fake AEO is high: a person would qualify under the current FSW system despite not having work experience on the list.

Accordingly visa offices have scrutinized FSW applications containing an AEO very closely. I have come across cases where the visa officer asks the potential immigrant about how he obtained the job, and what the recruiting process was. I have come across another case where an AEO was approved, yet the visa office refused the FSW application because the job offer did not make sense (e.g. a full-time bookkeeper for a convenience store). The London visa office is routinely asking extremely invasive questions about the employer offering the AEO such as how did the job get offered, why is the job being offered, and whether the business is still running.

These factors are usually within the expertise of the HRSDC office located in Canada. The visa office’s role used to be circumscribed to whether or not the person could perform the job being offered as set out in the AEO. Similar scrutiny is being applied generally for the assessment of offers of temporary employment, given the imminent ending of the E-LMO program (a program which was characterized by less scrutiny and more speed in the assessment of labour market opinions – the basis for a temporary work visa to Canada.


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