Recruiting Foreign Drivers Can Help in Face of Driver Shortage

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WINNIPEG, Man. – Foreign recruitment is as easy as local recruitment, but with a higher success ratio as drivers are recruited from the greater global labour market pool.

All the variables, including experience and education requirements, salary and working hours, remain consistent.

An experienced foreign recruitment company will ensure that foreign workers will meet all standards criteria and will have an expert knowledge of available government programs.

The Department of Human Resources and Skills Development (HRSDC) Foreign Worker Program has been developed to aid local employers in filling a staff shortage.

In order for a foreign worker to be admitted to work in Canada, HRSDC, through Canada Employment Centres, must first provide your company with a Labour Market Opinion (LMO). Once an LMO is issued, Citizenship and Immigration Canada can then be requested to issue a Work Permit on behalf of a recruited applicant.

It has been recognized by HRSDC that there is a shortage of Canadian workers to fill long-haul truck driver positions. In fact, HRSDC has placed Long-Haul Truck Drivers on their High Opportunity Occupation List (available at

The LMO process requires your company to complete an HRSDC application and demonstrate the steps that your company has taken to meet your employment needs from the Canadian workforce.

This may include advertisements in local and national publications, training programs and recruitment efforts in Canada. Considering the shortage of long-haul truck drivers, providing this information is usually not a problem for local transport companies.

The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) work in concert with the HRSDC Foreign Worker Program permitting an employer in need of foreign workers to expedite their request under the “employer direct” stream.

Upon successful demonstration of an inherent staff shortage on the company’s behalf and nomination of the selected foreign worker, the foreign worker can apply for a temporary Work Permit and relocate for work in Canada.

The merits of the HRSDC Work Permit program are many. First, the work permit is employer-specific whereby the worker is entitled to work for the host employer only.

Until recent changes, the Provincial Nominee Program did not hold this provision and has changed to reflect retention issues under the ’employer-direct’ stream. No other recruitment scenario caters to retention issues. Another merit of foreign recruitment is that the foreign recruitment company is providing background checks for you.

The regulations imposed on a potential foreign worker by immigration at the federal level ensure that your recruited drivers will have no criminal record and must have adequate experience, training, and English/French language skills to ensure self-sufficiency upon arrival. An experienced overseas recruitment company will source parallel to the standards imposed by the government.

Many foreign recruitment companies will have skilled applicants in queue to work in Canada waiting on a catalyst opportunity driven by the employer.

Activating these programs to access a foreign labour market rich with potential may be the answer to the local labour market trends that are negatively affecting the transport industry.

It has proven successful for a number of Manitoba employers and can provide your company with a competitive edge when staffing capacity is reached.

Frequently asked Questions:

How do carriers wanting to make use of immigration to fill employment needs get started?

First, employers need to provide evidence that they have exhausted measures to recruit locally. HRSDC requires copies of advertisements, tear sheets, invoices, etc. to prove that the carrier has advertised and has found no suitable candidates either locally or nationally. The carrier can then approach HRSDC to request a “blanket” approval of unidentified drivers to fill their labour shortage. Once the “blanket” approval has been issued, the carrier can advertise internationally and, once a suitable foreign candidate has been identified, the carrier can provide the details of the candidate to HRSDC to obtain a LMO.

A qualified foreign recruitment company can do this work on the employer’s behalf.

What are some roadblocks the employer can expect?

Initially, in order to obtain the “blanket” approval, the carrier must advertise and provide proof to HRSDC. Once HRSDC is satisfied that the carrier has tried to recruit locally/nationally to no avail, and they have issued the “blanket” approval, there really are no further roadblocks with HRSDC.

Roadblocks may occur with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) once the LMO has been issued and the Application for Work Permit has been requested. CIC will require proof of the candidate’s education, training, and work experience. If they are not satisfied that the candidate has the proper training/experience, the candidate may be called for a personal interview which can delay the processing time. If medical examinations are required, this will also delay the process. Any medical problems or criminal charges can be problematic and will be avoided by careful screening provided by a foreign recruiter.

What are the possible costs involved?

While the recruited individual is required to pay necessary processing fees at the federal level, the employer does not pay anything for all HRSDC processing on their behalf. The possible costs incurred may be for advertising abroad or utilizing a foreign recruitment company. Local recruitment companies can charge anywhere from 12 – 15 per cent of the expected salary whereas a good foreign recruiter will only charge around 5 per cent and will provide screening and document preparation on the employer’s behalf.

What is the process’s anticipated time line?

To obtain the initial “blanket” approval from HRSDC will take up to one month. To obtain a LMO from HRSDC once the candidate has been identified will take within two weeks. Processing time of the Application for Work Permit varies depending on which visa office is handling it. Generally, 30-60 days unless a medical examination is required for a total of three months roughly.

What are the requirements of the prospective driver (education, criminal record, driving history, etc.)?

Each carrier can specify their own requirements, for example, recommended secondary school education, basic English language ability, no criminal record, clean driving record, minimum of one to two years driving experience. Again, a foreign recruiter will screen based on these specifications.

Are there countries whose drivers are more attractive to Canada’s trucking industry?

Drivers from the UK, Europe, Israel, and India are preferred as there is a stronger likelihood that these drivers will have English language skills and experience driving trucks that are frequently used in Canadian companies (ie. Volvo.)

Does a driver’s family complicate matters?

It is recommended that the driver initially applies for a Work Permit without the accompanying spouse and/or children so as to not complicate or delay the process.

Once the driver has received approval, entered Canada, and the Work Permit has been issued, the spouse and/or children can apply for Temporary Resident Visas (TRV) to enter Canada.

CIC will normally issue TRVs for the spouse and children for the same duration as the worker’s permit. n

– This article was prepared by Leah Bannister B.Sc of Zaifman Immigration Lawyers in Winnipeg, Mantioba. For further information, contact the firm at 204-944-8888.

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    but the biggest problem is that no one seems to recognise Kenyan drivers why?
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  • A kenyan driver?whether speaking fluent English with a british/American/Australian accent,having a university degree,and driven all kinds of Europian and Japanese Trucks(Volvo,Mercedes,Daf,Iveco,MAN,Scania,Isuzu,Mitsumbishi or any other Trucks hauling loads from Mombasa to inlands),for whatever years will always be viewed as,coming from the bush,lying,illitrate,Sick,unclean,unfortunate,unexperienced,social climber,and foremost BLACK,no jobs,they can prefer a Balkan,whose illitrate,with a forged licence,cant even say iam a driver in English,as longs as he is Wh…….So stay home boy.

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    ADR Categories: 2, 3, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 6.2, 8 & 9 Tanks & Packs

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