New Rules for Recruiters of Foreign Workers
The Labour Standards Code now contains rules about recruiting and hiring foreign workers to work in Nova Scotia.
Beginning on May 1, 2013, individuals who recruit foreign workers must have a licence from Labour Standards. Foreign worker recruitment includes the following activities:
- Helping an employer find foreign workers for employment in Nova Scotia
- Helping foreign workers find jobs in Nova Scotia
To apply for a licence, an individual must be a member in good standing of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society or the law society of another province or territory; or the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).
Information about the application process and fees is online at www.gov.ns.ca/lae/employmentrights/ under Foreign Workers – Recruiters.
Also beginning on May 1, 2013, employers who wish to use a third party recruiter to help them recruit foreign workers will be required to use the services of a licensed recruiter.
These rules are the previously unproclaimed portions of the Worker Recruitment and Protection Act (WRPA), which amends the Labour Standards Code to provide enhanced protections for foreign workers. Certain WRPA amendments to the Code came into effect in 2011. The amendments in force since 2011 include provisions:
- Prohibiting the charging of recruitment fees to, or recovering recruitment costs from, foreign workers coming to work in Nova Scotia
- Prohibiting employers from reducing wages or reducing or eliminating any other term or condition of employment that the employer undertook to provide to the foreign worker at the time of recruitment (as of February 1, 2013, there are limited exceptions to this rule)
- Prohibiting a recruiter, employer or third party from retaining a worker’s property, e.g., passport, work permit
The Worker Recruitment and Protection Act (Chapter 19, Acts of 2011) can be found at http://nslegislature.ca/legc/PDFs/annual%20statutes/2011/c019.pdf.
There are some exceptions to the requirement to be licensed, and this is explained in the Foreign Workers Section.
If you have questions about the foreign worker rules, including questions about the licence application process, please contact the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Division at 902-424-4311 or 888-315-0110 (toll free within Nova Scotia).