Problems Getting a Work Visa For LMO Positions

By Andy Semotiuk | March 10, 2014

Canadian and US immigration lawyer Andy Semotiuk

This piece from the CBC highlights the problems that some immigrants have when trying to obtain a work visa:

Another Halifax restaurant owner has come forward to say Canada’s immigration system is failing him.

On Monday, CBC News reported that the head chef at a popular Thai restaurant in Halifax has been told to leave the country.

Victor Woo is an independent restaurateur who wants to open an authentic Indian restaurant in downtown Halifax.

Woo spent the past year renovating his Blowers Street space himself — installing cabinets and laying tile. He’s even travelled to India several times looking for a skilled chef to work at his new restaurant, Mirchi Tandoor.

“In cities like Calcutta, they’ve been there for years and I’ve recruited some of the cooks from these establishments,” he said.

The recruiting is easy, it’s getting the chefs to Canada that’s impossible, said Woo.
The citizenship and immigration office in New Delhi has turned down work visa applications from two different chef applicants.

“You were not able to demonstrate that you adequately meet the job requirements of your prospective employment,’” read the application denial.

“It’s garbage,” said Woo.

He said regardless of what immigration officials think, the chefs he found are exactly what he wants.

Applying abroad for a work permit based on an approved LMO should not be as hard as this individual found it. Very often visa officers deny work visa applications based on grounds that make little sense. In this case, the officers did not believe that TWO chefs were qualified for the job. Maybe that was true, but it makes one wonder why a Canadian entrepreneur would want to bring two unqualified chefs to Canada.​

In my view, if a local employer finds someone overseas whom they believe qualifies to fill an approved LMO position, it should be the duty of the officer to provide cogent reasons why that officer says the applicant is unqualified. There should also be a quick appeal process in place, such as a Motion to Reopen, which is available in U.S. immigration cases. That way, the case could be reviewed and a senior official could reconsider it.
Andy Semotiuk is a Canadian and US immigration lawyer with Pace Law Firm. You can learn more about Andy at My Work Visa.