Immigration has become a contentious issue not just in Canada but around the world. Reacting to the population’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the immigration laws in place, governments are introducing, eliminating, or updating certain provisions of the law.

This can be a hassle for businesses who want to comply with the law. Since immigration laws are constantly changing year to year, it is extremely difficult for companies to adapt, whether in terms of resources used or the money that’s needed to be spent on attain legal assistance.

When a business – large or small – wants to avoid civil or criminal penalties, they need to ensure that they are operating within the confines of the law – immigration or otherwise.

So, how exactly can a business make sure they are adhering to the nation’s immigration laws?

Here are five tips for businesses complying with immigration law:

1. Don’t Ask About Citizenship Status

Under federal and provincial labour laws, businesses are prohibited from asking certain questions. Everything from age to marital status, companies are not allowed to put forward specific questions that could discriminate against the job applicant or employee.

The same goes for immigrants, who may be citizens or permanent residents.

If you’re interviewing a particular candidate, and you feel that they may not be Canadian citizens, do not ask about their citizenship status. For the most part, they may inform you that they are only here temporarily or their immigration papers are being filed.

2. Ensure Your Background Checks Are Legal

Background checks are becoming more ubiquitous in the labour market. Private firms and government agencies may conduct a wide panoply of background checks, such as if you have been convicted of a crime. That said, it is critical that your background checks work under the purview of the laws. You don’t want to face civil penalties and suffer a reputation beatdown.

3. Keep an Eye on Ottawa’s Immigration Policies

One of the best ways to ensure that your business is doing everything square and in accordance to the law, you should keep an eye on Ottawa’s immigration policies.

Should you own a business that attracts immigrant workers, it is important to always know what immigration laws are being introduced or adjusted. This way, you can work with your legal team and determine what else you need to do moving forward.

4. Treat the Worker Like Everyone Else

Did you hire someone on a visa? Did you give the job to someone who is a permanent resident?

Whatever the case might be with this employee, it is essential that you treat the worker like everyone else. Pay stubs, wages, employee contracts, and anything else relevant to the position.

If there is any hint that you are treating the employee any differently, then you could suffer the consequences. You don’t want this to happen.

5. Is It Best to Hire a Canadian Citizen?

Sometimes, an employer may come to the conclusion that it would be best to simply hire a Canadian citizen, a person who was born and raised in the Great White North. You can’t do this either because of discrimination laws. Ultimately, you just need to be blind to the individual and only focus on their credentials. That is how you must operate in today’s environment. Otherwise, you could receive a visit from the law.

Entrepreneurs are having a tough time owning and operating a startup, a small business, or a medium-sized enterprise in the province of Ontario. Everything from energy costs to labour costs, it’s difficult to keep the doors open. When you have to deal with the federal government, then your costs blow through the roof.

Immigration law can be hard to fathom – for both the immigrants and the domestic businesses. Hire an immigration lawyer, ensure you’re following the law, and adopt the previous tips.

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