Unlicensed employment agencies face charges over illegal foreign worker fees

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The combination of the skills shortage and an increasingly mobile global workforce has seen a significant rise in the number of temporary foreign workers entering the country. However, the system that manages that influx has been criticized for giving individuals the opportunity to take advantage of foreign workers.

Two Edmonton employment agencies are now facing charges under Alberta’s Fair Trading Act, and Employment Agency Business Licensing regulations. Companies and individuals can face fines of up to $100,000, or three times the fees they received, for illegally charging fees to individuals they help find work. On top of illegally collecting fees, the two organizations were charged with misrepresentation regarding employment opportunities and for operating unlicensed employment agencies. The recruiters reportedly received fees in excess of $10,000.00 from individuals from East Asia.

Employment lawyer Sharaf Sultan said this case was a reminder to employers of the importance of understanding the rules and regulations regarding the employment of foreign workers. 

“While temporary foreign workers represent a potentially excellent source of labour, organizations must ensure that both processes and procedures are in place to avoid potential risks, both from a legal and public relations perspective,” he said. “Through thoughtful planning, attainment of comprehensive knowledge, as well as common sense execution, employers can tap into temporary foreign labour to address labour shortages with confidence.”


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