Foreign Workers – Recruiter Licence Fact Sheet


In general, individuals who are in the business of foreign worker recruitment are required to have a recruiter licence from Labour Standards. Businesses that recruit foreign workers for others must have a licensed recruiter to do this work or use the services of a licensed recruiter for all transactions that involve the recruitment of a foreign worker.

You are reminded that it is against the law in Nova Scotia to charge a fee to, or collect a fee (directly or indirectly) from any worker, including a foreign worker, for helping the worker seek or find work.

This page highlights the legislative requirements that recruiters must meet to get a recruiter licence; and the obligations for foreign worker recruitment in Nova Scotia.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

What is foreign worker recruitment?

Under the Labour Standards Code, a foreign worker is a person who:

  • is not a Canadian citizen, or a permanent resident within the meaning of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), and
  • is recruited to become employed in Nova Scotia, regardless of whether or not the person does become employed.

Foreign worker recruitment includes:

  • helping an employer find foreign workers for employment in Nova Scotia; and
  • helping foreign workers find jobs in Nova Scotia

Examples of recruitment activities are:

  • advertising jobs
  • collecting and filing applications
  • pre-screening workers
  • testing and analyzing workers' skills or knowledge
  • arranging formal interviews with workers
  • confirming that workers meet federal qualifications to work in Canada
  • negotiating a wage or salary that reflects the employer's needs and the requirements under both federal and provincial labour laws

These are just some examples of what Labour Standards considers to be recruitment activities.

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Do I need a recruiter licence to recruit foreign workers?

Yes, in most cases you must have a recruiter licence from Labour Standards before you can recruit foreign workers. You will not need a recruiter licence if you are:

  • an employer who is recruiting a foreign worker to work for your business;
  • a person who is recruiting a foreign worker to work in your home or the home of your dependant;
  • an employee who finds foreign workers to work for your employer;
  • a person who is helping to find employment for a member of your family, and you are not getting a fee for this help
  • a department or an agency of the government or a municipality; or
  • a person who falls in a category of recruiters exempt from the licensing requirement by regulation

Please note: employers of foreign workers do not need a recruiter licence but may need to obtain an employer registration certificate to recruit and hire a foreign worker.

An individual who is required to have a recruiter licence and recruits foreign workers without a recruiter licence may be prosecuted and subject to fines up to $5,000 or $25,000.

Employers using a third party recruiter to help them recruit foreign workers will be required to use the services of a licensed recruiter, unless the third party falls within one of the exceptions listed above.

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Do I need a recruiter licence if I do not charge a fee for helping a foreign worker find employment in Nova Scotia or for helping an employer find a foreign worker?

First, the requirement to have a recruiter licence has nothing to do with fee charging. If you want to help match foreign workers to employers in Nova Scotia, regardless of whether you charge a fee for your service, you must be licensed unless you fall within one of the exceptions outlined in the previous question "Do I need a recruiter licence to recruit foreign workers?"

Second, it is important to note that only employers can be charged for recruitment services. Workers cannot be charged recruitment fees and employers cannot pass on the cost of recruitment to workers.

 

Are there specific qualifications required to apply for a foreign worker recruiter licence?

In order to apply for a recruiter licence, you must be a member in good standing of:

  • the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, another provincial or territorial bar association, or the Chambre des notaires du Québec; or
  • the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.

 

How do I apply for a foreign worker recruiter licence?

Email Labour Standards at LSTFWP@gov.ns.ca to request an application package. Provide us with your contact information, including fax number and mailing address. We will send you out an application package. Return the completed application package to Labour Standards by mail or by hand-delivery.

In future, the application package will be available on-line as fillable PDFs which you can complete, print and then hand-deliver or mail to us.

 

How much does it cost to apply for a foreign worker recruiter licence?

The application fee is $100. If your application is not approved, the $100 fee will be returned to you.

The recruiter licence is valid for three (3) years from the date it is issued. You must apply to renew your recruiter licence before it expires if you want to continue to recruit foreign workers without interruption.

Processing an application for a licence may take four to five weeks once all documentation is submitted.

If you recruit foreign workers without a recruiter licence, you will be in violation of the Labour Standards Code.

 

Are there any other costs?

Yes. If you are approved for a recruiter licence, you must provide a security in the amount of $5,000 in Canadian funds before you can receive the recruiter licence.

If a recruiter charges recruitment fees to a worker, this money may be used to return the illegal fees to the worker.

 

When can I begin recruiting foreign workers?

If you are required to have a foreign worker recruiter licence (i.e., you do not meet one of the exceptions listed under "Do I need a recruiter licence to recruit a foreign worker?"), you may begin recruiting foreign workers once you receive your recruiter licence from Labour Standards.

Processing an application for a recruiter licence may take up to 6 months, longer if concerns arise during the investigation of the licence.

If you are approved for a recruiter licence, you must provide the following to Labour Standards before a recruiter licence can be issued to you:

  • a security in the amount of $5,000 in Canadian funds, and
  • a certified Certificate of Registration from the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies. This Certificate of Registration is a mandatory requirement unless you fall under one of the exceptions to the requirement to be registered with the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies. These exceptions are:

    • New Brunswick corporations and New Brunswick partnerships/business names registered in New Brunswick
    • Individuals or partners using only their personal names without a descriptive element or attachment such as 'and Associates'
    • Partnerships whose sole purpose is farming or fishing

If you recruit foreign workers without a recruiter licence, you will be in violation of the Labour Standards Code.

 

What factors will Labour Standards consider in approving an application?

Labour Standards must be satisfied that you meet the qualifications of the legislation. The application form is designed to gather details about you and your character. You will be asked to provide a certified criminal record check for yourself and for any key business person involved with your recruiting business, i.e., an employer, partners, directors or officers.

Your past conduct will be reviewed to assess whether, for example, you have been disciplined by a professional body for code of conduct or ethics violations; or whether you have been charged and/or convicted of a Criminal Code violation that would bring into question whether you will behave lawfully, honestly and in the public interest while recruiting foreign workers.

 

Can I charge a worker recruitment fees?

No. It is against the law. No one is allowed to charge a fee to, or collect a fee (directly or indirectly) from, any worker, including a foreign worker, for helping the worker seek or find work.

 

Can employers charge recruitment fees/costs to the worker?

No. It is against the law. No one is allowed to charge a fee to, or collect a fee (directly or indirectly) from, any worker, including a foreign worker, for helping the worker seek or find work.

For example, if an employer pays a recruiter to assist with hiring a worker, including a foreign worker, the employer cannot make deductions from the wages of the worker to recover the cost of fees paid to the recruiter.

Also, an employer cannot ask or require:

  • a worker to give the employer money, either before being hired or after being hired, to pay for recruitment costs, or
  • a worker to give any recruiter money at any time to pay for recruitment costs

 

What fees can be charged by a lawyer, consultant, or other person offering immigration advice or assistance?

The Labour Standards Code does not regulate the business of immigration assistance. What the Code does regulate is the business of foreign worker recruitment.

If you are a recruiter but you also work as an immigration consultant, you must be very careful to keep these activities separate and to keep detailed records of all consulting activities and charges. If it is unclear what is involved in the charges for immigration assistance, the questionable charges will be deemed to be related to recruitment and these fees will not be allowed. If a foreign worker has paid you for immigration assistance that looks like it involves recruitment activities, you will be required to reimburse these charges to the foreign worker.

 

How are workers protected from being charged recruitment fees/costs?

Labour Standards will conduct inspections and investigations to ensure fees are not connected to seeking or finding work.

If it is discovered a worker is charged, either the recruiter or the employer will be ordered to repay the fees. In addition to repayment, if the recruiter was involved in fee charging, they will lose their recruiter licence and may be prosecuted and subject to fines up to $5,000 or $25,000.

If an employer is involved in fee charging, they will also be prohibited from registering with Labour Standards to hire foreign workers once the new employer registration program takes effect on August 1, 2013, and may be prosecuted and subject to fines up to $5,000 or $25,000. If fee charging occurs after an employer has registered, their employer registration will be cancelled.

 

Who does the recruiter licence cover?

A recruiter licence to recruit foreign workers is an individual licence that applies only to the applicant. The recruiter licence is not transferable.

For example, a recruitment company cannot get a recruiter licence to cover all recruiters in the business. Each person carrying out foreign worker recruitment activities will need a recruiter licence to do this work. Also, if a licensed recruiter leaves a company, the recruiter licence goes with the recruiter.

 

What records must I keep as a recruiter licensee engaged in foreign worker recruitment?

You must keep complete and accurate financial operations records for at least three (3) years, as well as records that show:

  • a list of each person you assisted to find foreign workers
  • a list of each foreign worker you assisted with employment
  • a copy of the Labour Market Opinion, and all contract/agreements entered into related to each foreign worker

 

How do I renew my recruiter licence?

Please contact Labour Standards for a renewal application form. The application form will also be made available on our website in the near future.

 

What if Labour Standards denies, cancels or suspends my recruiter licence?

If Labour Standards decides to deny, cancel or suspend your recruiter licence you will have a fair opportunity to have the decision reviewed, which can include an appeal to the Labour Board.

 

Is the information provided on the application confidential?

Any personal information collected as part of the application process will be held in confidence and only disclosed in keeping with the provisions of the Labour Standards Code (s.14A) and the Nova Scotia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. As part of the application process, you will be advised of, and asked for consent regarding, the release of specific information.

If you have any questions regarding the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information, you can contact our departmental Information Access and Privacy Manager at LAEaccess@gov.ns.ca or by phone 902.424.8472. (Please note, if you have questions about foreign worker recruitment, you should contact Labour Standards.)

 

How will employers know that I have a recruiter licence?

Labour Standards will maintain a public registry of licensed recruiters on our website. Employers will be advised that the only licensed recruiters in Nova Scotia are those that are listed in this registry.

As of May 1, 2013, employers using a third party recruiter to help them recruit foreign workers will be required to use a licensed recruiter, unless the third party falls within one of the exceptions listed under "Do I need a recruiter licence to recruit a foreign worker?"

 

Where can I find the legislation of the Worker Recruitment and Protection Act?

The Labour Standards Code has been amended to include the Worker Recruitment and Protection Act (Chapter 19, Acts 0f 2011). Presently you may view these amendments at http://nslegislature.ca/legc/bills/61st_3rd/3rd_read/b053.htm

 

For more information, contact Labour Standards

Phone: 902-424-4311; or toll free in Nova Scotia 1-888-315-0110
Fax: 902-424-0648
E-mail: labrstd@gov.ns.ca (for general Labour Standards quesitons)
LSTFWP@gov.ns.ca (for questions about LS rules for foreign workers)
Website: www.novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights

 

See also:

Foreign Workers - General Fact Sheet
Foreign Workers - Employer Registration Fact Sheet