Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) allows Canadian employers the ability to temporarily hire foreign nationals in order to fill shortages in Canada’s labour force. The TFWP is jointly operated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

Moving to Canada

Employers accessing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program must be able to prove that no Canadian citizens or permanent residents are ready, willing, and able to perform the duties outlined in a job description. This proof comes in the form of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

The process of obtaining a LMIA includes:

  • a period of advertising the position under set requirements;
  • an application fee of $1,000;
  • the production of a transition plan showing that the employer intends to take steps to reduce reliance on temporary foreign workers over time (for high-wage positions only); and
  • adherence to stringent criteria.

To learn more about the recruitment process under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, visit our LMIA page.

LMIA allowance

There are a number of potential ways for employers in Canada to avoid the LMIA application process. This may be achieved if hiring through one of the various streams of the International Mobility Program (IMP), which provides for LMIA-exempt hiring of foreign workers.

Employers and workers alike would be well advised to consider their options under the IMP before pursuing a work permit under the TWFP.

Foreign workers transitioning to permanent residence

Many temporary foreign workers in Canada set down roots in the country. These roots can be economic, social, or familial, or some combination. Fortunately for foreign workers, depending on their situation they may be able to transition to Canadian permanent residence.

A selection of Canada’s economic immigration programs place a value on Canadian work experience. Foreign workers with at least one year of skilled employment in Canada may be eligible under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), one of the federal programs managed under the Express Entry system. CEC candidates are well-placed to be invited to apply for permanent residence, given that Canadian work experience is rewarded under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

Foreign workers who may not be eligible for Express Entry, or who struggle to reach the CRS cut-off threshold in Express Entry draws, may have other options under one of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). Many provinces use their PNP to help foreign workers in the given province transition to permanent residence. In some cases, this may be possible even if the foreign worker has been employed in a non-skilled position.

There may also be an immigration option for foreign workers who have established a relationship with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, either as a spouse or common-law partner.