Canada, like many other countries, frequently has a workforce shortage in specific sectors and provinces. To compensate for this, the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) in conjunction with ESDC (Employment and Social Development Canada) administer the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP).

What is Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program?

TWFP is a program that allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers for jobs they are unable to fill with the local workforce. Although the Canadian government allows local companies to hire international workers, it also ensures its citizens and permanent residents are protected.

As such, companies who want to hire foreign workers must show that they tried recruiting locally but weren’t able to find a suitable, qualified, and available worker to fill a position. One of the benefits of this program is that it also protects foreign employees by granting them a work permit, which ensures they enjoy the necessary rights and protections to work in Canada safely.

What are the Requirements to Get a Temporary Foreign Worker Work Permit?

There are extensive requirements candidates need to meet to qualify for a work permit under the TFWP. The most important of these requirements is the existence of an LMIA (Labor Market Impact Assessment).

What is a Labour Market Impact Assessment?

An LMIA is a document every Canadian company that intends to hire a foreign worker requires. Without it, Canadian employers are forbidden from recruiting international candidates to work in Canada.

When an employer applies for an LMIA, it can be positive or negative. A positive one signifies a need that the position needs to be filled by a foreign worker. Similarly, it’s proof that there isn’t a qualified or available Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill the vacant position.

So, to get a temporary work permit in Canada, your potential employer must have a positive LMIA.

Other requirements you MUST meet to qualify for a temporary work permit in Canada include:

  • Have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer
  • Prove that you’ll return to your home country once your work permit expires
  • Prove that you have enough funds to live on, support your family (if you’re moving with them), and travel back to your home country
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Prove you’re not a national security threat
  • Be in good health
  • Prove you’ll not be working for an employer offering adult services (escort, erotic massage, dances, striptease, etc)

If you meet the requirements above, then you’re eligible to apply for a work permit as a temporary foreign worker.

 Still, Canadian employers are sometimes allowed to hire foreign workers without an LMIA under the International Mobility Program.

Careers that qualify for IMP MUST have a competitive advantage for Canada and have symbiotic benefits for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

There are several categories of workers under which a foreign can immigrate to work in Canada on a temporary basis. These include:

Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program

Abbreviated as SAWP, this program is only open to citizens of countries that are members of the SAWP bilateral agreement with Canada. Under this program, agricultural companies are allowed to recruit temporary farm workers during specific seasons for periods not exceeding 8 months.

Still, positions under the program must meet the general criteria required to hire foreign workers. Most importantly, it’s crucial to understand that applicants under these program can only be citizens of Mexico and any of the Caribbean countries.

Under SAWP, employers are responsible for facilitating the workers travel from and back to their country as well as providing accommodation and protecting their health and safety at work.

Foreign Agricultural Workers

Unlike SAWP, this program is open to candidates from countries all over the world. The only requirements the job must meet are:

  • Be geared towards producing in specific commodity sectors as stipulated in the country’s national commodity list
  • Be an activity related to primary agriculture on the farm in NOC codes: 0821, 0822, 8252, 8255, 8431, 8432, and 8611

Employers meeting the two thresholds above are eligible to higher temporary foreign agricultural workers.

Low-wage Workers

This category allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers for jobs that pay less than the provinces’ or territotys’ median hourly wage.

However, the employer must have an LMIA showing they were unable to fill the position locally. The employer will also be required to meet certain requirements, guaranteeing the safety and health of foreign employees at the work place.

Employers wanting to hire employees under this program first apply for LMIA. If positive, they share it with the low-wage worker who uses it together with their official, signed offer letter to apply for a work permit or permanent residency.

High-wage Workers

The opposite of the category above, this is a program through which Canadian companies recruit foreign workes for roles whos median hourly wage is well above that of the province or territory.

The process for the high-wage worker category is similar to that of the low-wage temporary worker category.

Global Talent Stream

This category is for employers who wish to sponsor candidates for a post graduate work permit. Through the program, companies can hire professionals who are considered captains of industries. In other words, if a Canadian employer is looking to recruit a highly-skilled foreign worker on a temporary basis, they do so under the Global Talent Stream.

The process to obtain a work permit can be expedited faster than the other categories using the Global Skills Strategy.

The Temporary Foreign Workers Program is only one of the over 100 ways foreigners can immigrate and live in Canada as temporary workers or permanent residents. With so many programs, the best way to choose the one you’re most likely to qualify is to work with an immigration consultant.

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