Canada has skills, and labour shortages in many industries across the country due to an aging population. The current worker-to-retiree ratio is 4 to 1. The solution? Temporary foreign workers help Canadian employers to meet labour needs when qualified Canadians or permanent residents aren’t available. Even more importantly, temporary workers support the success and growth of many industries, such as agriculture, healthcare and technology.
What is the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) ?
Planning to recruit from abroad? Want to work in Canada? The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is designed for Canadian employers to hire foreign workers within a wide range of job positions. The most important part of the TFWP hiring process is applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). An LMIA proves that no Canadian or permanent resident was available to fill the job position. The temporary worker you wish to hire must submit a copy of the LMIA or the LMIA number along with their work permit application.
If you want to hire a foreign worker that is exempt from an LMIA you can do so through the International Mobility Program (IMP).
Temporary Foreign Worker Program Streams
The Temporary Foreign Work Program is divided into sub-categories or streams. Canadian employers who wish to hire temporary foreign workers must apply through a TFWP stream that supports their hiring needs. Each stream has a list of requirements that must be met to compile a winning LMIA application for Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
The TWFP streams vary based on the wages offered to workers (above or below the Canadian average) and the worker’s skills level according to the National Occupation Classification (NOC) system (high-skilled or low-skilled workers). Learn more about the seven different TFWP streams below.
1. High Wage Worker Stream
Employers who plan to hire a temporary foreign worker who will be paid at or above the median hourly wage of their province or territory must apply for an LMIA through the TFWP stream for high-wage workers, demonstrating that they were unable to find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill the position.
Once an employer is issued a positive LMIA for a high-wage skilled position, they must send a copy of the LMIA to the worker which enables them to apply for a Canadian work permit through a work permit application or a permanent residency application, depending on eligibility. LMIA documents are valid for six months only, so ideally, foreign workers must apply for their work permits as soon as possible.
2. Low Wage Worker Stream
Employers who plan to hire a temporary foreign worker who will be paid less than the median hourly wage of their province or territory must apply for an LMIA through the TFWP stream for low-wage workers, demonstrating that they were unable to find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill the position.
Hiring low-wage workers requires employers to meet additional requirements to ensure the workplace rights and safety of low-wage non-resident workers. Once an employer is issued a positive LMIA for a low-wage skilled position, they must send a copy of the LMIA to the worker which enables them to apply for a Canadian work permit through a work permit application or a permanent residency application, depending on eligibility. The LMIA is valid for six months after being issued.
3. Agriculture Worker Stream
Due to Canada’s ongoing demand for agricultural workers, especially in peak seasons, employers who need to hire workers to fill specific job positions related to agricultural production may be able to use one of two agricultural streams to accelerate the hiring process. In order to qualify for either stream, employers must ensure that their production is in a sector on Canada’s national commodity list and the activity must be related to on-farm primary agriculture in one of these National Occupational Classification codes: 0821, 0822, 8252, 8255, 8431, 8432, and 8611.
4. Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP)
Canada has bilateral agreements with specific countries that allow employers to hire agricultural workers to work in Canada for up to eight months during peak farming periods. The foreign workers must be citizens of Mexico or one of the following Caribbean countries; Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. If an employer meets the requirements for the SAWP, they can apply for an LMIA and easily hire qualified workers with experience and who can meet the additional requirements of working in Canada.
5. Global Talent Stream (GTS)
The Global Talent Stream (GTS) assists eligible Canadian employers to hire highly-skilled workers under one of two categories. Category A = is for employers who have been referred to by one of the GTS designated partners and want to hire highly-specialized workers. Category B is for employers who want to hire highly-skilled workers on the GTS Occupations List. The Global Talent Stream expedites the hiring process for employers by doing away with the LMIA requirement to prove they first tried recruiting Canadians and permanent residents of Canada. Also, work permit applications for the GTS are processed in about 10 business days.
6. Home Care Provider Stream
Families who need to hire a foreign caregiver to provide care, in a private residence, to seniors or individuals with medical needs, or children, may be able to do so through the Home Care Provider Stream of the TFWP. This stream enables families to hire temporary foreign workers, provided that the positions to be filled meet one of the following criteria:
Caregivers for children: Nannies, au-pairs and babysitters are just some of the positions that fall under this category, and provide care to children under the age of 18 years old. The position must meet the requirements for National Occupation Classification (NOC) Code 4411.
Caregivers for persons with high medical needs: Family caregivers, housekeepers, and personal aides are just some of the positions that fall under this category, and provide care to seniors or to persons with disabilities. The position must meet the requirements for one of NOC 3012, 3233, or 4412. Families must follow the same application procedure as employers hiring through the high-wage and low-wage streams. Additionally, families must provide evidence that they have a dependent family member who requires in-home care; and show proof that they have the financial means to pay the wages of the in-home caregiver.
Note:Families hiring in-home caregivers for seniors and people living with disabilities are exempt from the LMIA application fee. Also, families hiring in-home caregivers for children will be exempt from the LMIA application fee if their gross annual income is less than CAD $150,000.
7. Foreign Academics
It is in the best interest of universities, degree-granting colleges, and unions representing Canadian education to hire foreign academics. They fill in-demand positions and bring new knowledge and expertise to Canadian campuses. Employers must follow the same application procedure as employers hiring through the high-wage stream. In most cases, foreign nationals hired in research positions at post-secondary institutions may be exempt from requiring an LMIA, a work permit, or both.
What to Know About the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)
What Type of Canadian Work Permit is Issued Under the TFWP?
Employer-specific work permits or closed work permits are issued to temporary workers under the TFWP. They allow you to work in Canada according to the specific conditions on your work permit, which include:
- the name of the employer you can work for;
- how long you can work; and
- the location where you can work
What are the Requirements to Apply for a Canadian Work Permit under the TFWP?
You need to submit a work permit application with all the required documents to the IRCC. You may have to include the following documents:
- Valid job offer letter;
- Proof that you meet the requirements of the job offer;
- Copy of a positive LMIA or LMIA number;
- Proof of your English or French language abilities via test results;
- Medical examination (if needed);
- Valid passport;
- Police clearance certificate (if asked); and
- Show proof of funds to take care of yourself and any accompanying family members during your stay, and to return home
How Long Does it Take to Process Work Permit Applications Under the TFWP?
Typically, processing times for Canadian work permit applications under the TFWP can run for many months with a few exceptions. Temporary workers with LMIAs through the Global Talent Stream and their family members may be eligible for two week processing.
Benefits of Working in Canada as a Temporary Worker
Working in Canada as a temporary foreign worker allows you to gain significant Canadian work experience. Not only will this make your resume stand-out from the rest but it can increase your chances of becoming a permanent resident. The majority of Canadian immigration programs favor applicants with work experience gained in the country as opposed to foreign work experience. For example, Provincial Nomination Programs (PNPs) require most applicants to have 6-12 months of local work experience.
What’s the next step?
Both foreign workers and Canadian employers benefit from the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Workers get to make the most of the incredible economic opportunities in Canada and pave the way to a permanent future in the country. At the same time, employers gain the much needed skills and labour for their businesses to get to the next level and remain competitive in the Canadian market.
Get professional help and guidance with your work permit application or hire a RCIC to take care of your LMIA application so that you can easily hire a temporary worker through the TFWP.