An option for foreign workers to find employment in Canada.
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is a government program administered by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC); to allow companies to hire temporary foreign workers (TFWs) when the Canadian workforce needs them, and for foreign workers to seek employment with companies in Canada.
The program allows Canadian employers to hire talent from abroad to fill labor shortages within Canada, while ensuring that workers in Canada receive first preference for these roles.
The government offers a multitude of different programs (more than 100) through which foreign nationals can temporarily work in a Canadian company; these are broadly classified under the TFWP or the International Mobility Program (IMP). The main difference (among many) between these two programs is the need for a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for the TFWP.
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What is an LMIA?
To successfully work under the TFWP as a foreign worker, one needs to obtain a positive or neutral LMIA in order to receive a Temporary Work Permit.
The LMIA is Canada’s labor market test. Companies must file an LMIA before hiring a foreign worker, to determine if there will be a positive or neutral impact on the Canadian labor market, should the employer decide to hire such a worker.
Employers should be aware of the requirements that follow an application for an LMIA, including wages, advertising efforts, exceptions to advertising requirements, and the application process and wait times for an LMIA.
Completing an LMIA is the first step an employer must take when seeking to hire a foreign worker under the TFWP.
There are also exceptions to the need for an LMIA. For example, jobs that do not fall within the scope of the TFWP; as well as the offers to foreigners that are made through the IMP, do not require an LMIA. There are also Quebec-specific exemptions and variations to the LMIA.
The TFWP also submits specialized applications, which employers may apply for, if the TFW’s profession falls within specific categories or if your application/hiring falls under the circumstances described.
- These special professions include:
- Farm Workers
Specialized applications are also relevant in circumstances where TFWs are:
Apply for permanent residence (with the help of an employer) through Express Entry;
Hired as part of the Global Talent Stream (for workers with unique skills in the ICT or STEM fields);
Application for jobs in Quebec.
Non-Compliant Employers and Rights of Foreign Workers
Employers must observe a high degree of compliance when hiring a temporary foreign worker. If an employer is found not to meet the required standards, it may be subject to one or both of:
- Monetary penalty
- Prohibition of hiring temporary workers
- These non-compliant companies are even listed in a directory on the IRCC website.
Even TFWs have rights under Canadian law. Among these, an employer must:
- Pay for the work of a TFW
- Make sure the workplace is safe for them.
- Give TFW breaks during the workday and time off
- Respect the terms of the written contract.
Similarly, an employer may not:
- Forcing a TFW to perform tasks for which they were not hired or trained
- Forcing a TFW to work if they are sick or injured
- Take away their passport or work permits
- Have a TFW deported from Canada or change their immigration status
- Getting a TFW to pay back the employer for the fees you paid to hire them
The TFWP provides a pathway for Canadian companies to select and hire the best and most needed talent from around the world, to help and grow their businesses; while allowing foreign nationals the opportunity to live, work, and potentially even immigrate entirely to Canada. Read More