Temporary Foreign Worker Program

With the population of only 38.27 million (2021), Canada is suffering from skilled labour shortage. In order to tackle this issue, the Canadian government has in place the Temporary Foreign Worker program to enable Canadian employers to seek employees beyond its border.

There are several schemes in this program:

  • High-wage Workers
  • Low-wage workers
  • Global Talent Stream
  • Foreign Agricultural Workers
  • In-home Caregivers
  • Foreign Academics.
Labour Market Impact Assessment

The most important requirement for employers is to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to determine if you can hire a foreign worker to fill labour or skills shortages on a temporary basis. A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document that an employer in Canada must usually get before hiring a foreign worker.

A positive LMIA will show that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker can do the job. A positive LMIA is sometimes called a Confirmation letter.

If you need an LMIA, your employer must send an application to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The processing time of an LMIA is ranging from 13 to 40 business days, depending on what stream you are applying for.

What if I do not have the LMIA

You don’t need to apply for the LMIA if you are eligible for the International Mobility Program (IMP).

If you hire a temporary foreign worker through the IMP, you need to

  • Pay an employer compliance fee.
  • Submit an offer of employment form through the Employer Portal.
High-wage and Low-wage workers streams

You must ensure that you are applying for the correct stream, otherwise you will need to reapply for the application fee won’t be refunded.

To determine whether you should apply for high-wage or low-wage workers stream, you can reply on the Median hourly wage of the province or territory.

Global Talent Stream

This stream is designed for Canada innovative firms to hire highly skilled global talent to expand your workforce here in Canada and to be competitive on a global scale. There are 2 categories to choose from:

  • Category A: for those who have been referred to the Global Talent Stream by one of the Stream’s designated partners.
  • Category B: you can apply for under this category if you want to hire workers to work in the occupations listed on the Global Talent Occupations List (mainly computer and IT occupations).
Foreign Agricultural Workers

There are two main requirements that employers need to meet in order to hire a temporary foreign agricultural worker:

  • The occupations and activities must be related to primary agriculture, which must:
    • be performed within the boundaries of a farm, nursery or greenhouse;
    • involve at least one activity, such as:
      • operation of agricultural machinery
      • boarding, care, breeding, sanitation or other handling of animals, other than fish, for the purpose of obtaining raw animal products for market
      • collection, handling and assessment of those raw products, or the planting, care, harvesting or preparation of crops, trees, sod or other plants for market
    • be consistent with one of these National Occupational Classification codes: 0821, 0822, 8252, 8255, 8431, 8432, and 8611.
  • The production must be included on the National Commodities List.

If these two requirements are met, employers may be eligible to apply for 1 of the following streams:

  • Seasonal Agricultural worker program (SAWP): in case the temporary workers are from Mexico or the participating Caribbean countries.
  • Agricultural stream: workers from any countries.

If the production is not in the National Commodities List, employers can consider hiring foreign workers under High-wage or Low-wage workers above.

In-home caregiver

Families can hire a foreign caregiver to provide care, in a private residence, to children, seniors or persons with certified medical needs, when Canadians and permanent residents are not available.

Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), families can hire foreign caregivers. However, the caregivers must:

  • provide care on a full-time basis (minimum 30 hours per week).
  • work in the private household where the care is being provided.
  • meet the requirements set Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

There are two categories under this stream:

  • Caregivers for children under 18 years old: occupations are childcare provided, live-in caregiver, nanny (NOC 4411);
  • Caregivers for people with high medical needs: registered nurse or registered psychiatric nurse (NOC 3012); licensed practical nurse (NOC 3233); attendant for persons with disabilities, home support worker, live-in caregiver, personal care attendant (NOC 4412).
Foreign Academics

Educational institutions in Canada may seek staff, lecturer, and professors globally and apply for work permits through this stream. An academic is an individual with at least one postgraduate degree (following a Bachelor’s degree) who earns the majority of their income from teaching or conducting research as employees at universities and university colleges in Canada.

In many cases, academics who are employed in research position in higher education institutes may be exempted from applying for the LMIA, a work permit, or both.