The Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) is designed to address labour market shortages of Canadian businesses and to provide other economic opportunities for Canadians, such as job creation and the transfer of new skills and knowledge. Generally, foreign workers must have an approved job offer and a work permit before arriving in Canada but there are some exceptions as well. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)works with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) to ensure that the admission of foreign workers does not adversely affect employment opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
The TFWP program consists of four streams: High-skilled workers, low-skilled workers, the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, and the Live-In Caregiver Program.Your family members can also accompany you to Canada when you get a work permit.
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Provisions for Accompanying family members:
- Accompanying spouses or common-law partners may be eligible for an open work permit.
- Accompanying children can study in Canada, but they must submit a study permit application.
- Open work permits enable them to work in any job with any employer with limited exception.
- An open work permit also means that they may be hired without the employer having to obtain an LMO.
- Generally your spouse’s eligibility for an open work permit depends on the skill level of your job.If you are considered a high skill worker, your spouse or common-law partner could be eligible for an open work permit. You must also be authorized to work in Canada for a period of at least six months.If you are considered a low skill worker, your spouse will only be eligible for an open work permit through an active pilot project.
- Your dependent children eligibility for an open work permit can only be determined through an active pilot project.
How to Apply for a Canadian Temporary Work Permit?
- Step 1: Determine if you require a work permit to work in your desired job in Canada.
- Step 2: Determine if you are eligible to apply for a Canadian temporary work permit.
- Step 3: Determine if you will apply online or on paper.
- Step 4: Obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from your potential employer, if required.
- Step 5: Obtain a temporary job offer from your potential employer.
- Step 6: Gather All Required Documents and Forms.
- Step 7: Pay fees ($155 per person).
- Step 8: Submit the application.
What Happens Next?
- Step 1: Determine if you require a work permit to work in your desired job in Canada. Foreign nationals can work in certain jobs in Canada without a work permit (See list). Even if you do not need a work permit to work in Canada, you will still need to obtain legal entry to Canada. For example, you can enter Canada under a temporary resident visa.If your desired job requires a work permit, proceed to Step 2.
- Step 2: Determine if you are eligible to apply for a Canadian work permit.Your eligibility to apply for a Canadian temporary work permit depends on various factors, including the location in which you apply for a work permit. You must:
- Prove that you will leave Canada when their work permit expires.
- Show that you have enough money to take care of self and their family members during your stay in Canada.
- Show that you have enough money for self and family members to return home.
- Have no criminal record and Not be a danger to Canadian society.Not be otherwise inadmissible to Canada. (Check Grounds for Inadmissibility).
- Be in good health and pass a medical exam, if required.
- Not plan to work for an employer on the list of ineligible employers.
- Not plan to work for an employer who offers striptease, erotic dance, escort or erotic massage services.
- Not have worked in Canada for one or more periods that total four years within the past four years.
- Step 3: Determine if you will apply online or on paper for Canadian temporary work permit. If you apply online, you must have access to a scanner or digital camera. This will allow you to upload all required documents for Canadian temporary work permit online to be included in your application. If you choose to apply on paper, you can obtain all necessary forms from IRCC.
- Step 4: Obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from your potential employer, if required. Employer must obtain a positive LMIA from ESDC before hiring a foreign worker. Once the employer obtains a positive LMIA, it must be sent to the foreign worker applicant for inclusion in the work permit application. Somejobs do not require a positive LMIA.
- Step 5: Obtain a temporary job offer from your potential employer. All foreign nationals applying for a temporary work permit must have a temporary job offer from their potential employer. The employer must send a detailed job offer letter to the work permit applicant. The applicant must then attach the job offer letter to his/her work permit application. The job offer letter must prove that:
- The job offer is genuine.
- The wages and working conditions are high enough to attract a Canadian worker.
- The employment is full time and is not seasonal.
- The job offer letter must also include:
- The job title for the job being offered and job description of the duties and responsibilities.
- Requirements for the job concerning: education, professional credentials, work experience, skills and licenses.
- Details about the start date and end date of the job.
- Details on salary and the way in which salary will be paid.
- The name and address of the employer.
- The address of the worker’s future workplace.
- Contact information for a person at the company who is familiar with the job offer.
- The job offer letter must be submitted to the government by the employer and a copy of the letter must be submitted by the applicant along with the work permit application.
- The applicant should also make sure that the employer has paid the employer compliance fee.
Open Work permit in Canada - Work in Canada
An open work permit allows a foreign national to work for any Canadian employer he/she wants over a specified period of time. Some open work permits may restrict the kind of job or place in which the foreign national may work. A worker may apply for an open work permit from outside of Canada, within Canada or at a Canadian port of entry.
Canadian Open work permits are only issued to certain individuals who are also exempt from the LMIA requirement. For more information on those exempt from the LMIA requirement, click here.
The following individuals are eligible to be issued an open work permit:
- Applicants with no other means of support. (Foreign Nationals with No Other Means of Support)
- Certain kinds of permanent resident applicants living in Canada. (Permanent Residence Applicants in Canada)
- Foreign nationals living in Canada for humanitarian reasons. (Humanitarian-Based Open Work Permits)
- Canada World Youth Program participants
- Participants in certain international student and young worker exchange programs
- The family members of military personnel and foreign representatives who are exempt from the LMIA requirement
- Professional athletes entering Canada who require other work to support themselves while playing for a Canadian team
- Spouses of skilled worker residents
- Spouses of foreign students
- Foreign nationals currently in Canada whose work permit will soon expire and who have submitted an application for permanent residence under:
- The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- The Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
- A Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
- The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
- Note: These workers are only eligible for an open work permit if they meet the requirements for the program to which they are applying.
- Foreign nationals who have submitted an application for permanent residence under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class (SCLPC). Applicants under this class will be able to get an open work permit if:
- They have submitted a Permanent Residence Application under the SCLPC class
- The applicant’s spouse/partner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- The applicant’s spouse/partner has submitted a sponsorship application on the applicant’s behalf
- The SCLPC applicant resides at the same address as the sponsor/spouse/partner
- The SCLPC applicant has valid temporary resident status as a visitor, student or worker
There are two kinds of open work permits: unrestricted open work permits and occupation restricted open work permits.
Under an unrestricted open work permit, a foreign national can work in any job, in any place and for any employer. An unrestricted open work permit will be given to eligible workers who have passed the medical exam (Medical Exams for Temporary Foreign Worker Applicants). Unrestricted open work permits can also be given to eligible workers mentioned who:
Under an occupation restricted open permit, an eligible person may work for any employer but the job in which the person must work will be specified. The job restriction is due to the fact that occupation restricted open permits are given to eligible workers who have not completed a medical exam. Thus, holders of occupation restricted open permits are usually not allowed to work in jobs related to health.
If an eligible worker receives an occupation restricted open permit and is from a country that does not require a medical exam when entering Canada, he/she will not be allowed to work in:
- Primary or secondary school teaching
- Health services
If an eligible worker acquires an occupation restricted open permit and is from a country that does require a medical exam, he/she will not be allowed to work in:
- Primary or secondary school teaching
- Health services
For list of countries that do and do not require medical exams, click here.