Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The Canadian temporary foreign workers program allows skilled workers across various specified trades to become permanent residents of Canada. This program was initiated in order to acknowledge and honour those engaged in diverse skilled trade occupation and who can benefit from an exclusive program.  The applications are assessed in order to determine the applicant’s training, skills and ability to remain financially independent in Canada.

The program is managed, regulated and monitored by the immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The designated institutions ensure that those nominated and selected qualify under the program. They also ensure that foreign workers are permitted to immigrate to Canada only if there are labour market shortages reported. This is done to protect employment opportunities of Canadian nationals and permanent citizens in Canada. The immigration laws of Canada have recently become severe so that the interests of the larger community in Canada can be protected. The rules to qualify under the Temporary Workers Program, therefore, have become severer. A rigorous system has been out into place to ensure that only qualified people are permitted to immigrate to Canada under this program. Any kind of non-compliance with the rules on the part of the employer or employee meet with harsh penalties.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is a fast track entry system under which work permits are issues based on the LMIAs (Labour Market Impact Assessment) that are granted by ESDC. ESDC has the full authority to monitor and regulate the process and decisions made under this program. Under this, the employer must be able to prove that no other Canadian or a permanent resident could suffice for the job requisites.

The issuance of the LMIA that is positive or neutral rests on the following factors –

  • If the employment of the foreign national will economically benefit Canada and generate further employment opportunities for Canadian nationals.
  • If the employment of the foreign national will address an existing labour shortage in Canada.
  • If the wages offered to the foreign national are consistent with prevailing Canadian standards of wages.
  • If the work culture is positive and non-discriminatory for the foreign national.
  • If the employer has made enough efforts to hire a Canadian national.

In the second procedure, i.e., the IMP (International Mobility Program), work permits do not require an LMIA. This includes work permits under the mentioned categories – spousal, post-graduation, intra-company transfers, global work permits for youth, NAFTA and other free trade agreements, and many more. If both an employee and the employer meet certain eligibility standards, they will be eligible to apply under this program successfully.

Applicants applying for the federal Skilled Workers Program must establish that they meet the minimum requirements to qualify for this visa for getting permanent residency in Canada. They must do so by submitting proper proofs along with various required documents to validate their claims. Minimum requirements for this visa include proper work experience, age, education, language ability and adaptability.

There are certain standards to be met by the employer who seeks to hire a non-Canadian skilled worker. The qualifying requirements to be fulfilled by the employer recruiting the foreign national are –

  • The employer giving the job offer must be permanently settled in Canada and directly engaged in business.
  • The employee recruited must fulfil the job requirements of the job offered with the right educational qualification and work experience.
  • If the employer must have shown compliance with federal, provincial, or territorial laws in the past as well.
  • The employer must have made sufficient efforts to hire a Canadian national first. The employer will be asked to demonstrate that considerable efforts were made to ensure the same.
  • The employer must ensure that the working conditions for the hired professionals are conducive, free of abuse and non-discriminatory.
  • The employer must demonstrate if any prior commitment made at the time of LMIA issuance related to skill and knowledge of Canadian nationals have been delivered.

Employers who are found guilty of non-compliance for a violation committed before 1 December 2015 could be subjected to –

  1. A 2-year ban from using Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP).
  2. The publishing of the employer’s name, address, and ineligibility duration on the official website of IRCC.
  3. A non-favourable LMIA on pending applications, if any.
  4. A revocation or cancellation of LMIA issued earlier.

Employers who are found guilty of non-compliance for a violation committed on or after 1 December 2015 could be subjected to –

  1. A warning letter issued by ESDC or SC.
  2. Monetary penalties per employee.
  3. A ban of two or more years, or even a permanent one in cases of serious violations.
  4. The publishing of their name and address and ineligibility duration on the official website of IRCC.
  5. A non-favourable LMIA on pending applications, if any.
  6. A revocation or cancellation of LMIA issued earlier.

Since the Employer Compliance procedure underwent some changes in 2013, there are different inspection procedures and penalties. The penalty is based on the assessment of the violation and its severity. In cases where a violation is committed prior to 1 December 2015, employers are banned for 2 years from accessing International Mobility Program (IMP) and Employment and Social Development Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. For offences committed on or after 1 December 2015, the employers receive a warning letter, a penalty, and restraint from accessing the International Mobility Program (IMP) and TFW for almost 2 years. In extreme cases, there can be a revocation of work permits for the foreign nationals working for the employer.