Temporary Foreign Worker Program
The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program is a Canadian immigration option that allows individuals who are neither a Canadian citizen nor a permanent resident to work in Canada in positions that are facing labour shortages and are unfilled by Canadians.
At the time the program was created, it was only open to live-in caregivers and agricultural workers, but the program has expanded significantly and is now an option for a wide variety of high skilled and low skilled positions.
To qualify for the Temporary Foreign Worker program, applicants must:
Have a job offer from a Canadian employer. In most cases, the employer who has offered the a temporary position will need to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment to get permission from the Canadian government to hire a foreign worker.
Not be inadmissible to Canada for any reason. Individuals can be inadmissible to Canada for criminal, medical or financial reasons.
To work in Canada under this program, individuals must apply for a work permit from Immigration Refugee Citizenship Canada. The work permit granted under this program will be only be valid for a set period of time (maximum 1 year) and will be tied to a specific employer. Because the work permit is tied to a specific employer, temporary foreign workers in Canada can only legally work for the employer named on their work permit and cannot switch employers once in Canada.
The application for the work permit should be made once you have a job contract or employment offer from a Canadian employer and the LMIA obtained by your employer, unless your position is exempt from an LMIA. If your employer is based in Quebec, you will also need to obtain an additional document from the Quebec government before applying for your work permit.
Interested applicants should note that a work permit through the TFW program does not entitle a person to permanent residency in Canada. Although it is possible to become a Canadian permanent resident after temporary foreign worker status expires through other immigration programs (such as the Canadian Experience Class or a provincial nomination program), foreign workers are expected to return to their home country after the expiration of their work permit.