Temporary Foreign Worker Program
The TFWP helps Canadian employers hire the foreign talent they need. Employers may hire temporary foreign workers through the following streams:
Global Talent Stream
Foreign Agricultural Workers
This program requires employers to obtain a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) demonstrating that they were unable to find a Canadian citizen or PR to fill the position. Afterward, an employer can hire a foreign national, enabling the foreign national to apply for a work permit or PR.
The International Mobility Program is designed to process LMIA-exempt work permit applications.
Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA)
This is a document assessing the impact of a foreign worker on the Canadian labor market. A positive LMIA indicates that there is no Canadian citizen or PR to fill a position, while a negative LMIA means the opposite.
International Mobility Program (IMP)
This program allows Canadian employers to hire temporary foreign workers without an LMIA. LMIA exemptions are based on the following conditions:
broader economic, cultural or other competitive advantages for Canada; and
reciprocal benefits enjoyed by citizens and PRs.
In this program, employers must follow three steps:
Confirm the position or worker in question qualifies for an LMIA-exemption;
Pay the employer compliance fee of $230 CAD;
Submit the official job offer through the IMP’s Employer Portal.
After this, foreign nationals are eligible to apply for their own work permit. LMIA-exempt workers may also qualify for expedited work permit processing through the Global Skills Strategy if their position is NOC Skill Level A or 0 and they are applying from outside of Canada.
Global Talent Stream (GTS)
This is a 2-year program assisting Canadian employers to hire highly-skilled global talent, allowing them to expedite the process for hiring foreign nationals.
If employers want to hire temporary foreign workers and pay them above the median hourly wage of their province or territory, then they must apply through this stream and obtain an LMIA.
After receiving a positive LMIA for a high-wage skilled position, they must inform the foreign worker to apply for their authorization to work in Canada prior to the expiration of the LMIA. The worker can do this either through a work permit application or a PR application, depending on their eligibility.
If employers want to hire temporary foreign workers and pay them less than the median hourly wage of their province or territory, then they must apply through this stream and obtain an LMIA.
After receiving a positive LMIA for a low-wage skilled position, they must inform the foreign worker to apply for their authorization to work in Canada prior to the expiration of the LMIA. The worker can do this either through a work permit application or a PR application, depending on their eligibility.
Foreign Agricultural Workers
Canada offers two streams for hiring temporary foreign agricultural workers. In order to qualify for either stream, an employer must meet the following general requirements:
Production must be in specific commodity sectors on Canada’s national commodity list;
The activity must be related to on-farm primary agriculture in one of the following National Occupation Classification (NOC) Codes: 0821, 0822, 8252, 8255, 8431, 8432, and 8611
Afterward, employers may be eligible to hire temporary foreign workers through the regular Agricultural Stream or the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP).
Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP)
Countries participating in the SAWP include: Mexico, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
This program allows employers to hire temporary foreign workers to fill temporary positions in agricultural production for a maximum of 8 months at a time. All positions must meet the general requirements for hiring foreign agricultural workers. If an employer meets the requirements for the SAWP, they can apply for an LMIA indicating the SAWP specifications.
Global Skills Strategy
Under this strategy, foreign nationals can apply to have their work permits processed in two weeks if applying from outside of Canada. However, they must apply for a work permit meeting one of the two following conditions:
LMIA-exempt workers: traveling to Canada to work in a position at NOC Skill Level 0 or A; or
Workers requiring an LMIA: possessing a positive LMIA issued through the Global Talent Stream of the TFWP.
Once they have met either one of these 2 conditions, they can apply for two-week processing of their work permit by submitting an online application through the IRCC web-portal. In addition, accompanying spouses, common-law partners, and dependent children are eligible to submit applications for visitor visas, study permits, and work permits which will also be processed at an expedited rate.