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What is the Temporary Foreign Worker Program?

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

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The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is a government initiative that is managed by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The purpose of this program is to allow businesses to hire temporary foreign workers (TFWs) where there is a requirement for them in the Canadian labor force, as well as to allow foreign workers to seek a job with companies in Canada.

The program enables employers in Canada to hire skilled workers from other countries to compensate for the lack of available workers in their own country while at the same time guaranteeing that Canadian workers are given preference for open positions.

TFWP stands for Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and IMP stands for International Mobility Program. The government provides programs (over 100) through which foreign nationals may temporarily work in a Canadian company.

These programs can be broadly categorized as the TFWP or the IMP. The requirement for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in the case of the TFWP is the primary distinction between these two programs, although there are many others.

What is an LMIA?

It is necessary to obtain a favorable or neutral LMIA to apply for and be granted a Temporary Work Permit to be eligible to work as a foreign worker under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

The LMIA is Canada’s standard assessment of the labor market. Before hiring a foreign worker, businesses are obliged to complete and submit an LMIA to the government of Canada. This document aims to evaluate whether hiring workers will positively, negatively, or neutrally affect the country’s labor market.

Employers should be aware of the obligations accompanying the application for an LMIA, including salaries, advertisement activities, exceptions to marketing requirements, and the application procedure and waiting times for an LMIA. Other requirements include exceptions to advertising criteria.

When a business wants to engage a foreign worker through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), it must complete a labor market impact assessment (LMIA).

Exemptions to the LMIA

There are also exceptions to the rule that states an LMIA is required. For instance, an LMIA is not necessary for jobs not covered by the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) or for offers of employment to foreign nationals made through the International Mobility Program (IMP). Exemptions and modifications to the LMIA exclusive to Quebec are also available.

Specialized Applications

There are also specialized applications available through the TFWP, which businesses may apply if the profession of the TFW fits into certain categories or if their application or hiring falls within the parameters indicated in the program.

These specialized occupations are as follows:

  • Academics
  • Agricultural Workers
  • Caregivers

Other situations that call for the use of specialized applications are those in which TFWs are:

  • submitting an application for permanent residence through Express Entry (with the assistance of an employer);
  • Employed as a part of the Global Talent Stream (for professionals with specialized expertise in disciplines related to ICT or STEM);
  • Submitting applications for jobs in Quebec.

Non-compliant Employers and Foreign Worker’s Rights

When recruiting a temporary foreign worker, employers are required to comply with a significant number of regulations. If it is determined that an employer is not in compliance with the requirements, such employer may be liable to either or both of the following:

  • Monetary penalty
  • A prohibition on the use of contract workers in any capacity

On the website of the IRCC is even a directory that lists the companies that do not comply with the regulations.

Even Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) have rights under Canadian law. To name few, an employer is required to have the following:

  • Obtaining payment for the labor of a TFW
  • Make sure they are protected from harm at work.
  • Provide TFWs with time off, as well as breaks during the workday
  • Honor the provisions outlined in the written contract.

Similarly, an employer is not permitted to:

  • Insist that a TFW carry out tasks for which they were neither employed nor trained. Insist that a TFW continue to work although they are ill or injured
  • Confiscate their passports and revoke their permission to work.
  • Get a temporary foreign worker removed from Canada or modify their immigration status.
  • Demand that a TFW compensate the employer for the fees incurred when they hired them.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) allows Canadian businesses to identify and recruit the most qualified and in-demand workers worldwide to support and expand their operations.

At the same time, it gives individuals from other countries a chance to settle, find employment, and even apply for permanent residency in Canada.

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