Temporary Foreign Worker Program


Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) allows Canadian employers the ability to temporarily hire foreign nationals in order to fill shortages in Canada’s labour force.

TFWP assists Canadian employers in hiring foreign talent. Additionally, it ensures that foreign workers are provided with the rights and protections they deserve that will guarantee their safety in Canada

One key characteristic of the TFWP is the requirement for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Any employer wishing to hire a foreign national through TFWP must first obtain an LMIA demonstrating that they were unable to find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill the position. Only after obtaining an LMIA will an employer be able to officially hire a foreign national, enabling the foreign national, in turn, to apply for a Canadian work permit or Canadian permanent residence.

Whats is LMIA

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document issued by ESDC assessing the impact hiring a foreign worker will have on the Canadian labour market. A positive LMIA indicates that there is no Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill a position, therefore enabling an employer to hire a foreign national. A negative LMIA indicates that a position should be filled by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

An employer may submit an application for an LMIA as early as 6-months prior to the intended start date for the position. LMIA application procedures vary depending on the wage of the person being hired. Employers should consult the median hourly wages of their province or territory in order to determine whether their position is considered high-wage or low-wage, as low-wage positions will require the employer to meet additional criteria.


LMIA applications must include evidence that the following criteria have been met:

Processing Fee

All applications for LMIAs include a $1000 CAD processing fee which will not be refunded even if the result is negative. Certain applicants under the LMIAs for in-home caregivers may be exempt from this fee.

Business Legitimacy Documents

Documents proving that the employer’s status as a legitimate Canadian business.

Transition Plan

Employers must submit a plan for how they intend to address the need to hire foreign nationals. Eventually, employers are expected to hire Canadian citizens and permanent residents rather than TFWs.

Recruitment Efforts

Employers must submit evidence that they made substantial efforts to recruit Canadian citizens and permanent residents to fill the position prior to hiring a TFW. Wages: Applications must include information regarding the TFWs wages. This will differentiate the high-wage positions from low-wage positions and ensure that TFWs are paid the same amount for labour as their Canadian equals.


Applications must include information regarding the TFWs wages. This will differentiate the high-wage positions from low-wage positions and ensure that TFWs are paid the same amount for labour as their Canadian equals.

Workplace Safety

TFWs are entitled to the same standards of workplace health and safety as Canadians in the same position. For this reason, employers must provide evidence that TFWs will be covered by insurance which is at minimum equivalent to the health coverage offered by the province or territory where the business is located.

What Happens after obtaning LMIA

After an LMIA application has been processed, employers will be issued a decision. If the employer is issued a positive LMIA, they can proceed with hiring a foreign national. If a negative LMIA is issued then unfortunately the employer is not approved to hire a foreign national.

Positive LMIAs are valid for 6 months from the date of issue. After receiving a positive LMIA, the employer must notify the foreign national so that they can apply for their work permit or permanent residence. In certain conditions, employers may apply to have their LMIA application processed in 10 days but can be up to 3 months.

Employer Extends Temporary Job Offer

The employer must send a copy of the positive LMIA along with a detailed ‘job offer letter’ to the foreign skilled worker. Canadian companies are required by CIC to prepare a formal employment contract or what our industry refers to as the ‘Job Offer Letter,’ which must include:

Job title for the position

Job description

Requirements for the temporary position

Details about start and end dates

Specifics about the salary

The name and address of the employer

Foreign Skilled Worker Applies For a Work Permit

Once employer get their approved LMIA and ‘Job Offer Letter’ has been extended to candidate, then candidate can apply for a Canadian Temporary Work Permit. In some cases, when applying for a temporary foreign worker permit, you will be required to attend an interview with a visa officer. If the visa officer is satisfied that the foreign worker’s employment will not adversely affect employment in Canada for Canadians and that the foreign worker qualifies for the position, then a Canada Work Permit will be issued.

Note: Applicants from certain countries will sometimes be required to undergo medical examinations

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