Canadian government puts Temporary Foreign Work program on priority list

December, 2016

Easier access to job opportunities remains the government's top priority, therefore they are working hard reviewing the current programs and proposals for changes.

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In a government statement published last Monday, IRCC Minister John McCallum and Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk said that the Temporary Foreign Work Program (TFWP) will undergo a major revamp to make it more accessible to foreign workers. “These initial improvements are being taken now while the Government continues to work on the development of a more comprehensive policy,” the statement reads.

Amongst the first changes will be the abolition of the four-year cumulative duration rule—colloquially known as "four-in, four-out"—in which temporary foreign workers in Canada are limited to a total of four working years and becomes ineligible to work in Canada for the next four years. The IRCC and the Labour Department want this to be extended by giving workers under the TFWP access to a permanent residency program.

"As part of our efforts to ensure that Canadians have first access to available job opportunities, the Government will require low-wage employers, where appropriate, to advertise to more than one, and up to four, under-represented groups in the workforce—youth, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people and newcomers. Employers will just to extend their permits through another route when these changes are to come into effect," the statement explains.

The limit on the proportion of low-wage temporary foreign workers that can be employed at a given worksite will be maintained at 20 percent for entrepreneurs (who started utilising the TFWP before June 20, 2014,) while 10 percent for employers who began using the program after this date. Cap exemption for seasonal industries seeking temporary foreign workers for up to 180 days for 2017 has been extended until December 31, 2017.

McCallum opines that the four-year rule is disadvantageous to all parties, as employers will need to start all over again once the workers finish their contract while the workers need to wait for another four years to obtain legal permission to work again in the country. Even the government of Canada is on the losing end since processing new applications is more expensive than just allowing seasoned workers to just extend their permits through another route.

Mihychuk agrees, adding that reshaping the economy through the help of high-skilled foreign workers would soon benefit local workers, especially under-represented groups like indigenous people. The one-year-old Trudeau administration strongly believes that the government needs a sturdier labour market to fuel continuous economic growth. However, many industry-crucial job posts in the countries are being vacated by local workers due to several reasons such as the ageing population and the younger generation’s ever-changing job preferences.

Talk to one of our ICCRC Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants to find out more about the latest updates regarding your eligibility for a Canadian visa. You can also take our free online assessment to determine your eligibility to enter Canada under the Temporary Work Visa.