Important changes in the program for temporary foreign workers in Canada

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced important changes in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

The Government immediately cancelled the rule of “four years” or “4-in-4-out”, according to which foreign workers must leave Canada after 4 years of stay and not enter the country for the next 4 years. Because of this rule, the majority of foreign workers lose their right to the extension of a work permit after 4 years of work in Canada.

This rule was adopted by the previous conservative government of Stephen Harper in April 2011. However, it soon became a controversial decision, affecting not only the workers but also their families, employers and communities.

“In many ways, the rule of four years has created great uncertainty and instability for temporary workers and for employers. We got the feeling that it was an unnecessary burden for applicants and employers as well as employees of the ministry, processing such applications. We need stability for the economy and for the country,” – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum said.

The rule of “four years” doesn’t extend to all foreign workers in Canada. The exceptions were management-level employees (Skill Type “0” on the National Occupational Classification), skilled workers with specialities belonging to the Skill Level A and workers nominated for permanent residence through one of the provincial immigration programs.

In the near future, we are waiting for one more change. The Government wants to ensure Canadians with primary access to employment opportunities. Therefore, employers with low-level wages will be required to offer job vacancies at first for certain groups, presented in smaller number in the labor collective (for example, disabled persons, youth, indigenous peoples and new residents of Canada). And only after that, they can proceed with filling the posts by temporary labor immigrants.

Employers will be notified when these changes take effect.