Role of Temporary Foreign workers

The growth of Canadian economy and subsequent need for new workers to fill up the jobs being created has Canadian employers looking beyond our borders for prospective new employees. Canadian immigration laws allow the employers to bring in temporary foreign workers to work if they cannot find Canadian workers. The temporary foreign workers (TFW’s) are filling in from highly skilled jobs in Canada to semi-skilled jobs all around the country.

When  businesses  grow , they need new workers to meet increased demands for products or services, as the aging demographics  and low birth rate in Canada are not able to fulfill those demands, there is shortage of skilled workers and semi-skilled workers in the country, especially in the provinces with rapidly growing economies. Along with the federal skilled workers, Canadian experience class, provincial nominees and other immigrants, TFW’s are pivotal in providing workers to fill jobs in a fast efficient manner.

An employer who is unable to hire Canadian worker despite their sincere efforts to recruit locally can apply for labour market opinion to HRDC and once they receive a positive opinion, they can offer job to an eligible foreign worker which paves the way for foreign worker to get their temporary resident visa and work permit. There also are some LMO exempt categories for foreign workers. A TFW in Canada can work for the time period of their work permit, for the employer specified in permit and the job described in permit. A TFW can change employer but a new work permit should be applied after getting new job offer with LMO. TFW’s should be paid according to prevailing wages and have equal rights as Canadian workers.

TFW’s are selected by the employers after getting a positive LMO and they can apply at the visa post abroad or at Port Of Entry for their work permit, which authorizes them to work for that employer in Canada .This process allows the availability of foreign workers for business in a timely and efficient manner for the period of time their services are required by the employer. After the work permit of a TFW expires, they have to leave and go back to their country. The maximum duration of work allowed is four years of cumulative period with some exceptions such as workers of NOC O category, applicants of permanent residence with selection as pnp or csq, approval in principal for live in caregivers, applicants for FSW or CEC category with positive decision, TFW’s under international agreements and those who are exempt of LMO.

As it is quite evident that TFW program is successfully providing the workers to the employers when they face shortage of Canadian workers but it has its critiques who allege that TFW’s are being hired at the expense of Canadian workers and they want government to put more emphasis and resources on training of Canadian workers and encourage more Canadians to relocate to take those jobs. With the uncertainty in economic growth and the influx of huge numbers of TFW’s, the critiques are afraid that if there is a slowdown in economy, the Canadian workers will suffer for the oversupply of workers and their wages will reduce.This fear is causing a demand for stricter control on TFW program and a reduction in number of workers allowed. We cannot deny the contributions of TFW program and it’s positive role in Canadian economy but the balance of short term economic needs and the long term needs of economy and objectives of our Canadian immigration system has to be maintained for future success of this program.

Prabodh Pathak
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku


Working temporarily in Canada
Migrant workers – Canada’s Disposable Workforce
Temporary foreign worker program facing changes
Temporary Foreign Worker Association of Canada

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