What is a Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW)?

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A temporary foreign worker is an immigrant who arrives in Canada with a valid work permit. A work permit allows you to work legally in Canada. You will need one if you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Luckily, there are a number of different work permits available. This allows immigrants to select a permit that suits them best.

The Basics

In general, you need to apply for a work permit before you come to Canada. You can apply for a permit through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or a Canadian visa office.

Before you apply, you must have a job offer from a Canadian employer. Your employer will apply for a labour market opinion from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). ESDC will decide if  your employer can hire you to fill the job.

Certain workers can apply for special work permits. For example, live-in caregiversbusiness people, and agricultural workers. For more information, go to Work in Canada on the IRCC website.

If you are already living in Canada, you may still be able to apply for a special type of work permit. For more information, go to Eligibility to Apply from Inside Canada.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program can be used to live and work in Alberta, for up to 5 years. You will still need a work permit from IRCC.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 35, you may qualify for International Experience Canada. This government program gives youth a chance to travel and work in Canada.

If you have a valid study permit you may be able to work on campus or off campus. After graduation, you may qualify for a Post-Graduation Work Permit. This is a work permit that allows foreign students to work in Canada after they graduate.

Next Steps

Temporary residents can apply for permanent residence through these programs:

Certain requirements must be met to apply. You could also apply as a skilled worker, but there is no category within the skilled worker class for temporary foreign workers.

Visit the following links for more information on Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program:

Government of Canada Fact Sheet

Government of Canada Manual

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Thanks to Suman for help with this guide. If you want to suggest a correction to this guide, or want to submit one of your own, please contact us.

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