April 1, 2015 will see the implementation of Canada’s new 4-in, 4-out rule for temporary foreign workers (TFWs). This plan was initially discussed in 2011 as part of the changes in the TFW program.
According to the new rule, all TFWs are only allowed to stay in the country for a maximum period of 4 years, after which they are required to go out of Canada and are not allowed to reapply for another 4 years. They can only apply for return to the country once the latter 4-year period had elapsed.
The first batch of the affected TFWs will feel the impact of these changes come April 1, and many are soon to follow. There are positions exempt from these changes, specifically those working in positions with National Occupational Classification (NOC) code 0 or A. Here is a complete breakdown of the exemptions:
• NOC types 0 (management) and A (professional) occupations
• LMIA-exempt jobs under:
• International agreements (such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA)
• Canadian interests
• Humanitarian reasons
• Applicants under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Program (SAWP)
• Those who came to Canada to work without a work permit required
• Permanent resident (PR) applicants who have already received an approval in principle in the category for which they applied
• Provincial nominees applying for an employer-specific work permit who intend to perform work pursuant to:
• an international agreement between Canada and one or more countries, other than an agreement concerning seasonal agricultural workers
• an agreement entered into by one or more countries and by or on behalf of one or more provinces.
For those who are not included in the exemptions, the looming threat is very real, especially because many of the affected workers have already established their life in Canada with their family.
However, not all hope is lost – there are other options available for those who will be affected by this new rule. Below are some alternative immigration programs in Canada:
This is a new immigration ranking system that was set in place last January 1, 2015, and it is designed to make the selection process faster and more efficient. To join this system, applicants should qualify for either of the following: Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Trades Program, or the Provincial Nominee Program of any of the included provinces.
Those who are qualified in any of the mentioned programs can create their Express Entry profile and start building their profile and gathering the necessary documents.
Immigration to Quebec
As mentioned above, Quebec has its own immigration program separate from the PNP shared by other Canadian provinces. Instead of PNP, Quebec has its Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) and its Quebec Experience Class (QEC).
The QSWP is a points-based immigration system that places importance not just on an individual’s set of skills but also his proficiency in the French language. Meanwhile, the QEC is for applicants who have at least 12 months of work experience in the province within the past two years. Like the other PNPs, this requires the intent to live in Quebec for an applicant to qualify.
Each province in Canada, except Quebec and Nunavut, has individual programs that allow them to nominate individuals for immigration to the federal government. The qualifications vary according to what a specific province needs. Priorities are given to individuals who have the skills and ability to adapt to the way of life in their chosen province. All temporary foreign workers with affinity to any Canadian province can apply for PNP in that specific province. The important thing to note is that the applicants must intend to live and work in the province where they are applying.
Switching to Visitor Visa
Temporary Foreign Workers who are scheduled for removal from Canada after their 4-year period in the country can extend their stay by applying as a visitor and getting a visitor visa. The typical length of time given to visitors is 6 months, although there is really no limit in terms of length. All an applicant needs is to show proof that he can support himself throughout his stay without the need to look for work (those on visitor status are not allowed to apply for any type of work in the province nor to pursue any study).
Sponsorship as a Family Member
This is for temporary foreign workers who have established a relationship with a spouse or a common-law partner who is a Canadian or a permanent resident. In such a case, the latter can sponsor the applicant under the program, provided both are approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Applying to Study in Canada
Another way TFWs can stay in Canada once they finish their four-year work period is to study in the country and build their credentials. This is allowed, as long as students don’t work while studying.
It’s not all bad news for temporary foreign workers who will be affected by the new policy implemented by the Canadian government. With the different available programs as an alternative, TFWs have other options to lengthen their stay in Canada.