Work permits will be available to family members of some temporary foreign workers (TFWs) starting today. The temporary foreign worker program (TFWP), as well as the International Mobility Program (IMP), will temporarily extend work permits to family members of principal applicants.
Work permits are now available to those who meet the following criteria:
- A spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child of a work permit holder:
- Working in any of the Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibilities (TEER) categories
- Applicants with open work permits (for example: graduates at all skill levels)
- Family members of economic class permanent residents with work permits are spouses, common-law partners, or dependent children.
It is at this time not possible to apply for TEER 4 or 5 jobs in the seasonal agricultural worker program and the agricultural stream of the temporary foreign worker program for spouses, common-law partners, and dependents of workers in the TEER 4 or 5 job in the low-wage stream of the seasonal agricultural worker program.
The New Permits Will Make It Easier for Immigrants to Integrate into Society
There was only one way to obtain a work permit before the measure took effect today, and that was to be the spouse or family member of the principal applicant. The government is hoping that by granting work permits to spouses, dependents, and common-law partners of TFWs temporarily, it will be able to ease the strain on workers by ensuring their financial stability is improved, and by allowing families to stay together and integrate themselves into their communities more easily.
In the period between January and October 2022, the Canadian government issued over 645,000 work permits. This is nearly four times more than the 163,000 work permits issued in the same period of 2021.
Over the next two years, the measure will include working-age children of principal applicants at all skill levels. This includes families of healthcare, trades, and hospitality workers. More than 200,000 foreign workers will be able to enter the Canadian workforce through this program.
As the minister stated last December in Edmonton, “employers across the country continue to identify a lack of workers as their biggest obstacle. As a result of today’s announcement, more than 200,000 foreign workers’ family members will be able to work in Canada, helping employers fill their labour shortages. Our government is committed to continuing to help employers overcome labour shortages, while also supporting the welfare of workers and uniting their families.”
Three Phases to the Measure
In order to ensure its successful implementation, the temporary measure will be implemented in three phases:
- Open work permits will be available for family members of Temporary Foreign Workers and International Mobility Program workers who come to Canada for high wages.
- The second phase aims to include family members of Temporary Foreign Workers from low-wage streams.
- Phase 3 will include consultation with agricultural partners and stakeholders to assess the operational feasibility of expanding the measure to family members of agricultural workers.