February 23, 2023

As a temporary measure, family members of some temporary foreign workers are now eligible for Canadian work permits

On January 30, 2023, the Canadian government announced a temporary measure to extend work permits to the family members of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) in an effort to combat chronic labor shortages. The move is expected to help improve the financial stability of TFWs' families and make it easier for them to integrate into Canadian society. This blog post will provide a detailed overview of the policy, its criteria, benefits, and implementation phases.


Who is Eligible for the Work Permits?

Under the new policy, work permits are available to spouses, common-law partners, and dependent children of a work permit holder who meets one of the following criteria:

  • Works in a job of any Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) category (0 to 5), or;
  • Is the principal applicant and has an open work permit, such as post-graduation work permit holders at all skill levels.

Additionally, family members of an economic class permanent resident applicant who holds a work permit are eligible for the work permits.

However, spouses, common-law partners, and dependents of workers in a TEER 4 or 5 job under the low-wage stream of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Agricultural Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program are not eligible to apply at this time.


What are the Benefits of the Work Permits?

The work permits are expected to benefit TFWs and their families in several ways. Firstly, the new permits make it easier for families to stay together, which is important for the well-being of both TFWs and their families. Secondly, the financial stability provided by the work permits is expected to reduce the stress on TFWs, enabling them to focus on their work and contribute to the Canadian economy. Lastly, the work permits make it easier for TFW families to integrate into Canadian society, potentially increasing their chances of becoming permanent residents in the future.


How will the Work Permits be Implemented?

The temporary measure will be implemented in three phases to ensure its successful implementation.

Phase 1, which took effect on January 30, enables family members of workers coming to Canada through the high-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program to apply for an open work permit.

Phase 2 aims to expand the measure to the family members of workers from the low-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, following consultations.

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.

It is worth noting that the measure will last for the next two years and includes working-age children, 16 and older, of principal applicants of all skill levels. This includes families of workers in healthcare, trades, and hospitality. It is estimated that this program will make it possible for the families of more than 200,000 foreign workers to enter Canada's workforce.


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