What You Need to Know About the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Last September, AURAY Sourcing published a first article entitled International Recruitment, which covered the main steps of the international recruitment process. Today, we will discuss the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) that is available to bring in foreign workers. But first, let’s take a brief look at global demographics to better understand the situation.

Demographic Data ➀

The world’s population is mainly concentrated in Asia, Africa and South America. In fact, 85.1% of the world’s population lives in these regions, while only 14.3% lives in Europe and North America.

Furthermore, the average age of the population in Western countries is significantly higher than that of the population in Africa, Asia and South America. For example, the average age of Canadians is 41 years, compared to 43 years for Quebecers and 38 years for Americans. On the other hand, the average age in Asia is 32.5 years, 20.1 years for Africans and 30.5 years for South Americans.

To summarize these statistics, the least populated continents with the highest average ages have a workforce shortage and the most populated continents with the youngest average ages have a workforce surplus. These demographics help us understand why the majority of foreign workers selected by Quebec companies come from these continents, since they have a young, abundant workforce.

Ce qu'il faut savoir du Programme des travailleurs étrangers temporaires 1


Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)

In Canada, there are a multitude of foreign worker hiring programs for employers. The most commonly used program and which affects most hospitality positions is the TFWP. There are several components to this program, including regular processing, streamlined processing and the global talent stream.

Regular processing (high- and low-wage stream)

The TFWP regular treatment differentiates between low- and high-wage positions. The vast majority of hotel and restaurant positions fall in the regular processing stream. For these types of jobs, it is mandatory to post the position you want to fill for 28 consecutive days before you can submit your Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application to Service Canada. The difference between a low-wage position and a high-wage position is the median wage, which is determined by the Government of Canada. In Quebec, it is currently set at $25. This means that jobs with a base salary of less than $25 will be subject to the rules for the low-wage stream, while jobs paying more than $25 will be subject to the rules for the high-wage stream.

For low-wage positions, the company will have to pay the costs of the worker’s airfare and the employment contract can be for a maximum of 24 months (renewable). There is a 30% limit on local labour for this type of position for the food and accommodation sector (NAICS 72). For example, a company with 40 employees will be allowed to hire up to 12 low-wage foreign workers. The employer’s obligation with respect to housing is to ensure that the employee has access to decent and affordable rent.

For high-wage positions, transportation costs are at the expense of the foreign worker, there is no limit on the number of foreign workers and the maximum duration of the employment contract is 36 months (renewable).

Streamlined processing

Simplified processing exists only in Quebec. It is intended for specific occupations where the government considers there is a shortage. This list is compiled by the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) in collaboration with Service Québec and is reviewed and updated in February of each year.

The difference with occupations that are eligible for simplified processing is that the company does not have to demonstrate that it has made any recruitment efforts on the local market, so it is not obliged to post the position it wishes to fill, unlike regular processing positions. Another feature is that regardless of the salary offered, there is no limit to the number of foreign workers that can be recruited and the maximum duration of the work contract can be up to 36 months (renewable).

Some examples of positions on the streamlined list in the restaurant sector are restaurant manager, restaurant and food service manager, chefs, food and beverage servers, bakers, and graduate cooks.

Global talent stream

This stream applies to highly skilled professional positions. The processing time is shorter than for the other components of the TFWP, but there are more obligations towards the government. In addition, the work contract is for a maximum of 24 months.


The TFWP is a program that is open to all companies and there are few restrictions on what positions can be filled internationally. That said, international recruitment through the TFWP is a great option for companies that are struggling to fill positions locally. In the next issue, AURAY Sourcing will discuss the process in detail.

AURAY Sourcing offers Quebec companies a turnkey solution for the recruitment, immigration and integration of foreign workers in order to address labour shortage challenges.
With its team of experts in the fields of recruitment and international mobility, its global network of immigration consultants and the Grant Thornton global organization established in nearly 140 countries, AURAY Sourcing is able to meet the needs of both companies in need of employees and foreign candidates seeking employment.

➀ United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.


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