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Four Year Rule for Temporary Work Permits in Canada

Roughly four years ago, Citizenship and Immigration Canada implemented rules restricting the issuance of many classes of work permits to a total duration of four years. For the most part, all major classes of permits (e.g., LMIA-based, LMIA exempt, and work permit exempt) are covered by this rule, with some exceptions (see below). These rules were implemented on April 01 2011, which meant that foreign workers would begin to reach the limits of the four year rule on April 01 2015.

Following this anniversary, there have been numerous reports of temporary foreign workers having work permits revoked and being sent home. There are no provisions by which an existing work permit can be revoked while a candidate is in Canada and complying with the terms and conditions of such a permit, however. Instead, the issue is that the existing work permits could not be extended, other than under the following circumstances:

Significant Exemptions to the Four Year Rule:
– Occupations classified as Senior Managerial or Professional (i.e., NOC 0 or A);
– Permits based on international agreements (e.g., NAFTA, GATS, etc.), Canadian interests (e.g., Spousal permits, some intra-company-transfers, etc.), or humanitarian interests;
– Permits based on self-support (most commonly applicable to academic research);
– Certain cases of work without a work permit, but not including those falling under business visitor definitions.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has issued a statement clarifying the situation, and which confirms that work permits are not being revoked. In such statements, they have reiterated that – other than under the available exemptions to the four year rule – temporary work permits are not intended to serve as an indefinite means of remaining in Canada. Instead, CIC highlights that avenues exist by which many temporary foreign workers and labour mobility program workers can become permanent residents. Any such permanent resident is no longer bound by the four year rule.

Date Posted: April 13, 2015 Posted In: Labour Market Impact Assessment,Labour Mobility,Permanent Resident,Temporary Work Permits

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