Effective April 11, 2011 changes to immigration regulations have limited the number of years a foreign national may work in Canada to four (4) years subject to certain exceptions. Once a foreign national has accumulated four (4) years of work in Canada, s/he will be ineligible to work in Canada again until a period of four (4) years has elapsed. The impact of this regulatory change will begin to be felt now.
All work counts toward the four (4) years:
All work performed in Canada since April 1, 2011 — regardless of whether or not it was authorized by a work permit or exempt from requiring a work permit, will count towards a temporary foreign worker’s four (4) year cap. This includes work done as a volunteer or as a self-employed individual, work in all occupations falling under all categories in the National Occupation Code (NOC) list, work done while under implied status as well as work done while on an open work permit. However, any work performed during a period in which a foreign national was authorized to study on a full-time basis in Canada is not included in calculating the four (4) year work period.
A temporary foreign worker working within one of the occupations or categories listed as ‘exceptions’ to the four (4) year cap, is STILL COUNTED toward the cumulative total. It is only at the point of application/request for a work permit, that these ‘exceptions’ become relevant, and an officer may issue a work permit to the foreign national with a job offer in one of these occupations/categories regardless of whether the worker has acquired four years of work in Canada or not.
Gaps in employment not counted toward the four (4) year period include
- Periods of time spent outside of Canada
- Periods of medical leave spent in Canada, if this period is not covered by the employment contract/agreement
- Maternity/paternity leave spent in Canada
When the “clock” resets
A foreign worker who spends four (4) consecutive years either:
a) outside of Canada; or
b) in Canada but not working, i.e., with legal status as a visitor or student, may apply for a work permit and begin accumulating another four (4) years of work in Canada.
Employers should pay close attention to the cumulative total of years a foreign national they wish to hire has been working in Canada in order to ensure they are able to receive work authorization for the full duration they are needed.
Posted by Donna Habsha » No Comments