Temporary foreign workers are no longer restricted in Alberta.

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  • May 4, 2022

The province of Alberta is lifting its restrictions on hiring new temporary foreign workers starting May 1.

The change applies to all pending applications, including those submitted prior to May 1.

Prior to the change, the Alberta government had a “refusal to process” list containing occupations for which employers could not submit applications to the Canadian government to hire temporary foreign workers in the province.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) , which is administered by the Canadian Government, has been refusing to process applications for occupations that the Alberta government has advised about. The Alberta government reported that these occupations had labor surpluses. Alberta was seeking to encourage employers to hire unemployed Albertans for these occupations instead.

Alberta has justified the loosening of its TFWP restrictions on the grounds that it will help sectors of the province’s economy that face labour shortages and have a difficult time finding Canadian workers.

Based on Statistics Canada’s data, Alberta has approximately 88,000 job vacancies. To ensure the TFWP continues to benefit Alberta’s economy, the province plans to monitor the impacts of this change and adjust accordingly.

An employer usually needs to submit an application for the TFWP to the Canadian government through the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

After that, the Canadian government will evaluate whether the hiring of the foreign worker has a positive or neutral impact on the Canadian labour market. The employer must prove that no qualified workers are available in Canada to fill the position. If a positive or neutral LMIA is granted, the foreign worker can then go ahead and submit a work permit application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Canada faces a national labour shortage with over 800,000 vacancies. Therefore, federal and provincial governments are easing regulations to facilitate the recruitment of more foreign talent to complement the Canadian workforce. In early April, the Canadian government relaxed its TFWP rules in response to the country’s historically low unemployment rate and historically high job vacancy rate.

With 5.3 per cent unemployment, Canada’s rate is the lowest in history.


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