Work permits, work permit renewals, temporary foreign workers (TFW) and Covid-19

Par RM Recrutement International

What RM can do for you

The crisis we are currently experiencing is having a huge impact on Canadian businesses. Many have had to lay off employees and do not know what the future holds. The government has announced several support measures to help both companies and workers, but what about temporary foreign workers?

Temporary foreign workers, who are here under an employer-specific work permit that will expire in the next few months, are facing a major challenge.

They are allowed to remain in Canada until their work permit expires, even if they have been made redundant. However, once their current work permit expires, they will have to ask for an extension or get a new one. Failing this, they will have to leave the country.
• Renewing an employer-specific work permit
• Employer-specific work permit: a work permit that is specific to an employer, for a given profession and period

Before asking for an extension of their current employer-specific work permit, the TFW’s employer should request a new LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) and the worker must obtain a new CAQ (Quebec Acceptance Certificate). The worker will remain bound to their employer. You should complete these steps as early as possible, since there can be long delays in processing LMIA or CAQ applications. You should also make sure that the worker submits their extension request before their work permit expires.

We highly recommend all employers who have invested substantial funding over the past few years to hire TFWs to proceed as suggested above. In the event of a non-renewal, the employment relationship ends. Consequently, the worker will no longer be able to remain in Canada, unless they find a job in another company. Moreover, for low-income workers (earning less than $21.75/h), the employer will have to pay for the worker’s return ticket to their country of origin. It is therefore less costly to renew a work permit, despite the current uncertainty, than to start a TFW recruitment process all over again in a few months’ time.

• New employer-specific work permit
In the current circumstances, some employers might be reluctant to renew their TFWs’ work permits. In these situations, there is hope for TFWs, who might be able to remain in Canada. They can submit a work permit application with another employer. However, they will have to go through the LMIA and CAQ process beforehand.

• Requesting visitor status
For TFWs who wish to remain in Canada after being laid off, but whose work permit expires before they can find a new job, they can still apply for a visitor visa. However, this situation must be temporary and the TFW will not be allowed to work until they obtain a new work permit.

• For the lucky ones: requesting a CSQ and an A75 exemption
Certain candidates can obtain an exemption through the Programme de l’Expérience Québécoise for example. With this option, a TFW who has been working full time for a year in Quebec and with an “intermediate-advanced” level of proficiency in French could, under certain conditions, request a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) to obtain permanent residence.

If the TFW obtains the CSQ before their work permit expires, they may be able to renew their work permit or ask for a new work permit with another employer which will be exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and will be less costly.

William Gobeil is an immigration lawyer for RM Recrutement international.

Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch at

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