Temporary Foreign Workers

Notice: The Alberta Occupation-Specific Pilot has expanded to include six additional occupations: estimator, welder, heavy-duty equipment mechanic, ironworker, millwright and industrial mechanic, and carpenter. Employers have a choice about participating in the pilot:

  •  Applying through the Alberta Occupation-Specific Pilot: If employers want to hire a journeyperson level carpenter or millwright, the worker will require an approval letter from Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) for the Alberta Qualification Certificate Program before being eligible to participate in the pilot.
  • Applying through the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) process: Employers who don’t require a journeyperson level carpenter or millwright are not required to participate in the pilot but may instead hire a worker under the LMO process.

For more information on the pilot and eligibility requirements, see the Occupation-specific Pilot fact sheet.

To stay up to date on changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, refer to Employment and Social Development Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program page.

For detailed information on how to recruit international skilled workers in the trades, refer to our Best Practices Guide.

Staying: Information on becoming a Permanent Resident of Alberta

Interested in staying in Alberta? Learn about your immigration options. See our section on permanent immigration, or sign up to watch a free online information session.

Every year, thousands of foreign workers enter Canada to work temporarily to help Canadian employers address labour challenges. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) ensure that these workers will support economic growth in Canada and create more opportunities for all Canadian job seekers.

This section of the website contain links and information for people living outside Canada who are interested in coming to Alberta as Temporary Foreign Workers, and for employers who may be interested in hiring Temporary Foreign Workers from abroad.

Applying as a temporary foreign worker

The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program is administered by two federal government departments, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The TFW Program provides an opportunity for:

  • foreign workers to work in Canada temporarily
  • Canadian employers to address short-term labour challenges by temporarily hiring foreign workers

In most cases, non-Canadian citizens or permanent residents require work permits from Citizenship and Immigration Canada before working. Temporary foreign workers from certain countries must also obtain a temporary resident visa before arriving in Canada. Click the following links for information on who is eligible to receive a work permit and how to apply:

As a temporary foreign worker, your employer has a role in the application process. Before you receive a work permit, your Alberta employer may have to obtain a Labour Market Opinion (LMO – an approval to hire a foreign worker) from the federal government. Once your employer sends an LMO to you along with an offer of employment, you can apply for a work permit at the designated Canadian visa office.

Some foreign workers can be admitted to work in Canada without their employer having to obtain an LMO. Citizenship and Immigration Canada determines whether an occupation falls under this category.

Arriving: Information for Temporary Foreign Workers in Alberta

The Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website includes information to help Temporary Foreign Workers arriving in Canada. For example, there are some documents that you may need when you enter and work in Canada. For more information, visit the Working temporarily in Canada: Arriving page on the CIC website.

As a temporary foreign worker, your employer is responsible for making sure that you are covered by medical and health insurance and worker's compensation when you arrive in Canada. All workers, including temporary foreign workers, are covered by provincial Employment Standards. In general, occupations in Alberta are covered by Occupational Health and Safety legislation; some exceptions are farm workers, housekeepers and nannies.

The Alberta government website contains a number of information resources for Temporary Foreign Workers, including the contact information for the province's Temporary Foreign Worker Advisory Offices. The website also provides help for employers with questions about the Temporary Foreign Worker program.