4 Year Maximum Working Rule for Temporary Workers in Canada

Canada (Photo credit: palindrome6996)
By: Jessica
He came to Canada from India on a work permit in May 2011 and has been working as assistance manager customer care. While trying to extend his work permit last year, he found that he can stay in Canada for only four years as temporary foreign workers and he will have to leave once he has completed four years work in Canada. The most worrying aspect of this 4 years working rule was that he can return to Canada only after waiting for four years.
Many temporary foreign workers may not know about this new 4 year working rule that restricts their stay in Canada to a maximum period of four years.

Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations:

Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations R200(3)(g) under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations establishes the maximum period of 4 years for foreign temporary workers which states:
(3) An officer shall not issue a work permit to a foreign national if
(g) the foreign national has worked in Canada for one or more periods totalling four years, unless
  • (i) a period of forty-eight months has elapsed since the day on which the foreign national accumulated four years of work in Canada,
  • (ii) the foreign national intends to perform work that would create or maintain significant social, cultural or economic benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents, or
  • (iii) the foreign national intends to perform work pursuant to an international agreement between Canada and one or more countries, including an agreement concerning seasona lagricultural workers

All Work Counts:

The work performed by a foreign temporary worker since April 1, 2011 is counted towards the accumulated four year work. The work regardless of whether or not it was permitted by a work permit or exempt from work permit counts towards a temporary foreign worker’s 4-year total. Temporary foreign worker must include all the following work:
  • volunteer work,
  • 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
  • work done while on an open work permit.


International students can exclude any work performed during a period in which they were authorized to study on a full-time basis in Canada.
Some situations in which there was a gap between employment such as time spent outside Canada, or maternity/paternity leave spent in Canada can be excluded from total work.
The restriction of 4-year accumulated work in Canada was introduced to encourage temporary foreign workers to explore options of Canadian permanent residency if they want to reside in Canada for prolonged periods.
Foreign temporary workers after living some time in Canada may have good English/French language skills, skilled work experience and ability to integrate in the Canadian society. They may take advantage of Canadian Experience Class for Canadian permanent residence after gaining 12 months of work experience and meeting other selection criteria.
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