Blog | How Long Can a Temporary Foreign Worker Stay in Canada?

Temporary foreign workers are able to stay in Canada for a specific period of time and the duration of their stay will depend on the type of permit they have as there are open and closed work permits available. Their duration will also depend on the category of the permit they have, which will affect their stay. 

Canadian immigration laws and policies regulate work permits for foreigners and there are a number of differences between an open and closed permit. If a foreign worker obtains an open permit, it means they are allowed open entry into the labour market, which is very different from a closed permit in which the worker is restricted to a single employer. Openwork permits have different lengths in terms of duration because most of the time it is linked to another application or status like a common-law application, for example. There’s a little more room in an open work permit, whereas closed ones come with far more restrictions. 

When a temporary foreign worker enters Canada with a closed permit, they will have a clear idea of the maximum duration they are allowed, which will be tied to the type of work they will be performing. Managers and executives, for example, are allowed a maximum of seven years, while specialized knowledge workers are entitled to five years. With an Intra-Company Transferee, which is a type of closed work permit, there is an exception in which the worker can leave Canada to continue the work for the same employer in a different branch outside of Canada for a year, after which they can return to Canada on their same permit. This is an option they can pursue once the transferee has reached their maximum work permit duration. 

When closed work permits are initially issued, they may have a restriction of a three year duration period, although it will all depend on how established the Canadian branch is and the work the foreign worker must complete. 

There is also a post-graduation work permit available for which the duration is a maximum of three years, although this too will depend on the duration of the study. Two years’ worth of full-time study at a publicly funded institution is the recommended course, which will allow the foreigner to stay the maximum three year period that is possible with this type of work permit. A labour market impact assessment would allow a post-graduation work permit holder to extend their stay in Canada in some cases, although the extended duration of work and stay would have to be tied to a specific employer in order for it to be possible. 

Immigration policies can get complicated, which is why an experienced and knowledgeable law firm like George Lee Law Corp is necessary to help with the process. Whether you need an immigration consultant, litigation lawyer or family lawyer, George Lee Law Corp can guide you through the steps, so give them a call today.


Canada is known as a world leader when it comes to immigration matters including the selection of immigrants as well as retention of foreign labour. Canada uses a point-based system in its selection of foreign workers which is also known to be one of the most effective in the world. 

There are many reasons for the success of Canada’s immigration system, many say it has to do with the Express Entry program introduced by the conservative government as well as the changes made to it by the Liberals later on. With this system in place, the government is able to keep track of the flow of economic immigrants in Canada because it allows them to create a pool of interested candidates that don’t need to file an application unless the immigration authorities invite them to do so. This program has done wonders because it has allowed the government to improve the quality of economic immigrants while also expediting the immigration process both of which allow the Express Entry program to be such a success. 

While these are all positive aspects of the immigration system in Canada it’s important to mention that there is definitely room for improvement for certain immigration programs that need to be either updated or, in some cases, eliminated altogether. For example, the Federal Skilled Trades program has not admitted many skilled tradespeople in the past couple of years and many of the immigrants that have been admitted were not really needed as their profession was not in demand, making the program both ineffective and unnecessary. Eliminating it could help the government save a lot of money that could be used elsewhere and more programs should be updated so that they’re not wasteful and help with the immigration system instead of harming it. 

The Federal Skilled Trades program was created to help with the shortage issue in the fields of electrical work, carpentry and plumbing but no real results were produced. More programs need to be looked at closely to ensure they are beneficial to both immigrants and Canada. If they do not do either of these things the government needs to step in to restructure the program, especially for immigrants already working in Canada with valid work permits to allow them to compete for jobs alongside other skilled workers. Once this happens, the government will be able to attract other workers with advanced education and more work experience. 

Immigration is a complicated matter, which is why it’s best to discuss any inquiries you may have with George Lee Law Corp whose immigration consultants can guide you through the process and answer questions in more detail. Whether you need a family lawyer or litigation lawyer George Lee Law Corp is who you need to call.