Strategic Outcomes and Program Activity Architecture

Program Activity 2 – Temporary Resident Program

Program Description
The Temporary Resident Program aims to design, develop, and implement policies and programs to facilitate the entry of temporary workers, students, and visitors in a way which maximizes their contribution to Canada’s economic, social, and cultural development and protects the health, safety, and security of Canadians.

In addition to selecting permanent residents, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) also processes applications for the temporary entry of:

  • Temporary foreign workers who are important to our economic growth;
  • International students attracted by the quality and diversity of our educational system; and
  • Visitors who come to Canada for personal or business travel.

These temporary residents contribute to Canada’s economic development by filling gaps in the labour market, enhancing trade, and purchasing goods and services.

Foreign nationals wishing to come to Canada as temporary residents must show they will respect the conditions that apply to temporary residents. Individuals who apply to come to Canada as temporary residents must satisfy the visa officer abroad that they: do not pose a risk to the health and safety of Canadians or that their health may place excessive demand on Canada’s health and social services (in some cases, a medical examination may be required); have not committed a crime; do not pose a threat to Canada’s security; have a valid passport or travel document; have enough money to support themselves and their family members while in Canada; will leave Canada voluntarily at the end of their authorized stay; and meet all other requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Budget 2008 addressed the concern of Canadians for border integrity and security. Funding was provided to introduce the use of biometrics data in the visa–issuing process to verify the identity and travel documents of foreign nationals. The Budget announced $26 million over two years to implement the use of fingerprint and photo technology to help prevent identity fraud and enhance the security of the immigration program. These initiatives will make the immigration system more flexible, efficient and responsive, and, at the same time, enhance the safety and security of Canadians. CIC will continue to work closely with the Canada Border Service Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on this initiative.

Temporary Foreign Workers

CIC facilitates the temporary entry of workers needed to address short–term labour market shortages and to provide other economic opportunities for Canadians, such as job creation and the transfer of new skills and knowledge. With some exceptions, temporary foreign workers must have an approved job offer and a work permit before arriving in Canada.

CIC works in close collaboration with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) to ensure that the admission of temporary foreign workers does not adversely affect employment opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents. In many cases, before a work permit can be provided to a temporary foreign worker, HRSDC must provide a labour market opinion regarding the employer’s job offer and their impact on the labour market. In certain circumstances, foreign nationals in Canada can receive a work permit without requiring a labour market opinion, for example under the North American Free Trade Agreement or for some categories of intra–company transferees. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its regulations allow some people to work in Canada without a work permit. Specific hiring criteria may also apply to some sectors and professions, including universities, seasonal agriculture, and live–in caregiving.

Live–in Caregivers

The Live–in Caregiver Program allows individuals residing in Canada to employ qualified temporary foreign workers in their private residence when there are not enough Canadians and permanent residents to fill the available positions. Live–in caregivers are authorized to provide care for children, the elderly, or persons with a disability. Live-in caregivers are initially granted temporary resident status and a work permit, and after two years, they are eligible to apply for permanent resident status.

More information on Live–in Caregivers.

CIC is actively involved in initiatives to further facilitate the entry of temporary foreign workers into Canada. Temporary Foreign Worker Units in Moncton, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, and Montréal provide advice to employers on the use of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, facilitate the entry of temporary foreign workers who do not require a visa or labour market opinion, and pre–screen supporting documents from employers to streamline the application process for such workers. A joint HRSDC and CIC information pamphlet has been produced for potential temporary foreign workers on labour standards and occupational health and safety. It is available at missions overseas and on CIC’s website in English, French, Spanish, Tagalog, Hindi, and Mandarin. CIC and HRSDC are actively negotiating agreements with interested provincial and territorial governments to allow these provinces and territories to work more closely with the federal government to facilitate the entry of temporary foreign workers to support regional economic stability and growth. To date, temporary foreign worker agreements have been entered into with Ontario and Alberta, with others to follow.

More information on working in Canada temporarily.

International Students

International students bring with them new ideas and cultures that enrich the learning environment within Canadian educational institutions. International students who enter Canada on temporary resident visas can also be an important source of future immigrants since they are well prepared for the Canadian labour market. To obtain a study permit, candidates must submit an application to a visa office outside Canada for approval.

In collaboration with partners, CIC successfully delivers key initiatives to help Canada maintain its competitive edge in attracting international students. The Off–Campus Work Permit Program is a national program that allows international students in public post–secondary institutions to seek employment off campus. The Post–Graduation Work Permit Program was significantly improved by extending work permits for up to three years for international students who have graduated from participating public post–secondary institutions and certain private institutions across Canada.

In 2009, CIC introduced a series of online application services for international students already in Canada.  These include applications for study permit extensions, the Off-Campus Work Permit Program, the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, and work permits for the spouses/common-law partners of international students.

For more information on studying in Canada.


Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, every foreign national wishing to visit Canada must have a temporary resident visa before arriving in Canada unless they are from countries specifically exempted in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, or they benefit from certain other limited exceptions, for example, being members of the diplomatic corps. As of March 31, 2009, citizens from 144 countries require temporary resident visas to visit Canada.

Tourists and business visitors make a significant contribution to our economy by creating a demand for services in the hospitality sector and allowing Canadian businesses to benefit from their specialized expertise. Every year, CIC processes applications—new and extensions—from over 1 million persons seeking temporary resident visas as tourists or business visitors to Canada.

For more information on visiting Canada.

Temporary Resident Permits

Subsection 24(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act authorizes designated officers to issue temporary resident permits to foreign nationals who they believe are inadmissible or who do not meet the requirements of the Act. These permits are issued when there are compelling reasons to admit an otherwise inadmissible individual into Canada, and include permits issued as part of the Department’s commitment to protecting victims of human trafficking. In exercising their discretion, decision makers must take into consideration any instructions issued by the Minister under subsection 24(3), and weigh the risk to Canada against the reason for permitting temporary residence. Issued for a limited period and subject to cancellation at any time, temporary resident permits give CIC the flexibility to address exceptional circumstances or cases affecting the national interest.

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