Temporary Foreign Worker Program: Cumulative duration (four-year maximum eliminated)

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Note: Effective December 13, 2016, the cumulative duration limit no longer applies to all current and future work permit applications (as per public policy pursuant to section 25.2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act). This includes applications submitted in Canada, overseas and at ports of entry.

Active applications

As of December 13, 2016, an application in progress is no longer subject to cumulative duration, whether it is work with a permit [R200] or without a permit [R186]. However, officers must continue to be satisfied that the requirements of paragraph 183(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) are met, along with other eligibility criteria, such as the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Clients who are within the restoration period may reapply for a work permit. Foreign nationals in Canada who do not hold a valid work permit and are not eligible to apply for restoration must apply for a work permit from outside Canada.

Applications under processing

In situations where the processing officer has requested that the client provide further evidence that they are within the four-year limit, the client may need to be contacted. The officer will inform the client that cumulative duration no longer applies, and further evidence is no longer required. Other eligibility criteria, such as the need for an LMIA, will be assessed.

Applications where a decision is made before December 13, 2016

For applications where a final decision is reached before December 13, 2016, cumulative duration applies. Closed files will not be re-opened for reconsideration; however, an applicant previously refused solely on the basis of paragraph R200(3)(g) may submit a new work permit application if all other requirements are met. This includes the payment of any applicable fees.

Applicant in Canada

If an applicant wishes to remain in Canada on a work permit and the period of time they have been working in Canada meets or exceeds four years, they may apply to extend their stay in Canada as a worker, provided they meet the eligibility requirements.

Applicant outside Canada

If an applicant departed Canada because they had previously met the four-year cumulative duration limit, they may apply for a new work permit without having remained outside Canada for four years.

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