Quick Facts

27,654 Migrant Workers employed under the Bilateral SAWP, 2009.

30,488 Migrant Workers employed under the Employer-Based Pilot Project, 2009.

The TFWP Program

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is Canada’s primary policy instrument to place migrant workers in temporary employment. It has four streams, three of which relate to lower wageworkers. Those three are: the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP), the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) and the Pilot Project for Occupations Requiring Lower Levels of Formal Training (National Occupational Certification (NOC) C and D) (the Pilot Project).

Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program

SAWP, which originated in 1967, is a government to government program structured through bilateral Memorandum of Understandings between Mexico and various Caribbean countries and Canada. The program is largely facilitated through a private sector organization in Canada called FARMS. The government division Human Resources and Development Canada (HRSDC) vested this organization with the responsibility of reviewing Labor Market Opinion applications, which potential employers must obtain to prove that hiring foreign workers will not adversely affect the employment for Canadian citizens.

Live-In Caregiver Program

The majority of low skill temporary workers in Canada migrate under the LCP, formerly known as the Foreign Domestic Movement. The program is unique among the TFWPs in that it does have the potential to lay a foundation for permanent residence: the workers, the overwhelming majority of whom are from the Philippines, may transfer to permanent status if, up to four years from the date of their arrival in Canada, they have worked at least 24 months, or have been fully employed 3900 hours within a minimum of 22 months (with a maximum of 390 hours of overtime).

The Pilot Project for Occupations Requiring Lower Levels of Formal Training (NOC C and D)

 The Pilot Project represents the Canadian government’s effort to expand labor market flexibility to sectors outside of agriculture; though in recent years it has become more common for food production firms to utilize it (click here for a statistical analysis). A business-initiated program, the Pilot Project is not founded on MOUs, but on employer demand for labor.

IOM’s Guatemalan Temporary Agricultural Workers to Canada

The Guatemalan Temporary Agricultural Workers to Canada program (GTAWC) was initiated under the auspices of the Pilot Project in 2003. This particular sub-program is important because the recruiter is International Organization on Migration (IOM), a government membership organization based in Geneva,).


"Visa Pages" - U.S. Temporary Foreign Work Programs - New Edition
Updated edition of Visa Pages is now available! 
"Visa Pages" is a one-stop resource to find comprehensive information about the various non-immigrant visas U.S. employers use to bring temporary foreign workers from all over the world to work in the U.S. 
Recruitment Rules: Countries of Employment

"Recruitment Rules: Countries of Employment" details the legal framework for international labor recruitment in four common temporary work programs - the United States nonimmigrant H-2A (agricultural) and H-2B (nonagricultural) visas, and the Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the bilateral Special Program for Agricultural Workers with Mexico and Caribbean nations.


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