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Canadian Immigration Blog


4-In, 4-Out Rule for Temporary Foreign Workers Comes into Effect

April 1, 2015
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Effective 1 April 2015, as a general rule, many foreign workers who have worked in Canada for 4 years will be unable to renew their work permits until another 4 years pass. This is known as the “4-in, 4-out rule” and was passed by cabinet in 2011.

There are some specific exceptions to this rule. Work permits for occupations under certain National Occupational Classification codes (A or O) and work permits granted under international agreements (such as the North American Free Trade Agreement) can be exempt. Also eligible for exemption are specific types of work permits, including intercompany transferee, bridging, PNP and certain spousal work permits. Further, in certain cases, extensions of time might be also be possible. The exceptions are, however, strict and narrowly tailored.

On a policy level, the 4-in, 4-out rule has been criticized because it can create a class of illegal immigrants overnight, which might have negative effects on the labour market in addition to high enforcement costs. This rule can also have significant implications for employers who must find new labour for the same positions leading to inefficiency. Moreover, it can lead to implications for individuals who may need to depart the country irrespective of the ties they have formed in Canada or the contribution they make to the Canadian economy.

In light of this new rule, if staying in Canada is important to a person, it is ever more important for eligible individuals to apply for permanent residence in a timely manner once they become eligible.

For more information on how these changes may impact your particular situation, please contact us for a consultation.


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