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CANADA – Four-Year Rule for Foreign Workers Cancelled

, 21/12/2016

The Canadian government has cancelled a regulation that restricted most temporary foreign workers from staying in Canada for more than four years.


In April 2011, the previous Conservative government implemented a regulation that required many foreign workers to leave Canada for a four-year period if they had worked in Canada for four years.  The regulation became enforceable in April 2015 and meant that many hundreds of foreign workers had to leave Canada at that time.  The only way to remain in Canada was to obtain permanent residence status.

Impact of New Regulation

Foreign workers who are reaching the four-year limit and who have an application for an extension to remain in Canada currently in process will be advised that the four-year rule no longer applies to them.  Their applications will be considered based on all the other regulatory requirements that relate to their situation.

Applicants who left Canada because of the four-year rule can now apply to return to Canada without having to wait for four years.  They will still be required to satisfy other immigration requirements.

Action Items

  • Canadian employers should review their personnel files to see if there are former employees who left because of the four-year rule. It may now be possible to invite these employees to return to Canada.