Employment Standards for Foreign Workers Factsheet

Foreign workers are covered by the Employment Standards Act and Regulation. These provisions include overtime pay, statutory holidays and holiday pay, annual vacations and vacation pay, and minimum wage.

Wages must be paid in Canadian currency by cheque, draft, money order or direct deposit to an employee's bank account. An employer cannot provide goods or services in lieu of wages.

No charge for hiring

No one can charge a fee to a person to:
  • help that person find a job; or
  • provide information about prospective jobs.

A foreign worker cannot be required to pay for immigration assistance as a condition of being placed in a job.

A foreign worker cannot be required to post a bond or pay a deposit to ensure they will finish a work term or employment contract, or to pay a penalty if they do not.

A foreign worker cannot be required to pay back any costs the employer paid to an employment agency or anyone else to recruit the worker.

Deductions from wages

An employer may only deduct wages as required by law (e.g. income tax, Canada Pension Plan contributions, Employment Insurance premiums, union dues). An employer cannot require an employee to pay any portion of a business cost, including:

  • costs of bringing a foreign worker to Canada, or
  • costs due to theft, damage, breakage, poor quality of work, failure to pay by a customer, etc.

An employer may deduct advances and overpayments from wages if the employee gives written authorization.

If employment ends

An employer may terminate an employee upon giving the required notice or pay in lieu of notice.

An employer or an employment agency cannot force a foreign worker to return to his or her country of origin if the employer terminates an employment contract before the work permit expires or if the foreign worker finds a job with another employer. Only the Government of Canada has the legal authority to remove a person from Canada.

An employer may not refuse to continue to employ a person who files an Employment Standards complaint, or otherwise discriminate against a person with respect to their employment.


Foreign workers with language difficulties are not required to use the Self-Help Kit before filing an Employment Standards complaint.

Employment Standards Branch
Province of British Columbia

This factsheet has been prepared for general information purposes. It is not a legal document. Please refer to the Employment Standards Act and Regulation for purposes of interpretation and application of the law. July 2016

For more information, please contact the Employment Standards Branch.