Temporary foreign workers becoming first target
Ever since the economy began its downslide last summer, Thomas hasn’t been getting as many shifts as he used to get in the manufacturing company where he works.
Last week, the plant was shut down and the biggest worry of Thomas and his coworkers is that will they find another job now.
Thomas said in Spanish through a translator that they used to send money back home to their respective families and now they don’t even have the money to support themselves here. He requested for his last name not being used because he was worried about getting into any kind of trouble with his employer.
Once, Alberta businesses struggled with severe labor shortages, with companies unable to find skilled as well as unskilled workers. Thus, in order to fill those gaps, companies started recruiting overseas workers.
According to the most recent data by the government, there were 37,527 temporary workers in Alberta in 2007. But now, since the energy boom is quickly going out of action, this extra manpower is no more needed. And what next- In order to make sure that Canadian jobs go untouched, temporary foreign workers are the first one to be shown the exit door.
Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labor said that the sky has started falling on all construction workers in Alberta, and there is no doubt in the fact that temporary foreign workers are the first one to suffer.
If a company wants to hire overseas workers, then it must apply to the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada for what is known as the labor market opinion.
And then the government will determine as to whether the employer as done sufficient to hire workers from within Canada and that is there actually a labor shortage.
In the company is given a green signal by the government, then the prospective employee can apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for a work permit that would last for two to three years.
In case a temporary worker is out of a job before his or her work permit expires, very limited options are available. Some of such jobless employees can find a new employer who has the permission to hire foreign workers and apply for a new work permit, but the process is lengthy and takes up to three to four months.
Ramazan Nassery, who helps newcomers at the YMCA in Fort McMurray, Alta., said that for immigrants its not like Canadians where they loose a job one day and if a employer wants to hire them they start a job another day.