Monday June 11 2012

Canada Immigration: Long List of Problems for Foreign Labor

The Problems: The list is endless and the problems could go on forever for migrant labor in Canada. Rossel Macapagal, a Filipino migrant from the Philippines working as a housekeeper in a downtown hotel in Edmonton is one of the best case studies that the Immigration Minister, Thomas Lukaszuk bears in mind when speaking of making a paradigm shift towards increasing immigration of labor in order to solve the shortage of work-force of Edmonton and keeping minimum temporary foreign labor.

Paradise of Temporary Migrants: It was a godsend opportunity for Rossel, 30 years of age, when he landed a job as a temporary foreign worker along with his two other roommates from Philippines. Rossel works beyond his work time earn more. He remits a major portion of his salary for the upkeep of his wife and three children and providing them with all the amenities that he can afford.

Rossel would very much like to bring over his family to Canada where they could stay together and live happily. However, one of the problems he is facing is that as a temporary worker, he is not permitted to bring in his family, even though his contract has been extended further till next year. He has limited options available to him in this context. The Minister clarifies that if an employer feels that a person of Rossel’s capabilities is required then he should be allowed to stay rather than sending him back, getting another replacement to be trained in his job and would be a sheer waste of time. Rossel hopes for a happy reunion with his family if everything goes through, as he and his employer have excellent working relationships always helping him.

The Provisions: Provincial Nominee Program contains a provision which permits employers to employ workers with skills that are not available locally and the job offer could also provide the employee with a landed immigrant status which is a possibility that has been explored by Rossel and has made a joint application with his employer. In that case, migrant labor can bring their families with this status. Lukaszuk is in favor of raising the present cap of 5000 applicants under this scheme and the ultimate decisions are expected from Ottawa.

Negative Aspects of Curbing Immigration: One of the major negative social aspects was that transitional labor does not mingle easily in society and 80 percent of their salary is sent home besides sharing rental accommodation along with their countrymen. The extended separation from families causes another dangerous impact on their psychology and the divorce rates are high in their own country. People working as temporary workers are scared to voice complaints where paid salaries are low as per contract and if they lose jobs, they may lose the housing facility. A large number of them are underground ever since the immigration laws hit them and become hardened criminals.

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