Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada while Locals Languish

Canada requires various levels of foreign workers in the categories of high-skilled, low-skilled and seasonal foreign workers that are predominantly driven by the needs of the labour market. Canada also does not manage quotas for such requirements and any country qualifies for the recruitment of youths. It may be felt that why should Canada be getting workers from other countries when the local youth in Canada are finding it difficult to get employment.

Let us see the basics of the process in an attempt to answer this question of unemployment among local Canadian youths with a high demand of foreign workers. Employers in Canada have to submit a application to the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). The employers who apply to bring in foreign workers must prove to HRSDC that they have made reasonable efforts to fill positions with native Canadian workers. Reasonable efforts include running advertisements for the positions in newspapers, magazines and trade journals for several weeks. HRSDC when aware of acute shortages may relax the conditions for employers to prove reasonable efforts to hire native workers, such as employers to run advertisements for position openings for a shorter period of time.
After receiving an employer’s application the HRSDC conducts a labour market survey and assessment in which the agency considers the following factors:

• Existence of ongoing labour requirements and disputes to conditions in the industry;

• Prevailing wages for the positions that employers are requesting to be filled up;

• Benefits to the economy from the employment of foreign workers;

• Possible transfer of skills between foreign workers and native workers.

On the basis of the above considered factors HRSDC issues a positive or a negative labour market assessment for the admission of foreign workers in a particular industry. A positive labour market assessment means that employers are approved to recruit foreign workers while a negative labour market assessment would mean that a employer is not approved to recruit foreign workers.

After HRSDC issues a positive opinion on a labour market assessment, data on this positive opinion are entered into HRSDC’s database. This database information is shared with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The database created with that of CIC is then shared with Canadian Missions in foreign countries. When foreign workers who have been accepted into temporary foreign worker program visit the Canadian Mission to obtain work permits, CIC agents access the CIC database to check results of HRSDC labour market assessment and issue work permits for foreign workers. Under the seasonal agricultural worker program, Canada admits workers from other countries to fill jobs in the agricultural sector for a maximum of eight months. Thus, there is a system in place that takes care of the intake levels and not based on arbitrary decisions.

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