Temporary foreign workers being shown the exit door first and fast
Thomas had been getting lesser number of shifts since last fall at the manufacturing company where he works. And now, he has no shifts at all as the company was finally shut down. For Thomas and some of his co-workers, the most worrying question now is whether they will find a job.
Thomas said in Spanish through a translator that all of them used to send money back home to make living for their families there. But now, they don’t even have money to make a living for themselves, keep aside sending money home.
He requested to hide his identity and not expose his last name as he was worried about getting troubled with his employer.
There was a time when Alberta businesses weren’t able to cope with the labor shortages and companies scrambled to find skilled as well as unskilled workers. In order to fill the job vacancies, many of those firms started recruitment of overseas workers.
According to the latest data of the government, there were 37,527 temporary foreign workers in Alberta in the year 2007. But now that the energy boom is going out of order, the extra manpower is no longer needed there. So, in order to secure jobs for Canadians, temporary foreign workers are the first ones to be shown the exit door.
Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labor, said that the sky has started to fall on Alberta construction workers and admitted that it is falling first on temporary foreign workers.
A company must apply for a labor market opinion to the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada if it wants to hire workers from foreign nations. After receiving the application, the government will decide whether the employer has tried his best to hire workers from Canada and if there is actually any shortage of labor.
If the government gives a green signal to the company then the prospective employee can apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for a work permit.
In case temporary workers are laid off prior to the completion of their work permit, they are left with very few options.
Some of them might be fortunate to find another employer who is permitted to hire foreign workers. But the worker will have to apply for a whole new work permit and the process generally takes three to four months.
Ramazan Nassery, who helps new immigrants at the YMCA in Fort McMurray, said that immigrants are not as lucky as Canadians, who lose a job toady and start new tomorrow if an employer wants to hire them.