Thousands of would-be Canadians being sent packing starting today
CALGARY, April 1, 2015 – With thousands of Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) about to be forced to leave Canada before their permanent residency applications are fully processed, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) again urged the Federal Government to offer additional flexibility. This is in response to an April 1st deadline that will mark the beginning of a long process to force Temporary Foreign Workers to leave the country.
“CFIB commended the federal government for its decision to allow hundreds of skilled TFWs to continue to live and work in Canada until their application for permanent residency is complete,” said Richard Truscott, CFIB’s vice-president for Alberta and BC. “Unfortunately, thousands of TFWs in other provinces and those with more junior skill sets in Alberta will still be forced out.”
According to a rule change made four years ago, TFWs are allowed to stay a maximum of four years, then must leave the country for at least four years. That four-year deadline hits today, April 1st, 2015.
“Through the new Express Entry immigration system, the federal government, to its credit, is trying to help employers retain TFWs who are filling more highly skilled positions and allow them pathways to become permanent residents. But, again, no such pathway exists for TFWs with more junior skill sets,” explained Truscott.
CFIB believes the federal government should allow TFWs at all skill levels to apply to become permanent residents and allow them to stay in Canada when they meet basic requirements. “We believe there is broad support among provincial governments, the workers themselves, and even some union leaders, to facilitate permanent residency for these individuals who are in Canada now and hoping to stay,” concludes Truscott.
CFIB has proposed the TFW Program be replaced with a new Introduction to Canada Visa. Instead of a temporary program, the visa would be a first step toward permanent residency and targeted at workers with more junior skills sets. The individual would agree to work for two years with an employer while they integrate into the Canadian economy and adjust to their local community. At that point, they could become a permanent resident.
There would be strict enforcement of the rules, including paying the same wages as Canadians working in the business, having at least one Canadian employed for every visa holder at each wage level, and allowing the worker to switch employers, if commitments to them are not met.
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region