Canadian PM defends temporary worker restrictions

The Canadian Prime Minister has defended his government’s decision to limit the length of time foreign workers can stay temporarily in the country to four years.

During a visit to the Philippines last week, PM Stephen Harper was accused by a journalist of being anti-immigration. However, the Prime Minister denied the accusation, stating that he didn’t want temporary workers taking low-skilled jobs that unemployed Canadians were perfectly able to do.

“But just as importantly, we are making sure that when people come to this country to work and to work long term, they have the ability to move towards being permanent citizens of this country,” Harper said.

“This country is not going to have a policy, as long as I’m Prime Minister, where we will have a permanent underclass of temporary, people who are so-called temporary, but here forever with no rights of citizenship and no rights of mobility,” he continued. “That’s not the Canadian way we do immigration. So we’re going to make sure that that program does not drift in that direction.”

Canada welcomed more than 40,000 permanent residents from the Philippines in 2014 – up by over 30 per cent from 2013, making the Philippines Canada’s top source country for permanent residents last year.