Expert suggests low-skilled immigration system for Canada

A leading Canadian immigration expert has called on the Canadian government to consider replacing the country’s current Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) system, with a low-skilled immigration programme.

Temporary Foreign Workers CanadaCanada’s TFW system has been the source of much criticism in recent months, amid claims that temporary low-paid foreign workers are taking unskilled jobs that there are more than sufficient numbers of Canadians to fill – something which is not supposed to happen through the current system.

And according to Jeffrey Reitz, an immigration expert at the University of Toronto, the government should consider allowing more low-skilled immigrants into Canada on a permanent basis, on the proviso that they settle in regions of the country with acute labour shortages.

“That would certainly be a possibility since we haven’t been bringing people in on a permanent basis at low-skill levels,” he said. “It may be that our economy hinges on having more unskilled workers coming in as permanent immigrants.”

However, Dan Kelly, head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, believes that while Reitz’s suggestion certainly makes sense, it is unlikely to happen.

“The only way you could scrap the [TFW] programme entirely would be to fix the permanent immigration system and allow employers access to immigrants of all skill levels,” he explained. “Unfortunately, that’s not on the table – even though we really need to fill low-skill jobs, too – because it would violate the so-called Canadian consensus that we only want to attract the best and the brightest to our shores.”

Currently, the federal skilled immigration programme only lists occupations deemed to require skilled workers. However, some Provincial Nominee Programmes do provide routes for a limited number of low-skilled workers to settle in their province each year.