More time for Alberta’s temporary foreign workers

Some temporary foreign workers in Alberta are set to receive additional time to convert their temporary status to that of permanent residency.

A transitional measure will offer a reprieve to some employees in Alberta working in the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) programme as they wait for their permanent residence applications to be processed, Employment Minister Jason Kenney said in a letter to Conservative MPs, obtained by Canada’s CBC News.

Workers who arrived in the province in 2011 or earlier, should have been forced to leave Canada on 1st April 2015, but it now appears that for some workers in Alberta – and possibly other provinces as well – this will no longer be the case.

“Employment and Social Development Canada will now provide a one-time exemption to these workers from being counted under the cap on low-wage workers imposed on employers provided they meet strict criteria,” the letter says.

It also reveals that Citizenship and Immigration Canada will provide a one-year bridging work permit to temporary foreign workers who are subject to the four-year cumulative duration limit.

“This should provide some relief to employers who have TFWs that have already applied for immigration and are in the queue waiting for their applications to be assessed,” the letter says.

It is currently only temporary foreign workers who applied for nomination through the Alberta Nominee Programme before 1st July last year, and hold a permit due to expire this year, who will be eligible for this bridging permit.

However, yesterday Kenney revealed that the government could be willing to offer the same measures to workers in other provinces.

“If other provinces have a similar circumstance where they have a backlog in their immigration programme and they have a similar concern, we’re willing to extend the same policy to them in principle,” he told reporters in a statement.

Kenney said Alberta had the largest problem because they had a large backlog in their immigration nominee programme.