Report calls for fewer temporary foreign workers in Canada

A new Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) paper in Canada argues that an annual limit on the number of temporary foreign workers admitted to the country should be implemented, as the number of young Canadians out of work continues to rise.

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Recent immigration figures show that the number of temporary foreign workers entering the country grew to 213,573 last year, nearly double the number who arrived in 2000. At the same time, Canada’s youth jobless rate is currently 12.9 per cent – a figure that has remained high since the recession.

“The growth in the number of temporary foreign workers numbers is a cause for concern,” said the report’s author Christopher Worswick, an economics professor at Carleton University. “Its timing, which coincides with a period of weakness in the Canadian economy, is especially troubling,” he added.

Speaking at the very first Skilled Migration National Employer Conference yesterday, Canada’s Minister of Employment and Social Development – and former Immigration Minister – Jason Kenney, stated that more needs to be done to make sure jobs go to Canadian residents before being offered to temporary overseas workers.

“Canadians, including newcomers, must always be first in line for available jobs. Searching for the best candidate should begin at home,” the Minister said. “Canada has one of the best-educated workforces in the world, but there are too many people without jobs and jobs without people. Our Government is taking action to increase employment by ensuring Canadians are able to fill job vacancies.”

However, Minister Kenney did also stress that attracting and retaining the best international talent is critical to Canada’s growth and competitiveness. For this reason, the country’s Government is currently building a faster, more flexible immigration system that is focused on economic growth, allowing Canada to select the high-calibre, job ready newcomers that employers need.

New rules have been introduced to the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) programme already this year, with employers now needing more proof that they’ve made greater efforts to hire Canadians before applying for a foreign worker, while increased user fees have also been added to the programme.

While Worswick did call these reforms a step in the right direction, he also stated that they need to go further, especially where employers who abuse the programme are concerned.

“We cannot allow a programme to continue where abusive employers repeatedly bring TFWs into Canada without incurring consequences for their actions,” he said.

Article published 18th October 2013