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House of Commons Standing Committee Releases Recommendations for Revamping TFWP

Posted By Stephen Cryne, October 27, 2016

On September 19, the House of Commons Standing Committee, studying Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) released its report containing 21 recommendations for revamping the TFWP.

A key recommendation in the report is to establish a Trusted Employer Program for companies that access the program. CERC has been a long-time proponent of a program that reduces red tape and recognizes the efforts of accredited employers that need to access the program for in demand skills, and this was 1 of 15 recommendations we provided to the Standing Committee.

While much of the report focused on low skilled worker issues, and cited cases of abuse of workers by employers…which was to be expected since the committee allowed only handful of business groups to appear before it, there were some positive recommendations that would improve the program.

A further shortcoming in the Committee’s report is the lack of focus on the need to develop a high skilled stream for temporary in demand talent. These are the very specialized knowledge workers and management executives that are in many instances holding back business growth. One example of that are the recent comments from Canadian clothier Lululemon, which is warning Ottawa that it could move its headquarters out of Canada because of the bureaucratic red tape surrounding the program.

The government has 120 days to respond to the committee’s report. 

 

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Read CERC recommendations  

Tags:  CERC  express entry  immigration  Labour Market Impact Assessment  Temporary Foreign Workers  TPP  Trusted Employer Program 

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New immigration rules threaten Canada’s competitiveness

Posted By Stephen Cryne, February 25, 2015

Immigration is vitally important to every nation looking to improve its competitive standing in today’s global economy.  The challenge is making sure the right programs are in place to attract the brightest and the best.

 

Yet in Canada, the overhaul of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in 2014, coupled with the significant restrictions of the new Express Entry system are creating havoc and uncertainty for thousands of highly skilled workers and executives employed by some of Canada’s top employers seeking permanent residency.

 

While the federal government is promoting Canada to the world, aggressively negotiating free trade agreements, which include contemporary rules to facilitate greater mobility of workers, at the same time its invoking immigration reforms that make it ever more difficult for highly skilled workers admitted under these programs to remain in Canada

 

The Express Entry system is intended to provide expedited permanent residency to highly skilled workers. While we applaud the general direction, there are significant concerns emerging as program details become clearer.

 

To qualify under the new scheme applicants are awarded up to 1,200 points. No candidates with less than 800 points have been selected in the initial selection draws.  Of the total points available, 600 points are awarded for a qualifying job offer.

 

One key concern is that before an employer can provide an applicant with a qualifying job offer, a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) must be secured, which requires the employer to post the position (for which they have already hired a foreign national under one of Canada’s free trade agreements) on the government’s job board and prove no Canadians are available to perform the work.

 

In many cases these individuals have held the positions for several years, and so there are no negative consequences to the domestic labour market.  The same goes for foreign graduate students looking to make a permanent life in Canada. These are the very people that create employment opportunities for Canadians.

 

In today’s competitive business climate it is highly unlikely that companies want to re-post jobs and send any signals to investors or competitors that there may be upheaval in their leadership ranks. 

 

We are fearful these new requirements may lead some multinational companies to re-evaluate the viability of Canadian operations leading to potential job losses as key positions are moved outside of Canada.  

 

The new system is also doing a disservice to the thousands of international students that graduate from Canadian universities and would like to make Canada home. In the absence of a provincial nomination or qualifying job offer there is no bridge to permanent residency for these individuals. In the case of one of our member firms in the IT industry the new rules mean that over 100 international graduate and post graduate students who were LMIA exempt, will now have to leave Canada as their work permits expire.

 

What needs to be done?

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program must be revised to provide a separate stream that is not wrapped in red tape to expeditiously evaluate and process employer applications for high skill foreign workers.  

 

High skilled workers with valid work permits who have been working in Canada for over a year, should be deemed to have a qualifying job offer for Express Entry, without the employer having to re-post the job.

 

International students with Canadian degrees in science, engineering, management studies etc. should be given a clear and rapid path to permanent residency. Work permits for students on post-graduate work should be extended to allow them to qualify under Express entry.

 

For decades Canada has been fearful of the Brain Drain Syndrome – home grown talent moving abroad in search of better opportunity.  Today, we now have companies successfully attracting or moving high skilled talent to this country.  We should be grateful when those individuals choose to make a permanent contribution to our economic success and therefore seriously question the merits of any new application processing system that puts up roadblocks and impedes our global competitiveness.

Tags:  express entry  immigration  Labour Market Impact Assessment 

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