22 July 2010

Alberta calls for Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker program to be reassessed

Alberta’s employment and immigration minister has said Canada’s temporary foreign worker program is not longer working for the province and needs to be reassessed.

Canadian Visa

Alberta has called for a change to give the option of permanent Canadian visas for temporary workers.

Thomas Lukaszuk said the program has fulfilled its mandate by providing large numbers of workers to an economy that had a shortage of workers, but that the program was a temporary solution to a permanent problem.

Lukaszuk's parliamentary assistant, Calgary MLA Teresa Woo-Paw, will lead a series of roundtable discussions throughout Alberta this fall on the Canadian temporary foreign worker program.

Woo-Paw's final report will be the basis for recommendations to Ottawa on how to change the program.

In recent years immigration rules for temporary foreign workers have been eased, allowing people with a variety of skills and educational backgrounds to enter Canada with working visas valid for up to two years.

Among all provinces and territories, Alberta has seen the largest increase in temporary foreign workers in the last five years, from 16,000 in 2005 to nearly 66,000 in 2009.

Lukaszuk said the program was not designed to be a gateway to long-term residency, but given the chance he believes many workers would love to permanently emigrate to Canada.
Mr Lukaszuk said the government could consider permanency for this workforce, like the Canadian Skilled Worker Visa, to avoid a constant shuffling of foreign workers in and out of the same positions.

The Canadian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for a Canadian Visa with the Canadian Embassy.   

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