Canada expat worker programme attracts criticism

Published:  17 Apr at 6 PM
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Canada’s notorious temporary foreign worker visa programme has recently hit the headlines for attracting a heated debate, but experts feel the country shouldn’t respond by shutting its doors.

Immigration is an essential part of Canada’s population growth and workforce maintenance, but many now feel that the visa programme is badly managed and growing far too fast. Fears are being expressed that many of the 300,000 foreign workers who arrived last year will leave the country after acquiring experience and more skills in the short-term.

Others state that immigration at that level is necessary to boost the country’s international trade ties as well as encouraging much-needed innovation and entrepreneurship. President of the Maytree Foundation and immigration expert Ratna Omidvar points out that many on the programme have unstable working conditions, lower wages and are not subject to further training.

Ms Omidvar also cautions against the programme becoming simply a guest worker policy such as that in Germany, as she believes this creates a two-tiered society and encourages the black economy. However, she is in favour of a limited version of the present visa for niche talents such as artists and musicians, adding that immigration per se should focus on the long-term good of the country rather than stop-gaps for the labour market.

At the present time, unemployment amongst skilled immigrants on the programme stands a percentage point higher than in the general population at 8 .3 per cent. Amongst recent skilled worker arrivals, it’s even higher at 14 per cent.
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