21 May 2013

A good idea that's been abused

One particular story that has struck a chord this past while has been the use and abuse of the Temporary Foreign Workers visa programme by Canadian employers. It really exploded this past weekend with the revelation that an IT professional with 20 years' experience that is currently receiving employment insurance benefits is unable to obtain interviews. That in spite of high demand for his skills!

It doesn't help that a former manager with one of the companies this person applied to stated that the company policy is not to hire qualified Canadians. The situation is even uglier when a former manager with the government agency concerned declares that it is being run as a "factory" where the objective is to churn out the Labour Market Opinions as quickly as possible in order to have the visas issued, with no due diligence undertaken to verify that employers have undergone a genuine effort to search out and hire qualified applicants who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

I must say that this is wrong on multiple levels. Never mind that now fees will be charged for the issue of such opinions that were previously issued at no charge, or that pay for such workers must be at parity with local wages and not at a 15% discount, or that searches should not call for knowledge of languages other than English or French as a job requirement (although the previous rules were both sick and wrong!). I can verify from personal observation that the so-called searches are being undertaken with criteria so stringent that it would be impossible to find anyone in Canada that could qualify. As the CBC story noted above observes, many people coming in under the TFW programme do not have such qualifications anyway, and in many cases the employer did not really need them. That is the real abuse that must be stopped, and the changes that have been announced will not really bring that about.

This is a story that will be definitely continued...

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