January 30, 2008

Foreign workers in Canada up on the rise

In a bid to address the labor shortage experienced by Canada, the government escalated its Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program.

This is a big attempt to solve the problems faced by employers in filling up its vacancies. Hence, Canadian employers have been using this program to their advantage.

In 2006, more than 112,000 temporary foreign workers arrived in Canada which constitutes a big majority of new temporary residents. This figure represents at least 9% increase in the number of foreign workers that entered Canada in 2005. Historically speaking, it was in 2006 that Canada receives the most number of foreign workers since 1997.

The 2007 Canadian federal budget allocated $50.5 million over two years to the TFW Program, aiming to more efficiently respond to regional labour and skill shortages and reduce processing times for applications. Online application systems will be improved and lists of occupations with known labour shortages will be maintained. Additionally, to protect temporary worker rights, a system will be developed to ensure employer compliance with the TFW.

Philippines ranks 2nd top source country

Joining the likes of US, UK, France and Australia, Philippines made it to the top 10 source countries of foreign workers in Canada. More than 21, 000 Filipino workers were admitted in Canada last year, making it occupy the 2nd slot as top source country of foreign workers. This has been consistent since 2003.

There has been a sharp increase of 20% in the number of Filipino workers admitted in Canada from more than 17, 000 workers in 2005 to 21,000 workers in 2006. US tops the list with more than 24,000 workers entering Canada and Mexico comes in 3rd with more than 15,000 workers admitted under the Temporary Worker Program.

The government’s Foreign Worker Program has been one of the options of Canadian employers that allow them to bring foreign workers if they can provide sufficient evidence that they cannot find Canadian workers to fill in their vacancies.

Though this may not be a permanent solution to Canada's dwindling workforce and aging population, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is helping to solve current labor problems and maintain Canada's vibrant economy. Alternatively, it is a stepping stone to getting a permanent resident visa to Canada.[Gateway to Canada]