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Page added on November 23, 2010

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Immigration News – Nov. 2010

by:  Jon Salvador, BSc.

Certified Canadian Immigration Consultant

(About the writer: Jon Salvador is a licensed immigration consultant and a member in good standing with the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultant (CSIC). He has more than 20 years of management and business experience in Canada. Prior to establishing his immigration consulting company, he worked for a U.S. based computer company and then at TELUS, the 2nd largest telecom company in Canada in various management positions. He is originally from Manila, Philippines and graduated from DLSU (De La Salle University) in Manila with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. He also studied Business Management at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.  If you would like to request articles on other immigration topics for future “Pinoy Times” publications, you can contact Jon at (403) 241-6276 or at or the publisher of this newspaper.

New Immigration Program Changes

Recently the Federal and the Alberta provincial governments announced changes to their respective immigration programs. On August 18, 2010, the Federal government announced changes affecting the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program and the Live-In- Caregiver (LIC) program. Shortly thereafter, on August 23, 2010, the Alberta provincial government announced changes to the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP).

Recent Changes in the Federal TFW and LIC Programs:

As announced in the Canada Gazette Part 1 last October 2009, “The government is taking action to protect temporary foreign workers, including live-in-caregivers, from potential abuse and exploitation,” said Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. “We owe it to them, their employers and all Canadians to ensure that the program is fair and equitable. After all, they are an essential element of Canada’s economic success”.

The policy changes are in response to numerous complaints received about foreign nationals being offered jobs while they are still in their home countries and discovering upon their arrival or shortly thereafter, that the jobs they were offered were not genuine or non-existent. Consequently, the foreign national finds himself/herself without a job and forced to find or accept jobs that pay much less than what they were initially promised. There were also many complaints wherein the Terms and Conditions of the Employment Contract were not being followed by the employer. Some employers were not paying for overtime work, workers being paid less than what was agreed-on in their contract, workers being forced to work longer hours than what was stipulated in the contract, workers being charged more for accommodation than what is allowed by law, workers being forced to live in houses or apartments in congested situations, etc.

To help protect the temporary foreign workers and improve the integrity of the Federal immigration program, the following policy changes will come into effect on April 1, 2011.

1.      A more rigorous government assessment of the genuineness of the job offer

2.      A two (2) year prohibition from hiring temporary foreign workers for employers who fail to abide by the terms and conditions of the employment contract with their workers – with respect to working conditions, wages, hours of work, overtime pay, etc.

3.      A four (4) year limit on the length of time a temporary worker may work in Canada before returning to their home country.

Employers applying for Labour Market Opinion (LMO) to hire foreign workers, including live-in-caregivers, will now be more rigorously checked to ensure that their companies are genuine and not just a “phony company” set-up to offer non-existing jobs to foreign nationals. Company’s history and past affiliations will be more closely checked to ensure that jobs offered are genuine.

Employers looking to hire foreign workers will be assessed against past compliance with program requirements before LMOs approval will be granted. Employers found to have violated terms and conditions of employment contracts with foreign workers will have their LMO applications rejected.

Employers who have violated the terms and conditions of their employment contracts with foreign workers may be denied to hire foreign workers for two (2) years. Names of offending employers will be posted in Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration website to inform foreign nationals in their home countries and temporary workers already in Canada. Prior to the names being posted and the company being banned from hiring foreign workers, a due process will be implemented to provide offending employers the opportunity to prove no violations were committed

Starting next year, temporary foreign workers (TFWs) stay in Canada will be limited to four (4) years. Beginning April 1, 2011 – after four years of stay, TFWs have to go home and wait for four years before they become eligible again to work in Canada. Within their four years stay, foreign workers who are eligible and have the qualifications to apply to become Permanent Residents (PRs) – under any of the available immigration programscan apply while they are legally in Canada or within a certain period after they leave, if they qualify (eg. persons eligible under the Canadian Experience Class program).

Recent Changes in the Provincial AINP program:

The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) used to have four (4) main categories: Family Stream, Employer Stream, Strategic Recruitment Stream and Self-Employed Farmers.

The Strategic Recruitment Stream had three (3) sub-categories: Compulsory Trades, Engineering occupations and U.S. Visa holders. Effective August 23, 2010, the Family Stream (family members nominated by Alberta residents) and the U.S. Visa holder (temporary foreign workers in the U.S. who want to work in Canada) categories have been halted until further notice. Due to the economic conditions in the province and the relatively high unemployment in Alberta, these programs were halted to ensure that jobs available in the province are first made available to Albertans and Canadians. “It’s the responsible thing to do. Immigration should be conducive to what is good for Albertans and for Canadians” said Thomas Lukaszuk, Employment and Immigration Minister of Alberta.

The two halted categories amounted to approximately 1,400 of the nearly 4,200 or about 33% of the people accepted in 2009 for permanent residency through the AINP program. Persons admitted under these categories are not required to have jobs lined-up before they come to Canada. Consequently, when they arrive they have to compete for jobs with people who are already living in Alberta.

Even though the two programs have been halted, Alberta will continue to accept immigration applications from the following AINP categories:

1.    Employer Stream:

a.     International Students

b.    Skilled workers and Semi-Skilled workers in certain occupations

2. Strategic Recruitment Stream:

a.     Compulsory Trades

b.    Engineering Occupations

3. Self-Employed Farmers

For the year 2010, about 5,000 persons are expected to be processed and admitted under the remaining categories of the provincial AINP program. If you are eligible in any of the remaining AINP program, apply soon and good luck!

Legal Disclaimer:

This news article is designed for general information only. The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a consultant/client relationship. Each individual situation is different and people should seek proper advice on their specific cases with a licensed immigration consultant of their choice.


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