October 25, 2023

Navigating the challenges and successes of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program

A CBC Interview with IMM Recruitment Immigration Lawyer, Ali Dadkhah

In a recent CBC Morning News interview conducted by Gregor Craigie, Ali Dadkhah, a dedicated lawyer providing pro bono legal assistance to temporary foreign workers, shed light on the intricacies of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. The discussion provided valuable insights into the evolution of the program, the challenges faced by both employers and workers, and the positive impact it has had on the Canadian economy.

Understanding the Recruitment Process

Ali explained the meticulous process businesses go through to bring in foreign workers. To qualify, employers must submit a Labor Market Impact Assessment application to Service Canada. This assessment ensures that no qualified Canadian or permanent resident is available for the job. The sectors most in need of temporary foreign workers, especially post-COVID, are hospitality and construction, with an emphasis on hotels, restaurants, and tourism-related businesses in cities like Victoria.

Challenges Faced by Employers

One of the major challenges faced by employers is the extended processing time. Obtaining a Temporary Foreign Worker certificate from BC Employment Standards, now a mandatory step, can take up to three months. The extended timeline poses significant planning difficulties for employers, making it challenging to address immediate staffing needs. As a result, the program is not an instant solution for businesses in urgent need of employees.

Challenges Faced by Temporary Foreign Workers

For the workers, the challenges are equally daunting. The lengthy processing time leaves their lives in limbo for up to a year and a half. Finding suitable housing upon arrival is a significant hurdle, especially with no job references or credit history. Moreover, the dream of obtaining permanent residency in Canada is becoming increasingly competitive. The selection process favors candidates with higher education levels, language proficiency, and work experience, making it difficult for many temporary foreign workers to secure permanent residency.

The Evolution of the Program

Despite initial concerns about worker exploitation and abuses, the program has seen significant improvements. Ali emphasized that while there are still some violations, Service Canada has implemented changes to ensure compliance. Random audits of businesses working with foreign workers have helped educate employers, reducing the instances of exploitation. Ali noted that the program has become more positive and beneficial for both employers and employees, contributing to the Canadian economy's post-COVID recovery.

In conclusion, the interview with Ali Dadkhah provided a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and successes of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program in Canada. To delve deeper into this insightful discussion, you can listen to the full interview here.