Government to allow 230,000 LMIA-exempt TFWs to come to Canada under IMP annually
The government plans to allow 230,000 temporary foreign workers (TFWs) to enter Canada annually under the International Mobility Program(IMP), which allows employers to bring in workers from abroad without proving the need for imported labour, according to a Gazette notification by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
This is in addition to the more than 120,000 mostly low-skilled workers who come to Canada each year under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), where employers are required to obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment(LMIA) by proving that there are no suitable Canadians to fill the vacancies.
The IMP has come under heavy criticism following a report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer(PBO) show that the government has no knowledge about what jobs many of the IMP foreign workers do after they come to Canada.
“Since 2002, their number has grown at a faster pace than workers requiring an LMIA,” Jean-Denis Frechette wrote in the report. “Moreover, in 45 per cent of the cases in 2012, the government was not aware of the occupational skill level of foreign workers, up from 22 per cent in 2002.”
“It is unclear why Canadian employers chose to hire foreign workers in lower-skilled occupations when most domestic workers, whether employed or not, would possess the required skill set to fill these positions,” Frechette said.
Even when employers are struggling to fill vacancies, offering a higher salary would attract Canadians from areas with lower employment to take those jobs, the PBO reported.
A series of foreign worker program abuse scandals last year caused a public outcry forcing Immigration minister Chris Alexander and the former employment minister Jason Kenney to introduce a raft or reforms including tough new guidelines employers had to follow to import labour, but the opposition has accused the government of reneging on the promises made to the public.
“As job losses mount in Alberta, the Conservatives are busy making it easier for employers to hire temporary foreign workers,” NDP MP Jinny Sims, the official opposition critic for employment, said in Parliament. “We learned that they secretly made a deal with Alberta to allow employers there to exceed the 30% cap.”
“Just like they have so many times before, the Conservatives made a big splashy announcement about cracking down, and now they are quietly creating loopholes,” she added.