Indian outsourcers lobbying Canada to ease TFW restrictions

By Devdas Gupta, writing from Thane, Maharashtra, India

The industry body representing business process outsourcing (BPO) companies in India is lobbying[1]
the Canadian government to to ease short-term temporary foreign worker restrictions with the aim of expanding the four billion-dollar industry.

National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM)’s stated objectives[2]
include “liberalisation in the temporary movement of IT-BPO personnel to Canada, involving the reinstatement of the Software Pilot Project scheme or ALMO visa-type processing times offered to SME investors, as well as short-term work permits for up to six months (without LMO requirements).”

NASSCOM also met with the then-immigration minister John McCallum and Canada’s Visa Operations Head in Ottawa, Robert Orr, during the minister’s visit to India last November to address[3]
“the problem areas related to the short-term movement of skilled workers into Canada.”

It’s a common practice for outsource companies to fly workers from India to Canada for a few months to be trained by Canadian workers who are being laid off.

This practice caused a public outcry last week, when news broke that workers at a major Canadian bank facing the axe were forced to train their Indian replacements.

Customers have begun publicly leaving CIBC for local credit unions even as CEO Victor Dodig defended the practice saying “Companies that stand still don’t stand the test of time.”

It was a repeat of a similar incident involving another bank RBC in 2013, when the the CEO Gord Nixon was forced to write an open letter[4]
to Canadians apologizing for his decision.

“I want to apologize to the employees affected by this outsourcing arrangement as we should have been more sensitive and helpful to them,” Nixon wrote. “All will be offered comparable job opportunities within the bank.”

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