The recent massive decrease in Temporary Foreign Worker applications by 74% says many different things about the government’s reforms to the TFW program. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) believes that the drop signifies success in these reforms – a triumphant demonstration that Canadians are the government’s priority in the Canadian workforce. However, other professional opinion argue that these reforms contradict the protection provided by the government to employers and their investment in foreign workers, and will result in long-term issues recruiting future Canadians.
Regardless of such opinions, the reforms have already been implemented and immigration to Canada through the TFW program is on a decline. However, immigration is a major contributor to Canada’s culture and economy. Immigration boosts Canada’s economy by stimulating productivity and innovation, as well as increasing trade relations. Newcomers also increase Canada’s cultural diversity and understand rapidly changing ethno-cultural needs.
So, what can the Canadian government do to encourage immigration in light of these reforms? R. Reis Pagtakham is an immigration lawyer with Aikins Law in Winnipeg, and he has some ideas.
The Temporary Foreign Worker program should actually be called the Probationary Permanent Residency program. This way, foreigners are not given the impression that they are “temporary” – a word often synonymous with disposable. Although not every member of the Temporary Foreign Worker program is given the opportunity to immigrate to Canada permanently, changing the name will more accurately describe the purpose of the program, which is eventual permanent immigration.
The Canadian Experience Class must be expanded and more thoroughly promoted through the Canadian government. The Canadian Experience Class provides Temporary Foreign workers with a pathway to citizenship after having worked in Canada for one year. This program aids both employers who invest in foreign employees as well as the employees who intend to permanently immigrate.
In expanding the Canadian Experience Class, involved Temporary Foreign Workers should have the ability to apply for permanent residency. Currently, only highly skilled temporary foreign workers who fit various criteria can apply for permanent residency. The government justifies this restriction by saying that “low-skilled” workers are not the type of immigrants Canada desires. If the reforms put in place only allow for hiring of highly skilled workers and they are as successful as suggested, all the accepted Temporary Foreign Workers will be highly skilled and should all be allowed to apply for permanent residency. This realization makes the restrictions unnecessary.
Probationary permanent residents should be allowed to apply for permanent residency immediately upon arrival. Once a probationary permanent resident arrives in Canada, their application and their qualifications have been reviewed and approved three times. Requesting a re-application one year later is unnecessary and an inefficient use of resources.
The Canadian government must also decide if they are for or against immigration through the Temporary Foreign Worker program. The federal government made a statement about the necessity of high levels of immigration to meet current and future labor market needs, but only a few weeks earlier instated the reforms to the Temporary Foreign Workers program. There cannot be any more confusion, and the decision must be consistent throughout all public policy.
Similarly, immigration lawyer Elizabeth Wozniak has commented on the Provincial Nominee Programs. Wozniak recognizes that most provinces want to retain as many immigrants as they can, but the programs are too “open.” For example, the Nova Scotia PNP opened a new stream of immigration last year that required the right set of skills and education in the applicants. Close to 4,500 people applied, but only 150 people were accepted. Wozniak argues that the criteria for the programs need to be more specific – the net needs to be cast more narrowly.
Despite the discrepancies noted by Pagtakham and Wozniak, Canada remains the 8th most popular country for immigration according to www.therichest.com (Kayla Marie Walsh, 10 Most Popular Countries for Immigration). Canada is the second-largest country in the world with a population of approximately 35 million people, and 7.3 million of these are immigrants!
On the Quality of Life Index (2014), Canada was 6th in the world for highest quality of life. The nation boasts outstanding education and health care programs, as well as the 8th highest income per capita globally. The United Nations official list of the World’s Top 20 Best Countries to Live in listed Canada as the 6th. Canada has also been ranked the 8th most peaceful country in the world.
To demonstrate an aspect of Canadian immigration that is unique and innovative, there is the Canadian Start-Up Visa, which is the first of its kind in the world. This visa makes the connection between immigrant entrepreneurs and established private sector organizations that have expertise in the area of start-ups.
The Canadian Start-Up Visa will provide foreign entrepreneurs (who are successful in their application) with permanent residency and no conditions attached to the success of their business. All you need to do is contact one of the participating private sector organizations listed and convince them that your start-up is worth investing in!
Canada is a great place to start a business because:
There is strong economic growth, emphasized by Forbes’ listing of Canada as the best country in the G-20 with which to do business. There are also low taxes and low business costs. KPMG ranks Canada as the most tax competitive country in the G-7. Excellence in research and innovation make Canada the ideal environment to foster a new company
There are pros and cons to any aspect of a nation, and the immigration sector of Canada is no exception. At the end of the day, the decision to immigrate must be one that will most benefit you and your family.
FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration follow FWCanada on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.
Featured image courtesy of consultingglobal.info/canada/