Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) has been instrumental in keeping the economy chugging along for the past few decades. One of the country’s political parties, the Green Party, wants to scrap the TFWP, which OFWs use to go to Canada.
GREEN PARTY WANT TO SCRAP THE TFWP
The TFWP allows Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to come to Canada to work for authorized Canadian Employers on a temporary basis.
In most cases, OFWs go back home to the Philippines after the completion of their employment contract.
OFWs have come to Canada to work in many different industries, some as food service workers and caregivers.
The TFWP has not been without its challenges.
There have been allegations of abuse from OFWs claiming that Canadian Employers and their third party representatives (including immigration consultants and lawyers) collecting illegal recruitment fees.
Canada is a No-Placement Fee country. Canadian Employers are required to shoulder the costs associated with the recruitment of OFWs, including placement fees charged by placement agencies.
One of Canada’s political parties, the Green Party has made some controversial comments about the immigration program.
Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, is promising that if elected as Prime Minister, she will eliminate the TFWP. She’d rather see more economic immigrants come in to Canada as Permanent Residents, not more foreign workers who have to leave at the end of their employment contracts.
“Fundamentally, if you’re good enough to work in this country, you’re god enough to live in this country,” she said.
If OFWs were allowed to bring their families with them from the beginning, they wouldn’t have to send money back home to the Philippines.
May posits that this would mean that more money would stay in Canada.
STATSCAN SAYS AVERAGE OFW SENDS OVER CAD3 THOUSAND ANNUALLY BACK HOME
Statistics Canada conducted a surgery in 2017, finding that OFWs and other foreign workers sent an average of CAD3,195 annually to their families back home.
The study found that as much as CAD1 billion have been sent by OFWs and other foreign workers since 2015.
Statistics Canada also found that the longer OFWs and other foreign workers stay in Canada, the less likely they would be to continue sending money back home.
A World Bank study, which included all immigrants in Canada, sent an astonishing CAD24 billion overseas in 2017 alone.
GREEN PARTY SAYS TFWP DOESN’T WORK
May said that the TFWP doesn’t accomplish what it set out to do, “The program hasn’t succeeded in protecting the rights of temporary foreign workers, nor has it been appropriately used to ensure that Canadians are fully employed.”
Still, May acknowledges that Canada would benefit from having more foreign trained professionals.
“We need more engineers, we need more carpenters, we need more electricians,” she said.
Critics of the program say that the temporary nature of the work available isn’t suitable for Newcomers, who are often highly skilled and educated.
Most are foreign trained professionals who are overqualified for work available under the program, such as agricultural work in Canadian farms, caregivers and labourers at meat, vegetable and fish packing facilities.
STATISTICS CANADA FINDS TFWP MOSTLY SUCCESSFUL
A 2014 review by the Auditor General found the program mostly successful, despite abuse by both Canadian employers and OFWs as well as other foreign workers
Unscrupulous third party representatives such as immigration consultants and lawyers have been taking advantage of the loopholes, to charge thousands of dollars from desperate OFWs and other foreign workers.
OFWS AND OTHER FOREIGN WORKERS BRING SIGNIFICANT VALUE TO CANADA
During the period of 2015 to 2018, Canada granted permanent residency to over 25,000 OFWs and other foreign workers.
That makes up about 8% of the total number of Work Permits issued under the TFWP.
Experts say that OFWs and other foreign workers make immense positive contributions to the Canadian economy.
ADVOCATES WANT PERMANENT RESIDENCY UPON ARRIVAL FOR OFWS AND OTHER FOREIGN WORKERS
Advocates for foreign workers, including OFWs from the Philippines have long demanded that the Government of Canada grant them Permanent Residency upon arrival.
Advocates say that doing so would give OFWs access to the same protection as other Canadian citizens and permanent residents from the get go.
In many cases, OFWs and other foreign workers cannot access benefits, including Employment Insurance benefits as a result of loss of income.
Many OFWs are also locked into employment with a specific Canadian Employer, unable to leave when the situation is no longer tenable for both parties.
OTHER POLITICAL PARTIES GIVE THEIR OPINIONS ON FOREIGN WORKERS IN CANADA
The ruling Liberal Party has touted improvements made to the program, including speeding up processing times and allowing OFWs and other foreign workers to leave abusive Canadian Employers.
The Conservative Party has stated that Canada must continue to establish immigration programs that would be in country’s best interests.
The National Democratic Party (NDP) has been a strong supporter of granting permanent residency to OFWs and other foreign workers.
The Green Party’s call to scrap the TFWP is another way to make sure that Canada achieves its immigration objectives to have a demographic balance that would support continued economic and population growth, which would require younger, internationally trained foreign workers.
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