Are you dreaming of a better life for your family? Would you like to move to Canada? In case you haven’t heard, the Philippine Government and the Yukon Government recently signed a Letter of Intent. Secretary Silvestre Bello III of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said that Canadian employers are looking forward to hiring over 2000 OFWs a year for Yukon, a sparsely populated territory in Canada.
There are certain things you have to remember about this whole thing. For one, the signing of the Letter of Intent is but the first step in establishing the framework for a more manageable and sustained labour deployment for Yukon. For another, there are already existing job orders for the territory. Any valid job orders are already available with POEA-licensed recruitment agencies.
So why all the fanfare? Well, it’s always great news when OFWs get some help. The signing of the Letter of Intent will pave the way for the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement, which, if everything works out, will lead to more jobs becoming available to qualified OFWs. If you want to learn more about the whole thing, keep on reading.
2000 OFWs A YEAR? WHAT’S THE CATCH?
We don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but maybe you should learn a little bit more about foreign workers are hired for Canada.
Just like anything else worthwhile doing in life, going to Canada isn’t nearly as easy as you might think.
It will take an insane amount of preparation on both the part of the Canadian employer (who initiates the entire process) and the OFW (who can’t wait to get started).
Both the Canadian employer and then OFW will have to meet the requirements of both the Philippine government and the Government of Canada, before the OFW can start working in Canada.
HOW CAN I BECOME PART OF THE 2000 OFWS A YEAR FOR YUKON?
The Government of Canada has so many different immigration programs, it’s really hard to keep count.
Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers to fill job positions that they can’t find Canadian citizens and permanent residents for.
And these can’t be just any jobs, they have to be approved by the Government of Canada. If it’s not on the approved National Occupational Classification (NOC) list, then they won’t get permission to hire foreign workers.
The permission comes in the form of a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
A positive LMIA is given to the Canadian employer, authorizing them to hire a foreign worker.
A copy of the positive LMIA will be given to the OFW, as part of the requirements that will be submitted to the Visa Application Centre (VAC) when they apply for the Temporary Resident Visa (TRV).
Remember, the LMIA application is the Canadian employer’s responsibility, not the OFW. If your recruitment agency is charging you for an LMIA as part of its processing fees, don’t pay them.
From what we can gather, this is not how the Government of Yukon are planning to bring OFWs to Canada.
Instead, they will be working with Canadian employers to bring OFWs to Yukon under their territory’s version of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). They are looking at bringing in some 2000 OFWs a year under this program.
They call it the Yukon Nominee Program (YNP). If you want to go to Canada as part of this group, you will have to go to work with a POEA-licensed recruitment agency who is partnered with a Canadian employer from Yukon.
ARE THE 2000 OFWS A YEAR GOING TO CANADA LEGIT?
Canada’s immigration programs are under federal jurisdiction, not provincial or territorial.
That means the Government of Canada has the last say on who gets to go to Canada. The specific government agency responsible for immigration is called Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
IRCC used to be called Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
IRCC is responsible for processing applications from foreigners who want to go to Canada, including those who just want to visit, those who are going to study in Canadian schools, those who are going to be OFWs and those who are going to Canada as Permanent Residents.
The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) allow provincial and territorial governments to nominate foreign workers to come to Canada for approved Canadian employers. These foreign workers must meet a set of minimum requirements to qualify, and must have a valid job offer from an approved Canadian employer from that province.
Generally, foreign workers must have a specific educational and employment background which would qualify them for the job, as well as a valid job offer from the authorized Canadian employer.
Foreign workers who come to Canada under PNPs are required to live and work in the province or territory where they were nominated for a specific period of time.
Simply put, foreign workers who are nominated by provincial or territorial governments come to Canada on a Work Permit, and after meeting the minimum requirements, can apply for permanent residency.
The YNP is Yukon’s version of the PNP.
WHAT IS THE YUKON NOMINEE PROGRAM (YNP)?
The Yukon Government is responsible for nominating foreign workers under their territory’s version of the PNP, called the Yukon Nominee Program (YNP).
The Government of Canada gives the Yukon Government permission to nominate a limited number of foreign workers under the program. After this limit has been met, all other applications will be considered in the next round.
To qualify for the YNP, foreign workers must have a copy of the LMIA and a job offer from the authorized Canadian employer.
The foreign worker must meet the minimum requirements to apply under the YNP, including education, language and work requirements.
After the application for nomination is processed and successful, the foreign worker receives a nomination from the Yukon Government.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Just because you already have a nomination doesn’t mean you get to go.
Like previously mentioned, it’s not the Yukon Government that gets to decide whether or not you can go to Canada.
It’s the Government of Canada, through IRCC. IRCC that issues the TRV.
And having a TRV doesn’t guarantee that you can enter Canada neither.
The TRV allows you to buy a ticket, board an aircraft and arrive at a Canadian port of entry, like an airport.
At the airport, you’ll be interviewed by a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer, who needs to be convinced to let you in.
Once convinced that you are who you say you are, and that your job offer in Yukon is indeed legitimate, the CBSA officer will then issue you a Work Permit, allowing you entry into Canada.
Congrats, you made it! Bienvenue au Canada!
WHEN CAN I SPONSOR MY FAMILY?
If you go to Canada under the YNP, you will do so as foreign workers. You will be issued a Work Permit upon your arrival in Canada and will be there as an OFW, until such a time when you become a permanent resident.
If you’d like to bring your family with you, you can. However, unless your Canadian employer specifically says so, you will have to shoulder the cost of bringing them to Canada. That means visa applications and medical exams expenses, as well as airplane tickets and insurance.
You must provide proof that you can afford to bring them with you, what is more commonly called Show Money. These are bank records that you can afford to look after your family during their stay in Canada.
IRCC will decide on what kind of visas will be given to your qualified dependents.
In most cases, your qualified dependents (spouse and any unmarried children below 21) will become permanent residents at the same time you will. After you have met the minimum requirements to apply for permanent residency, you and your family will submit the applications at the same time.
WHAT IS POLO?
POLO is an acronym. It stands for Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO).
POLO is staffed by representatives from the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), including Labour Attachés and Welfare Officers.
There are two POLOs in Canada, each responsible for specific territories and provinces.
POLO Toronto is responsible for Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
POLO Vancouver is responsible for British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and the Northwestern Territories.
Employment documents are submitted by Canadian employers to POLOs for Verification and Authentication, which you’ll need to apply for an Exit Clearance at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
WHAT IS RED RIBBON?
The Red Ribbon is what people call the process where Canadian employers have their documents checked by the Philippine Government. It’s actually called the Verification and Authentication of Employment Documents. People just started calling it Red Ribbon because of the red ribbon attached to the documents after it gets processed.
Other documents authenticated by the Philippine Embassy and Consulate Generals are likewise affixed with a red ribbon.
WHERE CAN I FIND LEGIT POEA-LICENSED RECRUITMENT AGENCIES?
Here’s another tricky part. Only POEA-licensed recruitment agencies are allowed to recruit OFWs for work abroad, including Canada.
Because of the unique nature of Philippine labour deployment to Canada, recruitment agencies don’t actually do much except to conduct manpower pooling, that is collect names and resumes for the Canadian employer to look at.
If that’s worth $5,000 to you, then well, we have a bridge to sell you.
You can find the complete list of POEA-licensed recruitment agencies on the official POEA website here: www.poea.gov.ph
IS IT TRUE THAT CANADA IS A NO-PLACEMENT FEE COUNTRY?
Yes, Canada is a No-Placement Fee country.
Canadian employers must shoulder all expenses related to the recruitment of foreign workers, including airfare and insurance.
Canadian employers must demonstrate to the Government of Canada that they have a need for foreign workers, and that they can afford them. If they can’t afford them, they wouldn’t be able to ask for permission to hire foreign workers in the first place.
The Philippine Government also wants Canadian employers to take care of OFWs. That’s why they’r made to sign off on the Addendum to the Employment Contract, which states that they’ll take responsibility for bringing the OFW to Canada, as well as sending them home in case something happens.
As you can imagine, airplane tickets and insurance cost money.
Generally speaking, Canadian employers save money by hiring foreign workers, because they are paid lower. In case something goes wrong, such as termination of the employment contract with just cause or sudden death, the Canadian employer is made responsible for sending the OFW back to the Philippines.
Remember, your status in Canada depends on your meeting the minimum requirements. If you are fired, convicted of a crime, or (God forbid) die on the job, you will be sent back to the Philippines.
The Philippine Government wants to make sure that you’re taken care of, which is why the Canadian employer is made to sign the addendum.
After decades of charging OFWs money in exchange for jobs overseas, recruitment agencies are suddenly faced with a situation where a foreign employer is supposed to pay for all expenses associated with the recruitment of OFWs.
Basically, OFWs should pay for nothing when going to work in Canada. Except maybe the cost of the Philippine passport.
Everything else, including recruitment agency expenses, should be shouldered by the Canadian Employer.
You’re not supposed to, but If you’re asked to pay any fees by your recruitment agency, ask for a receipt. That way, you can get it reimbursed by your Canadian employer.
And report your recruitment agency to POEA. They’re not supposed to do that in the first place.
So, are you interested in becoming on of the 2000 OFWs a year going to Yukon, Canada?
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