Rumours about Canada’s federal skilled worker program – Future Restrictions

By Author: Admin | May 24, 2010

Rumours about Canada’s federal skilled worker program – Future Restrictions

The Federal Skilled worker program may be gutted.  The current list of 38 occupations is rumored to be soon truncated by the deletion of the occupations of financial manager and other occupations.  In addition, the amount of points required may rise from the current 67 points.  If these rumours are true, then the federal skilled worker program may be subject to an effective moratorium.  Why?

The occupation list may be perceived by the immigration authorities as attracting too many persons in certain occupations such as financial managers, mining engineers and college instructors.   It is not clear whether the concern is that too many people are trying to shoehorn their experience into one of the 38 occupations and that these three are the most accommodating.  The alternative concern may be that Canada does not need more financial managers, or college instructors or mining engineers, and the deletion of these occupations may simply be a response to Canada’s changing labour market needs.

There is also a movement to attract more low skilled temporary labour to Canada.  This is perhaps a logical extension of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker program in which some Caribbean and Latin American countries offer workers who pick Canada’s produce when the picking season arrives in Canada.  This program exists for the benefit of those Canadian farmers who cannot find Canadians to pick mushrooms or tobacco or fruit and also benefits the temporary worker who is tied to their country of origin, and receives Canadian funds for their temporary work – such funds go a long way upon their return to their country of origin.

The likely shift away from permanent resident workers (by the rumoured truncating of the federal occupation list)  to temporary resident workers can be seen in the forthcoming imposition of a requirement of a Labour Market Opinion for many information technology workers.  The addition of this requirement will mean that Canadian employers of such IT workers must first prove that that no Canadians are  available for the job.  The current regime deems there to be a shortage of such workers in the Canadian labour force, thus obviating the need for an LMO.

The above is clearly a transition from the traditional immigration system of Canada which had more of an emphasis on permanent residence over and above temporary workers.  This is of some concern for those who see social unrest as the cost of meeting Canada’s labour needs.  I can see how some unscrupulous Canadian employers could take advantage of more highly trained foreign labour through offering a sweetheart deal, convincing the foreign national to leave a good job, uproot his family and come to work in Canada – only to be let go when the company’s economic fortunes change.

Similarly, temporary workers correspondingly ungrateful since they are being told from the start that they are only being exploited for their labour on a temporary basis.  There is no sense of being a part of Canada’s civic society (since they can’t vote) and don’t care about what long term residents care about (such as the cost of living, or increasing crime, or crumbling infrastructure, or future job prospects for young Canadians).

Some on the other hand are of the view that  less skilled labour are inherently grateful to work in Canada for Canadian dollars, and being fired and deported without any remedies or being forced to work overtime without pay, or to work with a shorter lunch break is not a big deal.  Such an inherently vulnerable work force could pose a problem for those companies that get tempted to take on more foreign labour at the expense of Canadians who may actually be willing to take on those jobs.  The protection of Canadian jobs in this situation (through the screening that is part of the labour market opinion process) may be insufficient to protect Canadians, if you’re of the view that whatever big business wants big business gets.


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