The End Of A Canadian Dream? Well, With Stringent Immigration Policies, It Could Just Remain A Dream For Many Foreign Workers

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IN PHOTO: The downtown skyline of Vancouver, British Columbia is shown across English Bay February 8, 2010. In less than week the Canadian west coast city will host the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. REUTERS/Andy Clark

Reports suggest thousands of temporary foreign workers (TFW) are preparing to leave Canada as their work permits expire on April 1, 2015. The government is yet to reveal the number of people that are expected to leave the country by this Wednesday. However, some advocacy groups estimated that it could be as many as 70,000 across Canada.

In 2011, the federal government in Canada formed a rule that gave the temporary foreign workers in low-skilled jobs an option to apply for permanent resident status or leave the country once their permits expire. There is a four-year limit for TWBs in Canada and not all foreign workers come under the restriction. However, those who are subjected to this limit are allowed to work in Canada only for a period of four years in a row. Employees, whose work permits have expired, cannot re-apply for another permit for at least next four years.

The restriction will lead to an exodus of foreign workers from Canada, likely to impact the food service and the hospitality industries. Besides, it’s a confusing situation for those who want to stay in the country but their immigration formalities are not yet over.  

Mary-Ann Salilican, a Filipino who came to Canada six years ago hoped to stay here all her life. Talking to media, she revealed her fear that her stay in Canada is now uncertain and she does not want to go back to the Philippines for good either. Salilican also fears that if she is not able find a job in the Philippines, the family she has been supporting for years will suffer.

What Went Wrong?

Last year, the program and its four-year restriction came under heavy scrutiny followed by media coverage, resulting in an overhaul of the system. The TWBs are also accused of working for lesser compensation, making it difficult for Canadian citizens to negotiate for better salaries. 

But Marco Luciano, spokesperson for a TFW advocacy group, Migrante Alberta said, it’s an end of Canadian dreams for many. The group helps the temporary workers know their rights in Canada. "These are also people. It's our responsibility as human beings to help others," he added.

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