On April 24, 2104, Employment Minister Kenny imposed an indefinite moratorium on restaurants using the temporary foreign worker program. As a practical matter, this means that no new temporary foreign worker program applications for restaurants will be accepted or processed. Further, any pending applications and all unfilled approved applications are suspended indefinitely.
This drastic action was taken shortly after the C.D. Howe Institute released a report concluding that the temporary foreign worker program increased the Canadian unemployment rate. The report also claimed that the user fees were too low, thus not having any impact on a restaurant’s decision to hire Canadian workers as opposed to temporary foreign workers.
Under Canadian immigration law, temporary foreign workers are a prescribed class of temporary residents. Originally, Canada’s temporary foreign worker’s program was designed to address a dearth of skilled workers in Canada. However, between 2002 and the present temporary foreign workers increased three-fold.
No foreign worker may work in Canada without a work permit, unless otherwise provided for under the regulations. Generally, a Canada work permit will be issued if:
- the foreign national has applied in accordance with the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and regulations;
- the foreign national will leave Canada at the end of the period authorized;
- and the foreign national has been offered employment or intends to perform work that meets the qualifications set out in the regulations.
A visa officer may refuse to issue a work permit to a foreign national if:
- the foreign national cannot perform the work sought,
- the employment of that foreign national in Canada will adversely affect employment opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, or
- the issuance of the employment authorization will affect the settlement of any ongoing labor disputes.
A foreign worker may apply for a Canada work permit after entry into Canada if that foreign national already holds a work permit, is legally working in Canada without a work permit, holds a study permit, or holds a temporary resident permit.
Due to the moratorium, temporary foreign workers should begin evaluating options for permanent residence. Some industry groups are seeking to terminate the program to protect Canadians. It is possible that additional restrictions on the temporary foreign worker program will follow. For more information, or to speak with a Canadian immigration lawyer contact First Immigration Law Firm @ 1-855-360-4333