The number of temporary workers in Canada is on a steady rise. In 2010, about 182,000 temporary foreign workers (TFWs) entered Canada. It’s the second-highest number of TFW entries in a single year, so some critics have argued that CIC is “throwing the door open for temporary workers.” Does that criticism hold up if we take a closer look at the numbers?
Unlike what is done for permanent immigration, Canada does not set targets for the number of TFWs to be admitted each year. An increase in TFWs simply means that more employers need more employees.
If we look more closely at that overall figure of 182,000, we find:
Nearly 50,000 work permits, or more than a quarter of the total, were issued to young people coming to Canada on working holidays or professional exchanges through International Experience Canada (IEC). They require work permits, but their purpose in coming to Canada is quite different from other types of TFWs, and these programs address social and cultural goals rather than labour market objectives.
More than a tenth (more than 21,000) of the overall number of TFWs entering Canada last year were issued to particular kinds of workers under international trade agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and the General Agreement on Trade in Services.
It is important to note, however, that as part of these international agreements, Canadians also receive reciprocal treatment that allows them to more easily work in other countries.
For 40 percent of foreign workers, more than 73,000 of the total, the employers had authorization from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada to hire foreign nationals. This authorization is only granted after an assessment of the labor market has been conducted and it has been determined that no Canadians or permanent residents were available to do the job. This figure includes nearly 24,000 seasonal agricultural workers, who play a critical role in ensuring a successful harvest for Canadian producers, and about 8,400 live-in caregivers, who help support Canadian families by providing care to children, the elderly and the disabled.
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is operating successfully as a tool for employers to use when they cannot find suitable Canadian or permanent resident employees for the jobs they have available. It also is designed to facilitate other objectives, such as encouraging international exchange, supporting international trade agreements, and keeping families together.
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Cultural assimilation usually takes place when one moves to a new country and it can be a frightening experience. Often, your surroundings will seem incredibly foreign, with unfamiliar sights, sounds, smells, customs, and rules that all must be learned and assimilated. One common reaction of new immigrants is to hole up in their own sheltered world, operating within a sub-culture of other immigrants hailing from the same homeland. While this can be comforting and bring a sense of the familiar, it can also be quite limiting, and eventually become a handicap.
The other extreme is just as dangerous. While it is healthy and necessary to embrace your new adopted culture, it is important not to do so at the expense of your native culture. Your home country and customs are what make you who you are—a unique person with the opportunity to experience the challenges and joys of cross-cultural interchange.
It is essential to find a balance between assimilating into a new culture but also holding onto your cultural birthright. Some customs are trivial and can be exchanged without causing a loss of identity, while others are integral to who you are as a person.
At the same time, compromise may be necessary in order to become a fully functioning member of your adopted community. Work to find a balance between maintaining the culture of your birth country and embracing that of your adopted home.
One of the biggest deterrents to successful cultural assimilation into a new host country is the language barrier. Children are actually much more adept at learning a new language than adults, and this is largely because they are less afraid to make mistakes and be seen as uneducated or foolish. Children will go out of their way to try out new words and phrases, while adults will do the opposite, avoiding opportunities to speak a new language for fear they might make a mistake and look stupid. When moving to a new country, one of the first things you should do is take steps to learn the local language. Take classes, study independently, and avail yourself of every opportunity to speak with the locals. Communication is fundamental to human interaction, and the sooner you can communicate with your new neighbors, the sooner you will stop feeling like an outsider.
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Canada is taking extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The government is also assisting immigrants and travelers affected by disruptions in service. These measures include strict immigration restrictions.
Canada has shut down its national borders to the vast majority of foreigners. The government has closed entry ports, at both airports and the Canada-U.S. borders. The immigration program is suspended whilst travel restrictions remain in effect. The Canadian government has already announced restrictions until further notice. There was a lot of confusion around initial border closure announcements.
However, government departments seem to have reached a consensus regarding who is capable of entering Canada and who is not.
Exemptions were made for Canadians, aircrew, diplomats and their immediate family to enter Canada if they meet the entrance criteria. Border restrictions do not apply to transport freight and goods.
Additionally, the government ordered airlines to check for COVID-19 symptoms on all boarding passengers. The airlines did not allow anyone presenting symptoms to fly to Canada.
The challenges of new immigrants in Canada have multiplied in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Exceptions to current travel restrictions allow foreign workers, foreign students, and authorized permanent residents to come into the country despite continued restrictions preventing non-essential travel to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Those who enter the country should pass a health check and isolate for 14 days following arrival. However, most remain unemployed, after days and weeks since the pandemic hit Canada, new obstacles have developed for newcomers.
The federal government has extended deadlines by 90 days for people with permanent resident applications still being processed for moves that may be hard during the pandemic, such as submitting passports or police certificates or finishing an immigration medical exam. Applicants also have 90 days to submit their letters of instruction regarding biometrics, which provide proof of submission of documents.
The federal government said citizen applications may be delayed but they are ongoing. According to the Canadian government, refugee resettlement programs are stopped for a moment but will resume when conditions allow.
The travel ban in Canada conditionally excludes foreign students. They must have a valid study permit or received study permit approval before March 18, when visa restrictions became effective.
Students need help from the universities with which they were enrolled to help them traverse logistics from airport pick-up to accommodation arrangements particularly for an initial 14-day period of isolation.
Canadian immigration and travel regulations are continually evolving and are subject to repeated change, with little to no prior warning.
Please don’t hesitate to contact one of our Kazembe Law attorneys to discuss your immigration case. Furthermore, contact us to enquire how the current immigration reforms may apply to your present situation or if any new policy restrains you from entering Canada.