The different immigration programs can be very confusing because programs can be accessed for a variety of reasons. If an employer is looking for semi-skilled or low-skilled workers, the Temporary Foreign Worker program may be the answer. If an employer is looking for employees with higher skills, programs such as the Post Graduation Work Permit Program might be a better answer. Employers will also need to think of the length of time for which they need their workers—will a temporary program suit their needs or do they need help for longer?
This is the traditional way to bring in foreign workers to work at permanent jobs that require higher than a high-school education. Employers find their own workers and there is no need to demonstrate that efforts were made to hire Canadians. One disadvantage to this program is that it is not a quick process and the employer must wait until the worker can get permanent resident status in Canada before starting work. This program can be used by Canadians to hire foreign family members if program requirements are met. www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/index.asp
Provincial Nominee Program
Designed for employers who wish to bring skilled employees to Canada to work on a permanent basis. It is intended to reduce the amount of time required for foreign workers to become permanent residents and is often used in conjunction with the TFW program (see below). www.albertacanada.com/immigration/immigrating/ainp.html
Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFW)
Open to employers who need temporary workers (for 24 months at a time) for jobs that need more than a high-school education. It allows foreign workers to start quickly, and while working for the Canadian employer, apply to become permanent residents. www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/publications/tfw-guide.asp
Live-In Caregiver Program
Open to Canadians needing in-home, personal care for themselves or their families. This program can be used to hire foreign family members, if program requirements are met. www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/caregiver/index.asp
Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP)
Open to employers who need seasonal workers for businesses, such as honey farms, vegetable farms and tree nurseries and open to employers in specific agricultural fields. www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/workplaceskills/foreign_workers/SAWPSheets/AB.shtml
Low-Skilled Workers Pilot Project
Open to employers who need temporary workers for jobs that require high school education or less. Permits workers to remain for one year. www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/low-skill.asp
Working Holiday Program
Allows young foreign nationals (from certain countries) to visit Canada for a temporary period. During their stay, they may experience Canada as tourists, or if they wish, enter the Canadian workforce. This program is initiated by the employee, but employers should be open to the program if foreign nationals approach them. www.international.gc.ca/123go/menu-en.asp
Some international students require work experience as part of their post-secondary program. Below are some of the programs they can access in order to work in Canada. These programs provide excellent opportunities for Wood Buffalo employers to employ trained staff.
Off-Campus Work Permit Program
Allows eligible international students at participating educational institutions to work part-time off-campus during the school year and full time during the summer or holidays. Keyano College is an eligible school.
Post-Graduation Work Permit Program
The program allows international students who have recently graduated from an eligible institution to apply for an open three-year work permit.
Other programs available for international students are co-op and internship programs, and work permits for their spouse or common-law partner. Information on all of the international student programs can be found at: www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/work-coop.asp. Employers can also contact Liliam Vasquez (firstname.lastname@example.org, (780) 792-5615) or Miyuki Schultz (email@example.com, (780) 791-4898) at Keyano College for more information.
There is no simple answer to how long processing times are for different programs because the times vary depending on the program and can change weekly. Visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website for more information: www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/index.asp.
For information on using any of these programs, contact Sergio Gaggero, regional immigration coordinator for the northeast region, Alberta Employment and Immigration (Contact information on page 4) or refer to the resources listed on page 4.
The information in this issue of Labour Market News was current as of the date shown. Employment outlook, salaries and educational programs may change. Please verify the information with additional sources before making career or business investment decisions. Contact us for more information.