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PEI Temporary Workers Meet With Premier Over Lower PNP Immigration Target

By cvf, 05/22/2024

Temporary foreign workers in Prince Edward Island have spoken to Premier Dennis King about how the province’s planned reduction of its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) will mean less of them will get permanent residency. 

Those temporary foreign workers have been protesting the province’s new immigration strategy which was announced in February this year for more than a week.

Under that strategy, the Atlantic Canadian province is hoping to cut back on immigration to alleviate demand for housing which many consider to be increasingly unaffordable.

“PEI, like many jurisdictions, is faced with finding the right balance of welcoming new residents to our Island workforce and relieving the pressure population growth has on our increasingly stressed public services and infrastructure system,” said King in February.

“Whether it’s building more housing or having enough staff in our child care, education or health care system, we know that we need highly trained, skilled workers to grow these systems sustainably.

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That’s why the temporary changes we are introducing today on reducing our use of immigration nominations by 25 per cent and ensuring the remaining nominations are aligned with key sectors will help balance skilled labour needs and allow sufficient time for infrastructure and services like health care, housing and early learning catch up to what our province needs.”

The small, island province experienced a boom in inter-provincial immigration during the COVID-19 pandemic, making it the province with the highest five-year population growth in percentage terms from 2018 through to 2023.

In Growing Together: A Population Framework for Prince Edward Island, Prince Edward Island announced it would temporarily ease up on immigration in an attempt to manage that growth in a more sustainable manner.

“PEI has emerged as a regional and national leader in population growth, a significant shift from decades of stagnant or declining trends,” noted that report.

“The province experienced a notable surge in repatriated Island residents, immigrants, and Canadians during and after COVID-19. PEI’s five-year growth rate (2018–2023) at 14.1 per cent leads all provinces and territories. At a rate of 3.5 per cent, population growth in 2021-2022 was PEI’s highest growth since Confederation.”

Temporary foreign workers already in the province are now worried this change will hurt their chances of gaining permanent residency in Canada and may lead to them instead being required to leave the country once their work permits expire.

“We want to be a part of P.E.I.  We want to stay here, and we want the government to co-operate with us. We want to be taken seriously,” protester Rupinder Pal Singh reportedly told CBC News.

“Rules were changed overnight.”

PEI Employers Bemoan Lower Immigration Targets

Employers of temporary foreign workers in Prince Edward Island say the reduced level of provincial immigration will likely also affect them.

“Obviously if they (aren’t) going to stay, we have to hire other people. So it’s going to impact us,” restaurateur Baldeep Singh reportedly said.

“We know they’re going to leave …They’re going to leave after six months if they don’t get their paperwork.”

Provincial Workforce Minister Jenn Redmond has reportedly said the temporary foreign workers whose work permits run out this year will be contacted but she did not give details regarding what, if anything, would be done for them.

Foreign nationals wishing to work in Canada on a temporary basis usually require a work permit.

Two of the main programs through which work permits are issued are the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP).

The TFWP offers work permits for candidates whose employers obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

A positive LMIA confirms there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job at hand and that no Canadian worker is available to do the job.

IMP work permits do not require a positive LMIA. They do require the employer to submit an employment offer under their employer portal.

Canada issues two types of work permits: employer-specific work permits and open work permits.

An employer-specific work permit includes such conditions such as:

  • name of a specific employer;
  • how long a candidate can work, and;
  • the location of a candidate’s work.

Candidates applying for an employer-specific work permit must have a positive LMIA from their employer or an offer of employment before applying.

Open work permits allow the foreign national to work for any employer in Canada and are issued only in specific circumstances.

Certain occupations are exempt from the work permit requirement.

TFWP Has Four Streams For Foreign Nationals To Work In Canada

The TFWP is intended to help Canadian employers recruit foreign workers in response to labour market shortages and consists of four streams:

  • high-skilled workers;
  • low-skilled workers;
  • the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, and;
  • the Live-In Caregiver Program.

Foreign workers must have an approved job offer and a work permit before arriving in Canada under the TFWP.

Through the LMIA, IRCC works with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to ensure foreign workers do not take jobs for which Canadian citizens or permanent residents are available.

A Canadian work permit holder’s family may come with them to Canada. All family members must complete their own application forms, but they can be submitted together.

If a family member wants to work in Canada, they will need their own Canada work permit.

In certain cases, spouses or common-law partners are eligible for an open work permit. If a temporary foreign worker’s children would like to study in Canada, they need a study permit.

The post PEI Temporary Workers Meet With Premier Over Lower PNP Immigration Target appeared first on Canada Immigration and Visa Information. Canadian Immigration Services and Free Online Evaluation..



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