On the latest episode of The Law Show, Maynard Kischer Stojicevic partners Alex Stojicevic and Rudolf Kischer tackled Canadian immigration including the B.C. provincial nominee program (BCPNP), temporary foreign workers and the inner-workings of the new Liberal government.
“Immigration is generally seen as a federal jurisdiction, but the provinces have managed to make some in-roads to get some control over that. The BCPNP allows the province to select who comes in to British Columbia,” explains Rudolf.
However, a backlog at the federal level has left many people waiting for the opportunity to apply for immigration, even people who are already living and working in Canada.
“The issue we have now is we have about 150,000 people here on study permits. Probably more than that on work permits,” says Rudolf. “A lot of those people want to immigrate and they’re looking for avenues. And now…they can’t apply, they have to wait until they’re chosen.”
There are a few different categories for the people coming in under the BCPNP, some of which include workers in the hospitality and long-haul trucking industries. Though people may come in under this category, the government has no way of knowing if they stay in that area of work or not.
“I’ve asked for a study that would track where these people end up and they say its in the works,” says Rudolf. “My question is, do they stay in semi-skilled jobs or do they move up in terms of getting more skills and moving ahead? We do not get the answer to that question.”
The 2014 media buzz around the temporary foreign worker program lead the federal government to make big changes to the program.
“What happened unfortunately with the government of the day is that they took a sledge hammer to kill a fly,” says Rudolf. “Because the press was so bad around this, they said we’re going to make every employer who brings a foreign worker in accountable to the federal government in some way.”
Despite the heavy-handed approach, it’s not likely the program will change any time soon.
“The lesson of the last five years on the temporary foreign worker issue is that politically this is never a good issue for government,” says Alex. “It doesn’t matter how much you are being lobbied by business groups, there’s a limit to how liberal you can get on this file. I don’t think the current government is going to make it much easier on the foreign workers front.”
With new Citizenship and Immigration Minister John McCallum at the helm, host Zack Spencer wonders how much control does the minister have versus the will of the long-term bureaucrats.
“This is a complex area,” says Alex. “Each department that’s involved in it has a different organizational approach, a different operations mandate, a different culture. Certainly, some departments have enjoyed a lot more profile, [like Canada Border Services and the refugee program].”
Visit MKS Immigration and Citizenship Law for more information on how they can help you choose the best pathway to immigration, help your business bring in foreign workers, or simply better understand the changing Canadian immigration system.
The Law Show airs every Sunday at 11:00 am on CISL 650.
To listen to the complete audio interview, click the play button below left.
To view and listen to the complete Immigration and Citizenship Law audiomack channel click here