Reduced options for TFWs

In early November, the federal government announced changes to the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) of immigration – one of the only immigration classes applicable to hospitality workers wishing to make Canada their permanent home.

Alison Peever

Alison Peever

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By Alison Peever
Chemistry Consulting Group, Victoria

In early November 2013, the federal government announced changes to the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) of immigration – one of the only immigration classes applicable to hospitality workers wishing to make Canada their permanent home.

In addition to announcing caps for the numbers of applications it would accept through this program, the government also restricted the occupations eligible for the CEC.

Under the new program, cooks and foodservice supervisors are now no longer eligible to participate in the CEC.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has received a disproportionate number of applications from these two occupation categories (along with administrative officers, administrative assistants, accounting technicians and bookkeepers, and retail sales supervisors), so in order to ensure more equal distribution among occupations, they decided to make these six occupations ineligible.

Further, a cap of 200 applications has been placed on all “B” class occupations, which include technical, administrative and skilled trades occupations.

These changes effectively remove any opportunities for cooks and foodservice supervisors, here in Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program, to apply for permanent residency in Canada. Insight into these changes was provided by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA).

It appears that the government was concerned that individuals were leaving the restaurant industry as soon as they gained permanent residency status and that the large number of applications in these two occupation categories suggested that they were being used in a fraudulent manner.

It is difficult to understand the government’s decision-making regarding its immigration policies.

On one hand, they continue to reinforce the mandate that Canadians have priority access to available job opportunities and that hiring foreign workers can only happen in situations of extreme and temporary labour shortages.

On the other hand, research continues to confirm that labour shortages already exist, and are only going to worsen, in many sectors of the economy and regions of the country.

For now, in terms of meeting employer needs in the hospitality industry, the recently expanded provincial programs – the PNP in BC, and AINP in Alberta – are still available and continue to accept applications for the two discontinued NOC categories.

Unfortunately, these provincial programs involve a longer and more difficult application process and many workers find that they are unable to meet the more rigorous criteria.

Finally, the CRFA was also advised by government that changes to the TFW are not complete, with “further rounds of changes to come.”
We will keep you posted.