Temporary foreign workers can apply to government for permanent residency

Unions applauded a provincial government move Monday to allow temporary foreign workers certified in Alberta's optional trades to apply directly to the government for permanent residency instead of having to apply through their employers.

Both the Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association and Building Trades of Alberta face severe shortages of qualified professionals and skilled workers.

Gene Syvenky, CEO of Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association, predicts his sector will be short tens of thousands of skilled employees in the next six to eight years. Immigration is probably the only way that will get remedied, he said.

Ron Harry, executive director Building Trades of Alberta, thinks the coming demographic shift will require an increase in numbers of certain age groups.

The federal government limits the number of people provinces can nominate for permanent residence. In 2011, Alberta is allowed to nominate 5,000 people. With limited numbers, Alberta's focus will be on nominating people who currently work in permanent jobs, those who have job offers, and those with the skills and qualifications in occupations that are in demand here.

"We need skilled workers living in Alberta permanently," said Thomas Lukaszuk, minister of employment and immigration. "We have to make sure we are ready for the coming labour shortages as economies around the world are competing for the same skills and the same people."

The change won't help low-skilled temporary foreign workers, said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour. Alberta currently has 65,000 temporary foreign workers.

Edmonton Journal, Tues Mar 15 2011
Byline: Hanneke Brooymans

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.