Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Changes to rules on trades overdue

  • Print

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has announced changes that will focus the federal immigration system on attracting skilled tradespeople as well as highly skilled immigrants with Canadian work experience. These changes are long overdue and provide Manitoba an opportunity to focus its immigration program to fill other gaps in the workforce.

Under past immigration programs, skilled tradespeople had a more difficult time immigrating to Canada than professionals. When workplace shortages began to emerge in skilled trades, there was no easy way for them to immigrate to Canada. Professionals, meanwhile, could still enter Canada but faced problems with being able to work in their chosen profession.

By setting up a system that will also deal with a tradesperson's foreign-obtained credentials before arrival, Canada should be able to ensure that they can make the maximum contribution to our society. While not all tradespeople will be covered by these changes, it's a step in the right direction.

Another positive change is the immigration priority that will be given to highly skilled temporary foreign workers already working in Canada. While individuals without Canadian work experience will not be automatically disqualified from immigrating to Canada, it is right to prioritize the immigration of temporary foreign workers who have contributed to Canada by working here, living here and paying taxes.

The third positive change was the creation of a "bridging" work permit that will allow temporary foreign workers already in Canada to continue to work here while their permanent residency applications are being processed.

Before the bridging work permit was brought in, many companies had to go through extra steps to allow temporary foreign workers already in Canada to continue their employment here. For many years, Manitoba was able to facilitate "bridging" work permits for immigrant applicants under Manitoba's program. By having this extended to other immigration programs, this benefit will be expanded to other works and companies.

The real test of the changes will be whether the immigration system will be able to process applications in a timely fashion.

When the previous program was cancelled earlier this year, the backlog had grown so large that some applicants had been waiting eight years for a final decision on their applications. If Canada cannot get its act together to process applications faster, these changes will result in no benefit.

As well, Canada will have to overcome its reputation as a nation that cannot be trusted. When the old immigration program was cancelled, the government announced it was also cancelling the applications of many individuals who had already applied to Canada in good faith.

The unilateral cancellation of immigration applications is the second time Canada has done something like this. In 2002, when new immigration laws came into effect, Canada declared that all immigration applications submitted before the new law was announced would only be assessed under the old law up to a certain date. The problem with this was that individuals who applied to Canada under the old law did not know about the new law when they applied nor did they have any control over whether Canada would process their applications. Only after this matter went to court did Canada back down and agree to process these applications under the old criteria.

Some will say the new rules will make it more difficult for families to reunite with their relatives from overseas and will make it more difficult for "low-skilled" workers to come here. While many of the federal changes are geared to skilled immigrants, the Provincial Nominee Program allows Manitoba to continue to attract family members and low-skilled individuals.

In fact, focusing on low-skilled workers and extended family may be the way the Manitoba program to remain relevant. If the federal program duplicates aspects of the provincial program, Manitoba may be better suited to focus on gaps still left in the federal system.

R. Reis Pagtakhan is a

Winnipeg immigration lawyer.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 20, 2012 A15

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Peguis Chief Hudson comments on toddler's death upgrade to homicide investigation

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Winnipeg’s best friend the dragon fly takes a break at English Gardens in Assiniboine Park Wednesday- A dragon fly can eat  food equal to its own weight in 30 minutes-Standup photo- June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  070527 The 21st Annual Teddy Bears' Picnic at Assiniboine Park. The Orlan Ukrainian Dancers perform on stage.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should the city grant mosquito buffer zones for medical reasons only?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google