Next month, consultations regarding Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program will be taking place in Calgary. Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has noted that one of the primary goals of these consultations is to make the process more efficient so that Temporary Foreign Workers can be brought to Canada quicker.
This announcement comes amidst reports that Alberta will soon be facing a labour shortage of more than 100,000 workers over the next ten years and will need to rely upon Temporary Foreign Workers to fill gaps in the labour supply. Minister Kenney has suggested that Alberta and Canada should focus on hiring more Americans as unemployment rates in the U.S. continue to rise and more American workers become available. Certain Americans may qualify to work temporarily in Canada through the NAFTA program, however the number of work visas issued in that program are currently about 5,000 a year, a problem which Minister Kenney has acknowledged.
It is not only Americans that the Canadian government would like to recruit. Due to the weakening U.S. economy, many Temporary Foreign Workers in the U.S. on temporary work visas (H-1B visas for example) may find that their visas will not be renewed as U.S. companies lay off more workers. This can be good news for Canadian employers and potential immigrants as Canadian employers have long favoured immigrants with North American work experience and training because they are able to easily integrate into the Canadian workforce.
The typical occupations held by H-1B workers include engineers, I.T. personnel, accountants, doctors, nurses, and business managers, which are all occupations that are in high demand in Canada. Foreign workers with experience in these fields have more opportunities available to them, for both temporary work in Canada or for Canadian Permanent Residency.
These occupations are also highly sought after by Canadian immigration programs such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program and Quebec Skilled Worker Program. Applicants may qualify for either program without having a job offer from a Canadian employer and can apply for Canadian Permanent Residency while they are still living in the U.S.
Canada has also made it easier for Temporary Foreign Workers who have gained Canadian work experience to apply for Canadian Permanent Residency. Immigration programs such as the Canadian Experience Class and Provincial Nominee Programs offer applicants with as little as one to two years of Canadian work experience a chance for Permanent Residency. This is one reason why many choose to work temporarily in Canada rather than the U.S. as it is very hard to convert an H-1B visa to a U.S. green card (U.S. permanent resident card).
Whether you’re looking for temporary work in Canada or you want to move to Canada permanently, your American work experience can be the key to getting you into Canada.
Are you currently working in the United States on an H-1B visa? Complete a free Canadian immigration assessment form to find out if you qualify for Canadian permanent residency.