CANADA - Recent changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFWs) program have left many Filipino workers worried and confused about their future in Canada.
These were the sentiments aired by hundreds of TFWs in Edmonton at an information session organized by the TFW Support Coalition.
"Actually, I, myself is worried kasi August na yung expiration ng work permit ko. So I have only a month left to find a job. My company was not able to comply with the requirements of the CIC (Citizen and Immigration Canada), the so-called 70-30 percent, this confused me most," said restaurant worker, Emelio Mahinay.
The 70-30 ratio refers to the limit on the number of temporary foreign workers a business can hire together with Canadian workers for low-wage occupations.
Many add the changes have also made permanent residency more difficult for temporary foreign workers.
"Extremely worried. Because the changes in the temporary foreign worker program are essentially in order to deport them sooner than they are actually supposed to stay," said TFW Support Coalition spokesperson, Clarizze Truscott.
Truscott said the changes in the program do not address the many situations TFWs are in.
"They still are not able to leave their abusive employers. They're still not able to have their permanent residence. Temporary foreign workers in Canada who will be expected to leave starting this year or next year means their whole life is affected," said Truscott.
Another Pinoy TFW worker, Danilo de Leon said, "It seems like they don't want foreign workers here. This is the way they wanted it. Some Canadians think that the foreign workers are taking the jobs away. It's not true."
Philippine consulate officials meantime are consulting concerned agencies in the federal government to understand changes in the TFW program. They hope to come out with an advisory for temporary Pinoy workers on the matter.
"We had discussions with them to understand more the changes. Basically, for now, we have prepared an advisory for our kababayans informing them of the changes. These are very detailed changes like the classification system, occupational standard system, different requirements now in the need for labor market impact assessments," explained Consul General Neil Ferrer.
Honorary Consul Esmeralda Agbulos added, "What they have decided to do will be a hardship for everyone especially the Filipino temporary workers. A lot of them are so scared right now that if their work permits and LMO are not renewed they have to go home".
More information sessions are also being planned by the TFW Support Coalition to provide a better understanding of the changes and enable TFWs to plan for their future.