Temporary Migrant Workers

PEF member Salimah Valiani has written a report, released today by No One is Illegal, on the topic of temporary migrant workers in Canada, and a quiet but important shift in our immigration policies. The full report can be downloaded here and the abstract follows:

This report elaborates the shift in immigration policy which began unfolding in Canada from the 2006 expansion of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, culminating in June 2008, with the amendment of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. It shows how this shift has been modeled on some of the weakest elements of the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP), the longest standing immigration program offering temporary migrant workers the possibility of permanent residency. Presenting figures never calculated before on the LCP – estimated retention rates, or a measure of the success of the Program in retaining temporary migrant workers as permanent residents – the report demonstrates that only 50 per cent of migrant live-in caregivers entering Canada from 2003-2005 became permanent residents by 2007. Calculated yearly for the period, 2003-2007, the estimated retention rate falls to 28 per cent by 2005. It is thus argued that the shift from permanent residency to temporary migration as a basis for the immigration system will not lead to building citizenship and labour supply in Canada. It is further argued that this is due to the inordinate amount of power granted by government to employers in the migrant worker-employer relationship. Testimonies of temporary migrant caregivers documented from the 1990s are used to illustrate this power imbalance. Judging from the pro-employer reorientation of Canada’s immigration system, federal and provincial governments have not learnt from testimonies presented by feminist advocates over the past 20 years.

One comment

  • The live-in caregiver program should be diversified to include candidates from other countries such as China, India and Mexico. The main problem now with the program is that it relied too much on one single source country which is the Philippines and that totally contradicts with what the Canadian government aspires to be – a multi-cultural society.

    If not, the Canadian government should cancel this controversial LCP thing. Australia has no LCP and is still surviving and good.

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