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Foreign worker hiring fast-tracked

posted Aug 18, 2012, 11:56 AM by Milorad Borota   [ updated Aug 18, 2012, 11:57 AM ]
Employers in six trades won't have to consider Canadians first
BY SHEILA PRATT, EDMONTON JOURNAL JULY 17, 2012

The door is open much wider for temporary foreign workers in six construction jobs, and tradesmen from the U.S. can now pick up work permits at the airport, the federal immigration minister announced Monday.

But organized labour is worried Canadians may be left out if companies are no longer required to consider them first in six job categories.

At Alberta's request, the federal government has agreed to eliminate the requirement that an employer must prove that Canadians were not available (called a labour market opinion) in six job categories - welder, ironworker, carpenter, estimator, millwright and heavy duty equipment mechanic. Pipefitters have been coming for a year without a requirement for the LMO.

These are high-demand occupations and employers need to be able to recruit workers much faster to meet growing demand in the oilsands and in Edmonton, where the unemployment rate is 4.4 per cent, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said.

Once inside the province, temporary workers will now be able to take jobs with other employers when their first contracts are over, Kenney said. Previously, foreign workers could not change employers.

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