Canada immigration program to fast track temporary workers

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The Human Resources and Social Development (HRSDC) department will add 21 more occupations to a trial program which fast-tracks employer applications to bring foreign workers to Canada under the nation's Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program allows employers to hire foreign workers to fill jobs where an eligible Canadian cannot be found. Once it has been determined that a Canadian could not be found to fill the position, the employer can make an offer to the foreign national and submits an application for a Labour Market Opinion.

The Labour Market Opinion (LMO) is a report to Canadian immigration authorities about the likely impact that hiring the foreign national will have on the labor market. The trial program, called the Expedited Labour Market Opinion project, aims to speed up the LMO process.

The announcement about the trial project was made on Monday by HRSDC Minister Monte Solberg. His department said that paperwork for many occupations can take up to five months to process; however, under the Expedited Labour Market Opinion trial project, the application process can take as little as five days.

Below are the occupations added to the trial project on 14 January 2007:

Occupations added to Expedited Labour Market Opinion Project
Manufacturing and Processing LabourersCivil Engineers
Mechanical EngineersCommercial Janitors, Caretakers
Mechanical Engineering TechnologistsConstruction Labourers
Petroleum EngineersDelivery Drivers
Residential Cleaning and Support WorkersElectrical and Electronics Engineers
RoofersSpecialized Cleaners
Heavy-Duty Equipment MechanicsSteamfitters, Pipefitters
Surveyor HelpersWelders
Industrial ElectriciansIndustrial Meat Cutters

The need for temporary workers across Canada has been increasing because of ongoing labor shortages. Solberg said that the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta may need 100,000 workers over the next ten years.

Iris Evans, Alberta's Minister of Employment, Immigration and Industry, said that the trial program couldn't come at a better time, with her provinces booming economy and British Columbia hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics.

"Temporary foreign workers are helping to fill a critical need in our province," Evans said in December.