New Rules Speed Foreign Workers To Alberta

New Rules Speed Foreign Workers To Alberta

CBC News
September 24, 2007

The federal government is changing some of the guidelines to the temporary foreign workers program to help ease some of the labour pains for short-staffed employers in Alberta.

A pilot project announced Monday by Human Resources Minister Monte Solberg will fast-track foreign workers from 12 specific sectors, such as construction and tourism and hospitality.

Now, employers wanting to hire someone in those sectors from other countries will only have to wait a few days instead of months for government approval.

“The time process to go through and have them reviewed and finalized was still taking up to about four months. This is huge, with reducing it to three to five days,” said Dave Kaiser, president of the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association.

New staff have been hired to process the applications, which is part of a pilot program available only in Alberta and B.C.

Demand for foreign workers increased by 400 per cent in Alberta in the past year alone.

“If every person man, woman and child was working in this province, we still wouldn't have enough people to fill the need,” said Terry Jorden, spokesperson for Alberta's Department of Employment, Immigration and Industry. “That's why employers are going the extra mile to hire foreign workers.”

Small business groups say they expect more companies to hire from abroad now that some of the red tape has been eliminated.