Wed | Oct 17, 2018

Fewer Jamaicans landing jobs in Canada

Published:Friday | October 3, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

Apart from the farm-work programme, fewer Jamaicans are able to access jobs in Canada these days as they are being secured for Canadian nationals.

Robert Ready, the Canadian high commissioner to Jamaica, told The Gleaner that changes have been made to many of the programmes, resulting in fewer foreigners taking part as the job market declines in that country.

Each year, close to 200,000 foreign skilled workers go to work in Canada on temporary work permits. However, with jobs being difficult to come by in recent years, Ready disclosed that Canadian officials have revisited the process by which foreigners, including Jamaicans, can secure employment in that country.

Ready noted that the largest endeavour remains the farm- work programme.

"In the past season, we saw about 8,000 Jamaicans take part in that programme," he said.

However, Ready said this is not the case with other programmes, such as truck drivers, heavy-duty mechanics and some in the more professional areas.

While he stressed the positive impact of the programmes for Jamaica, Ready suggested that many foreigners are snatching work from Canadian nationals.

"If you exclude the seasonal agricultural workers programme, there have been, in Canada, some concerns - not specifically with Jamaica but with the administration of those pro-grammes," said Ready.

He said Canadian authorities have been forced to examine whether the established rules are still appropriate in terms of the types of job opportunities that they are providing.

Ready said his government has to determine whether the use of foreign workers in some areas is depriving Canadian workers of adequate opportunity to seek employment in those fields.

"There have been some adjustments in some of those programmes," he said. "None of them have been terminated, but some of them have been updated."


Added Ready: "Jamaicans and all other participants in those programmes will have to be aware of some of those changes."

The high commissioner said the seasonal agricultural workers programme stands apart from those changes.

"We continue to look forward in the 49th or 50th year of this programme, which has seen whole generations of Jamaicans establish friendships and employment in Canada," he added.

In order to work in Canada on a temporary basis, foreign skilled workers must have a temporary offer of employment from a Canadian employer and be granted a temporary work permit by Employment and Social Development Canada.

A temporary work permit may be issued for a period of time ranging from a few days to a few years. The process of applying for a work permit is twofold. First, the Canadian employer must receive the government's permission to hire outside of Canada. Once this permission has been granted, the designated employee(s) must apply for and receive their work permit before going to Canada.