CIMM: What would government do with half a million migrant workers with their work permits expired?

Citizenship and Immigration Committee
Sept. 27th, 2022
5:15 p.m.


Jenny Kwan Vancouver East, BC
NDP

Thank you.

I want to turn to this question around migrant workers. Ms. Foster raised the issue around the need for the tourism sector. Canada also has over half a million people who are already here, and these are individuals whose work permits have expired. Much of it has to do with the COVID period. Some of them are actually from the restaurant sector and from the tourism sector.

Should the government be regularizing those individuals and giving them the opportunity to fill these openings and labour skill shortages in Canada?

Ms. Foster.



Adrienne Foster
Vice-President, Policy and Public Affairs, Hotel Association of Canada

I think the biggest focus for our industry, really, is to ensure that.... Tourism does, right now, have a real opportunity to recover and thrive, but we do need people. We're in the people business; we need people for that.

We want a system that really responds to high-demand occupations and sectors with growth potential, so your point about some of these migrant workers who are already in the country is an excellent one. We fully support creating a path to permanent residency for existing temporary foreign workers. They've already established relationships with their employers. They have networks in Canada, and they have a proven track record of being excellent community members and economic contributors, so I one hundred per cent support this idea of a path to permanent residency.



Jenny Kwan Vancouver East, BC
NDP

That means regularizing them now because some of their work permits have actually expired because of COVID. During the COVID period, they actually lost their jobs because the restaurants and hotels didn't having tourists. Those individuals are here without status, so we should regularize them—just so that I'm clear in understanding your answer to that.



Adrienne Foster
Vice-President, Policy and Public Affairs, Hotel Association of Canada

Yes.

One of our recommendations is to open up permanent residency for people who have work experience here. Short of any issues and if the work permits just expired, I think they would be excellent candidates for long-term immigration.

 

https://openparliament.ca/committees/immigration/44-1/32/jenny-kwan-14/

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