‘Policy errors’ made by the previous federal government are being blamed for a massive backlog of applications under the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP).
Thousands of temporary foreign workers with pending applications for permanent residency backed by job offers are seeing their work permits expire.
Workers are desperate to stay, employers are desperate to keep them, but the paperwork cannot be processed quickly enough.
Alberta immigration authorities announced a five month suspension of new AINP applications last August with a pending backlog of more than 10,000. That suspension ended in January.
|AINP semi-skilled worker category
Alberta Labour Minister Christina Gray said: “Many of the challenges we have in this program are a direct result of policy errors made by the former federal government in their changes to the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
The changes along with the current economic climate have made it more difficult for workers in the province to renew their work permits, denying the province an ability to maintain existing levels of employment. For a province affected by the economic downturn caused by the falling price of oil, this dilemma is especially difficult to accept.
The AINP is restricted to issuing 5,500 nominations per year and the program has been inundated with new applications.
Currently, applications from 2014 are being processed, but for many in the country on temporary work permits, they will not be able to access the AINP.
The Alberta Ministry of Labour says 53 per cent of applications are being denied.
The guidelines for the AINP state only that applications will take ‘at least six months’.
“You’re really wanting to keep them,” one employer said.
“And those people in the past who have been here two, three, four years — those are really key employees.
“They are being forced to leave and then we have to recruit again.”
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