Alberta’s nominee program has been criticized for its lack of transparency while choosing temporary foreign workers who would be allowed to stay in Canada permanently.
The province had used a confidential list of 34 occupations last year to determine which workers will stay on. According to Clarizze Truscott of the Temporary Foreign Workers Support Coalition, Alberta should have been transparent about its selection of immigrants, and that keeping this information confidential was highly unfair to employers and workers who had been hoping to get selected to stay on. “If there is no transparency, the question is, is the government deciding on the basis of who lobbied most?” asks Truscott, who believes that the government should disclose if they prefer only to keep skilled workers and their reasons behind choosing those particular occupations.
According to the Department of Jobs, Skills Training and Labor, the list “was merely a temporary internal guideline” to help them choose the final 1,200 spots in the provincial nominee program of 2014. The department said that the list had been drafted “to ensure more industries could benefit”, and confirmed that some occupations such as welders, transport truck drivers, machine operators, and construction managers had received more attention last fall.
The list was posted on the department’s website and discovered by some temporary foreign workers who had been seeking information on whether they stand any chance of being selected for permanent residency under the provincial nominee program that accepts 5,500 candidates every year.
Following changes to the temporary foreign worker program, the provincial government agreed to provide one-year extension to a select group of about 1,000 TFWs or more.
The Department of Jobs, Skills Training and Labor has said that for 2015 it will choose the 5,500 nominees on the basis of three categories: labor market information, evidence of high levels of job shortages and industry general averages in recent years. “We remain steadfast in our position that Canadians are hired first,” said a spokesperson of the department.
The internal list of 2014’s provincial nominee program included the following “priority” occupations: farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers, machine operators and laborers in food and beverage processing, industrial meat cutters, pipefitters, transport truck drivers, welders, plasterers and drywallers, steamfitters, sprinkler system installers, technicians and drafting technologists.
In addition, the list also included academic occupations like university professors and lecturers along with several civil, mechanical, petroleum and chemical engineering jobs. Nurse aides, orderlies, licensed practical nurses, and patient service associates made it under the health care category. Other occupations on the list were machine tool operators, construction estimators, sawmill machine operators, material handlers, and electrical power line and cable workers, along with automotive service technicians, light duty cleaners and hotel front desk clerks.