Thousands of temporary foreign workers face deportation due to program changes

March 21, 2015

By CTV News |

Thousands of foreign workers who have made their homes in Alberta may face deportation in April as their work permits expire.

Changes that the federal government made to the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program include a four-year cap on work permits, leaving many concerned that these workers may continue to stay in the country illegally.

“There are no jobs to go back to so there are going to be people who say I may as well continue working here as long as I can to contribute to my family,” Yessy Byl, an advocate for the workers, told CTV News.

“You will force people to go underground and work because they have no options.

“The social problems that come from that are just profound,” she added.

“It is appalling that we are not recognizing that people have moved here, have contributed here and they are part of our Canadian community and they should be given the opportunity to immigrate.”
One of the workers hoping for change is Vicky Vanencio, who came to Canada as a TFW but was hit by a car a few months after her arrival.

She has been unable to work and living in the country illegally.

“We’re hoping that the Canadian government allow me to stay here as a humanitarian compassionate grounds,” she said.

A panel discussion held at the University of Alberta was set up to open the conversation about the problems of the program and the changes made.

“The whole attitude has become ‘Well, you are expendable. You are not really part of our society. So, now that your four years is up go away. Don’t bother us’,” Byl said.

Jason Foster, a professor at Athabasca University, said the program was ill-designed from the start.

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