Canada/Mexico labour mobility pilot project now accepting applications

(Sep. 25/08) Mexico, Canada and four participating provinces including Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec are developing a pilot project for the recruitment of Temporary Foreign Workers from Mexico to Canada within two industry sectors: construction and tourism/hospitality.

The pilot is expected to be launched late fall with the first workers arriving early in the new year. The unique feature of this particular pilot project is that Mexico’s national employment service will play a role in identifying the eligible candidates for employers, who would then make the final decision regarding potential workers.

In the first year, the objective is for 2,000 workers to be identified through this initiative and split evenly among the four provinces. Each province can expect to receive approximately 500 workers divided between the two sectors. Alberta, British Columbia, and Manitoba have confirmed the following occupations for Mexico’s recruitment: within the hotel and lodging industry: front desk clerks and housekeeping attendants; within the food and restaurant industry: cooks, kitchen helpers, food counter attendants and food and beverage servers (Manitoba only).

The pilot project will allow for workers to receive up to a two-year work permit, consistent with the Labour Market Opinion. Employers will still be required to seek a positive Labour Market Opinion from HRSDC/Service Canada, and workers will still need to apply to CIC for a work permit. Employers in Alberta and British Columbia will be asked to absorb the costs of English testing, medical assessments and work permits in exchange for their participation in the pilot.

Alberta and Manitoba officials would like to limit participation to a few employers with foreign worker recruitment experience who are willing to apply for groups of employees in the designated occupations in order to help ensure the pilot is successful.

Provincial Tourism Sector Council organizations – go2 in British Columbia and MTEC in Manitoba – have agreed to coordinate the pilot project on behalf of the Tourism and Hospitality industries in British Columbia and Manitoba. They are currently developing application processes for employers.

Alberta government officials want to move quickly and are hoping to meet with CRFA and small group of interested employers in the coming weeks to discuss next steps in the process. Manitoba officials will be setting up a similar meeting shortly.

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