Temporary foreign worker worries about future in N.L.
Federal government imposed moratorium on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program last week
A man from India working in a fast-food restaurant in Conception Bay South is concerned about his future after Ottawa suspended the program that allows him to work here.
The federal government imposed a moratorium on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for the food service industry last week, in the wake of allegations that some workers were being abused through the program.
AnkushKochar, 22, was one of four people to come to Newfoundland and Labrador from India through the program.
Kochar was the first to arrive, landing in snowy St. John's in February 2013.
He's been working at the Mary Brown's restaurant in Conception Bay South for the last year.
If the Canadians want to work, there is jobs. We're not taking their jobs- Ankush Kochar
"I do really like being here. It's [a] good job, making good money," said Kochar.
Peter Bugden, who owns the restaurant in Manuels, said he hires people from other countries because it's often tough trying to find local workers.
Bugden said he's worried about the future of his business and for employees like Kochar.
"They are here and they have family that they're looking after and they don't want to go back — they want to become permanent Canadian citizens," Bugden said.
"There's, I think 16 people working here on staff, and seven of them are students and, you know, by all means I'm going to keep hiring those students, but you can't operate Monday to Friday during regular business hours with students because they are in school. So you need some people to fill those gaps, and that's where the foreign workers have come in. There's no one looking for full-time work to work in the fast-food industry."
But the federal government's moratorium is in place pending a review of the program, and that means a lot of uncertainty for Kochar and his co-workers.
Bugden said having the foreign workers has been a valuable experience for him and the other staff at the restaurant.
"After these fellas came, I become good friends with them and you know, I do things outside of work with them as well. They're really enjoying it ... it's been a really good experience for everybody."
Kochar said he has seen television reports accusing foreign workers of taking jobs away from Canadians. He's also heard stories about temporary foreign workers being treated poorly, but he told CBC News that has not been his experience.
"If the Canadians want to work, there is jobs. We're not taking their jobs. There is not just one person who is working on Canada for the temporary foreign workers [program]. There are more than 330,000 people who are working there. They are all going to suffer, not just the people who are working, but the restaurant owners who owns the places. They are also going to suffer and it's just because of one or two person's mistake."
Meanwhile, it's business as usual for Bugden at his restaurant, at least until his workers' contracts run out. Kochar's will be the first to expire in October.