British Columbia

NDP MP immigration critic pushes back on new foreign worker regulations

The federal government is giving migrant workers who are in abusive situations with employers the opportunity to apply for open work permits.

'For a lot of these migrant workers, it is very difficult for them to seek the help that they need'

NDP MP forVancouver East and critic for Multiculturalism, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship says the new migrant worker regulation doesn't go far enough. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

The federal government is giving migrant workers who are in abusive situations with employers the opportunity to apply for open work permits.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says this will help migrant workers across Canada who are being abused.

"We're moving forward with these changes to better protect temporary foreign workers who add so much to our economy," Hussen told Stephen Quinn, the host of CBC's The Early Edition.

Most migrant workers are bound to 1 employer

Jenny Kwan, the NDP MP for Vancouver East and the critic for Multiculturalism, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship says, it's a good first step, but the changes don't go far enough to protect all migrant workers.  

She wants the government to provide migrant workers with open work permits and landed status when they come to Canada.

"If they're good enough to work here, aren't they good enough to stay?" asked Kwan.

Kwan says the new regulation doesn't help the 27 foreign workers she's currently trying to get open permits for.

The migrant workers came to Canada to work on the Golden Eagle Farms with the Aquilini Group and when they arrived, she says, the employer said there were no jobs. 

"They want to work ... but when they come here ... they are told that there is no work," and they don't qualify for open permits because they have no record of employment, Kwan told Quinn.

The government says the new measures include an employer compliance inspection when an application is made for open permits. 

with files from The Early Edition

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