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350,000 jobs available in Canada province over next 12 years
« on: January 30, 2008, 08:12:22 PM »
By Veronica Uy
First Posted 19:21:00 01/30/2008

MANILA, Philippine -- The Canadian province of British Columbia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Philippines to help fill its need for 350,000 skilled workers over the next 12 years.

The two-year MOU, signed between British Columbia’s Economic Development Minister Colin Hansen and Labor Secretary Arturo Brion January 29 in Vancouver, will help strengthen relations between B.C. employers and Philippine recruiters by providing more effective access to foreign workers, particularly those needed for temporary work in the tourism and hospitality, retail, and construction industries.

Although the MOU’s focus is on temporary workers, it does not prevent workers from being recruited on a permanent basis. The agreement also does not apply to live-in caregivers.

The Canadian province of and the Philippine government will work with Filipino recruiting agencies.

According to a background provided by Canada’s embassy here, the recruiters will ensure that potential workers pass the medical examination required by that country for temporary or permanent residents, don’t have a criminal record or outstanding custody or divorce dispute that might make them ineligible to become residents, have satisfactory English language skills, and possess the skills and knowledge sought by potential employers.

“Nothing in the MOU prevents British Columbia employers from recruiting workers in the Philippines on their own as long as they do so under the Philippine Labor Code,” it said.

“Employers, not employees, are responsible for paying the costs related to hiring workers. It is illegal to charge a person seeking work in B.C.,” it added.

At the same time, it noted that only agencies licensed by the Philippine government may recruit for work overseas.

“The British Columbia economy is growing at a rate faster than the overall Canadian economy and definitely faster than the overall American economy,” said Hansen in a statement released by the Canadian embassy here. “To maintain this momentum, we need to attract 30,000 workers per year with specific skills from outside B.C.”

Brion, for his part, welcomed the partnership. “Our agreement with B.C. truly confirms the opening of a new chapter of sharing Filipino labor with other countries through contract migration,” he said.

Earl Wilde, president of the B.C. Hotel Association, said the agreement will provide B.C. employers “effective, quicker access to foreign workers…We are looking to attract temporary or permanent immigrants in areas where we have labor shortages.”

The same background said that the MOU is commitment under WorkBC, the provincial action plan to address skills shortages. It also said that the Philippines is the third largest source country for immigrants to B.C.

“With more than a million new job openings expected over the next dozen years, and only 650,000 young people in the K-12 school system, meeting labor market demand will be a key challenge over the coming decade. It is anticipated that, by 2011, the majority of Canada’s labor force growth will be from immigration,” the backgrounder said.

British Columbia is the second jurisdiction in North America after Saskatchewan to formalize a partnership for recruiting skilled workers from the Philippines.

WorkBC noted that the Philippine government “has adopted a deliberate policy of labor export for more than three decades, giving it a number of advantages as a partner country for an agreement like this.”

B.C. is actively involved in foreign worker recruitment activities through programs such as the Provincial Nominee Program (established in 2001) and immigrant integration activities such as B.C.’s Skills Connect Program (helping new immigrants find jobs that match their skills, knowledge, and experience).


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