Understanding foreign worker issues: Intra-company transfers vs. temporary foreign worker programs

May 31st, 2013 by Laura Bowman

A large number of migrant worker issues have been discussed in the media lately.  However, there are different migrant worker programs in Canada, and these give rise to different legal and policy issues. Unfortunately, the press has referred to all programs as the “temporary foreign worker” program and has failed to explain the different categories and processes involved. Calling these programs a “temporary foreign worker program” is vague; it is like saying there is an “environmental program” rather than a collection of laws that govern the use and treatment of the natural environment in its various forms.

The entry of temporary foreign workers is guided by Immigration and Refugee Protection Act regulations and the general provisions of the Temporary Foreign Workers Guidelines, and is supplemented by provisions contained in international trade agreements for citizens of signatory countries.

Many of the recent controversial transfers rely on the “intra-company transfer” program. The intra‑company transfer program originated under NAFTA and it has become even more explicit recently. This program is very popular with employers who exist as a “multi‑national” corporate entity.

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Filed in: Human Rights

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