Foreign Worker Controversy

Foreign Worker Controversy

Recently, Microsoft has been given the green light to bypass the labour market impact assessment (LMIA) to hire foreign trainees, and as shown in the draft plan from Microsoft Center of Excellence. The fact that the new Microsoft Training center in British Columbia would consist of more foreign workers than Canadian workers seem to stir up quite a bit of anger.

The anger comes from two sources. On one hand, many Canadians worry that their jobs are being taken away, as new Canadian college grads struggle to seek employment becomes an increasingly concerning issue. Microsoft claims that they will only hire qualified Canadians and they will turn to foreign workers as a solution if there is lack of domestic labour. However, it has been seen as an empty promise with regards to creating more job opportunities for Canadians. Microsoft is somewhat justified for their decision. The nature of tech business does require innovation, and hiring foreign workers is their way to compete for top talents to ensure the success of company. In reality, the prosperity of Silicon Valley cannot be replicated without the competency of top talents from all over the world, and now that Vancouver aims to be the next tech hub, it only makes sense that bringing talents overseas would be viable method.

Microsoft

On the other hand, many smaller tech companies in Vancouver, and in Canada do feel like they are getting the shorter end of the stick. The smaller companies are looking for ways to grow and to expand, and they need the help of foreign talents just as much as Microsoft, if not more. While Microsoft is given exemption for the LMIA, the smaller firms have to get through this rigorous process of passing the assessment regardless, which recently has become more complicated than the previous labour market opinion (LMO) that is required to employ in foreign workers. As a result, their opportunities for success become more limited.

The idea of having foreign workers in Canada usually associates with exploitation as well as the idea of taking jobs away from Canadians. Undoubtedly, foreign workers do raise a lot of concerns. However, at the same time, they could be beneficial in the long run in terms of growth and innovation. If that is something that Canada aims to achieve, perhaps having qualified individuals from abroad working in Canada is an inevitable process. As for concerned Canadians, opportunities are never only limited in Canada; just as competitions happen on a world stage, opportunities become available on a global scale at the same time.

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