The protectionist stance sweeping through highly developed economies like US and UK with focus on saving local jobs has now seeped into Canada, which has ushered in substantive amendments to the rules governing the employment of temporary foreign workers.
This will make a large number of Indian IT companies operating in Canada to come under stringent scrutiny of their hiring processes and ensure there is no discrimination in salaries paid to locals and overseas hires. Almost all the leading Indian IT majors, including the likes of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys, Wipro and HCL Technologies, among others, have stationed themselves in Canada.
The new amendments, which have come into effect from December 31, 2013, under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations will impose greater compliance obligation on Canadian employers participating in the temporary foreign worker programme (TFWP) and also provide immigration officials with extensive authority to investigate and penalise companies where they are found to be non-compliant.
Talking to FE, Howard Greenberg, partner, global immigration leader, KPMG Canada, said that the prime objective of the new regulations is to see that Canadian jobs are preserved and create strict controls with higher level of accountability. “There is a perception in Canada that companies have taken advantage of TFWP to bring in large number of foreign workers at lower pay,” the KPMG official said.
The new regulations states: Employers must provide a temporary foreign worker with employment in the same occupation as that set out in offer of employment and with wages and working conditions that are substantially the same as but not less favourable than those in the offer. This would result in periodic checks on the wages paid by companies to their foreign workers to ensure that there is no disparity. Similarly, employers should also maintain the record of the foreign workers from the time of employment for a period of six years as against the earlier norm of two years.
Ever since the global financial crisis of 2007-08 and the resultant economic downturn, Indian software-services companies have been generally perceived in US or Europe as firms which take away local jobs or use resources from India at lower salary.
The new Canadian regulations also emphasises that during hiring, companies should exhaust all options of employing locals before turning towards foreign workers.
Sanjoy Sen, senior director, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India,