Canada launches pilot for group hiring in Manila

Streamlined work permit process to help Canadian employers recruiting 50 or more employees

By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez

To fast track the hiring of a group of employees for critical jobs, the Government of Canada launched a streamlined work permit processing for its immigration office in Manila, Philippines.

Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced last Wednesday the launch of CAN Work Philippines—a pilot program at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s visa office in Manila—which coincides with the first-ever Philippines–Canada Friendship Week.

The pilot will streamline work permit processing for eligible Canadian employers and allow employers to schedule group appointments for medical examinations and biometrics for potential employees, so that skilled workers in the Philippines can come to Canada as soon as possible.

The pilot is open to Canadian employers recruiting from the Philippines and hiring approximately 50 or more workers, or for critical occupations in sectors such as health care, construction and agri-food.

The pilot is open to Canadian employers recruiting from the Philippines and hiring approximately 50 or more workers, or for critical occupations in sectors such as health care, construction and agri-food. (Pexels photo/Anna Shvets)

“Every year, thousands of temporary foreign workers from around the world bring their skills to Canada, helping to grow our economy and fill labour market shortages. This includes a substantial number of newcomers from the Philippines. The CAN Work Philippines pilot will give Canada an important advantage in the global race for talent and support our industries in addressing labour market shortages,” Miller said in a news release.

To participate in the program, employers must demonstrate their commitment to fair and ethical recruitment guidelines, as published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Additionally, IRCC is providing $200,000 to the IOM to support the adoption of fair and ethical recruitment standards in the Philippines. The funding will help the IOM work closely with the Government of the Philippines, conduct training sessions and promote the IOM’s Fair and Ethical Recruitment Due Diligence Toolkit to organizations that are either involved or have an interest in recruiting talent in the country.

Miller said the funding to the IOM also demonstrates Canada’s continued commitment to fair and ethical recruitment practices and will help ensure the health, safety and quality of life of temporary foreign workers.

The Philippines is an important partner for Canada’s Indo–Pacific Strategy and a major source of newcomers to Canada. These efforts will further strengthen the close social ties between our two nations while addressing critical labour shortages in the Canadian economy and further cementing Canada as a top destination for global talent.

“I am heartened by the launch of the CAN Work Philippines program, marking a significant step in the long-standing partnership between the Philippines and Canada. The Philippines–Canada Friendship Week not only symbolizes the strong bonds and shared values between our two nations, but it also stands as a testament to our joint commitment towards ethical and fair recruitment,” said Undersecretary Patricia Yvonne M. Caunan of the Department of Migrant Workers of the Philippines.

Caunan said initiatives that ensure transparency, fairness and adherence to global standards, as set by the International Organization for Migration, are also welcomed.

“Through cooperation and a mutual understanding of our responsibilities, we can pave the way for a brighter future for our migrant workers, strengthening the foundations of trust and collaboration between the Philippines and Canada,” she added.

Tristan Burnett, Chief of Mission in the Philippines, IOM, said they are inspired to see two countries working together to continue mainstreaming fair and ethical recruitment standards.

“This is important for the safeguarding of the welfare and the protection of the rights of overseas Filipino workers, a key component of both the Philippines’ National Action Plan and the Global Compact for Migration,” he added.

Immigration accounts for almost all of Canada’s labour force growth. Roughly 75% of Canada’s population growth comes from immigration. By 2036, immigrants will represent up to 30% of Canada’s population, compared to 20.7% in 2011.

The Philippines has long been an important source country of immigration for Canada. According to the 2021 Census, 960,000 people of Philippine origin live in Canada. Filipino nationals are also one of the top recipients of work permits. For the first 6 months of 2023, 1 in 10 Temporary Foreign Worker Program work permits were issued to Filipino nationals.

On June 6, 2023, Canada announced expanded access to its Electronic Travel Authorization Program to include the Philippines, giving more Filipinos access to visa-free travel by air.

Jointly organized by the Department of Migrant Workers of the Philippines and IRCC’s visa office in Manila, the Philippines–Canada Friendship Week will celebrate the strong social ties between the two countries and promote Canada as a destination of choice for workers from the Philippines. It will take place the week of October 23 in Manila and include information sessions on working in Canada, testimonials from Filipino workers, photo exhibits, a film screening and a tasting booth to sample Canadian cuisine.

Canadian employers interested in more information on the CAN Work Philippines pilot program can contact IRCC by email.

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