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Visas and permits for foreigners: Changes in Ottawa could be dangerous for small and medium-sized businesses

Visas and permits for foreigners: Changes in Ottawa could be dangerous for small and medium-sized businesses

The announced two-year cap on foreign student visas and changes to work permits for spouses may pose a risk to small and medium-sized businesses, which are already suffering from staff shortages.

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That's the conclusion reached by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“We understand why the government wants to impose limits, but it must act cautiously and consider the impacts it will have on the broader economy. We must take all factors into account, especially “When we know that the labor shortage has resulted in a deficit of more than $38 billion for our small and medium businesses in 2022.”

In late January, Minister Mark Miller announced a two-year cap on international student visas as well as changes surrounding work permits for spouses and graduate students.

Furthermore, the CFIB also fears that public institutions will have an advantage over private colleges, since the distribution of permits between colleges and universities will fall under the jurisdiction of the provinces.

The federal government has also indicated that it is reviewing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

A 2021 CFIB report found that 16% of SMEs used the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to address their employment issues with a success rate of 52%. This success rate is much higher than the rate of increasing salaries (31%) and increasing flexibility in working hours (38%).

“SMEs are already facing many challenges due to inflation. Now is not the time to exacerbate labor shortages by making hiring workers from immigrant backgrounds more complex, expensive and difficult,” added Yasmin Genette, Vice President of National Affairs at CFIB.

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