April 29, 2013
Scams in Canada’s Foreign Worker Industry
The allure of cheap labour seems to be too much for some companies as a report from CBC outlines a recently surfaced scam regarding Indian IT companies that are being outsourced, pushing out Canadian IT workers.
Not only are companies bringing in cheaper workers, but insiders claim that the resumes of said workers have been exaggerated with experiences and certificates bought rather than earned.
TCS, one of India’s largest IT service companies, made over $10 billion in 2011-12, and claims BMO, CIBC and TD among its clients. Other companies providing IT work are iGate, for RBC, and Cognizant, for Loblaw and Manulife. TCS, the only company to respond to the allegation, denied the exaggeration of its employees’ resumes and the violation of any visa laws.
Insiders say that these multinationals have been taking advantage of a fast track in the work visa system called intra-company transfers. It allows companies to transfer employees to work in its Canadian branch office and once they’ve arrived they can renew their work permits for up to five years. However the transfer does require employees to have specialized skills or management abilities, qualifications that, according to insiders, are not actually being met. This creates a struggle for foreign workers here, requiring Canadian counterparts to help them but ultimately be replaced by the foreign workers.
“If what is being told is accurate,” said Mario Bellissimo in an interview with CBC, “we have a serious problem that there are Canadians that are being displaced by individuals that are not bringing specialized knowledge or significant benefit to Canada. And that totally runs contrary to the law as well as to the spirit of the policy.
An internal report on offices issuing visas in India in 2012-13 stated that to verify the qualifications India workers is labour intensive and frequently inconclusive.
In 2002, there were only 2,171 foreign workers from India, but by 2011 the figure had increased to 16,299. This significant increase has led to numerous lost jobs for Canadian IT workers, requiring the government to step in and look at the intra-company transfers to make sure that the system isn’t being abused.
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