Canada seeing spike in temporary visas as migrant worker advocates raise alarm

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OTTAWA — A federal report says applications for temporary resident visas issued to international visitors, students and temporary workers have more than tripled since 2015, stretching the Immigration department’s ability to process them.

The Immigration department’s annual plan shows that in the fiscal year that ended March 2018, officials issued more than 5.7 million temporary visas and electronic travel authorizations, an increase from the 1.3 million two years earlier.

Federal officials say the surge is due in part to an increase in international tourists to Canada.

But the rise in demand is setting off alarms with advocates for migrant workers and students.

The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change says the numbers highlight Canada’s increasing reliance on temporary workers and students who don’t have the same rights and protections as other immigrants, and is calling for them to have permanent status upon arrival.

The group is presenting a petition signed by over 50,000 people to Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen highlighting the case of one international student facing deportation because he exceeded the maximum number of hours he was allowed to work in a week.

The Canadian Press