Wednesday, April 16, 2008

We should take a look at the Immigration system in Canada.

Legal Foreign workers disappeared after arriving in Canada, P.E.I. mussel grower Says.

A mussel grower who took part in a federal foreign-worker program says he was burned to the tune of more than $50,000 when workers he brought over from Sri Lanka disappeared after two weeks.

Stephen Stewart, owner of Stewart Mussel Farms Inc. in Borden, P.E.I., testified Tuesday during a House of Commons standing committee on citizenship and immigration hearing in Fredericton.

He told the committee loopholes in immigration laws should be closed so employers can enforce contracts with foreign workers.

In May 2006, Stewart hired 11 workers from Sri Lanka through a private third party to work at his plant in Borden.

He told the committee it cost him more than $20,000 in return airfare for the workers, $20,000 for accommodations, the cost of a 12-seat van to provide transportation in and around Borden, and other incidentals in accordance with federal rules designed to accommodate foreign workers.

Stewart said the eight-month work agreement included a Canadian visa valid for a year.

"Two weeks after they arrived here they priced taxi fare to Ottawa, and two weeks after that they all disappeared," he told the committee.

Stewart said he complained to the Immigration Department and the RCMP.

"The RCMP searched my property and took the foreign workers' possessions they had left behind," he said. "Immigration officials said no laws were broken and there was nothing they could do.

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