New legislation pertains to foreign workers and employers.
On Oct. 11, the provincial government proclaimed the Foreign Workers Recruitment and Immigration Services Act to protect foreign workers.
On Wednesday the Ministry of the Economy is hosting two information sessions to explain the legislation, what effects it has and the new rights and responsibilities. The first session is for employers from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and the second is for newcomers, foreign nationals, ethno-cultural organizations and service providers from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Both sessions will be held at the Moose Jaw Newcomer Welcome Centre, formerly the Gateway, at 432 Main St. N.
“The Act ensures fair treatment and production of foreign workers in the province … It’s the first of its kind in this province and it helps protect foreign workers, recruiters and foreign nationalists through the recruitment and immigration phases,” said Kirk Westgard, executive director of the ministry. “It’s probably the most progressive legislation of its kind in Canada.”
The act makes it “illegal to engage in unethical practices such as withholding passports and other legal documents, threatening deportation or providing misleading information about the type of work or salary,” said a ministry release.
“It requires immigration recruiters and consultants to be licensed and sign open and transparent contracts with employers and foreign nationals,” said Westgard. “It also would require employers to be registered and through the registration licensing process we will ensure that agencies involved with immigration do not have any outstanding provincial labour standards or Occupational Health and Safety issues.
“It’s put in there to prohibit employers from charging or recovering recruitment fees from foreign nationals.”
The act added foreign workers and immigrants can seek compensation if they must pay a fee resulting from a violation of the legislation.
Anyone who disobeys the act will be fined up to $50,000 for an individual and $100,000 for a corporation and up to one year in prison.
Since 2007, close to 48,000 new immigrants have moved to Saskatchewan. Westgard said there are about 12,000 newcomers to the province every year.
“Immigration has increased substantially since 2007,” said Westgard. “We want to ensure that everyone’s protected and being open and transparent when recruiting and immigration foreign nationalists to Saskatchewan.”
He added anyone can attend the sessions.
“I think it’s important that individuals understand what’s going on and that there’s some rights and responsibilities that help protect foreign workers in the recruitment stage,” said Westgard. “It works with both employers, recruiters, consultants and foreign nationals to ensure an open and transparent process.”
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