Canada may grant easier residency for foreign workers: minister

Canada's Immigration Minister John McCallum speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada may make it easier for temporary foreign workers to get permanent residency and eventual citizenship, Immigration Minister John McCallum said on Sunday.

Speaking on CTV television’s “Question Period,” a national politics talk show, McCallum did not give details, saying he was waiting for a parliamentary report on the matter to be introduced in September.

Canada’s Liberal government has said it is revamping the program, which brings in workers who are often in low-skilled positions. Local unions have criticized it for depressing wages and affecting Canadian jobs, and workers and advocacy groups have complained of poor conditions and rights violations.

The workers already have paths to permanent residency that have been criticized as too difficult.

When asked whether Canada will consider loosening the rules, McCallum said the government “is certainly considering providing a pathway to permanent residence” to the workers.

“We think that those who come, in general, should have a pathway to permanent residence more so than is the case today,” he said. “If they’re on a pathway to permanent residence, they’re only temporary for a while, and then they become full Canadians.”

McCallum’s ministry, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Canada in June watered down measures to limit the number of low-wage temporary foreign workers that firms can hire after complaints the restrictions would cause major labor shortages.

Farmers and meat processors had complained the limit would result in labor shortages.

Reporting by Ethan Lou in Toronto; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe