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CLS hiring 700 skilled Filipinos

By August 3, 2022No Comments
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Sydney Palmer is doing his part to resolve widespread labour shortages in Canada, including farming, by hiring more skilled foreign workers to fill jobs.

Palmer is the president of CLS Consulting Ltd. in Lloydminster, who is heading back to the Philippines this week to add to the 400 pig farmers he just hired for employers mostly in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

“Between the two trips, we should hire almost 700 people,” said Palmer, with welders, carpenters, and dairy farmers in the mix along with pig farmers.

He says agricultural welders, carpenters and pig farmers are CLS’s three biggest trade hires right now.

CLS is a Canadian immigration service provider that does most of its overseas hiring through its New Life Opportunities Placement Agency Inc. in San Juan City in the Philippines.

“We’ve got some good meat cutting contracts this trip that I’m going over for,” said Palmer last week.

He notes they just signed a deal for 150 meat cutters, mostly for jobs in Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

Palmer says there isn’t a farm kid in Canada that wants to pick up those jobs. 

“The numbers just aren’t there and we’re 1.4 children per family in Canada, and we need two just to sustain ourselves,” he said.

He says a lot of farm workers retired during COVID and now that COVID has waned, that sector is really short of employees.

Statistics Canada reports the unemployment to job vacancy ratio is at a historical low in Canada in 2022.

In Saskatchewan, foreign skilled workers are hired through the province’s Immigrant Nominee Program as a pathway for permanent residency in Canada.

In provinces like Alberta and Ontario, employers apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment to determine if they can hire under the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program. 

Palmer’s daughter, Tara Shirtliffe, manages the Lloydminster office and says her phone is ringing off the hook with calls from employers requesting temporary foreign workers.

“There’s a huge demand for not just farm workers, but every industry,” said Shirtliffe.

She says CLS is bringing in hairdressers, ag manufacturing workers, pig barn workers and fast food service employers across Canada.

“It’s right across the board. Every industry seems to be booming right now,” said Shirtliffe.

Her role is to liaise with employers, help employers get government approval to hire foreign workers, and represent those workers.

“So, I submit their work permits and their permanent residence applications and make sure all the Is are dotted and the Ts are crossed,” explained Shirtliffe.

Meanwhile, all the hiring is done in person by Palmer with the Philippines being his preferred hiring country because CLS has an office there and Filipinos seem to gel well with Canadian culture.

“We don’t hire anybody that I don’t personally interview and I can’t be everywhere in the world,” said Palmer about his employer choice for Filipinos.

“The Filipinos like to stay together and they work better and they have a great attitude and Canadians like them,” he said.

Palmer has brought more than 5,000 people to Canada during his career and only four have gone back because family members couldn’t pass the medical.

“Anybody that can’t pass the medical that’s going to cost our health system money will get rejected,” he said, noting his staff in the Philippines pre-screen candidates for that.