Screen for skills, attitude

When it comes to bringing foreign workers into your operation, it pays to plan carefully and invest time in the process.

When it comes to bringing foreign workers into your operation, it pays to plan carefully and invest time in the process.

This was a message delivered on Wednesday by two people who specialize in helping Alberta employers bring foreign workers into the province. Martine Varekamp-Bos, an immigration consultant and member of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, and Henk Ten Wolde, owner of recruitment firm Dutch Western Canada Connection and a trade commissioner at the Trade Office at the Consulate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Edmonton, shared their expertise at a session in Red Deer organized by the Central Alberta Rural Manufacturers Cluster.

“It’s better not to take a foreign worker than to take the wrong one,” said Ten Wolde. That means screening not only for skill but for attitude, he said.

Employers should also carefully assess what their needs are so they can look for the right candidate — do you need someone to fill a narrow role or do you want someone who can help you grow your company?

Varekamp-Bos, based in the Ponoka-Lacombe area, also stressed the importance of proceeding carefully and deliberately.

“Hiring a foreign worker is a process that’s planned, and what you do at the beginning might affect whether this worker can stay or not.”

She described how the requirements for bringing a foreign worker to Alberta are complex and time-consuming, with both federal and provincial officials involved.

The national occupation classification code of the job must be identified, advertising for Canadian candidates conducted and an application made for a labour market opinion confirming that no domestic candidates are available.

It currently takes 10 to 12 weeks for a labour market opinion to be issued, plus up to several months more for a visa to be issued, depending on the applicant’s country.

“An employer will have to dedicate a lot of time to make sure they do it right,” she said, adding that many opt to hire a consultant, such as herself, to accelerate the process and reduce the risk of errors.

Ten Wolde agreed that a consultant can prove invaluable in preventing mistakes.

He and Varekamp-Bos anticipate that the need for foreign workers in Alberta will increase.

“The demand will be growing,” said Ten Wolde. “The only question will be, where are they coming from?”

Varekamp-Bos said she’s been getting more inquiries from employers, both as a result of business growth and retiring baby boomers.

Ten Wolde said Canada is generally considered a desirable place to live and work.

“Canada has a good name, especially in the Netherlands of course, with what happened in the Second World War.”

The Central Alberta Rural Manufacturers Cluster is a partnership between the Central Alberta Rural Manufacturers Association (CARMA) and Community Futures.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2019, file photo, an iPhone displays the Facebook app in New Orleans. Facebook says it’s going all in to block the spread of bogus vaccine claims. In practice, that means the social network plans to ban a new bunch of false claims in addition to the old bunch of false claims about vaccines or COVID-19 that it has already banned. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)
Facebook says it will pay $1B over 3 years to news industry

Facebook says it will choose which publishers it will support

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

NDP and Liberals both promised some kind of pharmacare program

Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is seen during an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says Admiral Art McDonald has voluntarily stepped down as Chief of Defence Staff due to an investigation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Admiral Art McDonald steps aside as defence chief amid investigation

Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre appointed acting chief of the defence staff

Meteor spotted over Edmonton, Alta., on Feb. 22, 2021 by several, who took to social media to share their surveillance camera captures. (@KixxAxe/Twitter)
VIDEO: Fireball meteor streaks across sky, spotted by early-morning risers in Alberta, B.C.

Videos of the quick streak of light flashing across the sky before 6:30 a.m. MST

Photo radar cameras are supposed to “augment” the work of regular police officers, yet 91 per cent of speeding tickets in the province are connected to the devices. (Black Press file photo).
March photo radar locations

Photo radar, mobile units and intersection cameras will be in action

Mike Ammeter (Photo by Rebecca Hadfield)
Sylvan Lake man elected chair of Canadian Canola Growers Association

Mike Ammeter is a local farmer located near the Town of Sylvan Lake

FILE - The Paramount Pictures gate is pictured on Aug. 23, 2016, in Los Angeles. The studio is joining other major Hollywood studios in slashing the traditional 90-day theatrical window. ViacomCBS on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, announced that the studio’s films, including “Mission: Impossible 7” and “A Quiet Place Part II,” will go to its fledgling streaming service, Paramount+, after 45 days in theaters. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
‘Mission: Impossible 7’ will hit Paramount+ even sooner

90-day theatrical window reduced to 45 days

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson yells to her sweepers at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Defending champion Einarson stays unbeaten in Tournament of Hearts

Players suggest a spectator-free debut made it less intimidating

Tiger Woods hits out of a bunker on the 17th hole on his way to winning the Canadian Open Championship at Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ont. on Sunday Sept.10, 2000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘The Tiger I know is a survivor and a fighter,’ Bill Paul weighs in on Tiger Woods

Woods was hospitalized after a single-vehicle crash near Los Angeles on Tuesday

Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich (33) makes a save on Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) as Flames' Christopher Tanev (8) and Joakim Nordstrom (20) defend during first-period NHL action in Toronto on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘Misunderstood’ Nylander ties game late, scores winner as Leafs beat Flames 2-1 in OT

‘Misunderstood’ Nylander ties game late, scores winner as Leafs beat Flames 2-1 in OT

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson yells to her sweepers at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Young Quebec team in the hunt to join Einarson, Homan in Hearts’ championship round

Young Quebec team in the hunt to join Einarson, Homan in Hearts’ championship round

Most Read