In effort to protect foreign workers, B.C. makes recruiter licensing mandatory by Oct. 1

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – In a bid to protect temporary foreign workers, the B.C. Ministry of Labour says recruiters will have to be licensed by October 1st of this year.

The new requirement is an attempt to hold abusive recruiters accountable and prevent them taking advantage of workers.

“Workers coming to a new country must be confident that their rights are protected and that abusive recruiters will be held accountable,” Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, said. “Licensing will help regulate the recruiting industry in B.C. and will ensure a level playing field for those recruiters who treat workers fairly.”

Even those whose businesses are not based in B.C. will have to be in compliance by the fall or face fines of up to $50,000.

In addition to the licensing requirement, the province says information about these recruiters will be available online. This will allow employers as well as people from other countries to know which recruiters are licensed and in good standing.

The licences apply to individual recruiters and not a company or business.

There’s no fee for the license itself but recruiters do need to pay the government a bond of $20,000 to be held in trust.

“Every day we see cases of foreign workers experiencing exploitation or abuse, such as recruiters taking possession of passports or charging illegal fees,” Natalie Drolet, who is the executive director of the Migrant Workers Centre, said. “Registering recruiters is important to stopping these practices.”

These changes are part of the first phase of the province’s Temporary Foreign Worker Protection Act. The second phase will involve establishing a new registration requirement for anyone who hires temporary foreign workers.

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