More than 37,000 Vancouver residents are temporary foreign workers, but little is known about their impact on the city

Foreign Worker, Local Neighbour from TFW Vancouver on Vimeo.

Research conducted for Mayor Gregor Robertson’s Working Group on Immigration has discovered that more than 37,000 Vancouver residents are here on temporary foreign workers’ permits, doing jobs as varied as live-in caregiving, construction and engineering.

Some of their voices are in this video.

Who are these people and what are their impacts on the city? No doubt they contribute to the economy, because each one is here at the command of an employer.

But what are their impacts on housing, transportation and other city services? Are their rights protected? What happens if they wish to quit their job, or are fired?

All these issues are explored in Foreign Worker, Local Neighbour, a Working Group project that sponsored a packed forum Saturday at the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library.

Should the programs be scrapped, as many at the forum urged? Or should they be reformed, as others proposed?

The Working Group is seeking wider public feedback and will publish its preliminary conclusions in a report to mayor and council in July. In the meantime, your comments and observations are welcome, either directly to me or through the Foreign Worker, Local Neighbour website.