Monday, October 6, 2014

Temporary Foreign Worker Data


I have a researcher who is looking for numbers of employed temporary foreign workers (TFWs) in the Prince George region (whatever geography she can get for this general area) by business/industry of employment and by country/region of origin. She is looking for as granular as possible, but she recognizes that she may have to go less granular.
Data like these tables from the NHS looked useful:

- <>
- <>

However, the researcher feels that NHS data would be seriously underreporting the numbers (ie. would the workers know about the NHS? Would they fill it out? Would language difficulties get in the way of them filling it out?). I think these are legitimate concerns re. using NHS data for this purpose. So, she's looking for other options--anything she can get. Is there any administrative data that would help her out? From CIC? From Employment & Social Development Canada?

I downloaded the CIC tables from the mirror site and provided her with all the tables for the Prince George CA. I think that these will be somewhat useful for her, but they are eight years out of date and rather limited for her purposes .Are they going to be giving us comparable updated data?


Unfortunately, the 2011 NHS includes temporary foreign workers in the non-permanent resident population. Non-permanent residents in the NHS are defined as persons from another country who, at the time of the survey, held a work or study permit or who were refugee claimants, as well as non-Canadian-born family members living in Canada with them. The non-permanent resident population is identified from responses to the citizenship and landed immigrant status questions. Persons who are not Canadian citizens by birth and who answered 'No' to the landed immigrant status question are considered non-permanent residents. The NHS does not further distinguish the different types of non-permanent residents (e.g., student, worker, etc).

There is also this excerpt from the Place of Birth, Generation Status, Citizenship and Immigration Reference Guide, National Household Survey, 2011: <>
which notes the difficulty in capturing data from non-permanent residents: "Although every attempt has been made to enumerate non-permanent residents, factors such as language difficulties, the reluctance to complete a government form or to understand the need to participate may have affected the estimate of this population." To assist people whose first language was neither English nor French, the NHS questions were translated into 31 other languages, including 11 Aboriginal languages.

Our only other suggestion for the client would be to use administrative data from the department of citizenship and immigration Canada on temporary residents.