Immigrants and visitors to Canada working for free a common occurrence, lawyers say
The practice of new immigrants working for free in order to gain Canadian work experience — either in a volunteer capacity or in an unpaid “work placement”— is common but may have implications for their status in Canada, immigration lawyers say.
Whether or not the arrangements are legal, immigration lawyers say it’s common for newcomers and visitors to Canada to seek unpaid work opportunities as a way to gain a foothold in the job market — but they may be putting their status in Canada at risk.
“Lots of people are well-intended and well-meaning when they offer the opportunity to come in and observe and job shadow,” said Barbara Jo Caruso, an Immigration and Citizenship law specialist who is also the Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s Immigration committee.
Ruchi Lall JENNIFER GAUTHIER FOR STARMETRO VANCOUVER