Temporary foreign worker program a good fit for business

Posted by on Feb 27, 2014 in News | No Comments


Reprinted from the Prairie Post,  Feb 14, 2014

Imagine Immigration in the Prairie Post

The original story as it appeared in the Prairie Post

by Gail Kesslar

As Saskatchewan continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, so too grows the number of jobs that are being created here.  While some of the numbers needed to fill those jobs have been sourced through young people who no longer have to leave the province in order to find work, a great number of workers have also been sourced from overseas under Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program.  A program that Pat Rokochy at Cypress Motors in Swift Current has had experience with firsthand.

“We’ve had a huge need to fill our technician quota in the shop with good qualified technicians,” says Rokcochy. “They are extremely hard to come by in the market right now, so the discussion came around the management table about looking overseas.”

Imagine Immigration Temporary Foreign Workers

Anika Henderson meets with Cypress Motor’s Pat Rokochy and employees Welbour Welbour Espartero and Emiliano Gallanosa

Knowing they’d need help from a professional, and looking to the growing number of professionals that are cropping up all over Canada, Rokochy said they were initially approached by a consultant from Regina before they realized they were fortunate enough to have one right here in their own backyard.

“I was talking to my wife,” says Rokochy, “and she mentioned that Anika Henderson is also a consultant. I had known Anika from her previous position with the Newcomer Welcome Centre, here in Swift Current, but I didn’t realize until that point that she was now an Immigration Consultant.”

Getting in touch with Henderson, who owns and operates Imagine Immigration, Rokochy says the thing that sold him on putting his trust with Henderson was her local connection to newcomers.

“We wrestled with the decision,” admits Rokochy.  “Would you maybe get more higher qualified applicants to look at going the one route? Or would you be better off to have someone with a connection to the community?  And it was that connection to the community that for us ultimately had more value.”

Welbour Espartero

Welbour Espartero is originally from the Philippines and is currently working as an Automotive Technician for Cypress Motors in Swift Current

A value that’s proven itself in the fit Cypress Motors has found in their two new employees, Welbour Espartero and Emiliano Gallanosa, both from the Philippines.

“We’ve been very fortunate to have been able to find two excellent candidates,” says Rokochy. “They’re wonderful people who have fit in here seamlessly.”

A fit that Rokochy attributes to not only the personal service that Henderson was able to offer, but also his own and Cypress Motors’ dedication to ensuring that both Espartero and Gallanosa felt like they were a part of the Cypress Motors team.  Something that for Rokochy has been an amazing experience as he gets to know the two men better and learn of their personal stories.

“I don’t think people appreciate enough the sacrifices these guys make. I mean, I have kids of my own, they both have two kids and a wife that they’ve left behind halfway across the world. And after the typhoon that hit the Philippines, where they were only able to watch it all unfold on television like the rest of us – I couldn’t even fathom the helplessness they must have felt.”


Founder and President Anika Henderson of Imagine Immigration, Saskatchewan's premiere Immigration Consulting firm.

Founder and President Anika Henderson of Imagine Immigration, Saskatchewan’s premiere Immigration Consulting firm.

As Temporary Foreign Workers, there is a risk, however slight, that once they leave, they might not be allowed back into the country. A risk Espartero had to weigh the costs of recently when his uncle, who was the primary caregiver in his youth, passed away.

“Because both of his parents were gone early, Welbour’s uncle was the man who put him through school and did everything for him,” says Rokochy. “Yet because of his status he really had to wrestle with the decision of whether to attend his funeral or not. I don’t know if people really realize all they have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice to have a life and a future here.”

Imagine Immigration story on Temporary Foreign Workers Featured in the Prairie Post

Emiliano Gallanosa is also from the Philippines and hopes one day to be able to have his family join him in Canada

Speaking personally with Espartero, who gets tears in his eyes when he speaks of all that he has left behind, you learn that despite the four long years he and his wife have been separated, (he had worked in Dubai prior to coming to Canada), it has been a sacrifice both he and his wife have been willing to make for the chance to live in Canada.

“Life in Canada is awesome,” says Espartero. “It’s far, far different from back in my country of the Philippines. I really love it here. I want to live here with my family for the rest of my life. Everyone has been so wonderful and have given me assistance.  If you need something there are people to help you. And I really appreciate that.”

For other businesses thinking of looking to Temporary Foreign Workers as a possible solution to their own Human Resource needs, Rokochy cautions that while they have had 100% success with their solution, it’s not as easy as first it may seem.

“It’s a risk. There are significant costs involved and it’s the risk of who are you really bringing over?  You can look at resumes all day, you can do all the research and be as diligent as you can be, but until that person walks through the door you don’t really know who you’ll be getting.”

“Our success with the program” continues Rokochy, “I think comes from the benefits that Anika brings by being personally invested.  You can see right away when she sees those two guys in the shop that there is an extremely friendly smile between them. There’s a personal connection there, it’s not just a business transaction. We’re talking about people and lives here. So it’s more than just that business transaction, it’s the personal touch and the involvement that she puts in. Thing like, when Welbour got here she lined up the housing for him. She lined up the bedding for him. Not everybody is going to do things like that, and that’s the gift and the personal touch that she brings to her business.”

Moving forward Rokochy says they are still on the lookout for more workers, and are working with Henderson to bring two more applicants into the business, with the hope of sourcing one additional candidate from the U.K. Partially because the process is a shorter one, and partially because Automotive Technicians from the U.K. also have exposure and experience with Ford products prior to their arrival.

“We’re still looking for that Ford Diesel technician,” says Rokochy.  “That’s our biggest need and we’re hoping that there’s someone available for that over in Ireland or other parts of the U.K.”

“If you’re looking to hire Temporary Foreign Workers for your business,” advises Rokochy. “You need to have the connections and a network of support, like the kind that Anika brought to us.  It will greatly increase your chances of retaining someone.”

Cypress Motors in Swift Current

Cypress Motors in Swift Current


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