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Ottawa investigating foreign worker permits for Chinese miners in BC

VANCOUVER - The federal government is investigating foreign worker permits that will bring Chinese miners to British Columbia to determine whether the applications meet federal requirements.

Labour leaders have raised numerous concerns about permits obtained by HD Mining to bring 200 temporary workers to B.C. for its proposed Murray River coal mine.

Among those concerns is that foreign workers will be hired instead of British Columbians, and labour groups have insisted there are local workers who can do the job.

Alyson Queen, press secretary for the federal human resources minister, says the department has launched an investigation to determine whether the applications for foreign worker permits met all the requirements.

One of those requirements is that an employer demonstrate it has exhausted all efforts to hire Canadian workers, which the government then uses to form its assessment of the labour market.

Queen says the government wants to ensure that Canadians have first crack at employment opportunities in this country, though she could not say when the department's investigation will be finished.

[Editor's note: Freelance writer Jeremy Nuttall has filed several reports on this story for The Tyee. Find his previous stories -- the top four listed on his bio page -- here.]

For more from the Canadian Press, click here or scroll down The Tyee's main page.

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