Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Temporary Foreign Workers in British Columbia: Unfree Labour and the Rise of Unscrupulous Recruitment Practices

Document type Thesis
Author Rodgers, Alexandra Ellen
Degree Master of Arts, Sociology and Anthropology
Publisher Simon Fraser University; Burnaby, BC
Date 2016
Pages 128 pages


The political and economic processes of neoliberalization have led to the intensification of worker exploitation. In Canada, Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) who enter through the Low-waged Streams of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) are amongst the most vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. This thesis uses theories on unfree labour, state transformation, and anti-racism, along with data generated through qualitative research, to examine the state legislated exploitation of TFWs in British Columbia. I argue that the unscrupulous recruitment of TFWs into British Columbia is the functional process through which labour flexibility and unfreedom is achieved within the larger project of neoliberalization. I conclude by considering how regulatory reform of labour markets can be used in conjunction with anti-racist and anti-imperialist political demands that aim to challenge the functional processes of neoliberalization.