BPO major iGate faces investigation by Canada on foreign workers hiring policy

Infotech Lead America: Canada is investigating a report that Royal Bank of Canada is using temporary foreign workers hired by outsourcing company iGate to effectively replace existing staff.

According to a report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Royal Bank of Canada, a government-owned bank, is planning to eliminate about 50 employees in its investor services division in Toronto and have the work done by outsourcing company iGate.

This situation is not acceptable to the Canadian government, Reuters reported.

In fact, iGate was ranked No.2 in the ‘Best Employer Survey in Greater Toronto Area’ conducted by Aon Hewitt in collaboration with Queen’s University, Canada.

RBC said on Sunday it had not directly hired temporary foreign workers to take over the work of its current employees.

Zabeen Hirji, the bank’s chief human resources officer, said RBC looked to suppliers like iGate to ensure it complies with existing Canadian laws. She said she was not sure of the exact visa status of iGate’s employees working at the Canadian offices of the bank.

“We ask them to follow all the rules and regulations for everything including employment. iGate has to answer that question. The bank is seeking information from iGate about the status of the workers,” Hirji added.

Canada’s Conservative government has already said it will review a temporary foreign worker program that lets employers fill jobs with non-Canadians when qualified citizens or permanent residents are not available because of skills and labor shortages.

Labour groups say employers are not doing enough to find Canadians to fill those jobs.

In a statement after the CBC report, human resources minister Diane Finley said late on Saturday that Canadians must always be the first in line for hiring opportunities.

The program was never intended as a means to bring in temporary foreign workers in order to replace already-employed Canadian workers. This is why we have launched a review of the program, she said in a statement.

The government minister said she instructed staff to work with citizenship and immigration officials “to determine the next steps” in the RBC and iGate situation.

RBC’s Hirji said about 45 workers were affected by the outsourcing plan. She said so far about 20 of those were set to find other jobs in the bank or had accepted retirement packages. She added the hope is a majority will find work somewhere within RBC.

iGate has reported 38 percent growth in 2012 revenue to $1.07 billion against $779.6 million in 2011. Its net profit grew 89 percent to $97.2 million from $51.5 million. Gate’s revenue contribution from Canada is not known. iGate works with several top enterprises in the U.S.

For instance, a Fortune 100 company, one of the largest supplemental insurance providers in the U.S.,

engaged iGate to launch a senior care insurance product in a short timeframe. Through its iTOPS TPA

platform, iGATE ensured that the cost of administration of the insurance product will be variable with a

low percentage of premiums, ensuring high margins and profitability for the client.

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