Temporary foreign workers in Canada: Reconstructing ‘belonging’, remaking ‘citizenship’

Using the results of ethnographic research and focus group interviews with Filipino temporary foreign workers in Alberta, Canada, the goal of this article is to bring temporary foreign workers into academic and policy discussions by critically assessing how they fare at different stages of the migration process. Such analysis shows the strengths of ideational, affective and structural factors in determining temporary foreign workers’ motivations and goals. Ultimately, this article shows that temporary foreign workers reconstruct belonging and remake citizenship by making membership claims in Canada on the basis of their economic and social contributions to the country. Such claims, however, are grounded in dual modes of belonging in both Canada and in the Philippines. Their participation in migrants’ rights organizations that endeavour to provide temporary foreign workers with pathways to permanent residency shows their belief in their ‘right to have rights’ (Isin, 2008).