Minister of Employment and Minister of Multiculturalism Jason Kenney responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 15, 2014.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick ORG XMIT: OTTK306Kenney termed it success of Foreign Workers Program overhaul

The Canadian Press

Ottawa: Employment Minister Jason Kenney says there’s been a significant decrease in applications for temporary foreign workers since the government announced an overhaul of the troubled program earlier this year.

Kenney extolled the success of the changes in response to queries from the opposition during the Commons question period.

His department says that the number of applications received in July and August was about 74 per cent lower than during the same time period in 2012, before the crackdown.

New rules introduced in June aim to make it more difficult for employers to hire temporary foreign workers, requiring them to meet strict criteria to ensure Canadians are first in line for jobs.

Some employers say the new rules are too onerous and produce problems in areas of the country with low unemployment.

Western premiers have also complained about the overhaul, saying their provinces have a pressing need for skilled labour.

© 2014 The Canadian Press