OTTAWA -- The federal employment minister says the next spate of changes to the temporary foreign workers program will likely include a limited fast track for workers in high-demand professions in regions with low unemployment.

Jason Kenney says the government plans to introduce Round 2 of its changes to the program in April.

The new changes appear aimed at appeasing businesses, trade associations and even some labour unions that have bemoaned the procedural red tape and lengthy delays caused by earlier restrictions.

Round 2 will speed up the so-called labour market opinion process in which federal officials determine whether to give a company the green light after it applies to hire temporary foreign workers, Kenney says.

The minister says he's keen to ensure that where there is a legitimate skills dearth, the government will make the program available to employers as a last resort.

Some stakeholders say the proposed changes could penalize companies in cities that need specialized, skilled workers, but which have unemployment rates above the national average.