The Government of Canada has announced a new immigration program that will allow undocumented construction workers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to apply for Permanent Residency.
LIMITED SLOTS AVAILABLE FOR NEW PILOT PROGRAM
The pilot program will accept applications from 500 foreign workers. The program will be coursed through the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), who will pre-screen and forward qualified applicants to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
According to representatives from CLC, there are thousands of foreign workers in the construction industry in Canada. Most have been in Canada for several years, and have already established their lives in the country.
CANADA WILL NEED MORE THAN 25K CONSTRUCTION WORKERS IN THE NEXT TEN YEARS
According to a study conducted by Build Force Canada, the province of Ontario will need over 25,000 construction workers in the next 10 years to replace the ranks left by over 90,000 who are scheduled to retire.
Toronto has more construction cranes currently active than anywhere else in North America, indicative of the number of projects currently being undertaken.
CLC has been working closely with IRCC to develop the pilot program.
PILOT PROGRAM OPEN TO GTA CONSTRUCTION WORKERS
Only foreign workers in the construction industry from Toronto, and Durham Region, Halton Region, Peel Region and York Region can apply.
To apply for this pilot program, foreign workers must have entered Canada legally. They must also have lived in Canada for at least five years.
Proof of income tax payments must also be provided, as well as proof of language proficiency in English or French.
Foreign workers must also have a family member living in Canada as a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident, OR have a spouse or child in Canada.
Foreign workers applying under this program must also have a clean record to be able to apply. Foreign workers with criminal offences (except for overstaying their original visas) will not be able to apply.
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA TO PROTECT VULNERABLE FOREIGN WORKERS
Only 500 spots will be available under this pilot program.
The Government of Canada said in a statement: “Without valid immigration status, these workers and their families have lived in fear and been left feeling very vulnerable. The presence of out-of-status workers in a significant industry leads to depressed wages for Canadians and makes workers vulnerable to employer exploitation and abuse. This temporary initiative is a step forward to increase the protection of some of these construction workers and their families, while safeguarding Canada’s labour market and ensuring that Canada can retain the workers it needs to grow the economy and build communities.”
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