Portugal and Canada try to resolve the situation of undocumented workers

We have to debate an existing pilot project in Toronto, in partnership with the Canadian Labor Congress aimed at undocumented construction workers where there are 500 vacancies to legalize the situation of undocumented workers.“, said Berta Nunes to Lusa’s agency.

The Secretary of State for the Portuguese Community is on an official visit to Canada, from Tuesday to today (Friday), where he has scheduled several meetings with leaders of the Portuguese community, Portuguese-Canadian politicians, visited several Portuguese consular posts and passed through Winnipeg. , Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto.

“We continue to exchange information and work together so that this pilot is successful and can later expand to other provinces, with the hope of resolving the situation of undocumented workers which is no longer a problem as it used to be, but continues to be a problem.“, said Berta Nunes.

The new pilot program aimed at undocumented construction workers came into effect on 30 July 2021, ending on 2 January 2023, after 500 applications for permanent residency were received at the immigration ministry.

This program is somewhat affected by the pandemic, but so far only 129 vacancies have been filled. This is a program aimed not only at the Portuguese community, but also other communities“, he added.

This immigration program replaces another immigration program that took effect in early January 2020, which requires, among several criteria, that construction workers have entered Canada legally, with temporary residency, or that they have lived in the country for at least five consecutive years. -according to the date of application.

According to Berta Nunes, The Canadian government “is aware that there are several barriers to certifying these workers, namely with language requirements, in proof of income and in relation to how they enter the country.“.

In that regard, Ottawa adapted the pilot program with the aim of making it successful and with more workers to “resolve their undocumented situation with certainty”.

“This is a pilot program aimed at civil construction. This is important for the Portuguese, because civil construction was one of the fields that the Portuguese worked in the most when they started immigration”, he stressed.

Data from the 2016 Canadian census revealed that there are 483,610 of Portuguese and Portuguese descent in Canada, which is 1.4% of the population in the country.

Most were in Ontario (69%), Quebec (14%) and British Columbia (8%).

Clara Burton

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