The Chronicle Herald (Provincial)
‘There’s still much to be done’
Advocacy group calls for expansion to immigration draw
The federal government announced Wednesday a temporary pathway to permanently keep migrant workers in Canada.
The one-time immigration program is to issue up to 90,000 immigration invitations to essential workers and international graduates. The new policy is not only time limited (from May 6 to Nov. 5) but has a cap on all English streams.
The program received so much early buzz that within hours of the announcement, the two official language test websites were down.
“Our immigration system has long been focused on those who will contribute. Now, we have a unique opportunity to recognize those who are already contributing,” Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said in a virtual announcement.
The new policy focuses on migrant workers with either past experience in essential occupations or Canadian educational credentials. However, there's no specification on their current occupation — as long as they are working inside the country, the prospective immigrant is eligible to apply.
The program does require applicants to have a valid temporary status as well as a certain level of language proficiency in either English or French. The applicant needs to attain at least benchmark 4 in either official language for each of the four language skill areas, as set out in the Canadian Language Benchmarks or the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens.
Stacey Gomez from No one is illegal — Halifax/kjipuktuk said this temporary policy is leaving out the migrant workers with the most precarious status.
“This announcement still leaves many people behind, it leaves behind people who are undocumented, or who don't have migration status in Canada; it leaves behind people who do not have proficiency in English,” said Gomez.
Gomez said undocumented people could be people who were migrant workers and lost their immigration status or asylum seekers whose applications were rejected.
“With today's announcement, we have moved a step forward, but there's still much to be done,” said Gomez.