The Secretary of State for the Portuguese Communities said this Friday in Canada that the two governments will collaborate more to “try to solve the situation of undocumented construction workers”.
“We were discussing a pilot project that exists in Toronto, in partnership with the Canadian Labor Congress, for undocumented construction workers in which there are 500 vacancies to legalize the situation of undocumented people,” said said Berta Nunes to the Lusa news agency.
The Secretary of State for Portuguese Communities is on an official visit to Canada, from Tuesday to Friday, where she has scheduled several meetings with leaders of the Portuguese community, Portuguese-Canadian politicians, visiting several Portuguese consular posts and passing through Winnipeg, Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto.
After having been in Winnipeg (Manitoba), the person in charge met this Thursday in Ottawa the Portuguese-Canadian federal deputies Alexandra Mendes and Peter Fonseca, as well as Catherine Scott, the deputy minister associated with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. from Canada.
“We stayed to exchange information and work more together to ensure that this pilot is a success and that it can then be extended to other provinces, with the hope of resolving the situation of undocumented workers, which is not no longer the problem it once was, but continues to be,” Berta Nunes said.
A new pilot program for undocumented construction workers came into effect on July 30, 2021 and will end on January 2, 2023, once 500 applications for permanent residence have been received at the Department of Immigration.
“This program has been affected a bit by the pandemic, but so far only 129 positions are filled. It is a program that is not only aimed at the Portuguese community, but at other communities,” he added.
This immigration program replaced another that came into effect in early January 2020, requiring, among several criteria, that civil construction workers have legally entered Canada, with temporary residence, or that they have resided in the country for at least least five consecutive years. on the date of the request.
According to Berta Nunes, the Canadian government “realized that there were barriers to legalizing these workers, including language requirements, proof of income, and how they entered the country” .
In this sense, Ottawa has adjusted the pilot program with the aim of making it successful and with more workers to “definitively settle their situation as undocumented migrants”.
“This is a pilot program for civil construction. It is important for the Portuguese, and civil construction is one of the areas in which the Portuguese worked the most when they started their immigration,” he stressed.
The Secretary of State for the Communities will inaugurate this Friday at 6:00 p.m. (10:00 p.m. in Lisbon) the art exhibition of the Portuguese-Canadian Charitable Society phrasesat the Consulate General of Portugal in Toronto, with a joint press conference with the AEP Foundation on the Global Diaspora Network scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (11:30 p.m. in Lisbon).
Data from the 2016 Canadian census reveals that there were 483,610 Portuguese and Portuguese descendants in Canada, or 1.4% of the country’s population. Most were in Ontario (69%), Quebec (14%) and British Columbia (8%).
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