IRCC’s Recent Update Aims to Protect Newcomers
In a May 31, 2019 news release, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced the government is taking action to reunite families and protect individuals from abuse and violence. These efforts are meant to help vulnerable newcomers, workers, and families arriving from conflict areas around the globe.
This announcement is a response to cases where migrant employees experience abusive work environments, if not outright mistreatment while working under employer-specific work permits.
In such cases, migrant workers are left fearful of workplace abuse, punishment, and termination of employment, thus amplifying fears of jeopardizing their immigration status.
The government stated it firmly believes every worker in Canada is not only entitled to a healthy and safe work environment but that their rights must be respected.
– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Starting June 4, 2019, employer-specific work permits held by migrant workers who are in abusive job situations here in Canada are eligible to apply for an open work permit. Acquiring this type of permit will empower workers to leave abusive work environments while maintaining their status to find another suitable job.
As of July 26, 2019, migrant workers who suffer from family violence will also be eligible for legal immigration status in Canada that includes a work permit and healthcare coverage by applying for a fee-exempt temporary resident permit.
Furthermore, Canada is fast-tracking critical permanent residency applications on humanitarian and compassionate grounds for those suffering from violent family situations. However, this is only available for victims of family violence who are foreign nationals in Canada who have yet to obtain their permanent residence status and whose status in Canada is dependent on their abusive partner or spouse.
Finally, by September 9, 2019, the government will launch a pilot project lasting two years, allowing an individual who immigrated to Canada the ability to sponsor undeclared immediate family members. These sponsors must either be resettled refugees, conferred refugee protection in Canada, or were sponsored as a partner, spouse or dependent child.