Minister Mendicino will make an announcement regarding new “pathways for immigration” on April 14, 2021 at 1:30pm EST. Migrant Rights Network will be available for comment immediately after.
Canada, April 13, 2021 — The Migrant Rights Network – Canada’s largest migrant led coalition with membership in 9 provinces – calls on Immigration Minister Mendicino to announce immediate permanent resident status for all 1.6 million people in the country currently without it. The Migrant Rights Network also calls on the federal government to ensure that all low-waged migrants that arrive in the future do so with permanent resident status.
“Any multi-tier system of immigration where some have permanent residency – and therefore rights to decent work, healthcare, family unification and freedom from reprisals – while others are temporary or without status engenders exploitation. The public has seen this exposed in extreme and deadly ways during COVID-19,” says Syed Hussan from the Migrant Rights Network Secretariat. “All of us are essential, nothing short of full and permanent immigration status for all is an acceptable response to the current crisis.”
(1) Status for All is not the same as a ‘Pathway to Immigration’. ‘Pathways’ are multi-step processes in which migrants must remain temporary for years. Temporary status means not having equal access to rights and services. Some temporary work programs tie workers to employers, creating a massive power imbalance that makes it impossible for workers to assert basic workplace rights – the abuse faced by farm workers and care workers in COVID-19 has been well documented. Study and work permit holders are often unable to access basic healthcare, income supports in times of emergency and also face labour exploitation because of limits on where and how much they can work. We do not need more temporariness. We need permanent resident status for all.
(2) ‘Pathways’ already exist for some temporary residents (care workers, students, refugees, farmworkers, etc.), and they have proven to be nothing but minefields of abuse. ‘Pathway’ programs include educational, language and length of work requirements that are impossible to meet. These requirements breed abuse by forcing workers to accept bad working conditions in the hopes of possibly qualifying for permanent resident status one day. The recently announced ‘Guardian Angels’ program for example, excluded most occupations in healthcare, and were restricted to refugee claimants who had received a work permit.
(3) Migrants who cannot meet the restrictive requirements of pathway programs often lose their status and are often forced to stay in Canada, excluded from almost all rights and protections.
(4) Over 450 labour, civil society and environmental organizations and tens of thousands of people have signed a petition calling for full and permanent immigration status for all: www.StatusforAll.ca.
(5) Migrant Rights Network demands the government meet with migrant organizations to create a Status for All program that includes at least the following:
- A moratorium on all detentions and deportations is put in place immediately to ensure undocumented people applying for status are protected. During this time, all undocumented and migrant residents in Canada should get immediate and open work authorization and full access to all basic entitlements;
- A regularization process must be created where all migrants in the country get permanent residence status or citizenship, without any exclusions by work history, previous immigration status, health status, previous access to social assistance, criminality, and without any other language or education requirements.
- All low-waged workers arriving in Canada in the future should arrive with Permanent Resident status if they so choose.
National – Karen Cocq, Migrant Rights Network, 647-970-8464
Alberta – Vanessa Ortiz, 403-612-7396
Atlantic – Stacey Gomez, 902-9994458
British Columbia – Byron Cruz, 604-315-7725