During the past few weeks, I have received letters from several persons seeking solutions to immigration problems. This week I will reply to one of the letters which came from a migrant farm worker.
I believe his question will be of interest to many readers of this column. However, please note that the information provided in this column should not be taken as legal advice.
Dear Mr. Ram:
I have been a migrant farm worker in Canada for several years. I have a secondary education and I am single. Do y you think it is possible for me to get permanent resident status in Canada.? I have a Canadian girl friend whom I met on the farm and during the years that I have worked in Canada we have had a good relationship and it is our intention to get married but I have no status. What are my chances?
In reply to your question, I wish to point out that as a Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) you came to Canada to meet the labour needs of Canadian employers in the agricultural field according to conditions as set out by your Government and the Canadian employer.
The agricultural sector incorporates occupations that reflect a variety of skill levels. In an effort to balance the temporary employment needs of employers with the protection of workers, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) has a variety of streams that employers can use to hire TFWs. Let us examine the Agricultural Stream.
- TFWs can be from any country
- production must be included on the National Commodities List
- activities must be related to on-farm primary agriculture.
It should be noted that under the Agricultural Stream, TFWs hired in higher-skilled positions such as management, professional and technical occupations are eligible for permanent residency as long as they meet all of the immigration requirements set by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or the Provincial Nominee Program.
Recently, a well known group known as Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) held a news conference and called upon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to grant permanent resident status to migrant farm workers. The group has put forward a number of important issues affecting these workers.
As J4MW noted, a worker is tied to one employer and has to work and live under the conditions set out by the employer. If the worker leaves the farm. the Canada Border Services Agency will issue a warrant for his or her arrest.
The J4MW is making some just and reasonable demands and it is up to the government to meet their demands. If the Government decides to do so, the laws will have to be changed to allow migrant workers to become permanent residents.
As to whether you can get permanent status as an agricultural worker, the answer, in my opinion, is no. The Government has to change the regulations under which agricultural workers are brought into Canada as the terms and conditions are too restrictive.
In your current situation , you must return to you country after the expiry of your contract and meet the relevant criteria, if you wish to return. You are no doubt aware that some of your fellow workers have been coming to Canada to work on the farms for more than ten years,
With respect to your girl friend and your intention to get married, my opinion is as follows: If this relationship is genuine and the marriage is not just for immigration purposes, as a Canadian or permanent resident of Canada , she can sponsor you (for permanent residence) if she meets the eligibility requirements – whether you are in status or not.
I am currently representing several farm workers. Some were in status, and others were not , having overstayed the time they were permitted to remain in Canada but were married and sponsored by Canadian residents.
The persons who were in status had no problems in processing their applications for permanent residence from within Canada.
The others who were without status had a few hassles as it was discovered that there were outstanding warrants for their arrest. As a result, they had to appear before the removals unit at Airport Road in Toronto and their warrants were executed. Their applications were then processed. Each case varies on its particular circumstances and is assessed according to its merit at the time of the execution of the warrant.
I hope I have answered your question, BC. and best of luck.
Next week I will reply to another letter from a reader.
SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is a member of ICCRC and specializes in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario. Phone 416 789 5756.