New measures to protect workers and help newcomers sponsor undeclared family members

OTTAWACanada is taking action to help protect vulnerable workers and newcomers who face family abuse, and to help newcomers sponsor family members that they didn’t initially declare, says a news release from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

The release notes that  while every worker in Canada is entitled to a safe and healthy work environment where their rights are respected, some migrant workers with employer-specific work permits end up enduring mistreatment, fearful of workplace punishment, as well as fear of losing their job.

Ahmed Hussen

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has announced that migrant workers who have an employer-specific work permit and are in an abusive job situation in Canada  can now apply for an open work permit. This will allow migrant workers to leave an employer immediately, maintain their status and find another job.

Noting that some individuals fear jeopardizing their immigration status more than an abusive spouse or partner, the release states that nobody should have to stay in an abusive situation.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada  has also announced that  as of July 26, 2019, newcomers experiencing family violence will be able to apply for a fee exempt temporary resident permit that will give them legal immigration status in Canada and will include a work permit and health care coverage.

In addition,  the Canadian government  is expediting the process for those in urgent situations of family violence who apply for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, the release says.

It also notes that when a person applies to immigrate to Canada, they are required to declare all of their family members and that the consequence for failing to declare a family member is a lifetime bar on the principal applicant being able to sponsor that family member in the future.

However, as of September 9, 2019,  the  Canadian government will launch a two-year pilot project  through which a person (resettled refugee, was conferred refugee protection in Canada or were themselves sponsored as a spouse, partner or dependent child) who came to Canada can now sponsor undeclared immediate family members.

The  Canadian Government is committed to protecting vulnerable people so they can leave abusive work or family relationships or reunite with immediate family members, says the release.