IRCC also unveils new measures to protect vulnerable workers and newcomers.
Sponsorship applications for some family members who were previously banned from obtaining permanent residence under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations will be allowed under a new two-year pilot, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, has announced.
The pilot concerns non-accompanying family members who were not declared and therefore were not examined by immigration authorities when the sponsor applied for Canadian permanent residence.
These family members have been ineligible for a Family Class sponsorship under Section 117(9)(d) of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
This lifetime ban has long been a source of controversy, with the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) calling it “a significant barrier” to family reunification in Canada.
In a brief on the issue, the CCR said that 117(9)(d) “has a disproportionately negative effect on refugees and vulnerable migrants who fail to disclose a family member.”
Hussen said the federal government recognizes that the regulation was unfair.
“Newcomers who failed to declare immediate family members as they first came to Canada were barred to sponsor them. Today, we right that wrong,” he said.
IRCC defined sponsors covered by the pilot as resettled refugees, those conferred refugee protection in Canada or those who were themselves sponsored as a spouse, partner or dependent child.
The pilot will run from September 9, 2019, to September 9, 2021 and IRCC said applications that are already in process will benefit.
New measures for vulnerable workers and family members
Starting June 4, IRCC will allow migrant workers with an employer-specific work permit who are in an abusive job situation to apply for an open work permit.
“This will allow migrant workers to leave that employer immediately, maintain their status and find another job,” IRCC said.
IRCC will also introduce changes that will allow newcomers experiencing family violence to apply for a fee-exempt temporary resident permit starting July 26.
The permit will give these individuals legal status in Canada and provide them with a work permit and health care coverage.
IRCC will also expedite applications for permanent residence filed on humanitarian and compassionate grounds from those “in urgent situations of family violence.”
“No worker should fear losing their job when they are being mistreated in their place of work. No partner should be more fearful of losing their immigration status instead of escaping abuse,” Hussen said.
“Today we say, fear no more.”