More than a hundred people demonstrated on Saturday afternoon in downtown Montreal to denounce the slow processing of permanent residence applications from foreign workers residing in Quebec, a situation that puts many of them in a precarious situation, as well as the breakdown of families.
The event, organized by several community groups, took place in front of the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offices starting at 2 p.m. Several protesters held up posters denouncing the processing time, which often amounts to more than two years, to obtain permanent residency in Quebec.
Irma Silva Herrera, who met in front of the building on Avenue San Antoine, also regrets that her husband, of Italian descent, finds himself facing endless delays in his efforts to obtain permanent residency.
We cannot move forward with our projects as long as it is not stable. You can’t buy a house, start a family, or settle down completely, ”she sighs. Her husband, Federico Galli, is also planning to change the province to get his permanent residency. Elsewhere in Canada, the time to get it is about six months, compared to more than three years in Quebec.
Mr. Galley drops, “Last week, I started applying in Ontario because at the end of the day I want to be Canadian.”
A situation that arises at a time when many sectors of the economy are facing a labor shortage.
“It’s crazy that in 2021, we have governments that operate more with ideology than pragmatism,” raises the founder of the Quebec Movement, Tipu Camara. As processing times for permanent residency “explode”, he urges Quebec and Ottawa to come to an agreement and grant this status to all skilled foreign workers who have already obtained their certificate of choice. Quebec, however, are slow to gain permanent residency. They are more than 51,000 in Quebec.
We demand a humane approach to immigration. We are calling for more compassionate therapy, ”sums up Vanni Lemerre, who is also a member of Quebec, which is The Us Too Movement.
“I want dad”
Many heartbreaking testimonies from foreign workers followed each other before the start of the march, which led protesters to the Montreal offices of Prime Minister Francois Legault, on McGill College Street, and then to La Baie Square, a park on Saint-Laurent Street.
Some workers said that they feared being separated from their relatives here, and that they were experiencing difficult working conditions because their permits had expired or were closed to a single employer, placing them in an precarious situation.
A poster that Alicia, a young girl uploaded, claims, “I want my father.” Met before dutyRelatives of the latter indicated that she had been waiting for her father from the Dominican Republic for “more than four years.” This person would have tried in vain in recent years to be accommodated as a refugee in Quebec, his wife, Roxanne Walsh, points out.
Vanni Lemerre, originally from France, has a closed work permit with her employer while she is awaiting permanent residency. “If I lose my job tomorrow, I might have to leave Quebec when I have my partner here, my apartment. It’s a whole life connected to my job,” she confirms.
In order to reduce the vulnerability of foreign workers while awaiting their permanent residency, the federal government committed earlier this week to issuing work permits open to all of these people. Ottawa is also committed to a faster processing of immigration applications into the country.