New measures to protect migrant workers, families in Canada from abusive situations

Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen is launching new projects to prevent the abuse of migrant workers. The Canadian Press

Migrant workers who are in Canada on an employer-specific work permit will be granted new protections in the event they are in an abusive or exploitative situation.

Starting June 4, workers in abusive or exploitative circumstances will be able to apply for an open work permit, said Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen in Winnipeg on Friday.

“No worker should fear losing their job when they are being mistreated in their place of work,” he said.

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Starting July 26, newcomers to Canada experiencing family abuse will also be able to apply for a fee-exempt temporary resident permit.

The permit will grant legal immigration status in Canada and will include a work permit and health-care coverage, Hussen said.

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Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen speaks to the crowd in Winnipeg on May 31, 2019. Joe Scarpelli/Global News

“No partner should be more fearful of losing their immigration status instead of escaping abuse,” Hussen said. “Today, we say: ‘Fear no more.’”

In addition, the federal government is launching a pilot project that will allow a legal refugee or immigrant who has failed to declare a family member the chance to sponsor undeclared immediate family members.

In the past, failure to declare a family member meant that a legal immigrant couldn’t sponsor that family member in the future.

“The pilot project for sponsorship of previously undeclared family members will last two years — from Sept. 9, 2019, to Sept. 9, 2021. Applications that are already in process will also benefit from this pilot project,” the government said in a statement.

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