The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, has pleaded with the Canadian Parliament to consider and approve a visa-free entry for South Africa nationals traveling to Canada, and grant work permits to those traveling under a new Employment and Migration Programme designed for immigrants.
According to Trudeau, immigrants from South Africa have been a strong force in Canada’s growth in all sectors of its economy.
“We can’t undermine or overlook the contribution of immigrants in Canada’s development especially our brothers and sisters from South Africa”, Trudeau said.
The PM added that, over the past three years, Canada has granted residency to all South Africans who were illegally living in Canada and applied to remain. “We granted them and urging everyone to apply. It’s good we document everyone to know how many people we are to cater for”, he said.
In a memo sent to the South Africa Embassy in Canada, the Employment and Migration Programme will allow South Africans wishing to live in Canada to first obtain job before traveling to the country. However, those traveling just for tourism or business purposes will not be required to obtain visas for a stay up to 90 days.
“The programme’s website will be launched next week and all available jobs will be listed. Currently there are over 6 million vacancies”, a spokesperson for the Canadian Labour Department, Shadrack Scott said.
Earlier this year, the Canadian Parliament announced plans to add more new permanent residents in the next three years.
Canada welcomed more than 286,000 permanent residents in 2017 and projects that number could reach 350,000 this year.
“Thanks in great part to the newcomers we have welcomed throughout our history, Canada has developed into the strong and vibrant country we all enjoy,” said Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC).
Hussen, himself an immigrant from Somalia, said the influx will help offset Canada’s aging population and declining birth rate while growing its labor force.
Canada’s friendly stance towards new residents comes as many other Western nations, including the United States, are adopting more restrictive immigration policies.
Canada is especially dedicated to offering protection to refugees. The United Nations Refugee Agency reported unprecedented levels of refugees in 2017, with the number of forcibly displaced people reaching 68.5 million.