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  • Writer's pictureCarl Sandy Alcema

Ottawa opens applications to migrants from Haiti, Colombia and Venezuela

The federal government has opened a new “humanitarian pathway” to welcome up to 11,000 Haitian, Colombian and Venezuelan foreign nationals.

In its Friday announcement, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said applicants must be family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents who agree to support them for one year to qualify.

Successful applicants will receive services “including an employment skills assessment and a referral to a settlement service provider organization in their community,” IRCC said in a news release. “They may also be eligible for transitional financial assistance.”

Applicants must plan to live outside Quebec, as the province “has chosen not to participate in the program,” IRCC said.

The new pathway is part of Ottawa’s fulfilment of a promise Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made in March as he announced the expansion of the Safe Third Country Agreement that effectively put an end to irregular crossings at Quebec’s Roxham Road passage, where tens of thousands of asylum seekers entered the country in recent years. Asylum claims have since surged at domestic airports.

Prime Minister Trudeau said in a statement at the time that Canada would “welcome 15,000 migrants on a humanitarian basis from the Western Hemisphere over the course of the year, with a path to economic opportunities to address forced displacement, as an alternative to irregular migration.”

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