Montreal’s Haitians Ask Canada And Quebec for Special Immigration Program

Montreal’s Haitians Ask Canada And Quebec for Special Immigration Program
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Haitian Montrealers have asked for a special immigration program to help people from Haiti to escape the violence there in an open letter to both the Quebec and Canadian governments.

“They’re trying to not just survive,” Haitian Montrealer Manuel Mathieu stresses. “They’re trying not to die.”

“I think there should be a program specially for Haiti in the particular context that we’re in right now,” Manuel points out, “because this is a situation that’s never been seen.”

This letter, which has also been signed by young Haitians in Quebec, proposes that something be done for Haitian asylum seekers in Quebec.

“Really making sure that measures for asylum seekers are put in place,” Marina argues.

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“It’s a matter of survival,” she further says. “Certain people cannot go back because they have nowhere to go back to.”

Thousands of Haitians are seeking refuge in Quebec, among whom are hundreds whose application for refugee status has already been denied, as per community groups.

They are in limbo and have not been removed yet because of an Administrative Stay on Removals.

According to Frantz Andre, who is in charge of the advocacy group Comité d’Actions des Personnes Sans Statut, Ottawa should grant asylum seekers in Canada PR for humanitarian reasons.

Moreover, he argues for an expedited family reunification process for Haitians, owing to the dire and rapidly escalating situation in their country.

“It’s taking so much time,” says André. “Two of the families are people that were administratively accepted, they got killed by the gangs.”

Canada launched a family-based humanitarian program for Colombians, Haitians, and Venezuelans in 2023, under which it promised to take 11,000 people with family in Canada and:

  • were nationals of Colombia, Haiti or Venezuela, and
  • lived in South or Central America, Mexico or the Caribbean at the time of application, and
  • whose family member in Canada was:
  • a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • their spouse, common-law partner, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, or sibling
  • willing to support their application

The official website for the program says that it may have reached its capacity as of December 30, 2023, and is assessing the ones that have been submitted already.

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“Providing safe, legal pathways for displaced people to start new lives in Canada not only delivers on that commitment, but also strengthens our country through the profound contributions newcomers make in their communities, including growing our economy and filling labour market gaps,” Immigration Minister Marc Miller said.

Those immigrating through this program were promised “pre-arrival services,” which include an assessment of employment skills and a referral to a settlement service provider organization.

“The new humanitarian pathway provides an alternative to irregular migration northbound through Central America for some of those who are displaced due to political, social and economic instability,” the news release said.

Further, it elaborated on the fact that Ottawa “will continue to monitor the progress of the pathway and adjust as required toward these goals.”

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.