Lawyer urges Canadian government to provide permanent residency to temporary workers from Nepal

27 June 2015 8:35 PM AEST: A Calgary-based immigration lawyer has urged the Canadian government to provide permanent residency to those Nepalese nationals who are on temporary permits so that they are not forced to return to their earthquake-devastated country.

Although the exact number is not known, it is estimated Canada has some 350 temporary foreign workers (TFWs) from Nepal.

According to CBC News, the permits for workers who have been in Canada for more than four years expired on April 1. In the past, workers could apparently reapply for their temporary permits but that changed in 2011 when the federal government introduced a new rule that stipulated that the low-skilled TFWs should either become permanent resident or leave the country once they have spent four years in Canada.

downloadBut an immigration lawyer from Calgary, Raj Sharma, is urging the Canadian government to provide permanent residency to such Nepalese workers so that they can continue to live in Canada and also bring their families to Canada.

“We can do something for them and I think we should do something for them,” Mr Sharma was quoted as saying by CBC News. He has argued that permanent residency to the earthquake-affected TFWs must be provided under ‘humanitarian and compassionate grounds.’

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the Himalayan nation on April 25 causing nearly nine thousand deaths and injuring 20 thousand others.

Although the Canadian government has announced it would prioritise the visa applications of Nepalese nationals who have been ‘significantly and personally’ affected by the two major earthquakes, Mr Sharma said it does not help the majority of the 350 TFWs from Nepal because they are too low-skilled to be eligible for a pathway to permanent residency.

The Canadian government has not revealed how many TFWs will have to leave the country because of the deadline but some advocacy groups estimate it could be as many as 70,000 countrywide, reports suggest.

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