“We had to debate a pilot project that exists in Toronto, in a partnership with the Canadian Labour Congress aimed at undocumented workers in civil construction -where there are 500 vacancies- to legalise the situation of undocumented people,” said Berta Nunes.

“We decided to exchange information and work together more so that this pilot is a success and that it can then be extended to other provinces, hoping that this will solve the situation of undocumented workers, which is no longer the problem it was, but continues to be”, said Berta Nunes.

A new pilot programme aimed at undocumented construction workers went into effect on July 30, 2021, ending January 2, 2023, once 500 applications for permanent residency are received at the immigration ministry.

“This programme was somewhat affected by the pandemic, and so far, only 129 places are filled. It is a programme that is not only aimed at the Portuguese community, but at other communities”, she added.

According to Berta Nunes, the Canadian Government “realised that there were some obstacles to the legalisation of these workers, namely with the requirements in relation to the language, in the proof of income and in relation to the way they entered the country”.

In this sense, Ottawa adjusted the pilot programme with the objective of making it successful and with more workers it “definitely resolved their undocumented situation”.

“This is a pilot programme aimed at civil construction. It is important for the Portuguese, as civil construction is one of the areas that the Portuguese work the most when they start their immigration”, she stressed.

Data from the Canadian census of 2016 reveals that there were 483,610 Portuguese and Portuguese descendants in Canada, that is, 1.4 percent of the population in the country.

The majority were in Ontario (69%), Quebec (14%) and British Columbia (8%).