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e-4272 (Citizenship and immigration)

Initiated by Josue Ramirez from Calgary, Alberta

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • Venezuela has been deemed an unprecedented political, economic and humanitarian crisis comparable to Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine;
  • As of January 2023, Canada response to the situation in Ukraine trough the Canadian-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel, had allowed for more than 140,000 Ukrainians to come to Canada;
  • In response to the situation in Afghanistan, Canada had welcome more than 27,000 Afghan refugees through the Special Immigration Measures Program for Afghans;
  • For Syrian citizens, more than 40,000 refugees had been welcome to Canada through the Syrian Refugee Settlement initiative;
  • As per United Nations High Commission for Refugees figures in 2022, more than 6.1 million Venezuelans have left Venezuela since 2015;
  • Canada promised to welcome an additional 4,000 migrants from the Latin-American region by 2028; and
  • Canada announced at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, June of 2022 also planned to bring in 50,000 more agricultural workers from Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean.
We, the undersigned, citizens and permanent residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to
1. Create a Canada-Venezuela Humanitarian Visa Program to help Venezuelans and the family members of Canadians and Venezuelans Permanent Residents of Canada to come to Canada and provide them with the ability to work and study while in Canada;
2. Provide those Venezuelans who are already in Canada the option to extend their visitor status, work permit, or study permit so that they can continue to live and work or study in Canada temporarily.

Response by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Marie-France Lalonde, M.P.

When responding to international crises, the Government of Canada tailors its immigration measures to the unique conditions of each event and the needs of the affected population. We evaluate how Canada can best help by looking at what solutions are most appropriate, including waiving fees or requirements, as well as whether existing immigration and refugee programs are sufficient or if new ones are required. We strive to balance our commitment to assist those in need with upholding the security, safety, and well-being of Canadians. Furthermore, we also monitor the international and regional response to the crisis. For example, in the case of the Venezuelan refugee and migration crisis, countries in the region have generally shown great solidarity and are hosting over 84% of the Venezuelan nationals that have left or fled their country in recent years.

Canada has played a leadership role in responding to the Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis. In March 2023, Canada co-hosted with the European Union the International Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants and their Host Countries and Communities, which successfully convened 280 delegates and raised US $872M in pledges by donors, including CAD $58.55M from Canada. Since 2019, Canada has provided over CAD $180M in humanitarian, development and stabilization assistance in response to the Venezuela crisis (in addition to funding announced at the March 2023 Conference). In 2022, Canada launched 17 new projects in the region to support the socio-economic integration of Venezuelan refugees and migrants into host communities, to increase regional security, and to strengthen migration management. Furthermore, Canada chairs the Group of Friends of the Quito Process, a group of 11 donors supporting the regional response of the Quito Process countries hosting those displaced by the crisis in Venezuela.

There are a number of temporary resident programs that Venezuelan nationals can currently access, including those related to working or studying in Canada. More specifically, they may apply for a work permit under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, if they have a job offer from an employer and are supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment from Employment and Social Development Canada; or under any stream of the International Mobility Program, as long as they meet eligibility criteria. We would also encourage Venezuelan nationals with an acceptance letter for a designated learning institution to apply for a study permit, should they meet the eligibility criteria. Many international students are authorized to work off campus without a work permit. Both work and study permits are demand-driven, meaning that there are no limits on the number of work permits that can be issued. Lastly, if they have a host adult child or grandchild in Canada, they may be eligible for the parent and grandparent super visa, which is a multi-entry visitor visa that allows stays of five years per entry.

In addition there may be opportunities for Canada’s existing permanent residence programs. If they have family in Canada, Venezuelan nationals may apply under Canada’s generous family reunification programs, which allow for the sponsorship of spouses, common-law partners, conjugal partners, dependent children, children to be adopted, parents, grandparents, and other relatives in specific circumstances. Furthermore, the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot program, which facilitates the use of economic pathways to Canada for skilled refugees, is also available for those who meet eligibility criteria.

In addition to existing programs, Canada has committed to resettle up to 4,000 eligible refugees from the Americas, which can include Venezuelans, by 2028. It has also pledged to welcome 15,000 persons from the Western Hemisphere to provide an alternative to irregular migration for those facing forced displacement in Central American, South American and Caribbean countries. This commitment was announced by Prime Minister Trudeau during United States President Biden’s visit on March 24, 2023. Further development of this initiative is underway.

Open for signature
January 26, 2023, at 9:39 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
March 27, 2023, at 9:39 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Tom Kmiec (Calgary Shepard)
June 9, 2023 (Petition No. 441-01526)
Government response tabled
August 16, 2023
Photo - Tom Kmiec
Calgary Shepard
Conservative Caucus