Jamaica and Canada to strengthen ties

Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen speaking at a forum organized by the Canadian High Commission to Jamaica and The University of the West Indies. Also pictured is Professor Professor Verene Shepherd. (Photo: Marlon Reid)

KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Ties between Jamaica and Canada should be further strengthened with the expansion of various economic immigration programs.

This was noted by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship for Canada, Ahmed Hussen, who just completed an official two day visit to the island.  

Hussen, who met with Prime Minister Andrew Holness and other government officials said the Canadian government has introduced new programs “to spread the benefits of immigration to the regions and not just to the main cities”.

Rural and Northern Immigration pilot program

“In January, I announced the first Rural and Northern Immigration pilot program and we will be announcing the winning communities soon,” he said in an interview with the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).

Non-seasonal agricultural workers

Additionally, he said that Canada has announced a new pilot program in its 2019 budget for non-seasonal agricultural workers in three industries, including the meat and butcher industries.

“Those industries were facing severe shortages of workers, and so this is another way we would like to address that gap and how Jamaica fits into that. I am interested to have those discussions with my counterparts.”

Hussen also participated in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) departure ceremony, held earlier this week at the Ministry of Labor and Social Security Overseas Employment Centre in downtown Kingston.

The SAWP is an overseas employment program under the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. 

It involves contractual agricultural workers who are recruited to meet the short-term demand of manual labor during planting and harvesting seasons.

The Canadian Immigration Minister praised the SAWP, which he said has allowed Canadian farmers to succeed and Jamaicans to benefit from working in the agricultural sector in Canada.

“It is an example of how migration and immigration policies can benefit both countries,” he said.

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