Filipino Migrant organization launched in Edmonton
On August 31st the event to formally launch Migrante Alberta was held at the Edmonton Public Library Strathcona Branch. More than 60 Filipino immigrant and temporary workers from Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton gathered in Edmonton on Saturday for the launching of the event.
Migrante Alberta is a Filipino migrant/immigrant advocacy organization that is part of a broader network of Filipino organizations from BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes under the banner of Migrante Canada.
The event started with the screening of the film “The End of Immigration”. A documentary film on the changes of the immigration policies in Canada. The event was packed with solidarity video messages from different parts of the world, cultural presentations and speeches from friends and allies.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of the organization’s campaign. The group is calling on the Philippine government to promote Filipino workers and immigrants’ rights by opening a consular office in Alberta. Also, the group is pushing for equal rights for temporary foreign workers with their Canadian counterparts.
“Yearly, the Philippine Consulate in Vancouver estimates it serves some 200,000 to 250,000 Filipinos in Western Canada, the Yukon and Northwest Territories. One of the basic services Filipinos require is passport application and renewal, which could be completed through the agency’s passport outreach missions. However because of the sheer number of applicants, the missions quickly fill up leaving other applicants with no choice but to appear in person at the Vancouver office,” said Aubrey Makilan-dela Cruz, the organization’s chairperson.
The groups noted that a temporary foreign worker could lose a day’s salary and on top of this, spend at least $700 on airfare and accommodation in order to apply or renew their passports.
The group has passed a petition urging its government to set up a consular office.
Migrante Alberta is also seeking equal treatment for Temporary Foreign Workers.
According to the 2011 Alberta Immigration Progress Report, the Philippines topped as source country for immigrants landing in Alberta from 2007-2010. In 2010 alone, the number of immigrants from the Philippines who entered the province as permanent residents jumped by 59% from the previous year.
The Philippines belonged to the top 2 source countries for guest workers hired by Alberta employers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program from 2006 to 2010, even outranking USA from 2007 to 2009.The group is pushing for better access to permanent residence status especially to low-skilled workers. At present, foreign workers including live-in caregivers use different streams to become permanent residents. Low-skilled workers must be categorized as skilled workers and receive backing by their employers in order to receive PR status through the provincial nominee program. The organization can be reached through email@example.com or 1-800-559-8092 ext 5503.