MOU immigration terms not ready
MOU immigration terms not ready
Yukon MLA unrolls red carpet to Filipino immigrants but…
By Michelle Chermaine Ramos
The Philippine Reporter
Back on March 18, 2022, the Yukon and Philippine governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the employment and protection of Filipino immigrants entering Canada through the Yukon Nominee Program.
According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 census, Filipinos were by far the largest ethnic minority group with an estimated population of 1,045, followed by 470 South Asians. According to the Yukon Bureau of Statistics on Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity Census in 2016, the leading country of birth of Yukon immigrants is the Philippines and 22.9& of all immigrants were born in the Philippines.
Yvonne Clarke, Member of the Yukon Legislative Assembly for Porter Creek Centre, said that Filipinos make up 10-15% of the population which is growing. They also take part in many large community events and join and run many programs within the Yukon communities. She also reported that they have established the best basketball league in Whitehorse which has become a community hub for Filipinos.
We spoke with her regarding updates on the Memorandum of Understanding on Immigration and why they believe that the Yukon is poised to be an ideal destination for Filipino immigrants looking to move to Canada.
The Philippine Reporter: Have there been any recent developments since that memorandum was signed?
Yvonne Clarke: Well, the MOU was negotiated in 2019 and it was signed March 2022. And there is no date when it will be implemented. Unfortunately, the terms of reference have not been put together. And without the terms of reference, the implementation will have to wait. So, the MOU will be implemented by the joint working committee.
TPR: What will it take to push that?
YC: Well, the screening of qualified Filipino applicants will begin as soon as the implementing guidelines are approved by the joint working committee and so I guess the agreement provides that employers and their agents including immigration consultants are prohibited from charging any fees for recruitment services and selections. So basically, we’ll just have to, I guess, talk to the joint working committee.
TPR: Why is the Yukon a target destination right now for immigrants?
YC: Well, because Filipino Canadians are about 10 to 15% of the population. It’s collective groups that support each other. And there’s already a thriving Filipino community in the Yukon, even outside of Whitehorse. And the Yukon’s unemployment rate is very low. And Whitehorse is the fastest growing city in Canada. There are plenty of jobs and opportunities compared to other jurisdictions. And there are a lot of outdoor and indoor activities for everyone all year round. And that’s why it’s a good destination for new immigrants from the Philippines right now.
TPR: Are there any specific industries that require workers specifically from the Philippines?
YC: Well, there is a shortage of workers in the private sector encompassing all industries. So, yes, there are plenty of opportunities in the retail and food and beverage sector. And there are also opportunities in the public sector as well.
TPR: So, considering the housing crisis, now that we’re encouraging people to immigrate here, especially more Filipinos being encouraged to immigrate to the Yukon, what is the government going to do to ensure that there is adequate, safe, and affordable housing for the immigrant workers when we already have trouble with housing prices here for the folks who are already here?
YC: The government’s overall response to the housing crisis has been inadequate, many Yukoners, regardless of if you’re a born and raised Yukoner, or a newcomer to the territory, are finding it difficult to find a place to live. The government has not kept up with the demand for new laws to build the housing. We have seen cancellations for land lotteries, and delays in getting contractors access to build new homes. There has also been a lack of planning for the new areas, so we need to get started on that.
TPR: Is there anything else that you want the Filipino community to know that I haven’t asked you about?
YC: Yes, I do. The Yukon is a wonderful place to live. I have been here for 29 years, and this is my home. The wonderful thing about the Yukon is that not only Filipinos but anyone is welcome here. There is a choice of living in a city or living the rural lifestyle. The territory really has something for everyone. The Yukon would be an excellent choice if someone is looking to immigrate and find a new home.