The Canadian Government has granted 11 new work visas for Solomon Islanders alone in the month of December – the highest ever under Canada-Solomon Islands labour mobility partnership.
These visas have been issued for Dairy Industry, Food Service, Packaging and Nursery jobs. Permits are valid for 24-months.
Solomon Islanders entering Canada under the work visas through Government of Canada validated employment contract receive a starting salary of CAD$12.65 (SBD$76.34) an hour.
Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela has launched the new initiative with CITREC that will further strengthen the labour mobility relations between Canada and Solomon Islands.
Three new Permanent Residence Application under Prime Minister Houenipwela’s Skills Passport initiative with Canada are also being considered by Canadian Immigration authorities.
Approval of this initative will result in additional people entering Canada under permanent residence nomination.
Of the total number of work visas issued, five people from Makira-Ulawa Province arrived in Canada last week to join Canada’s workforce under its Agriculture Stream.
John Piringiparu, Emilio Wauwo, Charlie Ruku, Arnold Awasi and Nelson Koke were all handed their 24-month’s work permit by Canada border officials.
CITREC Chairman AshwantDwivedi said that Solomon Islands labour mobility partnership with Canada is at a new height and that Canadian businesses are considering more Solomon Islanders to help fill Canadian labour gap which could even expand into jobs in construction industry by next year.
“Canada’s labour mobility partnership is bringing hope and opportunity into lives of Solomon Islanders,” Dwivedi said.
He further confirmed that three more women from Guadalcanal are departing tomorrow for a new 24-month employment opportunity in Canada’s Food Packaging sector.
He said that one additional candidate for the same sector will be arriving mid - January.
“This will be the largest number of work visas and work contracts being presently facilitated for Solomon Islands nationals.
“I consider this an early Christmas present for the selected workers from the Solomon Islands. Yes indeed Santa is coming to town with Canadian jobs in his bag,” Dwivedi said.
Early this month two locals arrived in Canada to join Canada’s Food Production Sector under the Labour mobility partnership.
“Canadian employers are desperate for workers and this is helping drive demand for Solomon Islands workers in Canada.
“CITREC is a partner in promoting gender equality and empowerment of women and by employing Solomon Islands women, we are leading and delivering on Canadian policy of empowerment of women and gender equality” Dwivedi said.
“Gender equality is a fundamental human right, and a top priority for Canadian’s.
“Furthermore we strongly support and encourage participation of women in employment sector as these are critical to building peace and reducing poverty and growing our economies.”
Dwivedi said that the CITREC program has offered opportunity to Solomon Islands women from rural communities.
He further said that as part of CITREC’s policy it is promoting women’s participation in education and training and providing them employment opportunity among employers in Canada.
“We ensure that through the CITREC program we deliver on some of the key policies of gender equality.
“We have educated and trained women of the Solomon Islands and today these brave women are in Canada under labour mobility partnership with CITREC employed as cooks and supervisors in multinational food chains under permanent residence program," Dwivedisaid .
“Our partnership has successfully placed women of Solomon Islands like Amelia Muse, Sue Tracy Bulolo and Grace Delight of Guadalcanal to work in Canada and we are proud of their achievement.
“They have arrived under the permanent residence program and are well settled.
“Participation of women will help advance the economy. It will help achieve peace and security.
“Women empowerment leads to economic growth that benefits us all,” Dwivedi said.
Speaking at the airport upon arrival in Canada, one of the newly arrived workers Piringiparu said that he is excited about the new opportunity that provides them with Canadian employment.
“I am along with all of my colleagues here are very excited about this opportunity. This job will not only provide me employment but will also provide to me opportunity to support my family back in the Solomon Islands,” Piringiparu said.
He further said that this has been the best Christmas present that he has ever received in his life.
“When I heard that I have been selected for the job I said this is the best gift of my life,” Piringiparu said.
Canada has seen a sharp increase in the number of Solomon Islanders that are travelling for temporary employment or permanent residence opportunity.
In October of this year nine people from three separate provinces arrived in Canada under an arrangement.
Of the nine people who arrived, four are living in Canada under the Permanent Residence stream whilst five have been admitted into Canada as Temporary Foreign Workers under Canada’s Agriculture Management arrangement where they have been issued with 24-month work permits.
Canada’s Permanent Residence Stream has recently become an attractive feature to Solomon Islanders the first to be made available to Solomon Islands under the Labour mobility arrangement.
In the past year since it was launched the Permanent Residence Stream has seen many CITREC graduates enter Canada under this arrangement.