TWO Solomon Islanders from Guadalcanal Province created history when they were handed their employment permit for Canada on Thursday.
The duo Amelia Muse and Careka Volly are the first two Solomon Islanders to have been granted the permit under the Canadian government’s Immigration nomination program.
They touched down at the Vancouver International Airport and were escorted by Immigration and Customs officials to the primary processing centre where they were granted their work permits which are valid for 24 months.
During this period Muse and Volly will have to apply to have their Canadian permanent residency processed.
The nomination of the duo is the first ever for Solomon Islands.
Welcoming the duo on their arrival in Vancouver, CITREC Chairman Ashwant Dwivedi said:
“Welcome to Canada. Go build your future and that of your family. Least you forget Guadalcanal and thou shall never forget your mother-land Solomon Islands.
“You must strive, thrive and succeed.
“Your hard work will help us open opportunities for others in Guadalcanal and remember they are counting on you.
“So don’t let them down. You have done well in class. You have delivered well as seasonal workers.
“It’s time for you to prove yourself as a committed citizens being nominated to permanently stay and call Canada your home. Prove yourselves.”
Mr Dwivedi said Muse and Volly are part of a pilot project that was established between CITREC and Canadian employers and government authorities to streamline the immigration process for Solomon Islands nationals.
“The arrival of the duo today not only marks a milestone achievement but also helps open the opportunity for many more Guadalcanal-CITREC graduates.
“Solomon Islands was never part of the (CITREC) nomination program and Canadian employers have never considered Solomon Islands citizens as potential for Canadian employment.
“Today employers across provinces (in Canada) are talking about Solomon Islands and in particular Guadalcanal province as they are providing jobs to CITREC graduates in their businesses.
“This opportunity could not have come at a better time where Canada’s tourism industry is booming and by mid next year it will be thirsty for more workers.
“We will work with Canadian employers across Canada asking them to hire CITREC-GP graduates,” told a press conference during the arrival of Muse and Volly.”
The nomination of Muse and Volly was possible following an education partnership between CITREC Canada and the Guadalcanal Provincial Government.
There were expressions of excitement by the two newly admitted temporary residents of Canada.
“I am very excited to be provided with this opportunity. Oh my God, I can’t believe that I am back in Canada and this time it will be a permanent stay. I can’t wait to get back to work to earn money and support my family back home,” an emotional Muse said on her arrival.
“This opportunity is bringing in waves of hope for other CITREC-Guadalcanal graduates as students now have better understanding of the process,” she added.
“There is more hope and awareness of how the program functions. CITREC is the only program provider that is training people and helping them score jobs.
“No one else is even close to making this achievement back home in Solomon Islands and I thank CITREC Canada for their continued support.
“I must also thank the Province of Guadalcanal, especially the Education Minister, staff of the Education Office and Premier Anthony Veke for their support.”
Volly said he is optimistic as this opportunity comes with provisions where his family will be joining him soon in Canada.
“It is just a process that I must follow. Within a few months my family, which includes my lovely wife and two kids, will be joining me to Canada.
“Soon they will go to school here in Canada and soon I will be able to buy my dream vehicle as well and call Canada my new home.
“I have been seeing all of my friends going to university and I was left back in the Solomon Islands.
“However, I never let go of my dreams. Ever since I joined the CITREC programme I had hope.
“The final result is that I am in Canada right now.
“I hold a two year work permit and soon I will be a resident here. I am very excited to take the opportunity,” he added.
Volly said he will never forget the words of encouragement uttered by Premier Veke when handing over his documents to return to Canada and the people of Guadalcanal Province and added that he will uphold the expectation of his Canadian employer.
Muse and Volly have secured employment as supervisors in an internationally-renowned fast food restaurant chain.
They will be receiving a salary of Canadian$14.00 per hour plus 4 percent additional benefit and overtime if they work additional hours. The earnings are subject to Canadian tax deduction.
During the handing over of the immigration and employment package to Muse and Volly, Premier Veke urged them to never forget the people of Guadalcanal Province and Solomon Islands.
The Saskatchewan Minister for Economy Jeremy Harrison praised Saskatchewan’s partnership with Guadalcanal Province saying it has helped local Saskatchewan employers to address an employee shortage problem the province experienced last summer.
“This partnership has helped local employers fill needs that they had this past summer and will assist the Guadalcanal students build their careers back home in Solomon Islands.
“Saskatchewan is known all over the world for our brand of hospitality and we take pride in the fact that students from around the world, including the Solomon Islands, come to our province to gain valuable experience in our tourism industry,” Minister Harrison said.