STATEMENT: Jenny Kwan’s statement on the launch of EMPP and the Global Task Force on Refugee Labour Mobility

Jenny’s Statement on the EMPP and the Global Task Force on Refugee Labour Mobility:
At the end of 2020, across the globe, over 82 million people were forcibly displaced due to persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations.  Canada has historically led the way in helping resettle refugees. Many immigrant and refugee serving groups agencies' called for innovative immigration measures to recognize the talents of refugees.    
While I look forward to the work of the Global Task Force on Refugee Labour Mobility, I note that the Economic Mobility Pathway Pilot (EMPP) ​was first implemented in 2018. However, the EMPP, now in its second phase and hoping to welcome 500 skilled refugees, has yet to make available the government’s promised loan program to refugees​. 

The government’s own website indicates that refugees can apply for loans ​so that they can meet the onerous financial requirements of the economic immigration pathways, but it​ has been 4 months since the second phase began, and these loans are still not available.  The inability for the government to operationalize this important feature of the program illustrates that the Liberal government’s pattern of talk over action.
The Liberals need to make good on their promises if we are to meaningfully realize the talent of ​the refugees who want to come to Canada and contribute to ​Canada's economic, social and cultural fabric.
Furthermore, the EMPP’s requirement that applicants must have UNHCR refugee status determination means that many talented refugees will not be able to access this program as in some regions,  there are no UNHCR offices available. This requirement is not only an impediment for this program, it is also a huge barrier for those seeking private sponsorships through the Group of Five Initiative. I have repeatedly called on the government to waive this requirement and I must echo that call now. For those seeking asylum in Canada and elsewhere, time is of the essence.

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