Thank you for that.
I'd love to engage further with the minister on this, about the extension of the program but also the five-year rule. The current situation in Hong Kong has not actually improved. In fact, if anything, it has worsened. Consequently, a lot of these students, if they do not make PR here, will be sent back and will be faced with persecution. These are real issues. I'd love to work with the minister on that to see if we can find a path forward.
I want to bring another situation to the minister's attention. There's a group of 12 migrant workers, mostly women, in Niagara Falls who filed for a vulnerable workers open work permit on November 9. They're subject to harassment, racism and horrible things by the employer. According to the IRCC website, once the application is received, the worker will be contacted by IRCC within five business days. For this group of workers, it has been almost a month. There has been no contact from IRCC whatsoever.
Luckily, they are being housed by the union, by UFCW. This situation was brought to their attention. The union is paying for their accommodations so that they can actually be in a safe environment. The union is ready and willing to line them up with employment. They have good employers who are ready to hire them, but they need that open work permit.
Minister, I can put UFCW in contact with the officials to try to get this sorted out. I don't know why it has taken them more than a month when the standard is five days.