The agreement was signed during a joint marketing mission led by the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, Mr Shakeel Mohamed, from 28 March to 04 April in Canada. The signatories for the Mauritian side were the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Mauritius Institute of Training and Development (MITD)
Commenting on his mission to Canada, at a press conference held yesterday in Port Louis, Minister Mohamed explained that the MoU, which is a first of its kind, will explore possibilities of developing internship programmes for Mauritian students in some faculties of the UoR and the IOM will in turn act as a facilitator (educational consultant) to ease the enrolment process of Mauritian students at the UoR.
The Minister added that the MoU will facilitate the mobility of MITD graduates who followed the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) course to pursue further studies at the UoR and will encourage the Provincial Authorities in Saskatchewan to hire and train Mauritian workers for employment in that province.
Possibilities of immigration of Mauritians to work in Saskatchewan were evoked during discussions the Minister had with high officials of the Federal Government of Canada. Minister Mohamed also made a request to the Canadian Government to include Mauritius in its Destination Canada Workshop which is normally organised in several countries to look for potential employees. Moreover, in a meeting held with employers in Saskatchewan, Mr Mohamed appealed to them to give due consideration to Mauritian workers.
During the mission, Minister Mohamed also met the Minister of Employment and Immigration, of Canada, Mr Rob Norris, with whom the issue of fast-tracking procedures for obtaining clearances for Mauritian workers was discussed. The problems faced by Mauritian workers with regard to the portability of social security rights, exemption from some obligations and the fact that they were not benefiting from pension and parental benefits were also raised. On this score, it has been agreed by both countries that a pension bilateral agreement may be negotiated as a solution to this issue.
Moreover, with a view to enhancing collaboration in the field of employment between the two countries, a bilateral agreement will be worked out whereby new areas and higher end employment opportunities may be extended to Mauritius. For his part, the Canadian Government requested Mauritius to ensure that recruitment agencies operating in Mauritius for employment in Canada are operating legally.
With regard to visa issues, the Canadian side informed that with the introduction of electronic applications, delivery of visas will be fast tracked. The possibility of internship programs for Mauritian students and youth was also explored.
It will be recalled that the Joint Marketing Mission to Canada was organised at the initiative of the IOM to tap the various employment opportunities available there for Mauritian labour. The main objectives of the mission were: to promote Mauritian labour in Canada and develop a contractual labour framework with the Federal Government of Canada, to address the issue of Citizenship Immigration Canada and to facilitate the employment of Mauritian nationals in that country.