The territory has signed an agreement with the Republic of the Philippines to formalize bringing citizens to work in the territory under the Yukon Nominee Program.
“This is the foundation of more and more work together,” said Minister Ranj Pillai.
While many countries are open under the Yukon Nominee Program, the Philippines is the single largest country of origin for applicants. Of the visible minorities living in Yukon, around 40 per cent were Filipinos, according to a 2016 census result.
Pillai signed the agreement with Secretary of the Philippines Department of Labor and Employment Silvestre Bello III in Vancouver on March 18.
Pillai said the new agreement will make it easier for Filipinos to work in the Yukon.
The MOU waives an existing fee of around $2,000 applied by the Philippines to Filipino YNP applicants. It will also change the way the country pre-screens and vets the pool of qualified Filipino workers.
More support materials will be developed to help interested workers prepare for life in the territory.
He said the agreement also emphasizes the protection for nominees, including making sure workers are not vulnerable to exploitation and are provided with appropriate housing and support.
“They need to have the right support, and to be brought into a respectful workplace. If those things aren’t upheld, there could be a breach on behalf of the employer,” he said. “They want to use that model, with other governments across the country, to ensure that their citizens are well supported.”
Pillai said workers could fill gaps in the Yukon’s workforce, including in fields like healthcare and hospitality. He said despite a housing shortage facing the territory, there is an eagerness among the existing Yukon-Filipinos community to support the program.
“We had a significant diaspora here and that has made it more comfortable and easier for folks. In the interim [while housing is being developed] there’s a lot of Philippine families that have space, have been here for a long time, and want their family members to have the same opportunities,” he said.
Pillai said the government is interested in more partnerships between the territory and the country, including with educational institutions.
Inter-airline agreement between Air North and Philippine Airlines
The agreement was announced alongside news from Air North about a new interline agreement.
A partnership between the Yukon airline and Philippine Airlines will allow travellers to purchase multiple segments on a single ticket to connect between the two regions. Air North anticipates that the arrangement will be in place by May 1.
This means that people booking a flight from Whitehorse to Manila, for example, will be able to book their entire fare on the Philippine Airlines website or with travel agents without separate segments.
Baggage will be transferred through the interline connection to the final destination.
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