"They are working hard in Canada, and I think there is a great openness from the Canadian Government to solve the problem", Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa told journalists.
The head of state was asked about this subject at the end of his five-day official visit to Canada dedicated to the Portuguese emigrant communities in this country.
"Throughout my stay I spoke with Prime Minister Trudeau, who agreed that it was necessary to legalise them. Some of them have been here for 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, others for five years. I met several, who waved at me on the way here to the university [of Toronto], they are not documented", replied the President of the Republic.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa added that he also spoke about this issue with Canada's Minister of Immigration, "and he was the first to recognize that it needs to be resolved urgently".
Highlighting that "Canada has committed to an open position regarding immigration", Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa argued that "it seems fair that before dealing with immigration in general, it deals with those who already work and already create wealth".
According to the President of the Republic, the 2021 census indicated that close to 450 thousand people of Portuguese origin live in Canada, but in addition to these "there are probably tens of thousands – 10 thousand, 15 thousand, 20 thousand – throughout this continent" who "are not legalized, but they are fundamental" in sectors such as water and sanitation, infrastructure and public works.