BUSINESS
11/06/2014 02:52 EST | Updated 01/06/2015 05:59 EST

ArcelorMittal, Multinational Steel Giant, Asks PM To Reverse Ebola Visa Ban

Bloomberg via Getty Images
A logo sits on a sign outside the entrance to the ArcelorMittal steel plant in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. ArcelorMittal, the world's biggest steelmaker, said steel shipments will rise 1 percent to 2 percent this year compared with an earlier forecast of 2 percent in May. Photographer: Martin Divisek/Bloomberg via Getty Images

TORONTO - An multinational company with major operations in Canada is asking Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reverse the government's decision to restrict entry to Canada from Ebola-affected countries.

The federal government announced last week it was suspending the issuance of new visas to residents and citizens of countries with widespread Ebola transmission, and was also halting work on residency applications from those countries.

A senior official of ArcelorMittal has written Harper asking the government to reconsider.

The company, which is the world's leading steel and mining corporation, employs more than 10,000 people in Canada.

It is part of a group of companies which calls itself the Ebola Private Sector Mobilization Group; the corporations are helping in the effort to contain the Ebola outbreak.

ArcelorMittal's chief executive for mining says closing borders won't stop Ebola but will make fighting it more difficult.

"Our workers and the very needed health workers to combat the outbreak are increasingly scared to travel to the region for fear of being quarantined and stigmatized by their families and communities upon their return home," Bill Scotting says in the letter.

"We respect your concerns and need to protect Canada from Ebola, but the only solution is to combat this disease within West Africa and travel restrictions are slowing the response and making this harder. We hope you can find a way of meeting both Canada's needs whilst helping the international community truly combat the disease at source."

The World Health Organization says 13,042 people have contracted Ebola in this outbreak and 4,818 have died from the disease.

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