Canada in 2010 and 2011 – Immigration

Background: Flight to Canada: The refugee process
(March 2010) Canada to reform refugee system: Kenney
Proposed reforms to Canada’s refugee system would increase the number of refugees accepted into the country and provide more funding to help them integrate into society and find jobs. Citizenship & Immigration Backgrounder
Points system fails immigrants and Canada
February 2011: David Cameron in Britain, Angela Merkel in Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy in France have all declared that multiculturalism is a failure in their country, leading to large, estranged, racially and religiously defined subcultures.
But in Canada, which has been able to control who comes into the country more successfully than its European counterparts, support for immigration and multiculturalism remains robust, according to recent polls. The Harper government, which has embraced immigration as a driver of the Canadian economy, has announced that 280,636 immigrants came to Canada in 2010, the most in 57 years. Read more

Canada suspends parent and grandparent newcomers
(RCI) The federal government is putting a two-year moratorium on immigration applications from parents and grandparents, starting immediately. But to make up for the restriction, it is also creating a new, 10-year, special visa that will allow parents and grandparents of permanent residents to enter Canada multiple times as visitors and stay for up to two years at a time. At the same time, Ottawa is going to allow in far more parents and grandparents next year from the existing, very long, waiting list. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the moves are part of a broader plan to cut the backlog of parents and grandparents and reduce the wait time for processing to about four years from more than eight years now.

21 July
Robert Kaplan Fulfilling Laurier’s vision: a Canada of 100 million
(Globe & Mail) Canada’s ecology is changing. We oppose global warming for good reasons and should continue to do so, but we can see it coming, and it brings certain advantages to Canada. We will have much more arable land and a much broader range of foods that we will be able to grow – foods that the world needs. This is already happening. More farmers are needed. Also Northern opportunity is becoming, and has become, viable. Northern waterways are now accessible eight months a year, a window that is increasing. We need cities up there, and people for them. Secondly we should not ignore the growing world population and the growing number of refugees worldwide. It is not inconceivable that world organizations may begin telling us to increase what we now consider to be a generous immigration policy. Today’s limits are stingy for us. We could get ahead of this and gain world respect for doing so. … We would also probably need to direct some immigrants and commit them to stay somewhere for periods of as much as 10 years. We would do this to hold support for the policy in our “crowded” cities, to satisfy some provinces as to their proportionate place in Confederation and to prepare for the optimum population distribution for our long-term opportunities. The natural preference some immigrants might have to be, for example, near their existing ethnic community in Canada might need to be challenged. Are there potential immigrants willing to accept such conditions? The fact is that there are hundreds of millions of them. Permission to come to Canada could be the greatest event for their family in its history, as it was for most of us. Such immigrants would not be subjected to the isolation of many of our foreparents, where a young couple could be completely alone on the Prairies, miles from other humans for months at a time. With the Internet, Skype, radio and television, there would be a lot to compensate for accepting conditions.
20 July
Cam Sylvester: In Africa, It’s Sickening to See Tories Play Refugee Politics
Here at the bleeding edge of the Somali crisis, I can’t shake the face of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.
(The Tyee) I guess when you look at it one way, the refugees in these camps can take heart once Kenney’s Bill C-4 goes through. Starving men, women and children who haul themselves into camps halfway around the world from Canada would be deemed by the bill to be “regular” arrivals, and “real” refugees (in Kenney’s own words), theoretically welcome to avail themselves of Canada’s refugee system. “Bogus” refugees (again Kenney’s term), who arrive in an “irregular” manner — that is, by boat — would be classified as refugee, second class, and subject to mandatory detention for a year without review. Even if they were granted refugee status, for up to five years they would have to prove to the government that they were still in danger back home. In the meantime, they couldn’t travel, have family members join them, or restart their lives as contributing members of Canadian society.
Of course what this really means is that anyone who actually arrives on our shores is not a “real” refugee according to the Conservatives. Real refugees are over there, somewhere else, and someone else’s problem. We can leave the cost of providing dignity to these people to countries like Kenya that can least afford it. Hell, maybe some aging rock star will hold a concert for them.
And out of sight, out of mind. Kenney knows full well that the overseas processing of refugees by the Canadian system takes years. According to the Canadian Council for Refugees, there is a backlog of 30,000 applicants or more. In fact, under the Conservatives, the number of refugees waiting for someone — anyone — to look at their file has increased three fold.
7 July
A lesson for Canada? A warmer welcome in a colder state
A surge in immigration without the usual surge in concern
(The Economist) According to a 2010 report from the Saint Paul-based Wilder Research, 6.5% of the state’s population was foreign-born in 2008. That was well below the national figure of roughly 12%. But the rise in the number of foreign-born people in Minnesota has been dramatic; between 1990 and 2000 the immigrant population increased by more than 130%, compared with a 57% rise nationwide.
Yet Minnesota has largely avoided the backlash seen in states such as Arizona, which is racked with nerves about illegal migration over the state’s southern border with Mexico, or Georgia, where legislators recently passed a strict new law aimed at rumbling as many illegal immigrants as possible.
The difference may be partly because, when it comes to immigration, Minnesota is more like Canada than the rest of the United States. Being far removed from Latin America, the main source of immigrants to the country in general, Minnesota has little cause to worry about unauthorised migration.
But it is also a matter of policy. The state has been a national leader in refugee resettlement programmes since the 1980s, and its main metropolis, the twinned cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, has adopted a series of initiatives aimed at supporting refugees of all kinds as well as regular migrants.
17 February
Tories propose new immigration point system
(CTV) Future newcomers will be younger, less educated and more fluent in English or French, if Ottawa’s latest proposals for immigration become a reality.
It’s a formula designed to give immigrants a better chance at success. But the changes may also skew the sources of Canadian immigration, says one expert.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney on Thursday launched a month of public consultations on the proposed changes, in the hopes of formalizing them later this year.
14 February
Tories tread carefully on immigration policy
The federal Conservatives are bringing in record numbers of immigrants, while clamping down on illegal refugees and the wearing of the veil, in an effort to placate their socially conservative base and yet still woo immigrant voters.
The key, for the government, is to inject a socially conservative tone into the multicultural debate, while not tampering with the fundamentals.
12 February
Immigrant visas to drop 5%: records
Cuts would most affect overseas parents, grandparents
[Richard Kurland] called the government’s position disingenuous, since it has attracted some newcomers, so-called economic immigrants, with a promise their parents and grandparents will soon be able to follow.
Restricting family reunification visas will only make it harder for those who immigrated legally to adapt to Canada, argued Sharry Aiken, who teaches immigration and refugee law at Queen’s University.
“The presence of family, which is one of those softer variables — it’s very hard to quantify — can make a huge difference as to whether someone settles here and integrates effectively,” Aiken told CBC News.
Immigration: Do you agree with the government’s plan to reduce immigration?
(CBC) Richard Kurland, the Vancouver-based immigration lawyer who filed the access-to-information request, told CBC News the slashed rate and the 140,000 applicants already in the queue mean a parent could wait 13 years for a visa if he or she were to apply today.
13 February 2011
Canada welcomes highest number of legal immigrants in 50 years while taking action to maintain the integrity of Canada’s immigration system
(Press Release) In 2010, Canada welcomed the highest number of legal immigrants in more than 50 years, at 280,636 permanent residents, Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism and Parliamentary Secretary Dr. Alice Wong announced today in Toronto and Vancouver.

9 October 2010
(RCI) Canadian officials are investigating whether another ship is attempting to bring Tamil migrants from Sri Lanka to Canada. A report by the Toronto Sun newspaper said the authorities are using satellites to determine the location of the ship. Nearly 500 Tamil migrants arrived off Canada’s west coast province of British Columbia by ship in August. Their vessel had set sail from Sri Lanka. Most of the migrants are still being processed by Immigration officials. There is concern some of them who arrived on the vessel belong to Sri Lanka’s outlawed Tamil Tigers of Eelam, which is banned in Canada. The government will soon announce a new law aimed at deterring illegal migrants. On Thursday, immigration officials detained nine foreign nationals discovered hiding onboard a container ship that arrived at the Port of Montreal from Morocco.
5 October
Recession hit hard, recovery came slowly for immigrants
Employment gap greatest among those with highest credentials
As employment grows with a reviving economy, so does the unemployment gap between the country’s highly educated newcomers and their Canadian counterparts.
Among university graduates, recent immigrants were hit hardest by the recession, and new research shows they’re still at a disadvantage compared to Canadian-born university grads as the job market picks up.
28 September
Rethink immigration, new group urges
Centre for Immigration Policy Reform challenges conventional wisdom
A Wednesday Nighter comments: Efforts by the Centre, to explore the debate on the status of our immigration system, will provoke other responses and interest from various groups. Let’s hope that discourse will lead to solutions and informed debate. AMEN!
Anti-immigration group finds powerful ally
Policies ‘being denied rational debate,’ says consummate Canadian insider Burney
Canadian society, he said, needs to stop treating immigration as an untouchable “third rail” that can’t be debated without prompting allegations of bigotry. So he’s joined the advisory board of an organization being launched Tuesday on Parliament Hill. The Centre for Immigration Policy Reform will be headed up by Martin Collacott, a former ambassador who writes frequently on immigration and refugee policy at the Fraser Institute, and James Bissett, a former director general of the Canadian Immigration Service.
13 September
Ottawa Citizen Editorial: Trafficking in people
This Conservative government has never encountered a law-and-order problem that it didn’t want to solve with mandatory-minimum sentences. So it’s no surprise that immigration minister Jason Kenney has been musing publicly about imposing new mandatory minimums for human trafficking.
It’s a facile answer to a complicated problem, a way to score political points and look tough. But there’s precious little reason to believe that mandatory minimums would make the slightest bit of difference. We can tinker with sentences all we like; it’s moot if the offenders never see the inside of a courtroom. … If Kenney wants Canada to get tough with the thugs who exploit migrants, he should focus on finding out why the investigations of both the Ocean Lady and the Sun Sea are dragging on without any perpetrators being identified or prosecuted. Would-be smugglers and traffickers won’t be deterred by amendments to Canada’s laws; they’ll only be deterred when they see their fellows imprisoned.
9 September
Former CSIS chief tasked with cracking down on migrant smuggling
Canada has dispatched its former spy chief to Southeast Asia as a special envoy with a mission to prevent migrant smuggling as the federal government prepares a crackdown to stop more boats of Tamil asylum seekers from sailing to Canada.
Ward Elcock, one-time head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, will travel to Sri Lanka, Thailand and other countries in the region to increase intelligence and police co-operation to thwart networks of smugglers.
And Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, in India on a multicountry tour, has changed travel plans so he can visit Australia next week to study its tough policies aimed at deterring asylum seekers. Australia detains illegal migrants who arrive by boat in camps in the outback and on the remote Christmas Island.
7 September
Time to get tough on human smuggling: Kenney
Minimum sentences needed to help curb illegal migration, minister says
(Ottawa Citizen) Immigration Minister Jason Kenney made the comment after a meeting on illegal migration issues with ministers from France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Greece, and Belgium.
“So I think the government and Parliament need to look at ways that we can send clear messages about how to dis-incentivize those who exploit desperate migrants. Presumably this means that Canada is currently offering incentives?
Critics assail reported refugee clampdown
As reports surface that another ship of migrants could be headed toward Canadian shores, the federal government is reportedly drafting legislation that would prevent such ships from arriving in Canada.
30 August
In a Bangkok apartment, Tamils wait for a ship to Canada
The building’s manager says the Tamils rarely leave their cramped rooms, which come equipped with a single bed, a small colour television and a fan.
Although they are in the country on two-week tourist visas, the Tamils signed nine-month leases on the three rooms at just over $100 per room per month. Staff at the building say that it’s actually a rotating cast of Tamils who use the apartments.
27 August
Roma are the eternal outsiders
(Toronto Star) … before Canadians get too sanctimonious about what’s happening in France, remember that Ottawa last year re-imposed visa requirements for visitors from the Czech Republic after 2,869 Roma sought asylum in Canada country as alleged political refugees in the previous 12 months.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has been invited to Paris for a Roma summit, called by his French counterpart, next week.
In Canada, France figures to have an anti-gypsy ally.
25 August
It is rare that we agree with Mr. Gunter on anything, but in this column, he raises some very valid points.
Lorne Gunter: Two clear steps for fixing our refugee system
As many observers have pointed out, our courts deserve much of the blame for the way Canada has become a patsy among asylum seekers: By endlessly expanding the legal protections enjoyed by non-citizens, judges have made it difficult for authorities to remove bogus refugee claimants from our shores.
But notwithstanding such judicial activism, federal authorities still retain within their power two actions that could do a great deal to discourage false refugee claimants, if only authorities were stern enough to use them.
First, they can and should reject any asylum claimant who returns home before being granted Canadian citizenship — even those who return only briefly for vacations or family visits; and, second, they should deport faster those who have exhausted their appeals.
24 August
What we expect of new Canadians
(National Post) … For many years, Canada has been regarded as a soft touch by Tamil migrants — which is the main reason that the Tamil Tiger terrorist group is seeking to use Canada as its base of operations as it regroups in the wake of its 2009 routing by the Sri Lankan army. The overcrowded boat full of Tamil migrants that arrived in British Columbia this month likely will not be the last of its kind.
Martin Collacott, a former Canadian high commissioner to Sri Lanka, wrote on these pages last fall that between 1989 and 2004, Canada granted refugee status to more than 37,000 Tamils, “far more than to the nationals of any other country,” and 50% more than were granted refugee status by all the other countries in the world.
23 August
Tamil asylum-seekers must stay in jail, Canada says
(BBC) Migrants escorted off the MV Sun Sea after they arrived in Canada The Tamils had reportedly spent 90 days travelling from Thailand
More than 400 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who arrived in Canada aboard a cargo ship 11 days ago have been told they must stay in jail.
Canada unpredictable on human rights says new Amnesty boss
Sidhartha Banerjee The Canadian Press
(Canadian Press) Canada’s position on human rights issues is becoming harder and harder to predict, says Amnesty International’s newly appointed boss.
Salil Shetty said Monday that Canada is now taking drastically different positions in areas such as torture and the death penalty where it has traditionally been progressive.
“Generally speaking if you talk to most Canadians, there’s a big gap between what they believe Canada does and what the reality is in terms of government policy and actions,” Shetty said in an interview.
“It’s a G8 country, it’s a major world power and it has produced so many leaders on these issues, so it has (had) a trendsetting or agenda-setting role.”
Amnesty’s new secretary general said it’s hard to know where Canada stands on many issues.
“You could predict where Canada stood on many of the issues in the past and now you can’t be sure,” Shetty said before delivering a speech at the CIVICUS World Assembly, a gathering of civil society groups.
22 August
David Warren in the Ottawa Citizen: … a Canadian immigration system that is actually designed to be dysfunctional, and advertises opportunities for abuse. It is no accident that it takes very little time to become a fully-voting Canadian citizen, but a lot of time to deport even the most flagrantly illegal visitor to this country, once he has “opted” to stay. It is no accident that an immense vested interest has been assembled in the form of immigration lawyers, who will scream pink bluster when their own gravy train is impeded. More
20 August
Canada missed chances to stop Tamil migrant ship
(National Post) Canada and its allies missed several opportunities to stop the MV Sun Sea before it left South Asia with almost 500 Sri Lankan Tamil migrants on board, a National Post investigation has found.
The closest call was on May 9, when the Royal Thai Navy, acting on intelligence supplied by Australia, detected the Sun Sea in the Gulf of Thailand. But the ship was let go because it was outside Thai territorial waters.
Tamil migrants ‘taken aback’ by jail stay: lawyer
(CBC) Some thought they’d be able to explore Canada ‘the next day’ after arriving
17 August
Harper vows to halt ‘trend’ of asylum-seekers landing in Canada
Prime Minister Stephen Harper yesterday warned that Ottawa “will not hesitate to strengthen the laws” and tackle the “trend” of migrants landing in Canada on people-smuggling ships, marking his first public words on the issue since the arrival of 490 Tamil asylum-seekers in British Columbia last week.
“Let me be clear: we are a land of refuge, but at the same time I think Canadians are pretty concerned when a whole boat of people comes — not through any normal application process, not through any normal arrival channel — and just simply lands”.
16 August
Tasha Kheiriddin: Respect for a country starts before you cross its borders
the voyage of the latest Tamil migrant ship to our shores may evoke sympathy, it must be recognized for what it is: queue jumping. Instead of going through normal immigration channels, or the refugee admissions process, those aboard the Sun Sea headed for the front of the line, thanks to their wallets. Their voyage appears not to have been a harrowing odyssey, but professionally organized. While one man died before arriving, none of the other passengers appeared to be in ill health; to the contrary, they were apparently well-fed and dressed, and exhibited no serious illnesses.
13 August
Tamil migrants to be investigated: Toews
Hundreds arriving in B.C. seek refugee protection
(CBC) An estimated 490 Tamil migrants who arrived on a ship seeking refugee shelter in Canada will be investigated to determine whether there are “human smugglers or terrorists” among them, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said Friday.
The minister said the government will consider whether “further improvements” are needed to disrupt and deter criminal organizations and enterprises such as human smuggling, but gave no further details. … Many on board are believed to have paid as much as $50,000 each for the trip.
Don Martin: Tamil ship brings what the Tories need
A frenzy of furious public opinion demanding a crackdown on refugee queue-jumpers is just what this law-and-order government needed to get back on message and ease a summer of voter discontent.
When the Sun Sea limped into Canadian waters yesterday with 490 sorry souls locked below deck in fetid overcrowded conditions, it was not the moment for a measured federal response.
When the Sun Sea limped into Canadian waters yesterday with 490 sorry souls locked below deck in fetid overcrowded conditions, it was not the moment for a measured federal response.
13 July
Mark Collins: Immigration Canada = skilled workers, unskilled spouses, no jobs anyway
13 June 2010
Persichilli: Points system fails immigrants and Canada
In a very interesting report (Lifting all boats: promoting social cohesion and economic inclusion in the Toronto Region) published last week, the Toronto Board of Trade addresses some important issues related to the GTA. Among them is the need to take better advantage of the skills new immigrants bring to this country. In particular, the study reports that the “wages earned by Canadian immigrants are lower, while the rates of involuntary part-time work, temporary employment and over-qualification are all higher than non-immigrants.”

12 March 2009
Recent Immigrants are the Most Educated and Yet Underemployed in the Canadian Labour Force
(Martin Prosperity Institute) Every year over 200,000 immigrants move to Canada, many of them in search of economic opportunity. But is there actual opportunity to be found? It seems that for every story of a recent immigrant who struck it big in Canada, there is a story of an Indian engineer who must work as a cab driver, or a Chinese surgeon that cannot obtain credentials. Analysis of recently released 2006 data, confirms that educated immigrants are underemployed in the Canadian labour force.

10 September 2007
Unemployment rate among new immigrants 11.5%: StatsCan
Immigrants new to Canada have a difficult time finding work, and face unemployment rates twice as high as those among Canadian-born citizens, according to a Statistics Canada study released Monday.
The study found 2006 unemployment levels among immigrants who arrived in Canada between 2001 and 2006 was 11.5 per cent, as compared with 4.9 per cent among the Canadian-born population. Study: Canada’s immigrant labour market

One Comment on "Canada in 2010 and 2011 – Immigration"

  1. S.K. August 30, 2010 at 4:21 pm · Reply

    1. As Mr Collins quietly points out, not all overseas university degrees are equal and that fact will restrict advancement of certain immigrants in certain fields.

    2. The fact that university-trained immigrants trail with them uneducated wives must believe, I believe, be largely anecdotal. I can stipulate, but only in my own experience, that it is usual for both immigrant spouses to be ‘degreed’. This bodes well for Canada, as obviously education is important in such households and therefore the children of such parents will also probably seek university educations. The effect for Canada could be nothing short of highly beneficial.
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    3. Self governing professional associations, most notably (but not exclusively) those dealing with healthcare specialists insist on the completion of additional qualifying programs, ostensibly to bring these immigrants “up to speed”. It matters not whether the immigrant’s degree be a first class one from Oxford or third class from ULV – the University of Lower Vanuatu (Is it possible to have a Lower Vanuatu? But you get the idea.). Of course, Quebec medical associations are the worst offenders in Canada. Provincial governments happily allow the situation to persist because with fewer such “qualified” professionals available, health care costs are artificially controlled for them and muddle-headed government thinking tries to convince us that complaints against them for a paucity of these professionals cannot, therefore, be laid at their feet. The result is that immigrants and the rest of us suffer.

    4. As immigrants become more numerous, I am convinced disparities in salaries and promotions will decrease. Although Mr Collins provides no such statistics, I would imagine that differences in 2010 are considerably less than they were in, say, 2000 as prejudices dissipate and Canadians of whatever stripe (Let us remember there are prejudices among the relative new arrivals themselves) welcome immigrants more readily.

    5. In my opinion … we must manage our own immigration policies and procedures without brooking interference from organizations and countries that cannot possibly know us as we know ourselves. We have a duty to safeguard this beautiful country and all its people, no matter where they or their ancestors are from. We must be generous, certainly. But we don’t have to give away the farm.

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