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    Canada immigration: critics and advocates

Immigration is something we all talk about. Everyone has a story to tell and everyone has an opinion. Whether it’s provincial or federal immigration, readers should understand what is being said about the subject.

It may come as a surprise but not everyone is supportive of immigration. We can’t detail the long history of Canadian immigration in this article but we can help the reader understand the current trends and opinions of the people who support immigration and those who would like to limit it.

Limits on immigration

Federal Immigration Minister, Jason Kenny announced in June of this year new limits on federal skilled worker applications. Minister Kenny explained that federal skilled worker applicants are now to be limited to 29 designated occupations – down from 38 occupations – with a limit of 20,000 total yearly approvals and only 1,000 in any one of the 29 occupations. This change has, in essence, reduced the immigration options open to many highly skilled applicants abroad by occupational code and number. It’s a good thing that we live in Manitoba because, at least, the provincial immigration program (MPNP) does not have similar restrictions.

Another position, promoted by the Centre for Immigration Policy Reform think tank, is to argue against the reunification of families, especially parents and grandparents. They see these immigrants as people who take away from the national wealth rather than adding to it. The Centre’s argument does not take into consideration the place of extended families and the supports we receive across generations nor does it consider the fact that all Canadians should have the same rights and privileges. But there is no arguing with people who would take away your right to sponsor your parents and then assure you that it is in your best interest and in the interests of the country. The Centre claims to be supportive of immigration, but it should be “good” immigration. The problem for us all is that we are being asked to trust the Centre for Immigration Policy Reform with determining what is “good immigration.”

If these were the only opinions on immigration it would indeed be a sad day for us all.

A fair immigration policy

However, there are also those who advocate a more open and fair-minded immigration policy for Canada. If we consider that a short twenty years ago you could sponsor a close relative under the Assisted Relative Class,you can see how far the country has moved to the right politically to limit immigration numbers. In sharp contrast, we have current examples of supporters of enhanced immigration at the federal level such as the NDP Task Force Working for Fair Immigration.In September 2010, Winnipeg North hosted an immigration forum with Olivia Chow, Member of Parliament critic for immigration, and her fellow MP Peter Julian, international trade critic. Their party’s platform is to make family reunification a priority, create fair visitor’s visa rules and speed up the recognition of foreign credentials and the integration of foreign trained newcomers in the work force.

The NDP’s “Once in a Lifetime” bill would allow Canadians to expedite the sponsorship of one family member. How many readers have also invited parents and grandparents just to visit Canada, only to have the temporary resident visa refused at the Manila visa post because the officer was not satisfied that the visitor would return home? There is never a detailed explanation and no recourse to appeal. Even experienced people in the field often wonder aloud why one applicant is approved while another is refused.

The national platform of the NDP also recommends a fast and fair foreign credential recognition process with financial incentives to employers who hire new immigrants, bridging programs and loans to help newcomers find good jobs. All these measures would help reverse the unfair and shortsighted moves to limit Canadian immigration numbers.

The content of this article is intended for information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Michael Scott invites all readers to contact him directly.

Michael Scott BA (Hon), MA, is a 30-year veteran of Canada Immigration and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program who works as an immigration associate with R.B. Global Immigration Consultants Ltd. He can be reached at 838 Ellice Avenue in Winnipeg, Manitoba or by telephone at: (204) 783-7326 or (204) 227-0292.

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