The population shortage in Canada has led to a very positive attitude towards enticing immigrants to live and do business in the Great White North. After World War II Canada accepted large numbers of refugees, known then as Displaced Persons, from destroyed European countries. They were Italians, Poles, Czechs, and others who wanted to be accepted in a country without war, where they could build a new life.
Life has been comparatively good in the land of the freezing: Canada is the top-ranked country, the number one place to live in the world. Free health care is a major benefit, with universal access for all. The environment is cleaner than other places, the education system is excellent, neighborhoods are generally safe, and there is overall racial harmony and equality in the workplace. It goes without saying that nobody is considered a target because of where he’s from or the color of his skin.
That tradition has brought a wide diversity of ethnic communities; thirty-six separate ethnicities have populations of over 100,000. Almost every country in the world is represented within the population. Decades later, the population is still shrinking at a rate of 1.5% so hard-working new citizens are needed to make the economy work. The economic class of immigrants is desirable to bring money and skills into the country. Someone moving here to work is expected to have money to survive for six months. Entry starts with a temporary work visa, which later becomes permanent resident status. There are thirty-eight skilled job classifications pursued by Immigration Canada as worthy of fast-track processing.
There is a liberal policy to allow immigration to Canada so it’s the easiest way to qualify for a visa. Once a person is a citizen it’s a straightforward matter to bring relatives into the country.
A sub-category of Economic Immigrants is Business Class, where a new immigrant owns at least a third of a business and has 0K in business assets. The intent is to create new jobs for Canadians, thus stimulating the economy. The government needs taxpayers so this plan looks good on paper. In practice this clause is open to a good amount of abuse and it results in financial loss without the government realizing it.
Let’s take a look at the loophole being used all the time to the detriment of the taxpayers. Let us say a couple in China are part of an extended family but have no relatives living in Canada to get them in. The husband has a cousin and two friends wishing to move to Canada. They are all in their late 20s and have been saving up money in the hopes of getting to North America. Now the couples are starting to have children and the expenses are mounting. Here’s what they do: they pool all their money and buy a warehouse worth around a million dollars. Then they take out a business license and apply for a visa as owners of a Canadian business. The building is worth a million and the four husbands use that and some minor equity to prove their net worth is over 0K and so they are granted permanent status. They move to Canada with all the new children that they couldn’t afford back in their home country. Now they have free education and free medical coverage without ever having a real business or creating jobs. They also have opened the door to all the relatives that now qualify to come over. The loss occurs in the social services used up when no contribution has been made to the economy.
Here is a breakdown for a four-year period (2004-2008) of new residents: Family Class 65,567; Economic Immigrants 149,072; Refugees 21,860; Other immigrants 10,742 – for a total of 247,243 people who have gone through the process in the last four years. Almost ten percent of those granted entry were refugees. Many who show up to claim refugee status remain in the country even if their claim is rejected. This is caused by a poorly-defined screening process that has resulted in tens of thousands of warrants and deportation orders (which are not usually enforced).
When dealing with governments it is always best to use the services of a lawyer who specializes in Canadian Immigration so that the correct procedure is done right the first time. Any mistake can force the applicant to begin all over again so it’s worth spending a few dollars to avoid lengthy delays in reprocessing. The lawyer will know the most appropriate form to expedite the application. The odds are definitely in favor of the immigrant who knows where he’s going.
There is another program that fast-tracks new visa holders by having them select a particular province in which to live and work. Quebec doesn’t belong to this group but every other province and territory does except Nunavut and the North-West Territories. Most provinces need people – especially those with skills that can boost industry.
The federal government prefers to have fairly open borders and chooses to sit back and let things sort themselves out…after all, most of the illegal immigrants will eventually pay to file a form out of sheet convenience at some point if they want to stay in Canada and work. With no attempt to expel those with deportation orders outstanding, the number of illegal immigrants in Canada is probably much higher than the 41,000 reported in 2008 by Auditor-General Sheila Fraser, and estimates go as high as 120,000 currently living in the country illegally. The real number is anybody’s guess since there’s no priority in making the system airtight. It costs manpower and money to track down individuals and prosecute them for a fairly abstract return on any resources invested in cleaning up a non-problem.
One interesting immigration rule that exists in Canada makes it possible to obtain a visa based on a cultural talent rather than raw capital. This means that you can become a Canadian citizen even if you have no money, no business interests, no relatives – all you have to do is write some nice poetry that some nebulous government panel decides is culturally important enough for you to read for spare loonies in Place Jacques Cartier.