Canada's immigration policy questioned by critics on reunification visas

The critics claim that the government has banked tens of millions of Canadian dollars from applicants, but has not processed the applications yet. These documents were released by Amir Attaran, an Ottawa University Professor, under Access to Information. Attaran, an immigrant himself, has been trying to get his parents application cleared since summer 2009, without luck, and sued the Immigration Agency.


These claims, against the immigration practices, come after the Conservative Government released that in 2010, Canada accepted the highest number of immigrant application in the country, since the past 50 years.


 The Immigration Minister Jason Kenney revealed in a report on 13th February 2011, that Canada had admitted about 280,636 immigrants last year. These numbers of new permanent residents in Canada, reflected an increase by 60,000 from the annual figures of immigration each year since the 1990’s. It is also six per cent more than the Government had planned.


 Jason Kenney pointed out that: “We have improved the immigration system, we have reduced the backlog in the federal skilled worker category by 33 per cent.”


 The Canada Immigration Department says that for applications from the Asia and Pacific region, submitted before February 27, 2008, the number of months for the complete processing, ranges from 57 for Sri Lanka, to 79 for India and 77 for Pakistan. On the other hand, the applications received between November 28, 2008 and June 25, 2010, the processing time in months is 11, 10 and 11 for Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan respectively.


 Kenney had also released in a press statement that: “While other Western countries cut back on immigration during the recession, our government kept legal immigration levels high. Canada’s post-recession economy demands a high level of economic immigration to keep our economy strong.”


 Kenney pointed out that the high number of new permanent residents allowed in 2010 will help the Canada’s post-recession economy to meet the needs of the labour market. The critics cry foul as they believe the plan for skilled immigrants comes at the cost of reunification immigrants, coming to join their families.


 In documents released by the Government recently, it is revealed that the Conservatives plan to bring about a reduction in the number of reunification visas from 15,000 last year to 11,000 this year. It was also revealed in the documents obtained through Access of Information that about 147,769 reunification visas are in the waiting list.

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