August 1999 Volume 6 Number 8
Canada: Immigration Down
Canada received 174,100 immigrants in 1998, down from 215,840 in 1997, the fewest since 1988. According to the government, some 15,000 immigrant visas issued to Asians were not used, because "prospective immigrants could not afford to leave for Canada."
Canada has three major admissions doors: economic, family and refugee. Economic admissions include business investors and skilled workers; about 95,000 arrived, down sharply from 1997 due to the drop in business immigrants: 13,778 arrived in 1998, compared to 19,278 in 1997 and 22,459 in 1996. The number of skilled-worker immigrants, 81,146 including families, was also down.
There were 50,861 family unification immigrants in 1998, down from 60,000 in 1997. Canada accepted 22,644 refugees in 1998, down from 24,000 in 1997; the leading countries of origin of refugees in 1998 were Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sri Lanka, Iran, Croatia, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, India and Pakistan.
About 11 percent of Canadian immigrants in 1998 were from China, followed by India, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Iran, Korea, the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom. About 53 percent of the 1998 immigrants intended to live in Ontario (Toronto); 21 percent in British Columbia (Vancouver); and 15 percent in Quebec (Montreal).
Deportation. The Canadian Supreme Court in July 1999 ruled that the interests of Canadian-born children should be considered when their parents are ordered deported. The case involved a 44-year-old Jamaican woman who arrived in Canada in 1981. She overstayed her visa and was considered illegal soon after she arrived, but her deportation was not ordered until 1992, by which time she had four Canadian-born children.
Her lawyers argued successfully that deporting her in 1999 would violate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that children should not be separated from their parents unless it is in their best interest. The woman, now on welfare, says she has nothing to return to in Jamaica.
Sponsorship. A Haitian immigrant who arrived in Canada in 1973 and sponsored the admission of 12 relatives, eight of whom went on welfare, is suing Quebec in an effort to stop the Quebec government from collecting $71,000 in welfare payments from her, saying that she did not understand what she was signing when she sponsored their admission. Canada requires persons sponsoring relatives to promise three years of support for spouses, and 10 years of support for children, parents, grandparents, siblings or nieces and nephews they sponsor.
Between 1987 and 1995, Quebec made $237 million in welfare payments to recent arrivals who should have been looked after by their sponsors. Quebec began to enforce sponsorship agreements in 1996. According to one estimate, about 15 percent of family-class immigrants rely on welfare within a decade after their arrival.
Smuggling. In mid-July, Canadian authorities intercepted a ship that was carrying more than 100 Chinese migrants; one said that she paid $38,000 for the 40-day trip. Several other ships carrying Chinese to Canada were also found off the coast of British Columbia.
Most of the Chinese apprehended on ships headed for Canada apply for asylum, and then many are smuggled into the US. Canadian law allows the detention of asylum seekers for up to seven days, unless authorities can show that they are not sure of the foreigners' identity, they think the foreigners may be a danger to the public, or do not believe the asylum applicants will show up for their hearings. In 1997-98, about half of the 1,675 asylum applications filed by Chinese migrants were abandoned after the claimants did not show up for hearings.
In 1986, authorities found 152 people from Sri Lanka floating in lifeboats in the ocean off Newfoundland. In 1987, a freighter dropped 173 Sikhs from India on the coast of Nova Scotia. For more information: http://www.readersdigest.ca/mag/1999/08/think_01.html
China is the number-one source of immigrants to Canada. A Canadian report in July estimated that 100,000 Chinese are brought out of China each year, including 40,000 into the US. In some cases, Chinese are smuggled out of China through enrollment as students in language courses abroad. The International Organization for Migration estimates that four million people are "trafficked" every year in a global trade worth $10 billion annually. China's Public Security Bureau estimates that there are hundreds of thousands of Chinese outside China waiting to be smuggled to their final destinations.
George Kalogerakis, "Immigrant sponsor challenges bill for welfare," Montreal Gazette, July 23, 1999. Jonathan Manthorpe, "100,000 people smuggled from China every year," Vancouver Sun, July 21, 1999. Andrew Duffy, "Canada attracts 24% fewer skilled immigrants than expected," Ottawa Citizen, July 15, 1999.