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June 1994, Volume 1, Number 5

Canadian Immigration Targets for 1994

Despite a 1993 poll that found that 47 percent of Canadians believe that the country is accepting too many immigrants, and pressure from the Reform Party to reduce immigration, Canada in February 1994 announced that it would maintain the previous government's target of 250,000 immigrants and refugees in 1994. Some 111,000 of these immigrants are in the family category, whose sponsors must promise to support them for 10 years. Another 86,700 non-sponsored immigrants are expected; they are selected on the basis of a point system that gives preference to younger professionals. Canada will also admit up to 24,000 investor immigrants. Canada announced that it was prepared to admit 28,300 refugees in 1994.

The Reform Party wanted immigration reduced to 150,000 because of persisting high unemployment. The unemployment rate was 11 percent in April, 1994.

The number of persons applying for refugee status at Canadian borders fell from 37,720 in 1992 to 20,492 in 1993, a decline attributed in part to a February 1993 law that requires refugee applicants to be fingerprinted and to pay a $360 fee. Canada now stations immigration officers at airports overseas who prevent aliens likely to request asylum in Canada from boarding planes that would fly them there. Airlines and shipping companies must pay a fine of C$5000 for each illegal alien they bring into Canada. Some provinces are tightening refugee access to social services: Ontario is ending health services for refugees on June 1, 1994, expecting the federal government to provide for them.

Immigration Minister Sergio Marchi has said his office will tighten controls on entrepreneurial visas which give landed or permanent immigrant status to aliens who invest at least US$181,000 in a Canadian business and create one or more jobs for Canadians. Thousands of Hong Kong residents have used entrepreneurial visas to emigrate to Canada. The immigration minister claims that many do not keep their part of the bargain by investing and creating jobs. In the first nine months of 1993, 28,217 immigrants arrived from Hong Kong, about one-fifth of them with entrepreneurial visas.

"Staying the course on immigration," The Gazette (Montreal), February 4, 1994. Anne Swardson, "Canada Welcoming Fewer Immigrants," The Washington Post, May 17, 1994, A11. "Canada's immigration chief says he will clamp down on visa," Agence France Presse, May 23, 1994. Anne Swardson, "Canada Shutting Its Doors to Refugees," International Herald Tribune, May 18, 1994.