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March 1996, Volume 3, Number 3

Canada Cracks Down on Immigrant Sponsors

The Canadian government on December 14, 1995 promised to crack down on residents who, after sponsoring the immigration of their relatives to Canada, fail to provide for them. Canadian residents are allowed to sponsor a spouse, fiancé, dependent children, parents and grandparents for immigration to Canada.

New rules prevent residents from sponsoring immigrants if the Canadian resident has received social assistance in the previous 12 months, is in prison, or is facing trial on charges that could lead to deportation.

The metropolitan Vancouver area, with 1.8 million residents, is home to 300,000 people of Asian origin. In communities such as Richmond, Asians are 30 percent of the population. Most of the Asian immigrants are from Hong Kong and Taiwan, and have been attracted to Canada by an immigration policy that favors wealthy immigrants with investment funds.

About 50 percent of the 57,000 students in Vancouver's public schools list English as their second language.

According to a recent survey by Statistics Canada, immigrants from Hong Kong invested about $6.5 billion in Canada between 1987 and 1991. British Columbia benefited from a tripling of direct investments from Asian countries and the Pacific Rim is now the major source of foreign investment over the US and the European Union.

As 1997 approaches, more Hong Kong residents are expected to move to Canada. The number of immigrants settling in British Columbia quadrupled between 1986 and 1994, and the percentage of Asians among these immigrants rose from 37 percent to 68 percent.

Tara Shioya, "Up and Coming: As affluent immigrants flock from Asia and Vancouver, the economy is growing," San Francisco Chronicle, February 18, 1996. Herve Guilbaud, "Vancouver: the new frontier for Chinese immigrants," Agence France Presse, February 7, 1996. Alan Merridew, "Canada tightens up on sponsors," South China Morning Post, December 17, 1995. "Canada to clamp down on deadbeat sponsors of immigrants," Agence France Presse, December 14, 1995.