More changes were introduced to the Canadian immigration system this week; both are intended to achieve the same goal: a fairer, more efficient and more cost effective immigration system. However, the changes affect radically different groups.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has repeatedly stated his intention to bring the Canadian immigration system under better control in recent months, even going so far as to halt new applications while the backlog is dealt with but his latest raft of changes has attracted significant amounts of criticism.
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Under new rules announced on 4 July, foreign workers will no longer be able to obtain a Canada visa if they are entering the country to work in a job related to the sex industry...read more.
Canadian immigration minister backtracks on healthcare limits
Mr Kenney maintains the
law was never intended to
The Canadian government have been forced to clarify the language in its controversial immigration bill which limits refugees' access to healthcare.
The Canadian immigration bill prevents refugee claimants from getting extended health benefits such as pharmaceutical, dental and vision care has remained in the news since its announcement in April.
Critics of the law claim it is unnecessarily cruel towards refugees but the Conservative government maintains the law is merely meant to ensure that the level of healthcare afforded to refugees does not surpass that available to the average Canadian citizen.
The bill, which the government maintains will save the Canadian taxpayers CA$100 million (£63.3 million) over the next five years, was due to take effect on 30 June yet the immigration department changed teh language of the bill just 48 hours before it passed into law.
A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said the department realised that the law's wording did not clarify that government-assisted refugees were exempt from the law's wording.
Mr Kenney maintains that the law was never intended to affect government-assisted refugees and the rewording was not a bow to pressure from refugee advocates.
"Out intention was to ensure that those who come to Canada as asylum seekers from abroad do not receive better health care coverage than Canadians," said a spokesperson for the minister.
"Our intention was never to have this policy impact government sponsored refugees who have been living in UN refugee camps, who arrive in Canada as permanent residents, but who do not qualify for provincial social support."
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New Canada visa rules clampdown on sex industry
Companies related to the sex
industry will no longer be able
to employ foreign workers.
Under new rules announced on 4 July, foreign workers will no longer be able to obtain a Canada visa if they are entering the country to work in a job related to the sex industry.
The new Canada visa restrictions, announced by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, is intended to limit the risk of foreign workers entering the country to be sexually exploited or degraded.
"The government cannot in good conscience continue to admit temporary foreign workers to work in businesses in sectors where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation," said Mr Kenney.
The current Conservative government had already been limiting the number of work permits to exotic dancers, granting less than 500 visas in the five years to 2011 compared to over 1,700 in the four years to 2005 by the previous Liberal government.
The move has been welcomed by anti-human trafficking advocates but has come under criticism from both legitimate members of the adult entertainment industry and academics researching the workings of the murkier side of the controversial industry.
"If you want to stop the exploitation, you bring the industry out of the shadows," said Chris Bruckert, a sex industry researched from the University of Ottawa. "This is creating more of an illicit market, closing the legal door is just going to make the [illegal] door more attractive."
Much of the country's adult entertainment industry are unhappy with the ruling, claiming Eastern European and Asian workers fuel the business and provide a route out of difficult circumstances for the dancers.
"They're beautiful, exotic and very professional," said one strip club owner. "Banning them from Canada just leaves them with fewer options to escape a life of poverty in their home country."
An association representing some of the country's strip clubs accused the government of going after an easy target and promised to fight the ruling.
"This is nothing more than political brownie points for their western, ultraconservative base," said the executive director of the Adult Entertainment Association of Canada, Tim Lambrinos.
"We're going to be challenging this in some way."
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- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the Canada Visa Bureau.
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