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Canadian Immigration Update - 2 August, 2012

by Dominic 02/08/2012 10:37:00
Crackdown on Canada visa abuse

The government has announced its intention to toughen Canada visa restrictions for international students in order to combat reported abuse of the system...read more.

Public asked for input in Canadian immigration initiative

Canadian immigration officials have launched an online campaign aimed at allowing members of the public to offer their opinion on Canada's federal Immigration Investor Program...read more.

Minister scrutinised over Conrad Black's Canada visa

A coalition of 80 Canadian immigration lawyers have written to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney demanding to know his level of involvement in the decision to grant disgraced former media mogul Conrad Black a Canada visa...read more.




Crackdown on Canada visa abuse

The government wants to make
sure foreign students are using
their Canada visa to study.

The government has announced its intention to toughen Canada visa restrictions for international students in order to combat reported abuse of the system.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said he had heard anecdotal reports of foreign citizens entering the country on a legally obtained Canada visa ostensibly to attend one of the country's colleges or universities and were either purposely seeking employment instead of studying, or were being exploited into the sex industry.

The immigration minister last month prevented foreign citizens in the adult entertainment industry from applying for a visa and was warned at the time that this would only push more people into attempting to enter the country illegally.

"This is a loophole being allegedly used by some criminal operations to bring potentially vulnerable young women to Canada to face exploitation," said Mr Kenney.

"We don't have much in the way of hard data on this. It's a concern that has been raised and I think it's a legitimate one and we think this underscores the need for us to better police the program."

The UK has notoriously suffered from abuse of its student visa system and the debate whether to include student figures as part of net migration figures still rages on. However, despite being a world leader in the international education industry alongside the UK, the US, Australia and New Zealand, Canada is the only country which has no checking process in place to check applicants' authenticity.

Foreign citizens claiming they are entering Canada to study and finding work instead damages the country's international reputation and its billion-dollar international education industry while undermining migrants who enter Canada through the proper immigration channels.

Mr Kenney has said he is proposing provinces submit lists of education institutions within their jurisdictions which have credible histories of welcoming bona fide international students and barring others from accepting international students.

"Our broader concern is to ensure the integrity of the student visas that we issue."

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Public asked for input in Canadian immigration initiative

Canada is asking for public input
on how best immigration can
benefit the public.

Canadian immigration officials have launched an online campaign aimed at allowing members of the public to offer their opinion on Canada's federal Immigration Investor Program.

The Immigration Investor Program allows foreign entrepreneurs to obtain a Canada visa if they can prove they have business experience, have a net worth of at least CA$1.6 million (£1 million) and are willing to invest CA$800,000 (£510,000) in the Canadian economy.

Many countries around the world have immigration schemes targeted at wealthy investors and many often prove controversial as they are seen as allowing wealthy people to essentially buy their way into a country while everyone else follows regular channels.

However, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says he is asking for public opinion on how to set the program's requirements to best benefit the country's economy, and therefore public.

“We can no longer be a passive player in the global competition for talent and investment. That is why we need to review our immigration programs to create dynamic opportunities that enable immigrants’ investments to directly benefit the Canadian economy,” Mr Kenney said in a statement.

One change to policy reportedly being considered is requiring the CA$800,000 investment to be much more active rather than the interest free loan which is permitted under current legislation.

Applications for the program are currently suspended while the government reassesses the criteria and attempts to deal with a backlog of visa applications in all programs. Suggestions are being heard until September and the program is expected to begin taking applications again at the start of 2013.

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Minister scrutinised over Conrad Black's Canada visa

Lord Black has now returned to
Canada on a temporary
residency permit.

A coalition of 80 Canadian immigration lawyers have written to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney demanding to know his level of involvement in the decision to grant disgraced former media mogul Conrad Black a Canada visa.

Conrad Black, who was born in Canada, was forced to renounce his citizenship upon taking a peerage in the British House of Lords. Lord Black was then charged in the US with fraud and obstruction of justice for his alleged part in a US$60 million (£38.6 million) scheme centred on Hollinger International, the media company he controlled.

Lord Black was sentenced to 42 months in an American prison for his part of the scheme; he was released in May of this year.

Where he intended to return however proved highly contentious; with his wife and family in Toronto, he announced his intention to return to his country of birth but needed a Canada visa to do so, an unlikely prospect given his criminal record.

Lord Black was granted a temporary residency permit just days before his release and despite insistences from Minister Kenney that he took no part in the decision, a group of immigration lawyers claim Lord Black's application would never have been accepted without political interference.

The lawyers wrote their letter after Mr Kenney's office attempt to have one Toronto-based lawyer censured for publicly expressing his doubt that Mr Kenney did not intervene in Lord Black's application.

The letter claims the group find Mr Kenney's assurance that Lord Black's case was processed 'without any input from yourself' was 'not credible' and challenged Mr Kenney to 'report us to the Law Society' if 'you believe our statement violates the Law Society of Upper Canada rules'.

The immigration minister's office dismissed the letter.

"If the lawyers who signed this letter think it is acceptable for a lawyer to accuse a public office holder of interference without a shred of evidence, and with all evidence to the contrary, then, with due respect, they have a warped sense of professionalism and legal ethics," said a spokesperson for the minister. 

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- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the Canadian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

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