In the postwar period, Canada’s immigration policies shifted as refugees and others fleeing Europe arrived, economic growth occurred, and the country’s workforce expanded. The country offers a high standard of living, excellent healthcare, and a welcoming society. However, the immigration process can be complex, with various categories and requirements that applicants must meet. This article provides an overview of Canadian immigration laws, types of immigration, and the Canadian immigration process.
Canada is a popular destination for immigrants from all over the world. Over the past five decades, Canada has become known for its policies of welcoming immigrants and promoting multiculturalism, which has had a significant impact on Canadian society and culture. The Canadian government has historically used immigration to develop vast areas of land after gaining independence from the UK in 1867. However, not all groups were initially welcomed during this process.
The Development of Canada’s Immigration Policy
The immigration system currently in place has its roots in the 1960s and 1970s when legislation was introduced to establish a points-based assessment process for applicants and promote cultural diversity. Canada’s economy depends significantly on immigration. As the fertility rate decreases and the native-born workforce ages, the contribution of immigrants has become increasingly vital to the nation’s economic well-being.
The Role of Immigration in Shaping Canadian Culture and Society
The impact of immigration on Canadian culture and society has been substantial. At present, more than a quarter of Canada’s population is made up of individuals who were born outside of the country. The percentage is the highest it has been in more than 150 years, and compared to other Western industrialized nations, it is among the highest. Overall, Canadians tend to view immigration positively, and in 2022 a recent survey was conducted which showed that less than 30% of respondents believed that current levels of immigration were too high.
Immigration and Canada’s Economy
To fulfill Canada’s economic and social objectives, immigration continues to play an important part. In 2022, over 437,000 foreigners were granted permanent residency in Canada, and a sizable portion of them were from India. Despite challenges highlighted by some Canadians about the pressure on housing and social services, Ontario has remained a popular destination for immigrants, especially in and around Toronto. Support for immigration has been significantly boosted by the Canadian government’s focus on multiculturalism and the lack of massive unauthorized immigration.
Canadian Immigration Process
The Canadian immigration process is categorized into four groups: “economic, family, protected persons and refugees, and humanitarian and other reasons.”
- Economic Immigration
Economic immigration prioritizes individuals with high education levels, experience, language proficiency, and job offers using a point system. The Provincial Nominee Program is a type of economic immigration that permits candidates to apply to specific provinces that choose individuals to meet their economic needs.
2. Family Sponsorship Immigration
The category of family immigration permits family members, including spouses, partners, and children, to reunite with their relatives residing in Canada. Same-sex couples are also acknowledged in this category, irrespective of their marital status. Canada has been leading the world in resettling refugees and protected persons, having accepted the highest number of refugees for three consecutive years, including 2021. Over twenty thousand refugees were welcomed into Canada in 2021, mainly hailing from the Middle East and Africa. Resettled refugees can either receive government assistance or be sponsored privately.
3. Protected Persons and Refugees
The protected persons and refugees category is for individuals who are fleeing persecution or danger in their home country. Canada resettles the most refugees of any country in the world. The two major types of resettled refugees are privately sponsored and government-assisted.
4. Humanitarian and Other Reasons
The category of humanitarian and other reasons allows for the granting of permanent residency to a specific number of individuals for diverse purposes. In Canada, individuals seeking asylum arrive in the country without government approval, similar to resettled refugees, and for similar reasons. These individuals can submit a claim at designated government offices, airports, or border crossings. The process of determining whether an applicant qualifies for protected status can take up to two years. If granted, the majority of individuals seeking asylum can request permanent residency.
5. Assimilation and Support
Canada provides orientation programs, social services, skills training, and citizenship pathways to help immigrants integrate into Canadian society. Despite these efforts, many immigrants face challenges in finding employment that aligns with their qualifications, and they tend to lag behind Canadian-born citizens on certain economic measures. Nevertheless, Canada remains a top choice for immigrants, with high levels of naturalization and satisfaction among this group.
Temporary Foreign Worker Programs of Canada
“Temporary foreign worker programs” in Canada play a vital role in meeting the economic and cultural development objectives of the country. These initiatives enable companies to recruit overseas employees for sectors that face difficulty in finding domestic workers. To prevent ill-treatment, temporary workers receive workplace inspections and labor protections. Nevertheless, the Canadian temporary worker scheme suffers from exploitation and dishonest practices, attributable to inadequate government supervision and work allows that restrict immigrants to a particular employer.
Illegal Immigration in Canada
The immigration system in Canada is known for its stringent regulations, which include strict visitor visa requirements. These measures have played a crucial role in limiting the influx of undocumented individuals into the country. Moreover, Canada has worked jointly with the United States to regulate the transportation of commodities and individuals through their shared boundary. However, recent immigration policies introduced by the Trump administration created challenges for Canada’s immigration system, prompting the country to enhance border security and revise the asylum screening process.
Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Immigration in Canada
The restrictions on travel and immigration imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted immigration. However, there have been some changes made to Canada’s Express Entry program, aimed at simplifying the application process for skilled workers. The pandemic has emphasized the significance of immigrants in Canada’s economy and workforce, initiating conversations on how to enhance the immigration system to benefit both Canadians and immigrants.
In conclusion, Canada’s immigration laws have evolved to become one of the most open and welcoming in the world. With a strong focus on diversity and multiculturalism, Canada’s immigration policies have played a critical role in shaping its economy and society. The Canadian immigration process is divided into four categories: “economic, family, protected persons and refugees, and humanitarian and other reasons.” While the process can be complex, the government provides significant support for immigrants to help them assimilate into Canadian society. Despite challenges, Canada remains a top destination for immigrants seeking a high standard of living, excellent healthcare, and a welcoming society.