Immigration Laws in Canada
To: Winsome Thomas
From: Maral Hassan Poor
Date: Saturday, June 23, 2012
Canada is among the world's most generous nations for immigrants and has one of the highest per capita admission rates. It has, on average, offered residency to about 200,000 immigrants and refugees a year over the past decade, earning a global reputation for an "open arms" attitude. However, with the United States seeking to secure its borders after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and over a dozen terrorism-related arrests in Toronto in June involving Muslims of foreign descent, questions have been raised about Canada's immigration policy and its ability to assimilate those immigrants already on Canadian soil.
Immigration policy in Canada is structured around three main categories:
* Economic. This category represents the largest portion of immigrants each year. Selection is based on a point system that rewards applicants with higher levels of education, job experience, and language skills (i.e., English and French). With the manufacturing sector in decline and the country shifting toward a more information-based economy, this policy emphasizes flexible, transferable skills over specific occupations.
* Family reunification. This class of immigrants includes spouses and children joining family members who are already living in Canada. This is the second-largest group of immigrants admitted on a yearly basis. Canada will recognize same-sex couples in this category even if they are not legally married due to restrictions in their country of origin, although a couple must provide proof of a long-standing relationship.
* Refugees. This is the smallest group of immigrants admitted to Canada every year. It includes both humanitarian resettlement programs and claims for asylum protection.
Between 1990 and 2002, 49 percent of immigrants to Canada were from the economic class, 34 percent were from the family reunification category and 13 percent were...