Immigration nixes mother's visit to Halifax
WebPosted Jul 8 2004 08:33 AM EDT
A woman from Uganda will not be attending her daughter's wedding in Halifax because Immigration officials think she'll stay.
"It never crossed my mind that my mother wouldn't get a visa to come to my wedding," says Christine Sentongo.
Christine, her mother Geraldine and fiancé Lars

Christine, her mother Geraldine and fiancé Lars

Christine's mother, Geraldine, has a good paying job and owns two homes in Uganda. She has travelled extensively abroad and has visited Canada before. But this time, she was told her visa was rejected because she may plan to stay in Canada and not go home.

"All her family is there," says Christine. "There's no reason why my mother would come to Canada and not leave.

Christine has lived in Canada for nearly a decade and is a Canadian citizen. Her fiance, Lars Henry Andersen, is from Norway and is in Nova Scotia on a student visa.

Andersen says his unemployed sister in Norway is coming for the wedding, so there must be a double standard. "It baffles me a lot." 
Christine's father, who is separated from her mother, got his visitor's visa with no problems. The bride-to-be says they were told her mother could have got a visa if she applied as his wife.
"That totally blew my mind because that was for me almost the worst thing to hear," says Christine.

No one from Citizenship and Immigration Canada would comment on the case. Officials say they have to follow stringent rules before granting visas.
"There is an immigration officer, a human being, sitting making these calls. So it baffles me how it can't be more flexible when it's a clear case of someone coming to visit for a wedding," says Andersen.

October 2, 2004 - The Toronto Star
Canada to let in 225,000 next year
Immigration level to remain stable: Cabinet paper
Document hints national strategy may be in works


OTTAWA—Canada will open its doors to 225,000 new immigrants over the next year, according to a cabinet document that suggests the influx could affect government efforts to reduce the backlogs and delays that have frustrated newcomers.

That number is in line with last year's target and because of that the "levels plan is not a controversial announcement," says the document obtained by the "We do not anticipate a major reaction from the provinces and territories," it said.
Under the plan being considered by cabinet, 60 per cent of the newcomers will be skilled workers and 40 per cent will be families and refugees, with priority given to spouses, partners and children.
Still, the document hints the number could have fallout on the way Canada processes applications from newcomers hoping to come to this country.
The target may have "important implications for two government priorities — accelerating immigrant application processing times and reducing built-up inventories," the cabinet document states.

The document hints that a national strategy is in the works to tackle issues like that and address some of the long-standing gripes of the provinces, especially Ontario, which has been pressuring Ottawa for more say in immigration matters.
Big cities like Toronto have called on the federal government to spend more to help immigrants get settled and find work.

The cabinet document says that the immigration department will address those topics in a "National Immigration Framework it is developing in partnership with provinces, territories and other partners."

Immigration officials were tight-lipped when asked about the framework yesterday.
However, an Immigration source said the framework is likely to be the focus of an upcoming meeting of provincial and federal immigration ministers expected by the end of the year.

With those issues on the table, it's no surprise that the government opted to not boost its immigration targets, said professor Jeffrey Reitz, an immigration specialist at the University of Toronto.
He said the government has to move quickly to establish programs that help immigrants find work. "I suppose if you haven't got the employment issue sorted out effectively, don't have a plan in place, it might not be the best time to start increasing the numbers," Reitz said.

In the year 2003,there were 221,352 immigrants whi came to Canada, down slightly from the 229,091 who arrived in 2002.
About 60 per cent of new immigrants each year choose Ontario as their home, with 80 per cent of them settling in the Greater Toronto Area.

Tories promise to speed up recognition of foreign credentials
June 10, 2004

Last Updated Thu, 10 Jun 2004 23:37:52 BRAMPTON, ONT. - NDP Leader Jack Layton promised to scrap the fee that landed immigrant applicants must pay to get into Canada. And Conservative Leader Stephen Harper criticized the Liberals over their "dithering and delays" in recognizing the foreign professional credentials of new Canadians, as both party leaders unveiled Thursday more details on their respective immigration policies. Stephen Harper Speaking to members of the Chinese business community in Toronto, Layton said he would eliminate the $975 per person charge on applicants for landed immigrant status. Layton also promised to extend a formal apology and pay compensation to Chinese Canadians who were forced to pay a head tax in the 19th Century and 20th Century.
The federal government imposed a $50 head tax on Chinese immigrants in 1885. The amount was raised to $500 in 1903. In 1923 the head tax was replaced by the Exclusion Act, which barred Chinese immigrants from the country altogether. It wasn't fully repealed until 1967.

Both Layton and Harper said they would work toward a speedier recognition of foreign credentials and prior work experience of immigrants. "The Liberal government has simply not acted," Harper said, adding "new Canadians - all Canadians - deserved better."
The Conservative leader said his government would quickly put in place a "road map" to speed up the process, allowing new Canadians to "achieve their full potential."

Harper said, if elected, he would immediately mandate his relevant ministers to meet with their provincial counterparts and draw up a plan to deal with the longstanding issue by the end of the summer. Harper identified a particular need in the health and engineering sectors. He echoed earlier comments by Tony Clement. His former rival for the Conservative leadership introduced Harper at the event in the Brampton West riding where Clement is a candidate.

The Conservatives believe they can steal from the Liberals some of the ridings in the area around the Greater Toronto Area where many recent immigrants live. Clement said he had introduced "a comprehensive eight-point plan" to streamline the recognition of foreign credentials in his time as a minister in Ontario's former Tory government.