Chinese citizens deemed inadmissible to Canada will be deported more quickly as a result of a new pilot agreement between the two countries.
The Canada Border Services Agency has agreed to allow Chinese officials to travel here and interview Chinese citizens in order to speed up the verification of identity and documentation.
Faster deportation is the aim of the verification process, which in the past has been time consuming for Canadian officials, resulting in delayed deportations.
Inadmissibility can be decided on a number of factors, including criminal record, health issues, financial problems or candidates found to have lied on their visa applications.
The one-year pilot program is similar to one that exists between China and the European Union, according to a spokesman for the office of Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
The move comes as Canada tries to reduce its reliance on immigration detention – particularly the use of provincial jails.
Canada and China are also currently in talks over an extradition treaty between the two nations.
China believes a number of corrupt officials fled to Canada, and wants them returned to face the justice system in the Far East nation.
Human rights campaigners are against such a deal, citing issues with the Chinese justice system, including its use of torture and the death penalty.
There is also an issue of trust between Canada and China, a country not renowned for sticking to deals struck with other countries.
Only recently there were reports of China sending agents into Canada on tourist visas to force expatriates to return home and face corruption and other criminal charges.
These issues have existed some time. One high-profile case from 2000 saw agents apply for visas saying they were coming to work for a Chinese paper company, when in fact they were sent to pressure businessman Lai Changxing to return to China.
Canada filed a diplomatic protest over the incident, although Lai was deported in 2011 and given a life prison sentence.
Canada must balance its courting of a better relationship against this perceived trust issue.
It is also understood that talks are ongoing regarding a free trade pact between Canada and China, although they are only at the exploratory stage.
China is understood to be keen for Canada to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
One of Canada’s key aims for increased ties is greater immigration numbers.
Seven new Canadian visa application centres will be opened in China to make it easier for tourists and potential immigrants to process applications.
McCallum stated Canada would like to double the numbers of Chinese tourists and students entering the country.
Chinese candidates already dominate Canada’s international student population, with nearly 120,000 studying here as of the end of 2015. As part of changes due in the fall, the Liberals plan to give as many as possible a pathway to permanent residence after they graduate.
The second quarter of 2016 saw more than 8,250 new Chinese permanent residents, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. That brings the total for 2016 so far to just under 14,500.
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