Many Canadians are upset by the government’s recent announcement that it will greatly reduce certain family-class immigration targets in 2011.
“If you accept immigrants to come over, you have to allow them to see their families – If not don’t let them come in,” says Ukrainian immigrant Tatyana Skorobogatko, who in 2009 applied to sponsor her grandmother’s immigration to Canada. Under new target numbers, Skorobogatko could end up waiting another six years before the application is processed.
Earlier this month the Conservative government announced intentions to reduce parent and grandparent family-class immigration from last year’s number of 16,000 to 11,200 for this year. Overall family-class immigration last year was down 15 percent from 2006. Instead, the government is focusing on bringing in more economic-class migrants – accepting a record number of 186,881 in 2010.
“There are trade-offs, and this government is focused on the priorities of Canadians which are economic growth and prosperity,” said Immigration Jason Kenney. “We need newcomers working and paying taxes and contributing to our health care system. That is the focus of our immigration system.”
However, critics say that the burden on Canada’s health care system will not be substantially worsened by accepting parents and grandparents of new arrivals and could, in fact, deter the immigration of skilled workers who are concerned about not being able to sponsor their relatives one day.
Still, the government argues, Canada is one of the world’s best countries in terms of family reunification opportunities, as evidenced by its second-place ranking in the 2010 Migrant Integration Policy Index conducted by European analysts, behind only Portugal in terms of family reunification policies.
Critics are quick to point out that the MPIX study is based only on policies, not on numbers, which might lower Canada’s ranking if taken into consideration.
“The central question [around this issue] is what kind of Canada are we trying to build?” asks Liberal MP Immigration critic Justin Trudeau. “Obviously one that is prosperous and creates jobs, but also one that is more compassionate and generous and more respectful of the things we value in life more than money – like health and family.”
Source: Montreal Gazette