This article on ‘Laws Governing Immigrants in Canada: Explained’ was written by Chelsi Antil, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
Immigrant policy is a crucial element in the policy-making and development processes. Canada has a long history of immigrants. Immigrants come from different countries and bring their culture, values, skills, religion, and heritage with them. In the last few decades, the number of immigrants has increased all over the world. In the past, most immigrants came from Europe to Canada.
However, the share of immigrants from European countries has decreased, and new immigrants have come from Asian countries. In the year 1971, the proportion of Asian immigrants was 12.1%, which has increased by 62% in the years 2016–2021, and India took the top spot among the new immigrants to Canada by 18.6% (2016–2021), followed by the Philippines (11.4%) and China (8.9%).
According to the 2021 census, 218,430 refugees were accepted as permanent residents in Canada. Now, Asia has become the top source of new immigrants. In this article, we are going to discuss the Canadian laws that govern immigrants.
What is Immigration?
In general, immigration is the international movement of people to receiving countries in which they are not natives or don’t possess citizenship with the intention of becoming permanent residents and citizens of another country. The highest number of immigrants were accepted as permanent residents by the Canadian government from 2016 to 2021. In 2021, nearly 8.3 million immigrants will be accepted as permanent residents by the Canadian government.
Nearly 748,120 immigrants were selected as economic immigrants through the skilled worker programme, and the rest were selected through the provincial nominee program. Nearly one in four people in Canada are immigrants. In recent years, Canada has become a more attractive country for immigrants after the enactment of new policies.
Process of immigration in Canada
There are four main categories under which Canada accepts immigrants as permanent residents, which are as follows:
- Economic category: In this category, the immigrants have been selected by the high-skilled worker programs. Approximately every two weeks, the Canadian government invites top-ranking individuals for permanent residency. In 2021, 62 percent of immigrants will be accepted as permanent residents by economic category.
- Provincial Nominee Programme: In 2021, 21 percent of immigrants accepted by the Canadian government as permanent residents under this pathway In this category, immigrants apply to individual provinces that choose candidates for permanent residency.
- Family: In this class, immigrants join their family members who are already in Canada as permanent residents, including spouses, parents, and children. In 2021, 15 percent of immigrants were accepted as permanent residents through this category.
- Protected persons and refugees: In 2021, 2 percent of immigrants were accepted as permanent residents.
Laws governing immigration in Canada
The laws that are enacted specifically to govern people who come from another country are termed immigration laws. The laws that govern immigrants in Canada are known as Canadian immigration laws. Canada has a long history of enacting immigration laws, such as the Immigration Act, 1869, the Royal Commission on Chinese Immigration Act,1885, the Chinese Immigration Act, 1885, the Immigration Act, 1906, the Immigration Act, 1910, the Immigration Act, 1996.
The present laws that govern immigrants in Canada are as follows:
Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 1976
This act came into force on June 28, 2002, and includes provisions related to refugees, sponsorship and removal, detention reviews and admissibility hearings, and the jurisdiction and power of tribunals. The main object of this act is to enrich the social and cultural fabric of Canada by permitting them to pursue the social, cultural, and economic benefits of immigrants.
Important terms under this Act
- Foreign National: This term is defined in Section 2(1) of this act as meaning a person who is neither a citizen nor a permanent resident of Canada.
- Immigrant: This term is not defined anywhere in this act. However, in general, immigrant means the person who moves from one country to another with the intention of living there as a permanent resident.
- Citizen: This act does not define the term citizen. However, citizen means the person who is a permanent resident of Canada by birth or by the process of naturalisation.
- Permanent Resident: In this act, Section 2(1) defines the term permanent resident, which means the person who has all the rights and privileges of a citizen of Canada but has moved from another country and has attained the status of a permanent resident through the immigration policies of Canada.
- Refugee: This term is not defined under this act. However, refugee means the person who moves from his native country to another country due to any threat, including social, cultural, and economic problems as well.
Illegal immigration means when a person moves from his native country to another country without prior permission or illegally. The person who crosses the border illegally and violates the domestic, international, and immigration laws of Canada shall be deported to his native country. According to a report, approximately 5 hundred thousand people are residing in Canada illegally without any legal documentation, and this type of person enters the country through fake marriages, travel visas, and water borders.
Preventive measures are the measures that are taken by the Canadian government to protect the citizens of Canada from any kind of threat against:
- The person who violates the immigration laws of Canada
- Person who is not a citizen of Canada.
- Person who is a temporary citizen of Canada.
- The Canadian government should reduce the fees and language testing level for minors, which would help them access their country easily.
- Immigrants shall be awarded points on the basis of their skills, education, and potential, which also helps boost the economic system of Canada.
- The government shall reduce the application process so that more and more people get access to their country.
This article concludes that most Asian people, especially Indians, move to Canada for their betterment, which also helps Canada boost or uplift its economic standard because the immigrants bring skills, cultural values, innovative ideas, etc. with themselves. So, nowadays, Canada is the most attractive spot for immigrants, and the government should make lenient laws that help the people move to their country easily.
- Immigration and Refugee Protection Act,1976
- ‘Immigration to Canada’, Government of Canada, available at: https://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/i-2.5/page-7.html#h-274871
- Harmanpreet Kaur, ‘Everything you should know about the immigration laws of Canada’, iPleaders Blog, 29 October 2021, available at: https://blog.ipleaders.in/everything-you-should-know-about-the-immigration-laws-of-canada/