Canada is one of the most multicultural countries in the world. Its immigration and refugee procedures greatly influenced the mosaic development of the past two centuries. There are many ways to immigrate to Canada, which vary in length and process. These include sponsorship, the point system or skilled workers programs, Canadian experience class, and as a self-employed person (McDonald, et al., 2010). Some of these ways are not commonly known; therefore, I’d like to tell you a bit more about the policies of the Canadian immigration and refugee system.
Skilled workers are professional workers who are evaluated based on their knowledge, education, work experience and abilities. To apply, a person must have a job in Canada, have a stable job in their country in one of the work areas sought by the Canadian Government, or be a student in Canada. Once the application is accepted, the applicant will be analyzed based on their education, ability to speak English or French, work experience, ability to adapt to new change, and current job status (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2012).
Sponsorships may be granted for spouses, parents, grandparents, or children living abroad. The sponsor must demonstrate that s/he can financially support themselves and the person s/he wants to sponsor for three to ten years depending on the relationship. This implies that the entering family cannot ask for financial assistance of any kind from the government after immigrating. The spouse and children who have been claimed then undergo medical and criminal background checks (Stoffman, 2002).
Refugees can enter under three classes based on the decision by a Canadian officer at their local embassy. The Convention Refugee Abroad Class includes people outside their country of origin who cannot return because of a ‘’well founded’’ fear of persecution or other specific reasons. The Country of Asylum Class includes applicants who have been seriously affected by war, military conflict or any kind of violation of human rights. Finally, the Source Country Class includes those who are in a country where they have been affected armed conflict and fear persecution, who can also apply for residency through the Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) grounds. Refugees in Canada can work while getting free legal assistance, and after three years can apply for a citizenship (Mrs. Carola Cuadra, Personal Interview, April 2012).
The also have access to welfare, free health care and dental care. However, rights for refugees and refugee claimants are now changing through the introduction of Bill C-31.
It is clear that the immigration and refugee system is very wide, giving so many benefits to those forced to emigrate and leave their country of origin. Canada receives thousands of newcomers every day, and with them come the benefits and detriments of immigration. This is not something new for Canadian citizens because Canadian history is made up of stories of immigration of people from different parts of the world. In addition, the economy and the population in this country have and will be sustained thanks to the hundreds of immigrants who have immigrated before, and those who continue to arrive in Canada.
For more information visit Canada Citizenship and Immigration