Canada should improve protections for temporary residents amid visa application surge: advocates – National

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OTTAWA — Functions for short-term resident visas issued to guests, college students and short-term staff in Canada have greater than quadrupled since 2015, stretching the Immigration Division’s means to course of them, in response to a federal report.

The Immigration Division’s annual plan reveals that within the fiscal 12 months that ended March 2018, officers issued greater than 5.7 million short-term visas and digital journey authorizations, a rise from the 1.three million issued two years earlier.

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Federal officers say the surge is due partially to a rise in worldwide tourism in Canada — one thing the federal authorities has been making an attempt arduous to attain.

“The promotion of tourism to Canada and strengthening people-to-people ties has been part of Minister (Ahmed) Hussen’s message when travelling overseas,” stated Hursh Jaswal, a spokesman for the immigration minister.

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“As a authorities we’ve got promoted tourism throughout the globe by numerous ministries … At IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) we’ve got additionally targeted on tourism by our ‘apply early’ marketing campaign and selling find out how to apply as a customer by our social media channels.”

Numbers supplied by the division present greater than 1.three million customer visas had been issued in 2018 — a 45-per-cent enhance over 2015 for one class of entry allow.

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This determine doesn’t embody the variety of digital journey authorizations, often called eTAs, issued to vacationers throughout that very same interval, below a streamlined course of for low-risk short-term guests from sure nations, together with the US. As of Sept. 30, 2018, greater than 9.9 million eTAs had been issued since 2015.

The spike in demand for short-term visas has created logistical challenges for the division in processing purposes. To assist with this, 17 new abroad visa-application centres have been opened and there are plans for additional expansions this 12 months.

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Up to date expertise can be permitting visa workplaces to maneuver purposes round digitally to be processed at visa workplaces that aren’t as busy.

However the rise in demand can be setting off alarms with advocates for short-term staff and worldwide college students.

The Migrant Employees Alliance for Change says the numbers spotlight Canada’s rising reliance on migrant staff who don’t have the identical rights and protections as different immigrants.

Syed Hussan, co-ordinator with the alliance, says migrant staff and college students ought to be given everlasting standing upon arrival in Canada.

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“We have now a multi-tiered immigration system the place persons are coming into the nation with non-permanent-resident standing on arrival, and that lack of permanent-resident standing is tied to restricted entry to rights and providers,” he stated.

Migrant farm staff, for instance, usually are not allowed to unionize, don’t make minimal wage and usually are not paid extra time. There have additionally been numerous documented circumstances throughout the nation of those staff dealing with labour exploitation, human-rights abuses and squalid housing conditions.

Worldwide college students additionally face obstacles in Canada, Hussan stated.

His group is presenting a petition with over 50,000 signatures to Hussen’s constituency workplace on Friday highlighting the case of 1 worldwide pupil dealing with deportation as a result of he exceeded the utmost variety of hours he was allowed to work in per week.

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Jobandeep Sandhu, a world pupil from India, was arrested and handed over to immigration enforcement after Ontario police found he had been working as a business truck driver longer than the 20-hour weekly most permitted for worldwide college students learning in a public post-secondary establishment.

“What is going on to me is going on to lots of people. Worldwide college students don’t get the identical labour rights that everybody else will get. There’s a broader structural subject in our legal guidelines that restrict these rights to only some,” Sandhu wrote on his petition web page.

Hussan, the migrant-workers’ advocate, says this case is only one instance of many through which short-term staff and college students usually are not afforded the identical primary rights out there to all different newcomers to Canada.

“They should have the identical rights as each different immigrant within the nation and that’s standing on arrival. In any other case we may have these tales of exploitation and abuse, and I can inform you so many.”

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