ONTARIO, Canada – An official of the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada’s immigration agency, disputed reports posted on Facebook pages as false. These reports claimed that three million immigrants are being welcomed to Canada in 2020.
Remi Lariviere, a spokesman for IRCC, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) in an email that “Canada plans on welcoming about 341,000 immigrants, not 3,000,000.” According to AFP, the Facebook pages linked to the website behind the articles are administered from Kosovo, which claimed in a headline that 3 million immigrants are being welcomed. The false stories were shared more than 6,000 times.
IRCC, Canada’s immigration agency, defined the target in its 2019-2021 plan, which called for a gradual increase in the number of accepted permanent residents from 310,000 in 2019, to 350,000 in 2021.
The largest part of the increase will be granted to economic immigrants, including people who qualify for skilled worker programs, at around 72 percent, according to Lariviere. Other immigration categories focus on reuniting families and resettling refugees.
In 2019, the set target for permanent residents was 330,000. The actual number ended up being 341,180. Permanent residency, Canada’s green card equivalent, is granted to immigrants who will stay in Canada indefinitely, as opposed to seasonal laborers, students or tourists.
The fake reports comes amidst warnings to be vigilant against immigration fraud by Marco Mendicino, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
“Every year, millions of people apply to visit or immigrate to Canada to enjoy the many opportunities that our country has to offer,” he said.
“The vast majority of these applicants are genuine and wish to come to Canada in good faith. Unfortunately, there are some dishonest people who prey on these individuals, and the Government of Canada is committed to preventing applicants from becoming victims of fraud.
“It’s important to remember that no one can promise your application will be given special treatment or guarantee that it will be approved. All applications are assessed fairly and on the same merit.
Meanwhile, Immigration Canada said it is working to accommodate visa applicants from China, Iran and South Korea as the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) causes service disruptions and travel restrictions.
Nationals of these three countries who have applied for a Canadian visa, but who are unable to comply with certain requirements due to circumstances beyond their control, will be given more time to complete the necessary steps, such as providing their fingerprints and photo.
IRCC expanded the special measures implemented for China, on February 7, to include citizens of Iran and South Korea on February 29.
The IRCC webpage says that special measures apply to the following types of applicants:
Chinese, Iranian, or South Korean Nationals; or
those who are in China, Iran, or South Korea; and
those who are affected by service disruptions or travel restrictions related to COVID-19
“Disruptions” may include any of the following:
visa application centre closures;
limited access to local government offices and businesses; and
limited access to a panel physician who can do the immigration medical exam.
IRCC will also be able to help those who need a permanent resident travel document to return to Canada.
In addition, the immigration department will still accept incomplete applications from those who are applying for a visitor visa, work permit, study permit, or permanent residence.
“No application in progress will be closed or refused due to a lack of documentation,” the IRCC webpage says. “We’ll automatically give you an extra 90 days to complete these steps. Once you’re able to, complete the steps as soon as possible to avoid delays.”
New data show the number of people immigrating to Canada increased by 26% between 2015 and 2019, and is projected to rise higher as the country seeks to overcome the aging of its workforce – a serious problem in all Western nations.
In 2019, India was the leading country of citizenship for immigrants to Canada, with more than twice as many immigrants as China, which had 30,260 immigrants in 2019, in second place. Third was the Philippines, with 27,815 immigrants. Nigeria was fourth, with 12,595, and the United States had the fifth most immigrants to Canada, with 10,800.
As a percentage of each country’s population, Canada admits approximately three times as many immigrants as America. Trump administration-supported bills in Congress would have reduced legal immigration to the U.S. by up to 50%. — With wire reports