What’s in a Name?
When it comes to Canadian immigration, actually quite a bit is in a name, especially if the name is “Murphy” or “Sharma”.
Canada has become a magnet for young unemployed and underemployed workers from Ireland. The Murphys of the world and their countrymen have seen a dramatic rise in their fortunes when it comes to Canadian immigration. They are among the beneficiaries of Canada’s International Experience Class (IEC) of immigration. Under the program, Irish citizens below the age of 36, can come and work in Canada for up to two years, without a prearranged job. After one year of skilled work in Canada, they can apply for a Canadian permanent resident visa.
What was once the domain of backpackers looking for a working holiday has become an easy pathway to Canadian citizenship for down-on-their-luck Irish engineers, lawyers, and tradespersons. There is no doubting the popularity of the IEC visa program. This year’s allotment of 6350 free passes was scooped up in a couple of days. But despair not Irish readers, next year our Immigration Minister plans to raise the quota to 10,000, which will mark a 100% increase from 2011.
Contrast the foregoing with the likely Canadian immigration experience of someone named “Sharma”. For one thing, there is no program that allows citizens of India to come work in Canada without an arranged job offer from a Canadian employer. Even with a genuine offer of employment, it is hit or miss as to whether Canadian visa officers will issue a work permit. As likely as not, the work permit application will be refused because it is felt that the applicant will not leave Canada when the visa expires, on the grounds of “insufficient ties to the home country” and “poor prospects for employment in the home country”.
In essence, it is much easier to come work and then immigrate to Canada, without a job offer, from Ireland than it is to come work and then immigrate to Canada, with a job offer, from India. It does seem to smack of unequal treatment. Why would our officials think that an unemployed Irish national without an arranged job offer in Canada is more likely to leave Canada when his/her visa expires than the employed citizen of India with a job waiting in Canada?
On a related matter, it strikes me as quite unfair to put out the welcome mat for thousands of Europe’s “poor and huddled masses” while at the same time terminating the permanent resident applications of almost 300,000 individuals from Asia and Africa, who followed the rules and waited patiently, year after year, for a chance to come to Canada.