What’s in a Name?

February 27th, 2013

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.

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18 Responses to “What’s in a Name?”

  • On February 28th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    A society divided against itself cannot stand. Canada’s Immigration is purely base on discrimination and it is a time bomd that oneday it will explode.

  • On February 28th, 2013, Sher Khan said ...

    Well said Mr. David, the current conservatives government of Canada has a stereo type street persons mentality and thinking! I have submitted my application in June 2004, soon after completing my MSc Engineering from UK. I may have stayed back in UK illegally, but I think that was not the right choice, by applying through proper channel I chose the right way to be in Canada. I have lost multiple opportunities to set my self here in my home country; rejected many long term (pensionable) job offers with hope that I might not be able to take this job for long therefore, I did those short term jobs which were highly paid. I was 33 when I have applied and after 8 yeas I feel quite dejected with the current decision of the Canadian Government. Un till conservatives are in majority in Parliament, I don’t feel any change in thinking you mentioned above and I have very low hopes of a FAVORABLE decision from the Judiciary; as judges also been influenced by the Political system, which has the right to appoint judges with the same mind set as they have in the Parliament

  • On February 28th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    Well David,
    it seems to me that there must be someone who likes his single malt.

  • On February 28th, 2013, Sher Khan said ...

    I don’t have faith on the Judiciary even, because if they have been fair they may have stopped the new legislation being approved from the Parliament upon your first request; and ask the Minister to settle the unsettled cases! By not doing so they have given a green signal to the Government to do what they want to do! We can criticize them which we have right to do, but we should be less optimistic of having a favorable decision from the current Judge, until there is change in the Government and Democrats win majority in the parliamnet. In my opinion if you prolong this battle in the court till next Government, and if Democrats will be in majority, then there is a hope! otherwise we all are hoping for a miracle to happen, which I presume will never happen!

  • On February 28th, 2013, Sridhar K said ...

    I have lived with this unfair systems long enough that my brain stopped questioning. It is just “business as usual”. But, I like your work.

  • On February 28th, 2013, Sean Lynott said ...

    As someone who falls into the same camp as potential immigrants from Asia, I can really sympathize with the Sharmas of the world. I’m a US citizen, but I’m not allowed to do what the Irish immigrants can do. The system needs to be fair for everyone.

  • On February 28th, 2013, R.Kapila said ...

    Deny the fact of discrimination it shall not exist !
    Why not have every applicant apply directly to a Canadian Office in Canada, and a PRC-Visa Number may be granted after an initial approval just as they do in USA. They may then just wait for their turn to come and not wait for the final approvals. Irish connection is an eye opener to all potential applicants. After all Canada has become a racist white society only through partisan policies of immigration practised over centuries. The original natives and the abrodginals of this land were all non-while to start with any way !

  • On March 1st, 2013, Be Positive said ...

    300000 figure is not a big number which canada like developed and big country can not adopt, but it is the wrong mindset of immigration authorities who took such a drastic dcision to return the applications. The decision not only affected the would be immigrants but also for a canada itself as highly skilled people have been denied to work for development of canadian economy.

  • On March 1st, 2013, Be Positive said ...

    I wish canadian immigration authorities to review and rethink upon this decision and stop fighting with skilled workers allover world for a resolution.

  • On March 1st, 2013, Tom said ...

    Has anyone ever consider that this may not be racial motivated based on skin colour, but because of agreements between both countries. Over the years Ireland and Canada have been co-signatories to many agreements. e.g. the Washington Accord, which mean engineering qualifications from one country is automatically recognised in the other. Ireland also has a comparable tradesmen qualifications which is one of the main Irish labour markets that the Canadian government is trying to tap into. Ireland has a surplus of tradesmen where Canada require tradesmen.

    Perhaps, if the Government of India built a better relationship with its Canadian counterpart and if India were signatories to agreements like the Washington Accord, etc, it would be easier to emigrate from India to Canada.

    The only racism I’m feeling from this article is that of David Cohen against the Irish. Without considering all the facts he has decided this is a racial matter based on skin colour, as opposed to a Governmental issue. I wonder if the Government of India were in a better position than that of the Irish Government and it was easier to move from India to Canada would David be so quick to play the racism card.

    BTW Japan has access to the IEC programme, and similar to Ireland it’s relatively easy for Japanese to use the IEC to access Canada’s International Experience Class visa. In fact it’s relatively easy to move from Japan to Canada (Japan are signatories to the Washington Accord). But then again David probably finds it too difficult to argue racism of Japanese (Asians) over their those from Indian (Asians).

  • On March 1st, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    Well, it is something that i have learn t to live with. Canada doesn’t realize that the most hampering factor to is its harsh climate. And now, uncalled for racism. If Canada wants to achieve economic growth through immigration, they have to emulate what the US has been doing – looking at all ethnics equally. Otherwise, i would gladly say Canada started what they probably will never finish. It is being manifested by the fact its economy is gradually losing grip in the top twenty strongest and largest economies. Policies are good but in wrong hands

  • On March 1st, 2013, John said ...

    Oh, Great! So the Irish bashing begins.

    Agreed Tom! David should rewrite the article showing: how in essence, it is much easier to come work and then immigrate to Canada, without a job offer, from Japan than it is to come work and then immigrate to Canada, with a job offer, from India.

    What’s in a Name?

    When it comes to Canadian immigration, actually quite a bit is in a name, especially if the name is “Tanaka” or “Sharma”.

  • On March 2nd, 2013, Joe said ...

    Canadian article from 6 months ago adding perspective here is linked below the key line for me is –

    “With its steady economy, common language, similar training and work standards – not to mention shared history – Canada is one of a handful a popular destinations for Irish workers”


  • On March 4th, 2013, manjunath said ...

    I must agree with you, I do not see this as a racial issue rather a political issue which must happen after crossing a long bureaucratic process, at the same time “poor prospects for employment in the home country” , should not be the right reason to reject these application most people like myself are with graduate degree and we will probably get a decent job back home , yeah we wont earn in dollars but we wont spend in dollars either, these people are immediate contributors to economy (in most cases) so Canada might miss the chance to capitalize these talent pool. (did I mention I almost lost all my savings in filling immigration paperwork 🙂 )

  • On March 16th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    Thank you for writing this, David. I am a landed immigrant, fortunately. I did not know this kind of unfairness existed. The current government treat us Asian immigrants likesuspects

  • On March 16th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    I am trying to imagine how this would make the 300k skilled immigrantion applicants that were “deleted” blood boil. I really feel for them. After all the years of patiently waiting, their dreams were crushed.

  • On April 3rd, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    Quite interesting article , I got to read due to catchy heading “what’s in a name”. I don’t know actually whether what it reflects- politics or racism?. However in terms of economic impact it matters to any country in long run by this type of inequality. The more or less same thing happening in UK where students visas are being tight to control immigration to upset immigration of neighbor EU countries. The rules come out so quickly against non-European immigrants like changes in weather. I think because of that it is clear to increase more applicants of non-eu countries to immigrate canada.

  • On June 9th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    I am totally agree we need a procedural fairness.

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