Canada’s passport has long been considered the best way to enter the country, and this year’s immigration program has been lauded for allowing those who have lived in Canada for at least five years to get an “official” visa.
But while that may not be the case for everyone, it does give some people the opportunity to move to Canada as a temporary visitor, a new report says.
In the report, “The Visa for Citizenship: Canada’s Immigrant Visa for Permanent Residency,” a team of academics from the University of Toronto and University of British Columbia look at how the current system has helped some of the country’s most disadvantaged citizens.
For instance, the researchers found that about half of the nearly 700,000 immigrants who were eligible for a “visa” for permanent residency last year, and most of those who applied, did so after receiving a letter from the Immigration and Refugee Board, which was required under the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement.
“There is a strong correlation between a person’s income and the amount of time they have lived here,” the report says, adding that immigrants are likely to have spent time in Canada’s communities, and that people living in the country are often more likely to work in jobs that are not typically available to Canadians.
“The visa program has historically been based on the idea that immigrants should be welcomed with open arms and a warm welcome, but in reality many of the immigrants who have applied for this visa have had little to no contact with the community or been exposed to the community in a negative way,” it says.
“It is often not clear why someone who has lived here for a few years, and who has the opportunity for a new life in Canada, is not allowed to apply for a permanent residence permit, which is the right to come to Canada.”
The researchers note that the Canadian government also sometimes offers more visas to those who come to the country as a result of a humanitarian crisis, such as a hurricane or pandemic.
While they recommend that the government do more to ensure the Visa for Citizen program works, the report doesn’t recommend changing the current rules.
The Canadian government could consider changing the rules in the future, said Dr. Rona Rafferty, a researcher at the University.
She noted that a “temporary visa” can last for up to five years and is typically given to people with limited income and limited resources.
The government can’t do that right now, she said.
In addition to the Canadian immigration system, the Canadian Citizenship Act states that immigrants who apply for permanent residence must also apply for an “immigration permit.”
The government’s immigration department has previously said that it will consider whether to change the rules for the “permanent resident visa” if the number of people applying increases, but there is no clear timeframe for that to happen.