A company with roots in Colombia is selling an E-Book which provides advice to buyers there on how to apply for refugee status in Canada. The company's advertisement on the Internet is one more clear indication of the use and abuse of Canada's laws by immigration consultants here and abroad for their own personal profit.
Among the book's selling points is a statement that Colombia is one of only five countries in the world from which Canada allows people to make refugee claims. Another is that it is much cheaper and faster to apply for entry to Canada as a refugee than to apply as an economic migrant (skilled worker or independent immigrant).
The Internet advertisement states that Economic immigrants (Skilled Workers and Independent Immigrants) have to wait between 8 and 36 months before receiving a Canadian visa. It says that refugee claimants can sometimes obtain a visa in as short a time as 15 days or at most between 3 and 12 months.
Costs incurred by refugee claimants are very low, whereas those incurred by Economic Migrants are high. For example, economic migrants have to pay for their own medical exams while refugee claimants do not. Economic migrants also have to prove they are capable of supporting themselves when they reach Canada, but refugees do not. Economic migrants have to show proof of academic or skill qualifications and also have to demonstrate knowledge of either English or French. Refugees have to do neither.
The advertisement claims that a Colombian refugee can claim $54,000 (108 million Colombian pesos) in expenses over their first three years in Canada from the Canadian government. The following is an advertised list of the specific assistance available to them:
(1) A free stay at a luxurious hotel for the first 8 days in Canada or until adequate permanent accomodation is found
(2) Help in finding a permanent place to live.
(3) Interpreter services
(4) $1100 per month per couple plus other allowances for children, transportation, etc.
(5) Free furniture, cooking equipment, summer and winter clothes
(6) Free language training
(7) Assistance in job training and in job searching
The advertisement states that the E-Book provides answers on who can become a refugee, documentation that has to be provided to Canadian officials in Colombia, provisions about bringing family members to Canada, rights and obligations of refugees, rights of appeal, chances of appeal, resources available to refugees, reasons why other people have had their applications rejected, etc.
The ad carefully notes that there is nothing illegal about applying for refugee status. However, Immigration Watch Canada notes that this ad demonstrates once more that claiming refugee status or immgrating to Canada has been turned into a business by immigration and refugee consultants here and abroad. This is not in the interests of Canada.
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, in the 1995-2004 period, Colombia rose from a very minor source of refugee claimants (57 in 1995) to the major source country (2724 claimants in 2004). In 2004, Mexico ranked second as a source country of refugee claimants (2040 claimants).
In that same ten-year period, Sri Lanka (17,452 claimants), China (17,167 claimants), Pakistan (16, 885 claimants) and India (11,574 claimants), were the overall major source countries of refugee claimants.
As critics have pointed out, many of these claims have been fraudulent, but because of Canada's abnormally high acceptance rate, many of these people have been allowed to stay. Subsequently, these people have brought in (or applied to briing in) numerous relatives under the Family Class Category. Accepted refugee claimants and their relatives have become a major component of Canada's annual intake of immigrants. Rejected refugee claimants who have disappeared into the Canadian woodwork probably comprise a significant part of the illegal immigrant population in Canada.
Most Canadians accept the notion of giving refuge to genuine refugees, but there are limits. Most Canadians reject the idea of offering Canada as a home to fraudulent claimants. The idea that people from countries like Mexico should even be permitted to make such claims astounds many Canadians. The pressure exerted by these people (over 500,000 since 1989) to bring in their relatives has been a significant factor in Canada's continued high intake of immigrants—-most of whom far exceed Canada's needs and absorptive capacity.
Much of this pressure originates with immigration consultants and immigration lawyers who derive their income from this activity. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has often called these people “stakeholders” in Canada's immigration system. However, most Canadians feel that Canada's host population is the major stakeholder and would like to see these groups reined in or put out of business.
The company's Spanish language web site is: http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.co/MCO-3817957-refugio-en-canada-ebook-no-es-dvd-mp3-usb-ipod-lcd-tv-ola-_JM
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