Hundreds at risk of immigration ax
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Up to 1,000 Hongkongers who applied to emigrate to Canada may have to abandon their plans or reapply if the authorities there accept a proposal to scrap a backlog of pre-2008 applications.
A source close to the Canadian consulate in Hong Kong said currently there are fewer than 1,000 Hongkongers whose applications are still being processed.
The consulate can provide only “limited help” aside from passing a petition submitted by 80 Hongkongers and mainlanders in April to the country’s immigration department, the source said.
Hong Kong applicants will have to go through the same process as those from other countries, the source added.
The controversial proposal to ax the backlog was made by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney in March because “having to process applications that are as many as eight years out of date reduces [Canada's] ability to focus on new applicants with skills and talents that our economy needs today.”
If the proposal is passed, the immigration department will close the files of those who applied under the Federal Skilled Worker Program before February 27, 2008, but who did not receive a decision based on selection criteria by March 29 this year.
Around 280,000 applications are set to be rejected.
For decades China was one of the top sources of immigrants to Canada.
In Beijing, activists Jiang Yiming and Vancouver-based Gabriel Yiu Wing-on, a Hongkonger who emigrated to Canada two decades ago, yesterday handed a petition signed by around 100 mainlanders to minister counsellor Louis Dumas of the Canadian embassy.
The petition calls on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to intervene.
But the embassy’s second secretary and vice consul Wu Long told The Standard the latest petition will only be passed to the immigration department.
It “may or may not” be passed to the prime minister, as the decision is in the hands of the [immigration] department, Wu said.
Jiang and Yiu said although the embassy has not promised any help, apart from passing on the petition, they are confident the new immigration proposal will not be passed. This is because there are many potential immigrants, from countries such as India and the Philippines, who are protesting at the Canadian embassies in their respective countries.
“I am confident the proposal will not be passed,” Jiang said.
The activist added that he had earlier applied for an injunction in a Canadian court.
The ruling is expected in about two days and Jiang is confident he will win.
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