Sunday, April 22, 2012

Immigration officials review admissibility criteria

BY  ,PARLIAMENTARY BUREAU



OTTAWA - Citizenship and Immigration Canada is keeping an eye on prospective immigrants who have a record of doing things that are legal in their home countries, but not in Canada.
Officials say the federal government is reviewing its immigration policy by asking officers posted abroad to collect information about applicants' actions in their homeland.
"The objectives of the admissibility review are to assess whether the provisions in (the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act) continue to meet Canadian needs, identify any gaps, and recommend necessary updates to policy and operational guidelines, or amendments to the legislation or its associated regulations," said an official with Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
The review has been going on since 2010 and is expected to wrap up this year.
QMI Agency first reported Wednesday that immigration officials have asked foreign-based officers to keep head office informed of situations or actions in foreign countries "which would constitute criminality in Canada."
Normally, a criminal record would keep a prospective immigrant out of Canada.
But some cultural practices aren't crimes in immigrants' countries of origin, creating a potential loophole.
A July 2011 request sent to immigration officers placed priority on cases of domestic abuse, polygamy, cultivating and marketing khat -- a drug popular in East Africa - and carrying a concealed weapon.
Conservative government officials say no specific concern spurred the review.
"This is part of our broad plan to protect the integrity of Canada's immigration system," said Kasra Nejatian, the immigration minister's director of strategic planning. "We want to keep foreign criminals out of Canada and make sure they get the boot if they ever get here."