Wednesday, July 13, 2011


This is from Hong Kong's "The Standard".

Mainlanders swell Canada immigration backlog - The Standard

Mainlanders swell Canada immigration backlog

Stephanie Chan

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hongkongers seeking to emigrate to Canada are among a backlog of 28,000 - the majority believed to be mainlanders - who applied here and have been waiting for at least four years.
The situation will worsen following new caps on applications by skilled workers worldwide after Canada halved the maximum limit to 10,000 a year from July 1.

Hong Kong skilled workers applying before 2008 saw their processing times lengthened as mainlanders filed applications in Hong Kong in the mistaken belief that this would speed up the immigration process.

Canada capped applications received worldwide in 2008, with 38 occupations given priority. Such occupations were reduced to 29 last year.

Nine protesters gathered outside the Canadian consulate-general in Exchange Square yesterday, all claiming to have waited over five years for a reply on their immigration status.

The protesters, mostly from Shenzhen, said the consulate should follow a first come, first served policy.

"Before 2008, it was OK," said Wendy, a Shenzhen hotel management employee.

"We chose Canada because it was known as an immigrant country and accepted everyone. But after the new rules came in, everything just stopped."

George Fu, who works in the postal service in Beijing, said that originally the wait was only around two years, and therefore he planned accordingly.

"If you think that you will be leaving in two years, you're not going to think about moving houses or buying an apartment," he said.

Jacobus Versteegh, immigration program manager at the consulate, said Hong Kong receives more applications than Beijing, and therefore could not work through the backlog as quickly.

He denied that nothing was being done about the backlog. Of the 80,000 visas set to be issued worldwide this year, a quarter will be from backlogged cases before 2008, he said.

Though he empathized with the protesters, he said: "You can't lose what you didn't have. Just because an application has been received, it doesn't mean there's a guarantee."

For the past decade, Canada has received more immigrants from China than any other country. It currently accepts around 250,000 immigrants worldwide per year.

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