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New Canadian immigration law goes into effect


A new bill that claims to protect Canada’s immigration system received royal assent on June 29, after passing through the Canadian House of Commons on June 14.

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney welcomed the final passage of the legislation to improve Canada’s immigration system: “This legislation will help stop foreign criminals, human smugglers and those with unfounded refugee claims from abusing Canada’s generous immigration system and receiving taxpayer funded health and social benefits. Canada’s immigration and refugee system is one of the most fair and generous in the world and will continue to be so under the new and improved system.”

This new legislation added to the provisions stipulated under 2010 Bill C-11 or Balanced Refugee Reform Act, specifically on: more reforms to the asylum systems; measures to address human smuggling; and adding the requirement to include biometric data as part of a temporary resident visa application.

With this final passage, some of the new measures will come into effect immediately, while others will take effect later this year. The new biometric measures, however, will come into effect in 2013. This will require capturing biometric data, which includes fingerprints and face photos, from travelers, students and workers from certain visa-required countries and territories before entering Canada.

New measures will also stop the abuses that exist in the asylum system. For the provinces and territories that house asylum seekers, a saving of $1.65 billion is expected from providing social assistance and education costs in the course of five years. Under this new law, it will give assistance only to whoever it is due – legitimate asylum seekers.

The new law will also address human smuggling. “Human smuggling is one of the most dangerous forms of migration,” said Minister Kenney. “Every year people die in human smuggling operations around the world. These new measures send a clear message to human smugglers that Canada’s generosity will not be abused, that we will enforce our immigration laws against human smugglers.”

The Ministry of Public Safety and Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada are agencies mandated to respond to immigration abuse through detention and conducting detention reviews.

For Minister Kenney, it is important to uphold the integrity of Canadian immigration programs only to ensure that “the safety and security of Canadians will be protected.”

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