Opponents To Canada’s New Immigration Law Create Online Petition

Although the Canadian government has named it’s new immigration law the “Strengthening Canada’s Immigration Act,” not everyone shares the view that the proposed bill will accomplish that goal.

Some opponents of certain aspects of the new immigration law are taking to the Internet to voice their opposition to changes in Canada’s immigration rules. In their petition on the website Change.org, some Canadian immigrants say parts of the law “unfairly targets and devalues the contributions made by one specific group of immigrants, namely, former foreign workers and international students who became Canadian permanent residents in the recent years.”

One of the primary sponsors of the online petition—who is a recent immigrant to Canada—has been the focus of media reports and vocal in his criticism of the perceived unfairness of some elements of the new immigration law. Alex Linkov, a design engineer who immigrated to Canada from Israel in 2010, is strongly opposed to the change in the new immigration bill that states “that time spent in Canada on temporary study or work permits will no longer be counted towards citizenship applications.”

The petition also opposes the change in the immigration rules that extends the residency requirements for citizenship, particularly as it pertains to those who have previously held work or study permits. Under the new immigration law, immigrants will be required to spend four out of the previous six years residing in Canada, as opposed to the previous law requiring residency in three out of the prior four years.

In the petition, Linkov and his supporters claim that by not recognizing the time accrued by those who’ve held Canadian work and study permits, the new Canadian residency policy is “contrary to practices of many other countries—such as Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France and many more who count temporary residence in full towards citizenship applications.”

The petitioners also warn that by making these changes “retroactive” the new law will ultimately damage Canada’s international reputation and “turn away thousands of prospective students and specialists” from immigrating to the country.

A spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) recently responded to the complaints, stating that residency requirements in the new immigration law “create a level playing field for all citizenship applicants and demonstrate their permanent commitment to Canada.”