Different countries have variations in their immigration laws. These are enacted to regulate the number of immigrants settling into a country.
In Canada, since the Confederation, the immigration law has been designed to grow the population, provide settlements in the land, and provide the citizens with labor and financial capital.
Immigration in Canada has mainly been an “open door” policy, which encourages immigration to the country. However, the first Immigration Act of 1869 made prohibitions against people on the grounds of class and disability.
When it was revised in 1919, more ethnic groups were given the freedom to enter the country. It also applied arbitrary restrictions based on race and religion as well.
All these seemingly strict policies would lighten after the Second World War because of economic growth, which also meant the demand for labor and societal attitude toward different races and ethnicities.
This led to the development of the Immigration Act of 1976. This was a complete overhaul of the present immigration policies. Then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau consulted with the Liberal government for the changes to be made in the law.
Canada’s immigration policy was first established in the new act. These included the promotion of the demographic, economic, cultural, and social goals of the country. It also emphasized the reunion of family members creating a diverse community, and promoting non-discrimination.
The changes made to the Immigration Act showcased a critical shift in the Canadian immigration legislation as well. Under it, admissible immigrants were classified as independent immigrants were selected by a point system, the family class, which included the family members of the Canadian and permanent citizens. The refugees are defined by the UN Convention to the Status of Refugees.
Classes of inadmissible immigrants were also revised. An exhaustive list of prohibited individuals was replaced with broader categories. Applicants were now excluded based on the consideration of their public safety, criminality, propensity for violence, health, and fraudulent immigration claims.
Even if it was created in 1976, it was enacted on April 1, 1978. It was regarded as one of the most progressive pieces of legislation and had received a large pouring of support from parliament, interest groups, academics, and was lauded by the media.
In effect, by 1980, five classes were established which were permitted to enter Canada. These included people who applied on their own or independently, refugees and other displaced people or humanitarian, those having immediate family already living in Canada were classified as family, distant relatives sponsored by a family member in Canada or assisted relatives, and people with highly desirable employment skills were classified as economic.
This led to a radical change in the immigration landscape. By the 1990s, the racial profiles of immigrants have shifted from mainly European to Asian.
The latest changes in 2001 gave the government more extraordinary powers to protect the land from immigrants who posed a significant threat following the disaster of the September 11, 2001 attacks. For more information, ask an immigration lawyer in Houston or anywhere near you.