. .

1_popup_home.gif (1391 bytes) f&m.gif (7233 bytes)

Immigration to Canada — A consultant's view

  1. Immigration to Canada
  2. Massive crackdown on KESC defaulters
  3. Merger of Kia-Hyundai
  4. IMF conditionalities for realese of $ 280m
  5. Pakistan Offer

Canada may attract between 200,000 to 225,000 immigrants during year 2000

By Syed M. Aslam
Nov 08 - 14, 1999

Canadian Citizenship and Immigration minister, Elinor Caplan of the ruling Liberal Party, expected to attract between 200,000 to 225,000 new immigrants during the year 2000. She also said that Canada is an under-populated country and immigration, besides increasing the population, is a great source of economic growth.

After the disintegration of the USSR, Canada has become the largest country in the world in terms of area whose size is 9,215,430 square kilometers which is over eleven-fold the size of Pakistan. According to the latest available official figures, its estimated population in 1998 was 30.3 million or almost the one-fifth of the population of Pakistan.

While Canada’s population has increased by almost 40 per cent from 21.962 million in 1971, its social and economic planners are worried about a birth rate which is constantly declining since 1957 in addition to a growth in the percentage of aging population and an expected increase in the death rate which has remained relatively steady over the years primarily due to the aging of the larger percentage of the baby-boomers population.

The birth rate in Canada has declined constantly from 28.2 per 1,000 in 1957 to 12.1 per 1,000 in 1997, according to figures collected by Statistics Canada. Similarly, the median age (the point in the age distribution where half of the population is older and the other half is younger) is expected to increase from 33.9 years in 1993 to 40.4 years by the year 2016.

This all hints at the importance of international migration to Canada as an important source of growth. Canada has absorbed an increasing number of immigrants during the last decade — from 99,219 in 1986 to 255,935 in 1996. In 1997, it took-in a total of 216,044 immigrants under three basic categories; economic, family and refugees. In 1996, 55.5 per cent of immigrants were in economic class, 31.3 per cent in the family class while 13.2 per cent were refugees.

Economic immigrants include skilled tradespeople, technical workers and entrepreneurs. Those in family class are admitted under the family unification plan. The refugees are those who are forced to leave their country and migrate to some other territory for political or religious reason or because of war etc.

In the coming years, Canadian immigration plan will focus on a high percentage of economic immigrants with a target of 50 per cent or more while continuing to reunite spouses and children under the family class. The settlement of refugee cases will continue in conjunction with international organizations.

A look at the official statistics shows that 1979 was a turning point in the history of Canadian immigration because, for the first time Canada took-in more immigrants from Asia than Europe.

This shift in immigration trend has been caused primarily due to the realization of the part of the Canadian policy makers that immigrants arriving in Canada between 1991 and 1996 have often had higher levels of education than the average Canadian-born citizen. Statistics Canada found that 34 per cent of 25-44 year-old recent immigrants had a university degree as compared to 19 per cent of Canadians. Overall, 29 per cent of recent immigrant graduates aged 25-44 had degrees in science and technology as compared to only 16 per cent of Canadian-born graduates. When the differences are analyzed by gender, 42 per cent of male immigrants and 17 per cent of female immigrants had science and technology-related degrees. By contrast, only 25 per cent of Canadian-born male and 7 per cent of Canadian-born females were science graduates.

The emphasis on the part of the Canadian government to attract the better educated immigrants from other parts of the world to help sustain and fuel its economic growth is also evident from the mushrooming of the immigration consultants in Pakistan, particularly Karachi.

PAGE talked to Syed M. Ali, a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin during his recent visit to Karachi.

Syed Ali holds a Diploma Associate of Institute of Canadian Bankers who has devoted much of his time during the last 15 years to his work as an immigration consultant. He has performed a variety of jobs within that capacity including assisting applicants who have had difficulty dealing with immigration officials within Canada. He has specific expertise in the processing of applications under the Independent and skilled and educated workers class and also under the business, entrepreneur and self-employed category for Pakistanis who wish to immigrate to Canada.

Operating from the head office of his Canadian Classic Immigration Service Inc. in Mississauga, a city located in the proximity of Toronto, he also has a branch in Karachi.

Syed Ali has lived in Canada for about 27 years. He is a member of opposition Reform Party and has worked as a volunteer on its Immigration Task Force of the Greater Toronto Area. The task force was established to help Leon Benoit, who is the Immigration Critic for the Official Opposition. Leon Benoit is the Member of Parliament belonging to opposition Reform Party. The primary objective of the task force is to arrange public meetings with different multi-national groups which provide a platform for a dialogue to understand the concerns and problems of the Canadians.

Ali has participated in public hearings arranged by the Immigration task force of the Greater Toronto Area. He feels that the immigration department basically lacks understanding about what will make an immigrant succeed in Canada and yet Canada has benefited from the immigrants.

Syed Ali has been much vocal about the discretionary powers enjoyed by the immigration and visa officers and the inconsistencies in the system. Besides, the long processing time for visas which usually takes upto three years and the kind of inferior services provided by the consultants also seem to worry him. He advocates the increase in the level of family class immigration as well as the overall volume of immigration to Canada.

While citizenship and immigration minister announced to attract 200,000 new immigrants during next year, the opposition members of the parliament pointed out that it would not be enough saying that the Liberal Party’s 1993 election manifesto promised to attract an annual immigration equivalent to one per cent of the population.

PAGE talked to Syed Ali to highlight the necessary requirements for Pakistanis who intend to migrate to Canada under the economic category, namely Independent visas which include educated and skilled workers and entrepreneur category which includes business, investor and self-employed class.

Syed Ali, who claim to have successfully helped 25-30 families migrate to Canada during the last four years, told PAGE that Independent visas are by far the most sought after category for most Pakistanis intending to migrate to Canada. At present he is handling 42 cases of which 40 are for Independent category while the remaining two are for the entrepreneur class.

Syed Ali, whose consultancy helps intending migrants at all stages of the visa processing from assessment, documentation, submission, interview preparation and all correspondence, said that his company charges a fee of US$ 3,000 for providing consultancy for Independent immigration visa and US$ 6,000 for the entrepreneur category. The fee is payable in installments, viz., at the time of retaining his services, interview and once an applicant finally gets the immigration. All these categories require a minimum of 70 qualifying points.

Independent category is aimed at attracting potential immigrants who intend to enter the labour market. Applicants are chosen on the basis of a number of selection factors including age, education, occupation, job experience, fluency in English and/or French, presence of close family members in and the demand for person’s occupation. A premium is put on the demand for the demand which is subject to change from time to time.

Unlike the Independent category which requires specific trade and professional skills, immigration to Canada under the business category, which comprise three types of — Entrepreneur, Self-Employed and Investors— require a certain volume of investment. To attract investment under the business category of immigration 45 bonus points each are given on both Entrepreneur and Investors class of immigration while a 30 points bonus is offered on the Self-Employed category. Applicants under Entrepreneur and Investors class need just 25 additional points to qualify while applicants under Self-Employed category need just another 40 additional points to qualify.

Applicants under the Business category require substantial funds to invest in a business to create employment for at least one Canadian. An investment of C$ 150,000 to C$ 200,000 is usually required and an entrepreneur must not only make a financial investment but also have a successful business background as this category is designed for passive investors or those with the limited finances.

The basic requirement for the Investors class of applicants requires a personal net worth requirement of C$ 750,000 of which C$ 500,000 should have to be invested in the government administered venture capital funds which can not drawn for a minimum of five years. The investment is guaranteed by the government.

A Self-Employed category applicant is an immigrant who intends to and has the ability to establish or purchase a business which will create an employment opportunity for himself and to make a significant contribution to the economy or artistic life of Canada. This category is for small businessperson or artist who provides a service or a product without entering into an employer-employee relationship. Typical self-employed immigrants include farmers, skilled tradespeople, athletes, artists, musicians or writers.

The declining birth rate, the expected increase in the death rate and the net migration (immigration to Canada minus emigration from it) are the primary factors contributing to the possible increase in the migration to Canada to attract many educated, skilled and wealthy Pakistanis.

Syed Ali expressed concerns about many so-called immigration consultants operating in Karachi who have never been to Canada nor enjoy any legal status in that country. He said that most of these consultants erroneously believe that qualifying for 70 points alone would make the applicants eligible for immigration under one of many categories which is sadly not the case. In fact, he said, it requires knowledge on immigration rules and acts, possessed only by Canadian consultants.

Table 1

Canada: Vital Statistics



Live Births*


Migration To#

Emigration From*


14.009 m






21.962 m






24.820 m






28.031 m






29.672 m






30.004 m






30.300 m





Source: *Statistics Canada, #Citizenship and Immigration Canada