New plan part of Harper government’s effort to limit immigration from India and China

Andy Radia
·Politics Reporter

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, the man credited with securing the "ethnic vote" for the Conservatives in the last federal election, has seemingly angered some of those same "ethnic" voters.

In an announcement on Wednesday, Kenney said the government will hold immigration levels steady for 2012, but rejig the selection criteria for skilled immigrants, giving preference to those who are young, fluent in English/French and have Canadian work and education credentials, the Toronto Star reports.

There will be fewer spouses and dependent children, and fewer live-in caregivers, Kenney added — not because Ottawa doesn't want them, but because they are not coming in numbers as large as in the past.

Paul R. Dhillon, the editor-in-chief of British Columbia's oldest Indo-Canadian newspaper - The Link - suggests Kenney is misleading the public and that the 'rejig' is part of a "concerted, directed effort" on the part of the Tories to decrease the number of immigrants coming from Asia.

"What I'm hearing from the (Indo-Candian) community is that Kenney is doing what the Conservatives agenda has been all along to reduce immigration from the hot spots in Asia," Dhillon wrote in an email to Yahoo! Canada News.

"For the first time the immigration minister has a lot of control...in terms of who gets in and from where."

Dhillon adds the fact that the Harper government has done nothing about wait times for family sponsorship categories, which can now be as long as five years or more, is very telling.

"(The long processing times) are causing people to become frustrated and obviously discouraging them from applying," he says.

"And this the largest group of (family sponsorship) immigrants are coming from Asia - specifically from China and India.

"The Tories are hiding behind this wall of nothing's changed."

Top 10 immigrant source countries in 2010 (as published in the Toronto Star)

Philippines

India

China

United Kingdom

USA

France

Iran

UAE

Morocco

South Korea