Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney’s office is able to provide special Temporary Residence Permits for people who would be inadmissible to Canada otherwise and have exhausted any other means of getting into Canada. These types of visas are given out at the minister’s office’s discretion, while MPs can lobby the office to give these specialized Temporary Residence Permits by vouching for the individuals in question.
But a new report in the National Post has revealed that while these are temporary visas with expiry dates, no one knows whether a large portion (144 of the 676 permits issued) of the visa holders ever left Canada even though their permits were only issued for a few weeks or months at most.
The visas work on something like an honour system, where those who have lobbied for the individuals to come to Canada are supposed to follow up with them.
One example provided shows that more than 30 people were given specialized two-week permits four years ago, and eight of those people are still in Canada.
But why are so many people being given these specialized permits? What reasons under the regular immigration system were they unable to come to or stay in Canada, while they can be in Canada under these special permits?
Liberal immigration critic, Kevin Lamoureux, told the National Post that, “I think we should know that… Is there one grouping of people he’s giving preferential treatment to?” He also noted that if so many of these permits need to be given out in a special manner, maybe there is something wrong with the immigration rules surrounding these people’s admissibility or inadmissibility to Canada in the first place.
Notably, Minister Kenney has actually given out less of these permits than past ministers, down 40 per cent over the last seven years.
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