Customs & Immigration

Student deportations on hold

The planned deportations of international students who may have been caught up in a scam in their home countries has been suspended by Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada. They had been accused of using forged documents to obtain student visas, but the government has opted to analyze individual cases before proceeding and has granted eight-week residency permits which enable the students to work. [node:read-more:link]

Europe’s “milestone” border pact

Despite opposition from Hungary and Poland as well as misgivings among other members, the European Commission has endorsed a common policy on handling immigrants and asylum seekers as well as creating a common approach to border controls European Council President Ursula von der Leyen, who, upon becoming president of the European Commission, called it a “huge milestone.” [node:read-more:link]

No change for Mexican visas?

In a bid to curb illegal crossings from Canada, the U.S. has asked Canada to reinstate visa requirements for visiting Mexican nationals. The former Conservative government began requiring visas in 2009 but the current Liberal government relaxed the requirement in 2016 and evidently is unreceptive to the latest request. [node:read-more:link]

Major theft at Toronto airport

Thieves an unsecured cargo facility at Toronto International Airport to gain access to an adjacent secured cargo-holding warehouse to steal $20 million worth of gold and other high-value goods which had arrived on an Air Canada flight earlier this week. [node:read-more:link]

Repatriated women freed on bail

Two women arrested upon returning to Canada last week from a prison camp in Syria were ordered released on bail after court appearances today in Brampton, Ont. Ammara Amjad and Dure Ahmed were ordered released pending terrorism peace bond applications, details of which are subject to publication bans. They were among four Canadian women and 10 children who landed in Montreal last week; three were arrested but the fourth was not detained. [node:read-more:link]

Ontario man arraigned on human smuggling

Documents introduced in a U.S. federal court in New York show that an Ontario resident extradited from Canada for trial, claimed to have smuggled more than 1,000 people into the U.S. Simranjit Singh, an Indian citizen from Brampton, who pleaded not guilty, is accused of trafficking across the border through Akwesasne Mohawk territory, which straddles the St. Lawrence River. [node:read-more:link]

Canadians returning from Syria

Six women and and 13 children are returning to Canada from detention in Kurdish-run camps in Syria, their Ottawa lawyer said April 4. “It's what we’ve been trying to do for the last three years,” he said, noting that the women were not charged with anything despite alleged Islamic State ties. Meanwhile, a Toronto lawyer says other women and children remain in the camps. [node:read-more:link]

Refugee deal with U.S.

Almost simultaneously with the arrival in Ottawa of President Joe Biden today, it’s reported that Canada and the U.S. have an agreement permitting them to turn away asylum seekers at their borders. Disclosed by an official in Washington, the agreement evidently is scheduled to be signed before Biden heads home March 24. [node:read-more:link]

Canada closing in on 40 million

Driven mainly by the federal government’s aggressive immigration policies since 2015, Canada’s population increased by a record annual 1.05 million in 2022, Statistics Canada reported today. It meant that the population at year’s end was 39.57 million as the country retained its position as the fastest-growing G7 state. [node:read-more:link]

Free visas for Ukrainians extended

Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser announced today that Ukrainians and their families now have until July 15 to apply for a free visitor visa which enables them to work and study for up to three years. The previous deadline was March 31. [node:read-more:link]

Nexus ramping back up

The federal government said March 20 that it expects that the Nexus trusted-traveller program with the U.S. to be back in full operation in about a month. Registration for the program has been on hold for nearly a year, partly because of bureaucratic and legal issues, resulting in backlogged applications. Enrolment centres will reopen at the Halifax and Winnipeg airports on March 27, followed by Vancouver April 3, Calgary and Edmonton April 12, Montreal April 17 and Toronto and Ottawa April 24. [node:read-more:link]

Finland’s “barbed wire curtain”

A three-metre fence topped with barbed wire is being built along Finland’s eastern border because it “cannot rely” on Russia to maintain security. The construction is part of an effort by Finland and Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to fence off the European Union against illegal immigration from Belarus as well as Russia. [node:read-more:link]

EU shelving Chinese virus tests

European Union states have agreed to phase out by the end of February their requirement that Chinese visitors have a pre-departure coronavirus test. When China eased its policies January 8, the EU initially failed to agree on a unified response. [node:read-more:link]

Alleged ISIS repatriations naïve?

The federal government’s agreement to repatriate Canadians detained in Syria on suspicion of involvement in the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is a concern for some of the 1,200 Yazidis who fled to Canada when ISIS destroyed their community in northern Iraq. Lawyers for the detainees contend there is no link to terrorism, saying that if the federal government does have evidence, it should prosecute in a Canadian court. Some Yazidis believe that the government and human rights organizations are naïve. [node:read-more:link]

Alberta dropping immigration detentions

The Alberta government gave notice today of its plan to scrap an agreement with the Canada Border Services Agency to detain persons awaiting immigration approval. “The change comes in response to concerns about using correctional facilities to hold people who haven’t been charged with a criminal offence, nor convicted of one,” it said in a statement. The decision takes effect at the end of June. [node:read-more:link]


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