Updated: Jun 14, 2019
Recently, a rumour has been circulating to say that Canada has invited immigrants from individual countries to come and settle in the country. The news has been spreading on social media, alleging that, as part of Canada immigration, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invited one million immigrants from countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, the Philippines and Ghana. However, these stories have turned out to be false. Here is a summary of how events have unfolded so far and the possible reasons that have sparked these rumours.
Articles and stories, particularly on social media, have recently stated that Canada has invited one million immigrants as part of a new immigration program. These stories have been accompanied by images such as Canada's High Commissioner to Zambia shaking hands with Zambia's President, Edgar Lungu. Although this particular image is real enough, the associated story about immigrant invitations to Canada is false.
Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has clarified that no such proposal has taken place and no such program exists. In the meantime, similar news stories have alleged that Canada has invited immigrants to settle from other countries in Africa and from the Philippines.
Although completely untrue, these stories have been fabricated on the foundations of Canada's immigration policy, which was first publicized earlier in 2019. The policy sets out the country's intention to attract one million immigrants over a three-year period. However, no individual countries have been named or targeted to date.
A version of this story first started to circulate in Nigeria in April 2019, benefitting from thousands of social media shares and spreading further, thanks to certain user accounts that have very large followings. While some comments on the fake news posts recognized that the reality behind the story was quite different, others show that people have started to request further information about Canada immigration procedures and processes in the hope of an opportunity to come and settle in the country.
Canada has strongly refuted these reports and the Canadian High Commissions in Kenya and Nigeria have issued warnings to people who may have been taken in by the false stories, asserting that there is no truth behind them. For example, a tweet from the Canadian High Commission in Nigeria cautioned people not to fall for links posted on their Facebook feeds and timelines, targeting Nigerians who had an interest in emigrating to Canada.
Not stopping at social media campaigns, text messages have been also sent to individuals, supposedly offering guarantees of successful Canada visa applications. Since African countries are not eligible for Canada ETA applications and individuals must secure a Canada visa to travel to the country. Therefore, claims about quickly securing Canada travel documentation have been raising false hopes.
A tweet from @CanHCNigeria has warned people that if some Canada immigration offers appear to be too good to be true, they probably are. Such offers have included promises of 100% guaranteed applications from African countries. Also, contact has been made by unauthorized representatives claiming to represent visa issuing authorities. In a bid to counter such false approaches, people are being encouraged to look out for scams and urged not to fall for them.
The IRCC has officially announced to the media that they carry out regular monitoring of news stories and information circulating online. In cases where it is clear that false information is being spread, the IRCC aims to take swift action to quickly reassert the official facts relating to immigration within the country.
So, what is the current state of affairs? Since 1990, over six million immigrants have come to Canada to settle and build new lives for themselves and their families. Moreover, the last few years have seen numbers steadily increasing, with Canadian residency applications 130% higher between October 2017 and June 2018. The Philippines and Nigeria have been two of the top 10 countries of origin for immigrants looking to settle in Canada.
Indeed, it is true that Canada is looking to attract migrants, partly in response to certain national issues. These include the need to take action due to an ageing population and there is also the matter of a falling national birth rate. It is hoped that increasing Canada's working population through controlled immigration will help to secure and even boost to country's workforce and economy in the future.
In conclusion, the government's current plan over the next three years is aimed at admitting 330,800 immigrants to Canada in 2019, with this number rising to 341,000 by 2020 and rising yet again to 350,000 by 2021.