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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The price of admission is $975

The Globe and Mail: Martin pledges to repeal $975 immigrant 'head tax'

Well the campaign is back after a nice holiday respite. Martin is looking to shore up immigrant support by addressing an issue close to their wallets, and that's the entry fee that immigrants must pay after they have recieved their permanent residency permit and arrive at the border for the first time.

Fees are everywhere in the immigration process and they aren't cheap. In addition to a process which is unmonitored, expensive, mistake prone, defensive, and in some instances (such as those cases dealing with inadmissability) is not even required to abide by rules any other agency must adhere to; once you do get approved, there's one more little hurdle.

Now to those of us in the west, $975 may not seem like a lot of money. But consider the wages and the ability to save those wages for a moment: The Red Cross estimates that the average monthly wage of those people living in developing countries to be $17 CAD. If an individual from a developing country could afford to put all of their earnings aside to pay the current head-tax, it would take 6-years. Think about that.

Let's hope this isn't just another promise that wont be kept once the upcoming election is decided.

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