Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Refusing Immigrants Because of their Surnames?

That's part of Canada's immigration policy, as reported by the CBC, and apparently has been for 10 years.

A Calgary woman waiting for her husband to arrive in Canada is upset by a long-standing immigration policy that forces people with the surname Singh or Kaur to change their last names.

Tarvinder Kaur, who is pregnant, said her husband Jaspal Singh's application to become a permanent resident has been delayed for well over a month because of his last name.

He has no choice but to legally change his name in India so he can get to Calgary before she gives birth next month, she said.

CBC News has obtained a copy of a letter sent from the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi to Singh's family stating that "the names Kaur and Singh do not qualify for the purpose of immigration to Canada."
Karen Shadd-Evelyn, a spokeswoman with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, said the policy preventing people from immigrating to Canada with those last names has been in place for the last 10 years.

"I believe the thinking behind it in this case is because it is so common. [With] the sheer numbers of applicants that have those as their surnames, it's just a matter for numbers and for processing in that visa office."

That is absolutely bizarre, not to mention discriminatory towards Sikhs.

They don't ban immigrants with common names like "Smith", "Johnson" or any of the 100 million Chinese applicants with the surname "Zhang"

This is one policy that definitely needs to change.

Related: Most common surnames in Canada and Quebec.

No comments:

Post a Comment