Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

March 07, 2008 21:58 ET

Government of Canada Welcomes Vietnamese People Living Without Status in the Philippines

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 7, 2008) - The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, announced today the arrival of the first of a number of Vietnamese who have been living in the Philippines without status since the 1970s.

Four people were among the first to arrive today in Vancouver. More will arrive in the coming days and weeks as the government follows up on a commitment made last May to review their applications based on humanitarian and compassionate considerations.

Mr. Ed Komarnicki, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration greeted the arrivals in Vancouver on behalf of Minister Finley. "We are pleased to welcome these individuals as they have been living in an uncertain situation for many years," said Parliamentary Secretary Komarnicki.

"Our government supports the Vietnamese community in Canada," said Minister Finley. "Canada will continue to make every effort to facilitate their immigration and we look forward to welcoming more people in the weeks to come."

"The Vietnamese community in Canada is very grateful to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration for giving these people a chance to rebuild their lives, after living for almost 30 years in limbo in a strange land, not knowing when they would finally reach the shore of freedom," said Dr. Can D. Le, Project Freedom at Last, Vietnamese Canadian Federation.

Following the fall of Saigon in 1975, more than half a million Vietnamese people fled Vietnam, with many arriving in the Philippines. Several hundred of them eventually remained in the Philippines because they were not recognized as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. A number have since immigrated to other countries, including Canada, as part of an international effort to help them, however, some Vietnamese remained without status in the Philippines.

This group applied for humanitarian and compassionate consideration. This is a discretionary provision under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act which allows for permanent residence to be granted on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Applications received by December 31, 2007, are being considered on a priority basis. This does not guarantee acceptance. While the goal is to facilitate the immigration of these individuals to Canada, immigration officers must examine applications on a case-by-case basis and use their discretion to decide whether the case warrants exemption from the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations.

Contact Information

  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Minister's Office
    Tim Vail
    Press Secretary
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Karen Shadd-Evelyn
    Spokesperson, Media Relations
    Communications Branch