How Many Illegal Immigrants Live in Canada?

Many of us live in countries near others. So close that we even share borders. At a glance, walking from one side of the border to the other does not seem like a big deal. No geographical obstacles may be present.

Yet, we all know that doing this is illegal. In fact, in many places all over the world, this is trespassing. And, every government does much to protect its borders.

Canada is an example of a country with shared borders. On top of that, many people all over the world see Canada as an “open-country”. In other words, people know about Canada’s willingness and capacity to take in immigrants and refugees. With this openness along with shared borders, Canada opens itself to a problem.

And, this problem is illegal immigration.

Does Canada Have an Illegal Immigration Problem?

You might think that with all the requirements people have to accomplish, Canada would be free from having to deal with this issue. The truth is, Canada has had this problem since the late 2000s. In 2008, Canada had roughly 41,000 illegal immigrants in the country. Because this is an estimated number, it could be much higher.

And, from 2016 onwards, more and more illegal immigrants were entering the country. According to a Canadian publication, Canada has had to deal with 156,155 in the years from 2016 until 2019. In the years to come, this number might increase further.

Some sources even estimate the current number of illegal immigrants to be 200,000 now.

These numbers alone could give you a direct answer to the question above.

Why Illegal Immigration in Canada is a Bad Thing

why illegal immigrants in canada is bad

To understand why illegal immigration is a bad thing for Canada, try to imagine this scenario.

You live in an apartment, and plan to throw a party. But, since you have limited food and alcohol, only your neighbors on the same floor can attend. To be sure, you ask all of the party-goers to present proof that they are on the same floor.

As your party with your neighbors continues, you stop checking for proof at the door. Later on, you notice that the food and drinks are disappearing. And, you also notice that there are more people. People you do not recall checking. So, your party will need more food and drinks. This becomes expensive.

This thought experiment shows the problem of illegal immigration in Canada. The food and drinks represent Canada’s resources. The party-goers you checked for proof are the legal immigrants. And, the people you do not recall checking are the illegal immigrants.

Canada has always taken care of its immigrants. For this reason, Canadian citizens and legal permanent residents view illegal immigrants negatively. To them, illegal immigrants take advantage of Canada’s resources. And, illegal immigrants get to do this without going through the legal ways to be a resident in Canada. To Canadian residents and Canadian citizens, this is unfair.

Think about it. As a resident who went through the process of application, how would you feel if you had to share the same privileges with someone who did not go through the same legal process?  

For this reason, illegal immigration is viewed negatively by most (if not all) people in Canada.

Who is an Illegal Immigrant in Canada?

Due to a shared border, the most common way illegal immigrants try to cross to Canada is by “jumping queues”. Simply put, most illegal immigrants cross by walking across the border. They come from different nationalities. According to cited statistics, these immigrants come from Asian countries. But, a good number of them also come from parts of Africa and the Caribbean.

These immigrants outside North America arrive in the United States. They make their way to the border and cross.  

Crossing the border on foot may be the common way of entry to Canada. However, there is another way to be an illegal immigrant in Canada.

And, that is through “overstaying”.

An illegal immigrant “overstays” by staying in Canada past the expiration of his or her study permit. Temporary residents are either temporary workers on a work permit or students on student visas. Temporary work permits and students visas have expiration dates. Beyond these dates, temporary workers and students must be out of the country. There are circumstances where students could stay longer. This is with a post-graduate work permit. Nevertheless, even this is temporary. It is only valid for a year.

Tourists also take advantage. And, some illegal immigrants began as tourists. They overstayed their visas after entering the country.

So, there are two types of illegal immigrants. Some cross the border on foot. Others stay beyond the expiration dates of their temporary visas.

But, there are always options a person could choose once they are tagged as an illegal immigrant.

  • Restoration of Status
  • Temporary Resident Permit
  • Permanent Resident Applications

How To Report An Illegal Immigrant?

How do you know if someone is in Canada illegally? There are some simple ways to do this.

How to know if someone is an illegal immigrant

First, if you know someone with no documents for residence and arrival, do not hesitate to report them. They are most likely in Canada illegally.

Also, these people may behave suspiciously in the presence of police or government workers. Then again, whether the behavior is related to immigration or not, you ought to report them anyway.

Now, you have a better clue about illegal immigrants in Canada. Let’s talk about how to report them.

Canada recognizes the problems caused by illegal immigration. Because of this, the Canadian government has made it easier for citizens and residents to report illegal immigrants. The agency to contact for these cases is the Canadian Border Services Agency (CSBA).

The first and easiest way to report illegal immigrants is by phone. You could report a suspected illegal immigrant by calling 1-888-502-9060. This is the Border Watch Toll-Free line of the CSBA. You do not need to worry about someone finding out your report. Since this is a tip line, your report will be in secret. So, your identity will be protected.

You may also file a report via email. You could send an email to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Like all reports, yours will be kept a secret.

When filing your report, you have to include certain details. You should include the person’s name (if you know them), address, and phone number. You may also include:

  • Employment information
  • Work schedule
  • Family members (if any)
  • Birthday
  • Regular mode of transport  
  • A description of their physical appearance and features
  • Details which led you to your suspicion

Final Words

The main message in this article is clear. Illegal immigration is a problem Canada has faced and is currently facing.

It has effects on the country and people. For this reason, immigrants who cross the border illegally are viewed negatively. Also, the people of Canada view immigrants who overstay their visas the same way.

Illegal immigrants do more than break border laws. They unfairly enjoy the privileges of permanent residents and citizens. Because of this, they cost the Canadian government valuable money, time, and manpower.

You will become a permanent resident or citizen someday. When that happens, you could do Canada and its people a favor: report illegal immigration. 

Choose Canada Magazine

Each member of our team at Choose Canada Magazine has been in Canada for over five years, and has helped dozens of people worldwide find their life in Canada.

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