On May 24, 2019, Taiwan broke new ground in the frontier of same-sex marriage. May 24, 2019 was the day when Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage. In doing so, the country proved itself to be accepting and tolerant of differences.
It now joins a select group of progressive nations, of which Canada is a part.
Canada, too, welcomes diversity in all forms. Its laws and penalties against hateful speech, bigotry, and discrimination speak volumes of the country’s stance. Even with immigration, Canada is inclusive.
This is most evident in its spousal sponsorship programs for same-sex couples. The priority is given to the group back in 2015 also shows this.
The list goes on. In short, Canada makes no distinction in who is under its protection. For years, this has turned Canada into the ideal immigration destination for members of the LGBT community.
What Drives LGBTs To Immigrate To Canada
Most of Canada’s immigrant population entered the country as economic immigrants. In other words, they came to Canada in search of jobs and business opportunities.
However, there are other reasons behind immigration to Canada. In particular, LGBTs choose Canada as their destination for other reasons outside job opportunities.
Some factors make Canada attractive to members of the LGBT community:
Job Opportunities And Seamless Inclusion Into The Workforce
Canada has been working hard to address its labour shortages. The country is in a position where job vacancies are available but left unfilled. This is due to the ageing population of the country.
Canada also has laws for inclusion that prohibit employers from discriminating against workers and applicants. These laws are enforced and Canadian employers follow them.
These two conditions make Canada a place where members of the LGBT community could find employment.
Also, because Canadian workplaces are accepting of LGBTs, LGBTs do not need to fear being discriminated against.
Recognition, Protection, And Legalization Of Same-Sex Marriages
The 2005 Civil Marriage Act of Canada protects same-sex marriages in the country. Under the act, marriage between two persons of the same sex is recognized. The act also prohibits the dissolution of a marriage for the reason of gender.
In other words, same-sex couples could be married in Canada. Also, most provincial governments and the Federal government will recognize the marriage.
This is for couples wed in Canada. For same-sex couples of different nationalities, marriage in Canada is also possible under the Civil Marriage Act.
Absence Of Persecution Of LGBTs
Not all LGBTs who come to Canada seek the legitimacy of their marriage.
Others travel to Canada because they face persecution and death in their home countries.
While many countries are moving towards the acceptance of LGBTs, some countries remain hostile to members of the group. According to The Guardian, some countries not only frown upon homosexuality. For these countries, it is a crime.
In fact, in 2016, 72 countries outlawed homosexuality.
Canada is not one of these countries. For this reason, many LGBTs flee to Canada as refugees and asylum-seekers.
What Are The Options For LGBTs To Immigrate To Canada
Indeed, economic immigration programs are open to everyone. Anybody eligible may apply for skilled worker programs like those of the Express Entry system. The different provincial nominee programs are also open.
As mentioned earlier, the following factors drive LGBT immigration to Canada:
- The desire for the legitimacy of a marriage
- The desire to escape persecution (and potentially death)
Hence, three pathways to Canada are worth mentioning:
For those immigrating due to marriage, the Canadian government has spousal sponsorship programs.
Through this program, a spouse who may be a temporary resident may be a permanent resident by marriage. The sponsor needs to be a permanent resident of Canada or a citizen. This form of sponsorship is known as an inland spousal sponsorship.
It is also possible to sponsor a spouse even if they live abroad. This would be an outland spousal sponsorship. For this type of sponsorship, the sponsor needs to be a permanent resident or Canadian citizen to be eligible.
Immigration For Unmarried Couples
Sometimes, a couple may not be married. Instead, two persons might share a conjugal relationship or a common-law relationship.
For these groups, immigration to Canada is still possible despite the absence of marriage.
The sponsor needs to be a permanent resident or Canadian citizen. He or she could sponsor his or her partner for permanent residence in Canada.
As well, another requirement for immigration is proof of cohabitation or living together. The couple should show proof of living together for at least a year.
Immigration officers treat cases of “unmarried” sponsorship on a case-to-case basis. Hence, outcomes may not always be the same for all couples.
At the peak of the 2015 Syrian Refugee Crisis, then-immigration minister John McCallum announced Canada’s willingness to take in refugees. When asked about who will be given priority, Mr. McCallum included LGBTs as one of the vulnerable groups Canada will admit that year.
At the time of writing, LGBTs are still considered a vulnerable population. For this reason, the Canadian government continues to take in refugees who are fleeing persecution for their sexual orientation.
Same-sex couples who can prove their vulnerability may be allowed in Canada as refugees or asylum-seekers.
As refugees, LGBTs may stay in Canada under the sponsorship of Canadian or permanent resident families. Currently, sponsorship of LGBTs is an action the current Trudeau administration promotes and encourages.
Canada remains to be a beacon of inclusiveness and diversity. True to its reputation, it keeps its doors of immigration open to everyone.
Although many countries are beginning to be more welcoming of the members of the LGBT community, others do not share the same degree of openness. LGBTs in these countries face persecution. As well, they face marginalization with jobs and marriage.
In Canada, this is not the case.
With its legalization of same-sex marriages in 2005 and its willingness to take in LGBT refugees in 2015, the Trudeau administration has made itself clear.
The current administration has made clear the message that Canada will continue to be a place of acceptance and diversity.