'Birth tourism' on the rise in Canada: report

Nearly 2,500 foreigners attempt to get away with ‘birth tourism’ in Canada each year, says a report by the Department of Immigration.

'Birth tourism' on the rise in Canada: report
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Nearly 2,500 foreigners attempt to get away with “birth tourism” in Canada each year, says a report by the Department of Immigration. 

“The number of estimated deliveries by short-term visitors, i.e.' residual' deliveries, shows an increasing trend in recent years from around 800 annually in 2010 to around 2,500 in 2017,” said the report, An Examination Of In-Hospital Deliveries

Researchers used recent data to estimate the number of births by foreign mothers on short-term visits to Canada. They cross-referenced immigration records with hospital births by these mothers — who paid their medical expenses out of pocket.

According to Blacklock's Reporter, the researchers uncovered that over nine in 10 of some 265,000 hospital deliveries annually are by mothers who are Canadian citizens or landed immigrants. 

According to the report, approximately 6,000 temporary residents have birthed annually in recent years. Hospital Deliveries stated either the fathers were Canadian or the foreign mothers had a legitimate reason to be in the country.

“More specifically, around 4,000 births were by temporary foreign workers, more than 1,000 by international students and around 1,000 by refugee claimants and temporary resident permit holders annually,” it said.

Hospital Deliveries contends the issue of “birth tourism” has drawn considerable public attention in recent years. 

“There have been frequent media reports on the issue, and petitions have called on the government to implement measures to reduce or eliminate the practice. However, which births in Canada should be attributed to 'birth tourism' has not been officially defined,” reads the report.

Under the 1947 Citizenship Act, babies born here are entitled to full benefits as Canadians. The Department of Immigration has since commissioned in-house polling on whether to amend the act to limit citizenship based on the immigration status of parents.

“Some say that Canadian citizenship should only be granted [automatically] to those born in Canada if their parents are Canadian citizens or permanent residents,” said the department's 2015 Tracking Study questionnaire. “Others say that Canadian citizenship should continue to be granted [automatically] to anyone born in Canada even if their parents are only here temporarily or illegally.”

“Which is closer to your view?”

Of 3,028 Canadians polled, 57% endorsed withdrawing citizenship from children born to temporary residents or illegal migrants — only 39% supported the act in its initial form.

“The problem is that if these people born here don't get citizenship here, they won't be able to get citizenship anywhere,” said immigration lawyer Peter Edelmann, then-executive with the immigration law section of the Canadian Bar Association. “You would wind up with stateless individuals.”

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