Immigrants in Vancouver Continue to Nourish Canada’s Growing Economy

British Columbia’s large Chinese community is quickly changing the landscape of the province.  From Vancouver to Richmond, the area is being drastically transformed into an Asian metropolis.  As shoppers walk by a Lamborghini store and supermarkets with live seafood out of fish tanks, people across the region are now wondering what does the future hold for Canada’s Chinese immigrant community.

Visibility in the Market

Small things do come in big packages.  Italian ice-cream shops selling Asian-inspired flavors such as green tea and lychee or The Vancouver Sun newspaper putting out an online Mandarin edition. Even the province’s auto insurance corporation serving drivers in 170 language with Mandarin and Cantonese being the most in demand, Chinese immigrants are clearly raising their voices by saying to British Columbia, “We are home.”

Contributions in Commerce

Beyond small contributions, the Chinese immigrant community is without a doubt making big contributions to the area in terms of trade and commerce.  For example, since 2011, British Columbia has become the Pacific Rim’s largest trading partner.  Exports to China have reached over CAN$ 5.1 billions, and booming industries such as minerals, container traffic, and education are on the rise.

While the immigration boom has tremendously increased the region’s economy, Chinese immigrants to Canada is nothing new.  For centuries, Chinese immigrants have been flocking to Canada for economic opportunities.  Starting with the gold rush in 1858, nearly 6500 Chinese migrants were later be employed by the Canadian Pacific Railways which eventually created Vancouver’s pledging Chinatown.

Chinese Migration to Canada

However, strong signs of prejudice started to grow against the Chinese immigrants among the white working classes.  This led to the Canadian government created the first anti-Chinese legislation by imposing a ‘head tax” on every migrant worker.  Signs of anti-Chinese immigration grew even stronger when the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923 was passed which effectively ceased immigration altogether.  Although the ban was lifted in 1947, Mao’s red revolution closed the door to Chinese immigration from the other side of the world.

By the 1980s and 90s, a strong backlash against Chinese immigrants started to emerge.  However, unlike the lower income migrant workers from the past, the new generation of Chinese immigrants were from Hong Kong who took up homes in expensive neighborhoods, sent their children to the best schools and started a construction boom transforming downtown Vancouver with skyscraper.

The sudden “Asian invasion” drummed up signs of warnings from newspapers and politicians while the bitter elite used the phrase “Hongcouver” to express their angst at the Asian-isation of their city.  After Hong Kong was handed back over to China in 1997, the areas Mandarin community has been edging out Cantonese on the streets and according to recent statistics, approximately one-in-five Vancouverites is not of Chinese origin bringing some 12, 400 new arrivals each year.

Immigrants and Economic Growth

While there have been grumblings privately among the old school Vancouverites who blame the Chinese community for the city’s high property prices, experts suggest that there is little evidence to back up fears of a another backlash. As a result, British Columbia continues to prosper and nourish its ties to Asia and its increasingly rapidly growing economy.

Immigration Unleashes Opportunities

Immigrating to Canada unlocks enormous life opportunities. However, refusing the help of a licensed immigration professional and doing things on your own may cost you more because if you were denied entry or your visa application is refused, you would not be able to get a refund for whatever you paid for the processing. In addition to that, you will likely have to hire a lawyer to evaluate your situation, represent you before an immigration officer,  or appeal the immigration decision.

If you are applying for work in Vancouver, British Columbia, or any part of Canada, the most competent and experienced Vancouver immigration lawyers at Niren and Associates can help you. The firm’s main office is located in Toronto, and it has 9 other offices across the country. Niren and Associates can be reached at (604) 283-2126 or [email protected].

Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.