04 January 2010

Chinese migrants in Canada assimilate easily as numbers increase

Immigration from China to Canada has risen rapidly in recent years but new migrants are assimilating quickly and easily into Canada, according to studies.

In Vancouver, some 381,500 people – or one in five residents - are originally from China and in the nearby town of Richmond nearly half of the 188,000 residents are of Chinese origin.

The number of Chinese migrants passing through Canadian Immigration has also grown rapidly: the Chinese population in Vancouver has grown by 22.8 percent between 1996 and 2001 and 11.3 percent from 2001 to 2006.

Economic opportunity and the benefits of work in Canada is not always the primary motive for those who choose to emigrate from China to Canada.

One migrant, Eileen Lao, 43, spoke to AFP about her immigration to Canada and settlement in Vancouver from Guangzhou in February 2007.
"I wanted to change my life," she said, and although a few lifestyle changes she is "quite happy" with her new life in Canada with her engineer husband and their daughter Huang.

While the family speaks Cantonese at home, Huang, 17, attends a school where only English is spoken, and indeed the family speaks the language with ease.

Eileen Lao has not found any major difficulties with adapting to life in Canada, although as a public relations person for a non-government organisation she has found it hard to accept the angle of Canada’s media.

"Media is different here. In China it is propaganda, promotion of things well done. Here they speak of disasters or human rights, look for negative sides," she said.

Lao hopes to one day acquire Canadian citizenship, expressing a comfort with her new country that is echoed by many Chinese immigrants according to a study by Statistics Canada.

The 2002 study found that 76 per cent of Chinese immigrants felt strongly attached to Canada and 58 percent said they also strongly identified with their own ethnic and cultural group.

The Canadian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their Canadian  Visa applications to the Canadian Embassy.

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