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Canadian’t: Policy options to address birthright citizenship for tourists

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There has been growing concern about the phenomenon of “birth tourism” in Canada. Birth tourism refers to foreign non-residents arriving in Canada on tourist visas with the intention of giving birth, so that their children benefit from birthright citizenship. Although this practice has occurred for decades throughout the world, many countries have adjusted their birthright citizenship laws to prevent it. Consequently, Canada is now one of only two developed countries to still have birthright citizenship. Although the long-term outcomes of birth tourism are not well understood, the practice represents a challenge to the integrity of the immigration system. This capstone research explores the issue with the aim of evaluating possible policy responses. It conducts a literature review, examines case studies, and draws on expert interviews. Four policy options are presented and evaluated. The capstone recommends making eligibility for birthright citizenship conditional on the possession of a Social Insurance Number.
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