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 Featured Title
Points of Entry
How Canada's Immigration Officers Decide Who Gets In
Vic Satzewich  

$95.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 9/5/2015
ISBN: 9780774830249    

$32.95 Paperback
Release Date: 2/15/2016
ISBN: 9780774830256    

306 Pages


About the Book

Every year, over 1.3 million people apply to visit, work, or settle in Canada. The task of determining who gets in falls to visa officers, civil servants whose job it is to enhance and protect Canadian society. As gatekeepers, they yield tremendous power over the lives of the applicants they screen. In the face of such enormous responsibility, how do they assess credibility and risk?

To answer this question, renowned sociologist Vic Satzewich conducted interviews with 128 Canadian visa officers, locally engaged staff, and immigration program managers at eleven visa offices in Europe, the United States, the Middle East, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. Contrary to popular opinion, he found that individual biases rarely influence officers' decisions. Instead, a combination of experience, organizational culture, and accumulated local knowledge shapes their decisions. When something in an application does not "add up" -- somber photographs from a supposed wedding celebration, for example -- an officer conducts follow-up interviews with the applicant.

In a world where no two visa applications are the same, and in the context of complex and shifting population movements and pressures, this is a fascinating look at how visa officers do their work.

About the Author(s)

Vic Satzewich is a professor of sociology at McMaster University. He is the author of a number of books and articles, including Racism in Canada. He is also the co-editor of Transnational Identities and Practices in Canada (UBC Press). He is past president of the Canadian Sociological Association and was awarded its Outstanding Contribution Award in 2007.

Table of Contents


1 Stated and Hidden Agendas

2 Delegated Discretion

3 Immigration Policy

4 Visa Offices and Officers

5 Approval and Refusal Rates

6 Spousal and Partner Sponsorships

7 Federal Skilled Workers

8 Visitor Visas

9 The Interview



"In this brilliant and persuasive book, Vic Satzewich takes a storytelling approach to explain how immigration officers exercise discretion within the bounds of bureaucratic constraints to decide who is given or denied entry to Canada. Enlivened with behind-the-scenes interview materials and written in readable, compelling prose, Points of Entry will capture a wide audience interested in decoding the bureaucratic black box of Canada's immigration system."
-- Peter S. Li, FRSC, author of Destination Canada: Immigration Debates and Issues

"Canada may be an immigration society, yet we are woefully unclear about Canadian immigration as a set of principles and practices that operate at overseas posts. In Points of Entry, Vic Satzewich draws back the curtain by illuminating this decision-making process. He also debunks some of our widely held misconceptions, such as the prevalence of bias in deciding who is trustworthy and admissible -- or not."
-- Augie Fleras, author of Immigration Canada: Evolving Realities and Emerging Challenges in a Postnational World

Sample Chapter

Sample Chapter [PDF]

Related Topics

Immigration & Emigration
Political Science

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of Points of Entry from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

Phone orders: 1(800)565-9523 or (416)667-7791
Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

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