Illegal immigrants are people who are not legally permitted to live in a country. Every year, hundreds and thousands of people attempt to enter Canada illegally from Hungary, Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, Panama, Central America, Eastern Europe, Ireland and other countries. Both the United States and Canada face serious illegal immigration problems. Failed refugee claimants and people with expired visas are illegal immigrants. It is believed that about 8% of foreigners attempt to enter Canada illegally. Another 64,000 people (8%) have expired visas. Some people enter the country as undocumented persons because of economic reasons.
As per an immigration report in 2003, the estimated number of undocumented people living in Canada is somewhere between 100,000 to 200,000. A few illegal immigrants exhaust all avenues of becoming legal and continue to live, work and contribute to Canada's economy for long. Increased security protection in United States following September 11, 2001 has also resulted in an increase in the number of illegal immigrants to Canada.
Illegal immigration to Canada can be reduced by verifying social insurance numbers. In Canada, a social insurance number beginning with the number nine shows that the person holding it is not a citizen. The expiration date must be verified to make sure that the number is still valid. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada can support problems in this region.
When compared to United States, illegal immigration to Canada is less. One can enter Canada either illegally, or as a refugee, citizen, or permanent immigrant. Entering illegally should not be necessary in Canada, because the country has the most liberal immigration and refugee entry laws in the world.
For political reasons, the Canadian government took the initiative to legalize undocumented people by granting amnesty. Illegal immigrants in Canada are granted permanent immigrant status during these amnesties. People who commit serious crimes are unlikely to get amnesty.