Borderlines Podcast #96 – Inadmissibility for Espionage and Chinese Immigration, with Will Tao

Steven MeurrensPodcasts


Will Tao is a Canadian immigration and the founder of Heron Law Office.

In January 2024 Justice Crampton, the Chief Justice of the Federal Court released a decision where he ruled that what constitutes “espionage” in Canadian immigration law must evolve “as hostile state actors increasingly make use of non-traditional methods to obtain sensitive information in Canada or abroad, contrary to Canada’s interests.”

He held that it was reasonable for a visa officer to determine that a prospective Chinese PhD student, Mr. Li, was inadmissible to Canada for espionage because he may in the future be targeted and coerced by the Chinese government into providing information that would be detrimental to or contrary to Canada’s interests. There was nothing to suggest that Mr. Li has a present or future intention to provide such information to the Chinese government. Rather, the concern was future coercion or co-opting.

Later that month, the Government of Canada’s announcement of a New Policy on Sensitive Technology Research and Affiliations of Concern (the “Policy”). The Policy included the publishing of a list of around 100 research organizations and institutions in China, Russia and Iran that pose “the highest risk to Canada’s national security due to their direct, or indirect connections with military, national defence, and state security entities.”