|Members of the Egyptian Canadian Association gather to watch the country's election. (QMI Agency File/GILLIAN WHEATLEY)
OTTAWA - Christians in Egypt will increasingly see Canada as their chance to escape from a country whose president belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood, immigration officials warn.
"The (permanent resident application) volume continues to trend upwards and the number of applications submitted may accelerate, given the election of a new, Islamic government in Egypt," a Canadian immigration program officer said in documents obtained by immigration lawyer Richard Kurland through Access to Information requests.
Other Egyptians will seek a shorter stint in Canada through a temporary resident visa (TRV).
"With the resulting political and economic instability in Egypt, combined with the new government, the push factors are now stronger than ever," the program officer said. "The minority Christian community is especially concerned and they have been seeking exit from Egypt in record numbers."
While 2012 statistics on permanent resident and temporary visitor visas in Egypt are not available, figures from previous years show numbers were on the rise even before Islamist Mohamed Mursi won the country's presidential election last month.
There were more than 9,500 TRV applications processed in Cairo in 2011.
That's a spike from the period between 2007 and 2010 when TRV applications from Egypt ranged between 6,100 and 6,900 per year.
Mursi's election has caused concern among Egypt's eight-million-strong Coptic Christian minority.
The Muslim Brotherhood that Mursi is part of has spawned violent spinoffs, while some of its officials have previously questioned Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel, as well as the rights of women and non-Muslim minorities.
-- with files from Reuters