Visa Crunch

Canada’s Federal Government Lay Down Reforms For Immigration System

In a letter to Canada’s new immigration minister, Sean Fraser, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country should start reducing processing times for immigration applications and look to expand permanent residency opportunities for international students.

In a law mandating letter to Fraser on December 16, Trudeau outlined the federal government’s priorities.

On October 26, Fraser was appointed to Trudeau’s cabinet as Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship (IRCC).

A total of 13 initiatives were highlighted by Trudeau that the immigration department is supposed to focus on in the letter. They have a variety of goals, ranging from increasing refugee immigration quotas to attempting to address system delays caused by Covid-19.

Trying to strengthen family reunification programs and welcoming skilled workers to high-demand fields such as medicine are also mentioned. These recommendations are anticipated to drive improvements to immigration processes at both the federal and provincial levels in the near future.

The Prime Minister of Canada has instructed the immigration minister to maintain policy initiatives in place to help immigrants integrate into Quebec’s French-majority province by “complementing existing measures and continuing to implement an ambitious national strategy to support Francophone immigration across the country”.

The federal government’s IRCC wing recently announced an increase in the points awarded to French-speaking candidates seeking to immigrate to Canada. The step is intended to help Canada meet its objective of raising French immigration outside of Quebec to 4.4 per cent by 2023. This will have an impact not only on federal immigration policies but also on provincial ones because the federal government is in charge of handling the country’s immigration system.

Following is the summary of Canada’s new immigration policies:

  • Reduction in processing times: Trudeau instructs for “reducing application processing times, including to address delays caused by Covid-19.”
  • Express Entry Programs: Increase the number of permanent residence pathways available to international students and temporary foreign workers through Express Entry.
  • Family reunification: Start introducing computerized systems for family reunification and develop a framework that can provide temporary residence to spouses and children abroad while their permanent residence applications are being processed.
  • Initiating a Municipal Nominee Program (MNP): The MNP’s goal is to encourage a more even distribution of immigration across Canada. It was originally slated to be a priority following the 2019 election, but it has been postponed due to the pandemic. Furthermore, Fraser is to make sure that immigration better endorses small and medium-sized communities.
  • Making the citizenship application process free of cost: This was identified as a priority following the 2019 election by Trudeau, but it has also been delayed by the pandemic.
  • Establishing a Trusted Employer system for Canadian companies: The Immigration Minister has been asked to collaborate with the Employment Minister to create a Trusted Employer system for Canadian businesses that hire temporary foreign workers. Furthermore, he has been suggested improving the Global Talent Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) by streamlining work permit renewals, maintaining the two-week processing standard, and instituting an employer hotline.
  • Regularizing status of undocumented workers: Expand on existing pilot programs to determine how to legalize the status of undocumented workers in Canada.
  • Promoting Francophone immigration: Continuing to collaborate with Quebec to assist immigrants’ French-language knowledge in Quebec, while respecting provincial jurisdiction and supplementing existing measures, and continue to enforce an integrated strategy at the national level to support Francophone immigration across Canada.
  • Settling Afghan refugees: Meet Canada’s goal of resettling 40,000 Afghan refugees.

In September, Trudeau’s Liberal Party was re-elected for a third time. Since taking power in 2015, they have continued to pursue an assertively higher immigration policy. This has resulted in an increase in immigration from approximately 3,00,000 arrivals per year to the current goal of over 4,00,000 arrivals per year.

In the aftermath of their victory, Trudeau unveiled his new cabinet in October. Fraser is a trained lawyer from Nova Scotia who was elected to Parliament for the first time in 2015.

According to a meeting held in October 2021 among IRCC and associations representing Canadian immigration lawyers and consultants, the department currently has three short-term priorities: meeting its 4,01,000 newcomer target for 2021, reuniting families, and bringing Afghan refugees to safety in Canada.

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