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Thursday, October 31, 2013

No changes to immigration levels in 2014 - Annual Report to Parliament

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has presented the Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration for 2013, which sets out the government's plans for 2014. The Immigration Minister plans to welcome somewhere between 240,000 and 265,000 new permanent residents in 2014.

One of the more interesting aspects of the report is a short section which describes ministerial powers granted under modifications by the Tories to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, "which authorizes the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to create small economic immigration programs to take advantage of economic opportunities or to test new program concepts without having to formalize them through a lengthy regulatory process. These programs, which are set out in Ministerial Instructions, are limited to a duration of five years, after which time the program must be discontinued or be made permanent through regulations." If you needed an explanation of all of the tinkering that the Tories have been doing, there it is.

Other highlights include:

  • Changes to the Canadian Experience Class - As of January 2, 2013, applicants require 12 months (reduced from 24 months) of full-time Canadian work experience, or the equivalent in part-time work, in high-skilled occupations and now have more time, up to 36 months, to accumulate that experience.
  • How the government eliminated the Skilled Worker (FSW) backlog - The report explains that portions of the Federal backlog were pawned off onto the provinces. If the applicants didn't qualify for Provincial Nomination Programs, they were eliminated. Next, they received permission to eliminate 98,000 applications received before 2008 by simply returning the application fees to the applicants. Finally, they simply stopped accepting FSW applications. 
  • Expression of Interest Program - this major modification to the FSW program is expected to be fully implemented by 2015.
  • Parent and Grandparent programs - The Super Visa program will become permanent, and CIC will begin accepting new applications for permanent residence for parents and grandparents in 2014.

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