Last Updated on March 21, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

The Government of Canada has released its budget for 2013 (“Budget 2013″).  Budget 2013 contains several announcements of changes to immigration programs which the Government of Canada will introduce this year, including (my editorial comments in maroon):

  • Providing $42-million in funding to support enhanced program capacity within the Temporary Resident program, and giving the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (the “Minister“) the ability to set fees in a timely and efficient manner.  (Budget 2013 actually refers to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada as the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.  I’m not sure if this means that the Department is about to change its name or if it is a typo.)
  • Providing $44-million in funding over two years to improve the processing of Citizenship applications, and allowing the Minister to set fees in a timely and efficient manner. (This is fantastic.  Processing times have ballooned to more than four years in many cases.)
  • Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations to restrict the identification of non-official languages as job requirements when hiring through the Temporary Foreign Worker process.  (Not sure about this.. in a global economy some positions require fluency in languages other than English or French.) 
  • Introduce processing fees for Labour Market Opinion applications. (I’ve never understood why this was free.  In 2012 Service Canada processed 112,897 LMO applications for free.  An application fee of say $100 would have saved taxpayers over $10-million.) 
  • Increase the recruitment efforts that employers must make to hire Canadians before they will be eligible to apply for temporary foreign workers (presumably this means Labour Market Opinions), including increasing the length and reach of advertising requirements.
  • Assist employers who employ foreign workers to find ways to ensure that they have a plan to transition to a Canadian workforce over time. (Does making those foreign workers permanent residents count?)
  • Affirming that the Federal Skilled Worker Program will reopen this year with an updated points system that gives more weight to language proficiency and youth. 
  • Affirming that the Government will launch the new Start-Up Visa this year.
  • Confirming the Government’s intention to create an “Expression of Interest” immigration management system which will allow employers, provinces, and territories to select skilled immigrants from a pool of applicants.
  • Introduce an Immigrant Investor pilot program (no details announced).
  • Enhancing Canada’s capability to share immigration information with the United States.
  • Announcing that the new Electronic Travel Authorization system for visa-exempt foreign nationals will exclude U.S. citizens.
  • Develop an Interactive Advanced Passenger Information System to make “board/no board” decisions on all travellings flying to Canada prior to departure.
  • Establishing and coordinating entry and exit information systems with the United States, including a system where the record of land entry into one country can be utilized to establish a record of exit from the other. (The Government should also invest in installing machines at airports which can scan permanent residents’ passports so that there is an effective way of tracking time in Canada.  It never ceases to amaze me that Canada requires permanent residents to spend two-years out of five in Canada, and we don’t have a reliable way of tracking this. )

Budget 2013 can be viewed in its entirety here:

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