Legislating Away the Immigration Backlog

16th Mar 2012 Comments Off on Legislating Away the Immigration Backlog

On March 7, 2012, Jason Kenney delivered a speech to the Economic Club of Canada which has generated considerable attention.  He implied that the Government of Canada was considering legislating an end to Canada’s immigration backlog.

His statements were:

New Zealandlegislated an end to its backlog in 2003 and put in place a system where prospective applicants can be selected from a pool made up of all persons who have applied. Rather than wasting time and energy processing old applications, their resources can now be put towards actively matching the best qualified applicants to current jobs and economic needs.

Now, in recent months, Prime Minister Harper has spoken about doing more in the economy of the future than just passively accepting applications. He has talked about the need to actively recruit people to come to Canadato fill specific skill shortages.

There are exciting possibilities before us when it comes to the future of immigration toCanada. But of course, the first step is to eliminate this huge unfair backlog as soon as we can. Again, we’re open to creative suggestions and we will continue to consult with Canadians about the best way forward in immigration reform.

Canada’s immigration backlog is not small.  According to a report by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration titled Cutting the Queue: Reducing Canada’s Immigration Backlogs and Wait Times, as of July 1, 2011, the backlog was:

 

Category

Number of People

Federal Skilled Workers
482,117

QuebecSkilled Workers
33,167

Federal Business (Investors and Entrepreneurs)
94,271

QuebecBusiness
10,518

Provincial/Territorial Nominees
39,076

Canadian Experience Class
6,002

Live-in Caregiver
15,416

Spouses, Partners, and Children
42,238

Parents and Grandparents
168,530

Government-sponsored Refugees
9,917

Privately-sponsored refugees
23,212

This backlog translates into some very high processing times. 

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