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.
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:
Number of People
Federal Skilled Workers
Federal Business (Investors and Entrepreneurs)
Canadian Experience Class
Spouses, Partners, and Children
Parents and Grandparents
This backlog translates into some very high processing times.Read more ›
The media is aflutter with stories about six Citizenship and Immigration Canada bureaucrats attending a citizenship reaffirming ceremony. Frankly, as long as neither of the two people on the left are CIC bureaucrats processing immigration applications, I consider this to be a non-story.Read more ›