Canada unveils new priorities for immigration system
Canada seeks to reduce processing time for immigration applications and focus on expanding permanent residency opportunities for international students, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said in a letter to Canada’s new immigration minister Sean Fraser.
The letter laid out policy priorities as part of a new round of mandate letters following the recent Liberal election victory.
Trudeau’s letter, published on Thursday, calls for action on economic immigration, temporary workers, processing times, family reunification, citizenship, francophone immigration and refugees.
The mandate letter is the most important policy document that guides Canada’s immigration system. Canada’s new immigration minister, Sean Fraser, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will be tasked with implementing the agenda Trudeau outlined to them today.
The mandate letter unveiled main points:
1- Economic immigration:
- Bring in newcomers as set out in the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan.
- Expand pathways to permanent residence for international students and temporary foreign workers through Express Entry.
- Increase immigration to smaller communities by expanding the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, developing the Municipal Nominee Program and making the Atlantic Immigration Pilot permanent.
2- Temporary workers:
- Help establish a trusted employer system for Canadian companies hiring temporary foreign workers and, as part of
- Improving the Global Talent Stream by simplifying work permit renewals, upholding two-week processing, and establish an employer hotline.
- Improve foreign credential recognition.
- Find more ways to regularize status for undocumented workers contributing to Canadian communities.
3- Processing times:
- Reduce application processing times, including COVID-19 delays.
4- Family reunification:
- Introduce electronic applications.
- Issue temporary resident status to spouses and children abroad while immigration applications are processed.
- Make the citizenship application process free.
6- Francophone immigration:
- Work with Quebec to support French-language knowledge of immigrants.
- Continue to support francophone immigration across Canada.
- Expand the new immigration stream for human rights defenders.
- Continue to bring in more vulnerable Afghans.
- Increase the number of eligible refugees from 20,000 to at least 40,000.
- Work with the US to modernize the Safe Third Country Agreement.
- Build on the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot to welcome 2,000 skilled refugees.
Fraser is expected to present his first Immigration Levels Plan to parliament in February 2022.
According to an October 2021 meeting between IRCC and associations representing Canadian immigration lawyers and consultants, the department currently has three priorities in the short-run: achieving its 401,000 newcomer target for 2021, reuniting families, and bringing Afghan refugees to safety in Canada.