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Are we at the end of the Golden Age of Canadian Immigration?

Caps and quotas or pools of candidates where only the highest ranked are selected makes prospective applicants to Canada understandably, a little nervous. Some are worried about not being selected from the Express Entry pool and many of you are worried you won’t make the cap/quota for the new Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) program.

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So I ask the question: are we at the end of the Golden Age for Canadian Immigration? The Golden Age, for anyone unfamiliar, is a term that describes an era of time when mankind supposedly lived a better life when compared to the Silver, Bronze and Iron Ages that were to follow.  It was a period of great endeavours and amazing tasks were achieved but does this describe the state of Canadian Immigration? Are we making it too hard to come to Canada? As a country that needs 250,000+ newcomers a year to maintain our population, are we looming over a precipice where the applicants we need are too disenfranchised to make the leap to Canada?

The Past:

Often, when we look to the past, we look through a lens tinted with nostalgia. The same is true for Canadian Immigration. And to be fair, some of the previous immigration policies and regulations sound great to a prospective newcomer. For example, all application categories were first-come, first-served while now only the QSW program remains, and for how much longer, we just don’t know.

Under some circumstances lower-skilled workers could apply and applicants did not necessarily have to take a language exam. Sounds like heaven right? Well what people don’t like to remember is the years of processing your application would take, in some cases as long as 88 months. You could live and die waiting for your application to process. Not to mention the arbitrary points assigned to your file for your language proficiency that were at the discretion of a visa officer, who may or may not be having a bad day.

The Present:

Now everyone needs language tests, much to the disdain of many potential applicants. While I understand not wanting to take a test, I do firmly believe that language tests and minimal language requirements are critically important to the successful integration of newcomers to the Canadian way of life and the Canadian workforce. While Express Entry might now have a pool of applicants it selects from, and you are not guaranteed a visa, processing times are as low as 6 months and you could be offered a job by a Canadian employer and be here even sooner.

The Future:

Since Express Entry is a relatively new way of selecting applicants, it stands to reason that it won’t change much. What will most likely change is that Quebec Immigration will adopt an Express Entry model of immigration, ending the last remaining first-come, first-served program of Canadian Immigration. I strongly recommend that anyone who qualifies for the current QSW program apply now while it is still first-come, first-served. Then at least you know if you qualify, and can submit before the cap is reached, you will receive your visa. In other words, you don’t have to compete with other applicants for your visa.

However, if Immigration Quebec implements their version of the Express Entry system, as well as the federal government has, maybe the QSW program will also be better and faster, but we can’t be certain. We don’t have the details yet and we won’t have any for a long time. This switch is only rumoured and far from set in stone. Even if it is implemented, it will not be in the immediate future.


I wonder if the early Greeks and Romans who initially coined the phrase “Golden Age” knew they were living through one. Or was a Golden Age only defined upon retrospect when they realized that the good times were behind them and the horizon of the future looked unwelcoming.

Whether or not we are at the end of a Golden Age of Canadian Immigration is yet to be seen but Canada still needs immigrants, to the tune of 250,000+ a year and counting. Whatever the future brings, I am confident Canada’s doors will continue to be open to newcomers and their families who are looking for a new start and better future.

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Renaud Dery

Canadian Immigration Attorney

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