Budget 2021: Strengthening Canada’s Immigration System

In the Budget 2021 released by the Canadian Government on April 19th, 2021, as part of their Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience after the shattering effects of the COVID 19 pandemic, Canada’s immigration system has been identified as a core component in our economic strength.

As such, the budget 2021 highlights key areas in need of development to ensure Canada’s competitiveness and is putting in motion steps to ensure the resumption and growth of global travel, post-pandemic.

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What is the Budget 2021 plan for Canadian Immigration?

5 areas in need of attention and development were identified in the Budget 2021 report. These are:

  1. Streamlining Express Entry;
  2. Accelerated Pathways to Permanent Residence;
  3. Enhancing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program;
  4. Supporting Racialized Newcomer Women;
  5. Delivering a Modern Immigration Platform.

Streamlining the Express Entry System

Introduced in early 2015, the Express Entry system now accounts for sourcing a quarter of new immigrants to Canada each year. With the introduction of the Express Entry system, the way core economic programs were processed was drastically changed. Moving away from a first-come-first-serve model of processing targeting specific occupations, the Express Entry system allows for immigrants to be selected based on their overall merits, not their area of work experience. While this new method of processing promotes a higher caliber of applicants (to be successful, applicants must be young, have a master’s level degree with advanced language proficiency), it is not responsive enough to select applicants to fill a particular labour market need.

The new proposal recommends a change to the governing Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to provide the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada with authority to use Ministerial Instructions to help select candidates who best meet Canada’s labour market needs from among the growing pool of candidates who wish to become permanent residents through the Express Entry System.

This suggests that in addition to federal draws that focus on an applicant’s Comprehensive Ranking Score, they will also conduct draws based on the applicant’s area of work experience allowing them to select certain applicants in response to labour market needs.

Accelerated Pathways to Permanent Residence

The government of Canada recently announced the opening of two new accelerated immigration pathways for international graduates and workers in essential occupations. These programs aim to retain foreign talent already in Canada, contributing to the Canadian economy.

Enhancing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Temporary foreign workers are critical to Canada’s economy and economic recovery. The sad truth however is that COVID 19 has highlighted serious areas in need of improvement when it comes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. As a result, $110 million has been set aside to support Temporary foreign workers. This sum will go towards the development of community-based organizations, increasing inspections of employers to ensure temporary foreign workers have appropriate working conditions and wages, faster processing, and improved service delivery of open work permits for vulnerable workers.

In addition to this, Budget 2021 also commits to $12 billion over the next 2 years to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, both of which are grants to Canadian employers who have experienced a decrease in revenue as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic. These subsidies allow for more foreign workers to remain in employment in Canada, contributing to the overall economic recovery while gaining the required Canadian work experience needed to transfer their status from temporary to permanent.

Supporting Racialized Newcomer Women

To minimize the employment obstacle many newcomer women face the 2021 budget proposes to provide $15 million over two years, starting 2021-22, to extend the Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot initiative, which will continue to improve their employment outcomes and career advancement.

Modernizing the Immigration Platform.

Recognizing the importance of a digital infrastructure that supports Canada’s growing immigration system and demand, the budget dedicates almost $430 million over the next five years to develop and maintain a secure, stable, flexible and user-friendly digital platform that promotes application processing.

In total, the budget allocates over $555 million to strengthen Canada’s immigration system to ensure we remain the most sought-after immigration destination.

 

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