20 Oct, 2015 10 Changes Coming to Canada’s Immigration System With A New Government
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce to my readers the new face of Canadian politics and the new Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Justin Trudeau. Trudeau, the leader of Liberal Party of Canada, sky-rocketed his party’s fortunes from third place to electoral victory and an absolute majority government in last night’s federal election.
While the dust is still settling from this historic change in governance, one thing is clear, Canadians gave Mr. Trudeau the helm of the country and a very strong mandate to evoke the change that Canadians aspire to see in our government.
In With the New, Out With the Old
Mr. Trudeau and the Liberals will be replacing the current leadership, Stephen Harper and his Conservatives who have been in power just shy of ten years. While much can be said, both good and bad, about the decade-long Harper/Conservative legacy, his government has made sweeping changes in its tenure that have irrevocably transformed the Canadian Immigration landscape.
The Canadian Immigration File:
As a bit of background for anyone who doesn’t know, Justin Trudeau is no stranger to Canadian politics. In fact, Justin was born during his father’s tenure as Prime Minister in the 1970s. To attribute his victory solely to Canadians nostalgia over his father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and his family’s political dynasty in Canada would be a disservice to Justin’s charisma, experience and insight into the mindset of the Canadian electorate.
The Liberals: A Party for Newcomers
The Liberal Party of Canada has, for decades, traditionally been the most sympathetic Canadian political party when it comes to the immigration file. During Pierre Trudeau’s leadership in the 1970’s they pledged official support to the Canadian notion of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism, in a Canadian context, means integrating newcomers into Canadian society without forcing them to shed their own unique identity and culture. This progressive stance on multiculturalism helped define Canada as a nation that is accepting of immigrants and, not surprisingly, helped win the hearts and minds of many new Canadians.
10 Proposed Liberal Reforms to Canada’s Immigration System
- Double the number of immigration applications allowed for parents and grand-parents sponsorship from 5,000 to 10,000 visas per year.
- Double the budget for processing family class immigration applications to reduce wait times
- Increase points allocation to applicants who have siblings in Canada on their Express Entry application
- Lift the visa requirement for Mexican travel to Canada.
- Eliminate the $1000 Labour Market Impact Assessment fee for families seeking caregivers to care for family members with physical or mental disabilities.
- Restoring free access to healthcare for refugee/asylum seekers pending a decision on their case by the government.
- They have pledged to make it easier for international students to achieve Canadian Citizenship. The exact details are not specified, but they have stated they will do this by making adjustments to the Canadian Experience Class program that will ‘remove barriers’ to international students.
- Restore the Canadian Citizenship residency time credit for international students in Canada.
- Bypass the two year wait period for “conditional permanent residence” for spouses of sponsored individuals.
- Restore the maximum age for dependents from 19 to 22, making it easier for immigrants to bring their older children to Canada.
As a party with a strong base of support from Canadian newcomers, the Liberals have a lot to live up to, in order to keep their constituents happy. But with a pledge of $500 million and a majority government, I think we can be cautiously optimistic that these changes will be enacted in a timely manner.
Congratulations Justin on a job well done.