Canadian Immigration Minister outlines plans for immigration system overhaul
05 March 2012
For concise and recent immigration information watch our news.Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced last week his vision for a more efficient immigration system that would allow Canadian employers a greater say in selecting new immigrants.
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Kenney said he plans to redesign Canada's immigration points system to be more flexible and place greater emphasis on language ability, and on encouraging immigration of younger immigrants with high quality credentials that can be recognized quickly.
Kenney pointed out that the current points system used to assess federal skilled worker applicants needs to be more "flexible and intelligent". He said: "It should place greater emphasis on the importance of language while recognizing that the language ability needed to successfully integrate in Canada is different for a doctor as opposed to a welder."
He added that Canada needed to do a better job of attracting entrepreneurs, noting that in the US, half of the top 50 venture-capital backed companies were founded by immigrants.
Additionally, he promised to reduce the backlog in the immigration system. There are currently wait times of up to seven years in some categories. He explained his plans to create an expedited immigration system in which immigrants, particularly those with strong language skills, would be offered a job, have their credentials assessed, get accepted and settled in Canada – all within a year of applying. He called on employers to actively seek out and recruit the skilled immigrants they needed so that the Immigration Department can fast-track their applications in order to address Canada's skills shortages.
"It makes no sense to tell people 'apply now, but put your life on hold for a few years before we'll even let you know if you qualify,'" Kenney said. "I will continue to make changes to create a faster, more flexible immigration system. Canadians need and deserve a system that boldly puts Canada's best interests first."
Kenney is calling on employers to actively seek out and recruit the skilled immigrants they need, so that the Immigration Department can fast-track their applications and address Canada's skills shortages. He said the federal government will also look at giving more preference to applicants with a direct job offer. This already happens to a certain extent. However, processing times are still too long. The private sector should benefit from changes in the federal skilled worker program.
Not everyone agrees with the proposed plans, including New Democratic Party immigration critic Don Davies who said Kenney has failed to substantially improve the ability of immigrant professionals to get their credentials recognized. And added that Kenney is allowing too many low-wage temporary foreign workers to immigrate to Canada.
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