A New and Improved Immigration System is Coming2012-04-26
As many of you know through previous posts, the Federal government is cancelling all skilled worker applications filed prior to February 27, 2008.
There will be exceptions for those application on which a Visa Officer has made an assessment, although it is still unclear at which point such applications would have made it through to processing and which ones will be returned to the applicant with a refund.
I agree with many of my colleagues that such a measure is draconian, leaving 280,000 applicants to start the arduous application process again. Even worse, many of these applicants will no longer qualify under the new skilled worker rules where arranged employment or experience in certain occupations is required.
In fact, there is a talk of a class action law suit against the Federal government, challenging their decision to not consider applications that were filed in good faith. We’ll see where that goes in the coming months ahead.
However, putting this decision by the Federal government aside for the moment, I believe we are finally on the verge of a more modern and responsive immigration system that should have been in place a long time ago.
First and foremost, the time for processing applications will drop from years to months. This is a tremendous benefit to the system and to applicants who don’t have to live in uncertainty for years awaiting a decision on their Canadian immigration application.
Secondly, employers will take a much greater role in deciding who can immigrate (rather than the government setting all the criteria). This will help to ensure that immigrants can secure jobs when they arrive in Canada and not struggle to support themselves and their families.
Thirdly, recognition of foreign professional credentials will be vastly improved, allowing immigrants to know with certainty if they can practise their craft or profession in Canada under our certification rules. We’ve all heard and seen the foreign engineer working as a taxi driver because his or her qualifications were not recognized in Canada. The new system should address this situation and allow foreign professionals to work in Canada or take steps to have their credentials recognized in a timely manner.
The one area where I believe the immigration system will still fall short is in terms of family reunification. The Federal government is viewing foreign applicants as economic units who can best contribute to the Canadian economy. However, they are people with families, and those families are often essential in building a secure and meaningful life in Canada.
Yes, we should target individuals who can contribute to the economy. But when we find them, we should do our best to ensure they can also immigrate with those loved ones who are most important to them. Refusing to allow parents or extended family members to be sponsored for permanent residence will no doubt have unintended consequences on the abilities of new immigrants to successfully settle in Canada.
Nevertheless, the new changes will make our immigration system better – and there will be room to improve it even further in the months and years ahead.