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Changes to Canadian Immigration System Could Be Ahead


On October 19 2015, Canadians across the country came together and celebrated one of their fundamental rights as citizens of Canada: casting a vote on Federal Election Day. This resulted in some changes in Canadian Parliament – the Liberal Party in power with a majority government and a new Prime Minister, Mr. Justin Trudeau. This will result in changes within the House of Commons, as new Liberal leaders will be appointed to positions as Ministers of various federal programs. This will include a new Minister of Immigration.

While nothing has been officially released yet, many are speculating there will be changes in the near future to our current immigration system. These speculations are based on ideas that were spread during Mr. Trudeau’s election campaign and by the Liberal platform.

During the election campaign, the Liberal party focused on four areas of immigration:

  • Family Reunification
  • Express Entry
  • Temporary Work Permits / the Temporary Foreign Worker Program
  • Canadian Citizenship

Within the realm of Family Reunification, the Liberal party pledged to make it a “top priority” ( by way of the following proposed changes:

  • Doubling the application intake cap for the Parent and Grandparent program (from 5,000 to 10,000)
  • Removing the “conditional” stipulation from the permanent residence statuses of spouses, common-law or conjugal partners in a relationship of two years or less with their sponsor and who have no children in common with their sponsor at time of submission
  • Returning the maximum age for dependent children back to under age 22 (instead of under age 19).

Express Entry is a program that the Liberals have pledged to review and reform. One change mentioned is to allow points to be allocated for individuals with siblings in Canada – something that currently does not exist in the Express Entry Program.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is another program the Liberals would like to review and reform. To do so, they have proposed to implement a 5-point plan to change the program. This plan would include: establishing a complaint tracking system; enforcing regular, compulsory workplace audits; requiring mandatory disclosure of investigations into abuses of the program, and of federal employer compliance reviews; and establishing a monthly disclosure regime indicating the number of temporary foreign workers in Canada.

Canadian Citizenship underwent many new changes in June 2015 under the previous Conservative Government. The new Liberal government also wishes to reform these changes, and has pledged to repeal Bill C-24, which was becoming known in the media due to a clause which allows the government to strip dual citizens of their citizenship, in certain cases. The Liberals have also pledged to allow foreign students and temporary residents to use their time spent in Canada on work or study permits to count towards their citizenship residency time credit (which is currently 4 years).

Only time will tell how many of these proposed changes to the immigration system will indeed come into effect under the new Liberal government, and if they do, the way in which they will unfold and affect immigration in Canada.

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