A change of government for the first time in nearly a decade along with the Syrian Refugee Crisis has changed the face of Canadian immigration for 2016. Judgement aside of any of Conservative immigration policies, it is safe to say the Harper government made sweeping changes to Canadian immigration that have irrevocably transformed Canada’s Immigration Landscape, With the mandate of Canadians in the form of new Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, different perspectives on immigration now hold the reigns of power in Ottawa.
Traditionally, the Liberal Party of Canada has been the most sympathetic political party in terms of immigration. When current Prime Minster Trudeau’s father Pierre Trudeau was in power his mandate in the 70’s was an official pledge to support to the Canadian notion of multiculturalism. This meant the integration of newcomers into Canadian society while still encouraging them to maintain their unique identity and culture. Making multiculturalism an official mandate of the Canadian government very much defined Canada as a nation that is accepting of immigrants.
This shift in government simultaneously coming at a time when the world is also witnessing its worst humanitarian crisis since WWII in the form of the mass exodus of Syrians into the global landscape has led to many proposed changes from the Liberal government. These include but are not limited to:
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.
Restore free access to healthcare for refugee/asylum seekers pending a decision on their case by the government.
Pledge to make it easier for international students to achieve Canadian Citizenship.
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 dependants from 19 to 22, making it easier for immigrants to bring their older children to Canada.
There are many challenges ahead for the Liberals, but with a majority government and a pledge of a half a billion dollars, changes are coming. Let us see what 2016 brings and as always.