Immigration Plan 2017
by Michael Scott
The federal government has announced its Immigration Plan for 2017 and the news is good all round. For persons who want to immigrate to Canada through one of economic or family streams, things are opening up. The key highlights are:
- CAP for Federal Skill Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class and Canada Experience Class have increased by 23 per cent for the upcoming year;
- the federal government continues to be supportive of provincial nominee programs across the country with a target of 51,000 arrivals;
- Quebec’s target for economic immigrants is 29,000, which includes the Quebec Skilled Worker Program;
- the percentage of economic immigration to the country is to continue making up the largest share of total immigration over the numbers seen in 2016; and
- more spouse/partner, children, parents and grandparents are going to be approved through Family Class sponsorship.
The overall plan is ambitious with an intention to see arrivals exceed 300,000.
Minister McCallum said that increased immigration numbers are important to counter an aging population and to provide much needed human resources to drive economic growth. McCallum remains confident that Canada will achieve its targets.
“We do it well, but I think we could learn to do it better.”
Economic immigration will increase from 160,600 in 2016 to 172,500 and family class immigration from 60,000 to 84,000. MP for Winnipeg North, Kevin Lamoureux, who also serves as the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader, put the planned changes into perspective for “have-not” provinces such as Manitoba.
“Immigration plays a critical role in terms of the future of Canada, in particular in regions where the threat of depopulation is a reality.” Lamoureux said, “Manitoba and other provinces are subject to that depopulation.”
But what are some of the specific changes to look for? The intended changes, which do not require an act of Parliament, but are at the government’s discretion, include:
- The much talked about increase in the CAP on parent and grandparent sponsorship from 5,000 to 10,000 will be applied when the program re-opens to new applications on January 3, 2017. The CAP was adjusted upward in 2016 from 5,000 to 10,000 to meet the large intake of application submissions;
- The current practice of imposing a two-year conditional permanent resident status on sponsored spouses and partners will be eliminated. The current requirement for sponsored spouses/partners to cohabit with their sponsors was the way chosen by the former Harper government to counter act “bad faith” claims of marriages, common-law relationships and conjugal relationships. The measure was fraught with a number of issues, such as placing vulnerable newcomers at the mercy of their sponsors, has been opposed by many for years.
- The change that many will welcome is a change in the age of dependent children from age 19 back to age 22. The 2015 change made little sense for families with children attending post-secondary school in particular and will be welcomed by many who thought the earlier system (of age 22) was not broken and should not have been changed.
The changes are significant for immigration numbers and a way to counter the negative changes in immigration introduced by the previous government. The Trudeau government has been transparent to date in its immigration policies and changes. They promised 25,000 Syrian arrivals and were true to their word, and Canada’s long history of responding to international obligations and humanitarian ideals. Now the proposed changes are substantial and will result in increased numbers, especially with the changes in the ages of dependent children and increased CAP on parents and grandparents. The good news is that the government is working to make things easier for immigration to Canada. The country is in a competitive world and it is important for Canada to not only talk about being supportive or more immigration but also actually doing things to make that happen. Once again I take my hat off to Minister McCallum and the Liberal government. It is good to report on positive changes. Now if only the USA follows suit and rejects the anti-immigration attitude of Donald Trump. There is nothing wrong with being kind and accepting of our neighbours in need. Immigration is good for applicants from source countries but also for Canada, which needs more people to fuel demographic growth and a growing economy in the 21st century.
Michael Scott BA (Hon), MA, is a 30-year veteran of Canada Immigration and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program who works as an immigration associate with R.B. Global Immigration Consultants Ltd. (204) 783-7326 or (204) 227-0292. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.