On March 10, 2023, the Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration met in Halifax to discuss the future of immigration in Canada. The Forum of Ministers is a decision-making body intended to support a flexible, timely and effective system of immigration for Canada. The Forum develops strategic plans to weigh the economic and social ramifications of immigration to Canada.
The Forum of Ministers meet twice yearly to discuss Canada’s immigration policy and plan for how immigration to Canada may change in the coming years. The Forum of Ministers has representatives from the federal, provincial, and territorial governments to represent the interests of each of those parties when developing Canada’s immigration policy. Since immigration responsibility is shared between the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, the collaboration between different levels of government is important.
In their recent meeting in Halifax, the Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration discussed increasing provincial and territorial participation in the immigration selection process, increasing allocations from the Provincial and Territorial Nominee Programs and more modernization in the immigration system, including Express Entry.
Some of the key points in their discussions have been highlighted below.
The Forum of Ministers discussed increasing provincial and territorial involvement in economic immigration selection, in addition to increasing the allocations allowed for the Provincial and Territorial Nominee Programs.
Increasing provincial and territorial involvement and independence concerning economic immigration selection will allow for the provinces and territories to better cater immigration to those areas towards the economic needs that they have. As the Provincial and Territorial Nominee Programs are growing, it is important that the provinces and territories have more say in the immigrants that they want to admit from the programs.
According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s first Multi-Year Allocation Plan, there has been 44% growth in Nominee Program allocations for 2023. Further, the number of permanent residents admitted under the Provincial and Territorial Nominee Programs is set to increase for the next three years.
Part of the discussion pertained to the ability of the provinces and territories to make immigration decisions and expansion of the immigration pilot programs, such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot. These pilot programs offer opportunities for potential immigrants with specific qualifications to settle in areas of Canada that traditionally do not receive as much immigration interest.
Another critical point of the discussion revolved around improving the application processing times and reducing duplication. Modernization and efficient systems are key aspects of the immigration system in the coming years.
The Forum of Ministers also discussed ways of improving Foreign Credential Recognition. Foreign Credential Recognition is the process of verifying that the training, education and/or experience an applicant has obtained in another country and whether they meet the federal, provincial or territorial requirements for practicing or working in certain professions in Canada.
Approximately 20% of Canadian occupations are estimated to be regulated, including accountants, architects, carpenters, physicians, electricians, nurses and teachers. The Ministers’ interest in this area relates to labour shortage issues that have impacted Canada in the last year. There was a particular focus on internationally educated healthcare professionals, as the country has developed special programs to attract healthcare workers to Canada since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some ministers alerted to the high volumes of asylum seekers crossing into Canada between ports of entry, as large numbers of asylum seekers can put pressure on the provinces who must support the asylum seekers while their claims are being processed. This has become an issue between the provinces due to recent asylum seekers entering into Ontario and Quebec through places like Roxham Road. Although Quebec has sovereignty in relation to its own immigration matters, issues like seeking asylum concern the federal government as well.
The ongoing issues in Ukraine were also raised as the Ministers want the federal government to clarify how long the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel initiative will be open for, and to take additional measures to help Ukrainians living in Canada. During this discussion, alternative pathways to permanent residency for Ukrainians who wish to stay in Canada were also considered.
Overall, immigration will play a large role in shaping Canada’s economic and social future. This meeting provided clarity as to how Canada’s immigration processes are slated to develop in the coming years, and shed light on what we can expect to see from the federal, provincial and territorial governments in the near future.
The skilled immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law are ready to meet your immigration needs. Our firm helps clients understand the available entry streams to Canada, such as the Provincial Nominee Program, and ensures that they move swiftly through the application process.
The team at Garson Immigration Law have the skills and experience required to help clients through various immigration-related issues. If you have any questions about your immigration application, contact us online or call us at 416-321-2860 to schedule a consultation.
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