On March 14, 2008, the Government of Canada proposed amendments to modernize the immigration system. The amendment was approved by the Parliament on June 18, 2008. Since then, we have been receiving questions from clients and this blog's readers asking information about these changes.
Here are their frequently asked questions with corresponding answers that you may also find useful.
Why is there a need for amendments to immigration regulation? Is the current system not working?
Canada is a country built on Immigration. Since the time it opened its doors to immigrants, more than 15 million people from all parts of the globe grabbed the opportunity to live and work in Canada.
With the success in their immigration program, the Canadian government is faced with an even greater challenge: how do they continue to process the ever growing number of applications of people coming from all over the world who want to enjoy the high quality of living in Canada?
At present, there are more than 925,000 waiting in line for the result of their applications. This number continues to build up brought about by the inefficiency of the current regulation that aims to simultaneously process all applications it receives. If nothing will be done, the backlog is projected to reach up to 1.5 million by year 2012, which means applications will be processed longer, maybe even 10 years for some applicants, before any decision is rendered.
Moreover, the old system takes too long to process since it processes all applications in the order they were received, the skills of the immigrants does not match the badly needed occupations to fill out Canada's Labor shortage.
The changes in the Immigration and Refuge Protection Act (IRPA) are an attempt to modernize the immigration system and make it more responsive to labor needs.
In a nut shell, what will be the effect of these amendments?
The intention of CIC in implementing such changes is to cut the backlog and stop its continuous growth. Moreover, the Canadian Government wants to bring in the badly needed work force into Canada in the shortest time possible. These workers have the kind of skills that Canada needs to fill up its current labor shortage.
Ultimately, the amendments aim to process applications between 6 to 12 months compared to the 6 years it takes now to arrive at a decision. They will come up with the list of occupations which will be considered as immigration priorities.
What are the occupations considered as immigration priorities? When will it be implemented?
Consultations on immigration priorities went on from July 7 until August15, 2008. The purpose of these consultations is to identify critical occupational shortages in trades and professions across Canada. The results of which will be published in the Canada Gazette when they have already arrived at a decision. From there, the Immigration Minister will then issue a ministerial instructions as to which occupations shall be prioritized.
At present, processing of application for Permanent Resident Visa application in Canada is put on hold until further notice. Provisional File Number is being issued while waiting for the Instructions from the Immigration Minister
Does it mean that I have to wait for the list of immigration priorities before I may file my application?
Now is the best time to process applications of qualified applicants.
With the amendments on the IRPA, the current Labor Shortage in Canada and the reduced pass mark (from 75 to 67 points), an applicant may not only have the chance to be processed faster, they also have a chance to find a Job while waiting for their applications results.
With a job waiting for them in Canada, applicants have better chances of immigrating to Canada particularly since they may not be asked to show proof of settlement funds.
Rather than wait for the list of Immigration priorities, look at these changes as a great window of opportunity!
Remember that there is a quota for the number of people that is allowed to Immigrate.
You must act fast and file your application. In case, your application is returned because your occupation is not included in the list, at least, anytime in the future, you are ready to file your application when the time comes.
What if I filed my application now and it was returned because my occupation was not included on the list of immigration priorities, does it mean I got denied?
Not at all. It only means that you will have to wait for the right time to process your application. The good news is that: Once the Visa Office announces that your occupation has been included on the list, even at a moment’s notice, you will be ready to file since your documentation is in order.
The worst that can happen is when your occupation has been included in the priority list but you are not yet ready to file. You tried your best to complete your documentation at the time but it turns out you can not complete the requirements because it takes time to get them. Finally, when you have completed them, the quota is already filled out and you can no longer apply.
Besides, there are ways more than one that you may consider as alternative application process such as Provincial Nominee Programs, the Labor Market Opinion and the Arranged Employment Opinion.
As they say, “Strike while the Iron is HOT!”
Apply now while the conditions are still favorable to you!
Do not regret the day, when you look back and know that you had a great chance to give a better life for yourself and your family, but you did not grab the opportunity.
My application was filed before February 27, 2008, how will the amended immigration regulations affect my application?
Applications filed on or before February 27, 2008, will not be affected if their occupations are not included in the list of Immigration priorities.
In Fact there is even a great chance that their applications will be expedited, especially if they are included in the list.
For now the commitment of the Canadian Government is that all applications filed on or before the cut off date will be processed to a Final Decision.
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