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Canada’s New Democrats promises to lift immigration cap for parents, grandparents

The NDP is promising to get rid of the cap on the number of parents and grandparents who can apply to immigrate to Canada to be reunited with their families, the Star (Canada) reported on Monday.

Canada’S New Democrats Promises To Lift Immigration Cap For Parents Grandparents

“The NDP believes in an immigration and refugee system that is fast, fair and compassionate,” said Olivia Chow, the NDP candidate in the downtown Toronto riding of Spadina-Fort York to the Star.

According to a statement released by the NDP there would be an additional $1 million annually to create an Express Entry system for children, similar to the program the Conservative government set up for skilled immigrants, the NDP says would reunite children with their families within six months.

Chow said the NDP would also allow immigrants being sponsored by their spouses to receive their permanent residency status immediately upon arrival in Canada, whereas right now, unless they have children or have been in a relationship for at least two years, that status is conditional upon them cohabiting in a relationship for two years in Canada.

The Conservative government brought in the two-year waiting period as a way to crack down on marriage fraud, but Chow said it leaves spouses with precarious status vulnerable to abuse.

“If the immigration officers overseas can do a better job, then it wouldn’t be a problem,” said Chow of how the NDP would deal with so-called marriages of convenience.

The Conservative government limited the number of new applications for parents and grandparents to 5,000 per year beginning in 2014, which the Liberals have promised to raise to 10,000 if they form government in the Oct. 19 election.

“You can do it a lot faster if the system works better,” Chow said when asked how the NDP thinks it could process an unlimited number of applications.

The New Democrats released some of the details of its immigration promise in a Toronto-centric version of its policy platform intended to convince undecided voters in the Greater Toronto Area they, and not the Liberals, are the best alternative to the Conservatives.

Liberal candidate Adam Vaughan, who is running against Chow to keep his seat in Spadina-Fort York, expressed some rare agreement with his political rivals.

“I don’t think there is a lot of daylight between the NDP and the Liberal platform on immigration. I think we know that family reunification numbers have to be strengthened significantly and I think we know that restoring some of the staffing levels to process applications needs to be improved,” said Vaughan, who did object to the way the NDP had packaged its promises for Toronto.

“Cities don’t need to be pandered to. They need to be funded better,” he said.

Other immigration promises include: fully restoring the Interim Federal Health Program for refugees; offer grants to professional bodies to develop a “harmonized national standard” for recognizing foreign credentials; an awareness campaign meant to encourage employers to provide newcomers with their first quality job in Canada and creating an appeal process for the visitor visa system.

The NDP would also create an ombudsperson for Citizenship and Immigration Canada to handle complaints and monitor human rights, which Chow said would relieve some of the burden on staffers in the constituency offices of MPs, who spend an inordinate amount of time helping with immigration cases.

Source: thestar.com

 

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