Late last year Canada announced plans to meet an annual immigration target of 300 000 which the country managed to achieve during the 2017 financial year and it became evident that Canada will once again meet their immigration target as the Express Entry Draws had routinely met their full target of issuing Invitations to Apply to migrant hopefuls.
Speaking at a conference in June last, Hussen reaffirmed his department’s commitment to welcoming newcomers, and removing obstacles to citizenship for permanent residents. “We want more permanent residents — in fact, we want all permanent residents, if possible — to become Canadians,” he emphasized.
Canada has certainly made good on their promise and it seems the trend is set to continue as Canada's immigration minister says Canada will welcome at least as many immigrants next year as it is in 2017.
"Three hundred thousand is now our new normal," he said, while not closing the door to a higher number for 2018.
"As a government we went from 260,000 to 300,000 because of the need to meet the demands of Canadian families who wanted to reunite with their loved ones," Hussen continued. "But also employers who are asking us to allow them to continue to use immigration more and more as a way to meet their growth needs."
He said the "vast majority" of immigrants coming in will be from the economic class because that's where the greatest need is. This will be followed closely by family class immigrants and then refugees, Hussen said.
“Quite frankly we need to fill the skills shortages that exist in Canada,” Hussen said. “And by allowing highly-skilled immigrants to come to Canada and share with us their skills and their talents, we allow them to also help us create more jobs for Canadians, and more prosperity for all of us.”
Among other features, the Global Skills Strategy introduces a two-week processing time standard for certain work permits for foreign workers in high-growth companies and sectors. This is enabled by the Global Talent Stream, introduced on June 12, which establishes a framework for employers to collaborate with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to successfully recruit highly-skilled workers in key occupations, and expedite their arrival in Canada.
Family reunification remains a priority
In addition to emphasizing the need for successful economic integration of immigrants to Canada, the Minister also reiterated his department’s commitment to family reunification.
“As we do these innovative programs, we still have the strong commitment that we have to reuniting families,” Hussen said. “We know that when families are able to reunite and stay together, it improves their integration into Canadian society, their economic outcomes, and their ability to contribute to our communities, and our great country.”
Measures which are already in place include introducing additional points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) for candidates in the Express Entry pool with a sibling in Canada, cutting processing times and simplifying the application process for spousal and common-law partner sponsorship, and doubling the intake cap for parent and grandparent sponsorship applications from 5,000 to 10,000.
Removing obstacles to citizenship
Hussen also touched on Bill C-6, the pending legislation that proposes changes to the Citizenship Act. If enacted, Bill C-6, which is currently awaiting royal assent after being passed by the Canadian Senate on May 3, would reduce the residency requirement for permanent residents, from four out of six years to three out five years. It would also count a portion of the time an applicant spent in Canada on temporary status — such as on a work or study permit — towards this residency requirement. Bill C-6 is the current government’s response to Bill C-24, introduced by the previous Conservative government in 2014.
“C-24 put deliberate barriers and obstacles for permanent residents on their way to citizenship. We believe those barriers were problematic towards permanent residents,” Hussen stated.
“We’re confident that C-6 will receive royal assent in the very near future,” he continued.
Source: Extracted from a Press Statement by Canada Immigration and Citizenship published on 14 June 2017 and CBC