Canada, with its picturesque landscapes, robust economy, and inclusive society, has long been a magnet for immigrants worldwide. The perpetual change of Canada’s immigration framework remains an open secret. As we near the end of 2023, big immigration changes are coming. Here’s a quick look:
Ministerial Mandate Letter
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may issue a new Ministerial Mandate letter in the coming months. These letters serve as a guiding light for government ministers, wielding substantial influence over the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026
IRCC is legally required to release its Immigration Levels Plan by November 1st. This plan defines targets for permanent resident admissions, including economic, family, and humanitarian streams. While adjustments remain uncertain, Minister Marc Miller has expressed a reluctance to lower immigration levels.
The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) is expected to release an audit by year-end. It will assess IRCC’s efficiency in processing permanent resident applications, aligning with economic, family, and humanitarian goals. Please take note that applications from non-permanent residents fall outside the scope of this provision.
Canada’s Express Entry System
One of Canada’s most vital immigration routes, the Express Entry system, is on the brink of an exciting transformation. The year 2023 witnessed remarkable shifts in the realm of Express Entry. IRCC introduced six new selection categories, shifting the focus away from CRS scores. These categories include strong French language skills and work experience in key sectors. Notably, IRCC is prioritizing candidates with STEM work experience, aiming for 28-31% of Express Entry invitations to go to individuals in STEM fields.
Canada’s Commitment to Family Reunification Programs
Family reunification remains a core principle of Canadian immigration policy. In the future, expect imminent changes to facilitate Canadian citizens and permanent residents in reuniting with family. IRCC annually invites parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and residents for family sponsorship.
Recent years saw a lottery system in 2022, clearing a backlog. The plan aims for 28,500 PGP admissions in 2023, rising to 36,000 by 2025. Details for PGP 2023 are yet to be revealed.
International Student Program (ISP) Highlights
Canada aims to welcome 900,000 international students this year. IRCC and Global Affairs Canada are reviewing the ISP to enhance it. A Trusted Institutions Framework, with a two-tier model for study permit issuance, is in development. This may speed up permit processing for eligible Designated Learning Institutions.
Expect more details in the fall regarding the framework and additional measures to strengthen the ISP’s integrity. Plus, keep an eye out for updates on the policy allowing certain students to work full-time, which expires on December 31. IRCC will reevaluate and decide on the next steps.
Canada’s Tech Scene
The technology sector in Canada continues to flourish, and the demand for tech talent remains insatiable. IRCC’s Tech Talent Strategy, announced on June 27, aims to boost Canada’s tech workforce. Key features include an Innovation Stream for foreign worker hiring without LMIA, employer-specific work permits for up to five years, open work permits for high-demand jobs, and plans for digital nomads to work in Canada.
In brief, these immigration updates signify Canada’s commitment to staying at the forefront of global immigration trends. Whether you’re considering Express Entry, family sponsorship, international studies, or tech careers, Canada’s evolving policies promise new opportunities for a brighter future.