Canada released its annual budget for 2023 which sets the tone for expenditure in the upcoming fiscal year, affecting all aspects of life for Canadians and newcomers alike. The budget outlines Canada’s plans for spending and the government’s priorities. It also signifies the country’s fiscal and economic health, which plays a major role in Canada’s immigration strategy. The latest budget emphasizes healthcare, clean energy, and affordability measures for Canadians feeling the pressure from increased inflation. Here, we will highlight how budget 2023 impacts Canadian immigration, how it is allocated, and the federal government’s priorities.
Budget 2023 and Immigration Strategy Axis
The Canadian budget impacts the country’s immigration strategy, which is essential for newcomers. The latest budget has allocated additional funding to support current immigration programs and streamline application processing. It contains an additional $55 million in spending towards the immigration system. This is an additional $4.5 billion in spending, IRCC plans for the 2023-24 fiscal year.
The budget recommends offering $10 million over the span of five years, starting this year, with $14.6 million in remaining amortization for IRCC and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to implement biometrics. This will help expedite the processing of citizenship applications.
This budget also suggests expanding eligibility for the Electronic Travel Authorization program to travelers from low-risk countries. The government mentions that the measure will cost $50.8 million over four years. The federal government aspires that this will make Canada a go-to destination for travelers.
Budget 2023 also involves policies that will impact both Canadian and newcomers such as a national dental care plan for families with income lower than $90,000 annually and the creation of a tax-free home savings account.
Starting April 1, financial institutions will be able to provide these accounts to offer first-time homebuyers an opportunity to save up to $40,000 by funding up to $8,000 a year. Additionally, the government also committed $171.4 million over three years to support Ukrainians. CUAET participants who are already in Canada have until March 31, 2024, to travel to Canada to extend or adjust their temporary status with no fees.
The federal government proposes $123.2 million to expand the French language in communities outside of Quebec. This will boost Francophone immigration in Canada and will also help Canadian employers to recruit French-speaking workers.
Immigration Announcements in Budget 2023
Canada’s budget also signals the upcoming legislative updates. For instance, the 2022 budget supported the further improvement of the Express Entry system by offering the Minister of Immigration with expanded authority to utilize Ministerial Instructions to help select applicants who best meet Canada’s labour market needs. These changes are expected to take place in Q2.