Provincial Nominees Program Visas to be Increased

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) recently announced that it intends to welcome 42,000 to 45,000 persons to Canada under the Provincial Nominees Program (PNP) category in 2012. This number is inclusive of the nominees, their spouses and dependents. In 2010, Canada welcomed 36,000 persons under the PNP. CIC is still accepting applications in this category this year and hopes to see a record increase in 2012.

The announcement was made by Jason Kenney, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister, on Nov 7, 2011. He said, “The Government of Canada recognizes the crucial role the Provincial Nominee Program plays in meeting local labour market needs. The PNP has made great strides in sharing the benefits of economic immigration across the country.”

Minister Kenney said the CIC and the provinces are working on making the process a more balanced one along with the increase in the numbers of immigrants being accepted under this program.

 

Provinvial Nominee Program

                        Overall PNP Admissions (2004-2010)                                             Source: news.gc.ca

The Provincial Nominee Program

Provinces and territories in Canada may nominate persons to come to Canada as Provincial Nominees. Under this program, provinces have an agreement with the Canadian government which allows them to nominate persons to immigrate and settle in that province. Each province has its own nomination procedures. Persons wanting to immigrate to Canada under this program have to apply to the province. If they are approved they will be issued a Certificate of Provincial Nomination. Using this certificate, they have to apply with the CIC for permanent residence.

Except Quebec and Nunavat, all provinces have a Provincial Nominee agreement with the Canadian government. The nominees have to meet the requirements of the Canadian labour market needs and also meet the government’s admissibility requirements.

The provinces currently participating in this program are Alberta, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Yukon and Northwest Territories.

Federal Skilled Worker Program Visas to be Increased in 2012

“The government’s number one priority remains the economy. We recognize the importance of immigration to our labour market and we value the contributions of skilled immigrants who add to our international competitiveness,” said Minister Kenney. “We are committed to facilitating the arrival of the best and the brightest to our country.”

These were the words of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney after he announced on November 03, 2011, that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) was planning to welcome more skilled workers in the year 2012. The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is one of the primary avenues of immigration to Canada. The CIC is planning to increase the number of visas in this category from 47,000–47,400 to 55,000–57,000 in 2012.

An extensive evaluation of the FSWP carried out in 2008 by the CIC, revealed among other things, that there was a continuing need for skilled workers. With the economy being the government’s number one priority, the CIC was working towards bringing in more skilled workers to the country. The contributions of the immigrant community towards Canada’s international competitiveness was also factored in when considering the increase in number of the visas. The CIC is still working on ways in which to improve immigration through the FSWP.

CIC Rollout of Phase I to Expedite Family Reunification

The Canadian Government announced on November 4, 2011 that it is planning on taking immediate action to reduce the backlog and wait times for sponsored parents and grandparents under the Family Class Sponsorship.

It is reported that there are more than 165,000 parent and grandparents are still waiting for a final decisions in regards to their Canadian permanent residency application.  Every year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) receives nearly 38,000 applications for family sponsorship of parents and grandparents. This is a number that is expected to grow annually and therefore a remedy has to be set in place by the CIC in order to avoid future backlogs and waiting times.

Currently the wait times for Family Class Sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents exceeds seven years. To manage the large backlog and wait times the CIC is implementing Phase I of the action plan to expedite Family Reunification.

First – The Canadian Government will increase the number of sponsored parents and grandparents admitted into Canada next year from nearly 15,500 in 2010 to 25,000 in 2012.  This is an increase of over 60 percent – the highest level in nearly two decades.

Second – The Canadian government is introducing the new “Parent and Grandparent Super Visa,” which will be valid for up to 10 years. The multiple-entry visa will allow an applicant to remain in Canada for up to 24 months at a time without the need for renewing one’s status. The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa will go into effect on December 1, 2011, and CIC will be able to issue the visas, on average, within eight weeks of receiving the application. This means that instead of waiting for eight years, a parent or a grandparent can come to Canada within eight weeks. It is important to note that Parent and Grandparent Super Visa applicants will need to obtain private Canadian health-care insurance for their stay in Canada.

Third The Canadian government will consult Canadians on how to redesign the parents and grandparents program to ensure that it is sustainable in the future. The redesigned program must avoid future large backlogs and be sensitive to fiscal constraints.

Fourth – To prevent the build-up of an unmanageable number of new applications during these periods of consulting with the Canadian citizenry and to further reduce the 165,000-strong backlog of parent and grandparent applications, CIC is putting in place a temporary pause of up to 24 months on the acceptance of new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents. The pause comes into effect on November 5, 2011.

The Canadian Government feels this plan provides CIC a more balance approach and indicates that the Government of Canada is committed to enhancing the Family Class Sponsorship processing for parent and grandparents.