With Liberals led by incumbent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heading for a second term, the immigration scenario of Canada is likely to remain upbeat. Canada’s immigration policy was a major topic of discussion in the elections, with Liberals and Conservatives, the major contenders in the elections, expressing their views on how Canada must shape its immigration system. The Conservatives have often vehemently opposed the some of the immigration policies of the Liberal government. However, both the parties agreed on the fact that immigration is crucial for the development of the Canadian society and the growth of Canadian economy. It means, irrespective of which party came to power, Canada would have retained its immigrant-friendly policy.
With Liberals coming to power again, it has become obvious that the immigration policy of Canada will remain almost the same in the next four years too. Now let’s explore in details how the policies and promises of the Liberal Party are going to shape the future of Canada immigration.
The Liberal government, in its second term, would be going ahead with the existing Multi-year Immigration Plan of Canada. As per the Plan, Canada would be admitting more than one million permanent residents between 2019 and 2021.
As per the future immigration plans of the Liberals, the immigration levels would be hiked even further. An advisory body of the Liberals government has floated a proposal to raise the number of permanent residents admitted to the country annually to 450,000. The plan aims to address the labour shortages that will be emerging as a result of a great number of Canadian workers in the baby boomer generation approaching the retirement age. The proposed annual immigration target is way too higher than the number of immigrants set to be admitted in 2019, which is 330000.
However, the higher immigration target would not be implemented straight away. The Liberals plan to “move forward with modest and responsible increases to immigration.” The Liberals have also promised to spend $100 million in skills training for workers. Another promise of the Liberal Party is that they will make the citizenship applications free.
During their previous tenure, the Liberal Government has successfully implemented a few regional immigration programs that allow certain regional areas of Canada to select candidates on the basis of their unique needs. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot are both good examples for this. Further, they have proposed the introduction of the Municipal Nominee Program(MNP). Under the Program, local communities, chambers of commerce and local labour councils would be able to directly sponsor permanent immigrants. The MNP aims to grant local municipalities more control over immigration to their areas, and thus help Canadian towns and cities to select prospective immigrants who match with their needs.
As far as the Express Entry system is concerned, Liberals focuses on admitting candidates with long-term prospects in Canada, selected on the basis of human capital factors such as language ability, Canada education, family connections to the country etc. According to a recent Express Entry report, in 2018, more candidates got bonus points for having a sibling in Canada than for a job offer.
At the same time, Conservative view is admitting through Express Entry those who can fill the vacant jobs right now, or those who already have a job offer.
According to immigration experts, we cannot expect any major changes in the Express Entry system with the Liberals coming to power. However, certain changes to the points system are expected.
During the previous tenure of the Liberals, the number of candidates invited through Express Entry has gone up, which will continue. It will result in CRS cut-off score coming down in the upcoming Express Entry draws.
Before the Liberals came to power, the spouses of Canadian permanent residents/citizens had to wait as long as 24 months to join their partners in Canada. It used to take almost two years to complete the processing of spousal and common-law partnership applications. However, Liberals successfully brought down this time period to 12 months or less. It was a promise they had made in their previous elections.
As the Liberals are coming to power again, it is likely that the current processing times of family visa would decrease further. The Liberals are also likely to introduce certain changes to the Parents and Grandparents Program. The online system of submitting the application had invited much criticism and so, when the Parents and Grandparents Program reopens in the coming winter, it is highly likely that the Government would bring necessary changes to the invitation-application process of the Program, making it fairer and user-friendly.
With the Liberals coming to power again, temporary foreign workers in Canada would be able to change job in Canada without requiring a new work permit. The government would take steps to shift away from employer-specific work permits to occupation-specific work permits. As a result, temporary workers would no longer be bound to a single employer. They will have more freedom to find another job within Canada, as long as it is in the same occupation.
In the previous term, Liberals introduced the Student Direct Stream (SDS) that made expedited study permit processing possible for students from major source countries of international students in Canada, which are India, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Morocco, and Senegal. Currently, the total number of students in Canada from all these countries would come to around one million. This number is likely to rise further. Liberal policy towards international students have always been favourable, and the Liberal government has given them more leeway on how and when they may apply for a post-graduation work permit and extra Comprehensive Ranking System(CRS) score points when they apply for PR through Express Entry. In the second tenure of Liberals, we may expect more pathways for Canada PR for international students as well as the expansion of the SDS program by including more source countries.
As the Liberals will be forming a minority government this time, other parties will have a stronger say in the Parliament when it comes to immigration policies. The Liberals will now have to rely on the New Democratic Party (NDP) in order to pass new legislations. When it comes to immigration, NDP stresses on family reunification and bringing down the processing time of family visas. However, it is highly unlikely that they take a stand against the major immigration policies of the Liberal Government.
To conclude, it is clear than Canada will continue with its favourable policy towards immigration. So if you are contemplating Canada migration, you can go ahead with your plans confidently, as your chance of Canada PR continues to remain positive. As a first step, you may fill our free eligibility assessment form. For any queries and assistance with regard to Canada immigration, you may contact our expert immigration consultants who are always ready to help you!