Canada is a country of immigrants. Save the First Nations, we, or our ancestors, came from somewhere else. There are legions of stories of someone arriving in Canada, with a few dollars in their pocket – they found a job, worked hard, saved their money and finally were able to bring their families – wives, children, parents and grandparents – to share in the bounty of Canada. Their stories are the very foundation upon which our society has been built.
In a January release, the Conservative Party of Canada stated that the Conservative Government was solving the immigration problems created by the former Liberal Government.
Kevin Lamoureux, Liberal Critic for Citizenship and Immigration, and the Honourable Jim Karygiannis, Liberal Critic for Multiculturalism, believe it is time to set the record straight. They will be discussing the following issues at an Immigration Town Hall Meeting this evening (March 16, 2012), at Falconridge/Castleridge Community Association, 95 Falshire Drive NE, Calgary from 6:00pm-9:00pm.
Temporary Resident Visas
In 2006, in order to have a Temporary Resident Visa application approved, the applicant was required to attend an “in person” interview. Today, “in person” interviews are rarely required. While the approval rate for Temporary Resident Visas has remained the same at 82%, it is taking longer for an application to be approved. In 2006, 62% of the applications were approved in within two days. In the last twelve months, the approval rate within two days has fallen to 39%. The Conservative Government only catches up to the approval rate of the Liberal Government when the sixty-three day mark has been reached.
Canadian post-secondary institutions are working hard to attract foreign students. In 2006, after fourteen days, the Liberal Government had approved 56% of the applications. In 2010, for the same time frame, the Conservative Government approved 50% of the applications and, again, only catches up to the Liberal Government when the sixty-three day mark has been reached.
Temporary Work Permits
The approval rates in 2006 and in 2010 are within one or two percentage points throughout the approval process.
Immigrant Investor Program
To deal with a backlog, the Conservative Government capped the Immigrant Investor Program at 700 applications per year on July 1, 2011. The Conservative Government is not accepting any new applications under the Immigrant Investor Program. The Conservative Government has not indicated when, or if, it will accept new applications under the Immigrant Investor Program.
Skilled Worker Program
In 2004, under the Liberal Government, the processing time for a Skilled Worker application was forty-three months. In February 2009, under the Conservative Government the processing time for Skilled Worker applications had risen to sixty-eight months.
In order to deal with the backlog, the Conservative Government introduced twenty-nine eligible occupations to the Skilled Worker Program in June 2010 and on July 1, 2011, set a limit of a maximum of 10,000 applications to be processed in the following twelve months. The Conservative Government is not accepting any new applications under the Skilled Worker Program.
The Conservative Government is allowing the provinces and territories to “cherry-pick” applications from the Skilled Worker Program instead of dealing with the applications on a first come, first serve basis.
Family Class Sponsorship (Parents and Grandparents)
On November 5, 2011, the Conservative Government announced that effective November 5, 2011, it was “putting in place a temporary pause of up to 24 months on the acceptance of new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents.” This ‘temporary pause’ was to “prevent the build-up of an unmanageable number of new applications during these consultations and to further reduce the 165,000-strong backlog of parent and grandparent applicants”.
In order to allow parents and grandparents to visit Canada, the Conservative Government introduced the “Parent and Grandparent Super Visa”. Unfortunately, the financial commitments required to obtain a ‘Super Visa’ are prohibitive for most new Canadians.
While working on the backlog, by not accepting new applications, the Conservative Government is creating a situation where, once the moratorium is lifted an instant backlog will be created.