Canadian Immigration: Immigration Minister John McCallum says up to 305,000 new permanent residents could be admitted to Canada this year under the Liberal plan.
TORONTO – Up to 305,000 new permanent residents could be admitted to Canada this year under the Liberal government’s 2016 immigration plan.
Immigration Minister John McCallum says it’s the highest number of projected admissions in decades, reported Canadian Press.
Economic immigrants will continue to make up the majority of newcomers, but the overall numbers of those will be down from previous years.
That’s in part because the Liberals are significantly increasing spaces available for family reunification programs and refugees.
Each November, the government is required to table a document laying out how many new permanent residents it intends to accept in the coming year.
The Liberal government has shifted focus to family reunification and the settlement of refugees, McCallum said.
“This plan sends a message about the importance of family,” McCallum said in Brampton, Ont., on Tuesday.
“It outlines a significant shift in immigration policy towards reuniting more families, building our economy and upholding Canada’s humanitarian traditions to resettle refugees and offer protection to those in need.”
McCallum said Canada will admit between 280,000 and 305,000 new permanent residents in 2016, a record increase from the 260,000 to 285,000 newcomers the previous Conservative government had planned to welcome by the end of 2015, reported CBC News.
The Liberal plan will see Canada admit:
*151,200 to 162,400 caregivers, provincial nominees, and other skilled workers under the economic stream.
*75,000 to 82,000 spouses, partners, children, parents and grandparents of Canadians under the family reunification plan.
*51,000 to 57,000 refugees, protected persons and others admitted for humanitarian reasons.
The Liberal plan also includes admitting 18,000 privately sponsored refugees, “three times more than in earlier years,” McCallum said.
The government has resettled some 25,000 Syrians, a mix of government-assisted and privately sponsored refugees, in four months. The Liberals have also pledged to resettle another 10,000 government-assisted Syrian refugees by the end of 2016.
McCallum said the government will review some of the conditions imposed on Canadians looking to sponsor their children and spouses living overseas, making family reunification a priority.
“The government of Canada will make family reunification an important priority because when families are able to stay together, their integration to Canada and ability to work and grow their communities all improve,” McCallum said in a much-anticipated report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.
“We will work to restore the maximum age for dependants to 22 from 19 and re-examine the two-year conditional permanent residence provision for sponsored spouses.”
In its annual report to Parliament, the Liberal government is also pledging to:
*Eliminate the $1,000 labour market impact assessment (LMIA) fee for families looking to hire caregivers for family members with physical and mental disabilities. An LMIA is a document employers must file to prove the need to hire a foreign worker over a Canadian one.
*Review the express entry system launched in January 2015 “to provide more opportunities” for applicants who have Canadian siblings.
*”Expand and monitor the use of biometrics” to verify the identity of all temporary and permanent residents who need a visa or permit to enter Canada.
Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel denounced the government’s decision to admit fewer economic immigrants.
“These cuts to economic immigration come at a time when our workforce is aging, our economy is slowing, and refugees are waiting for months to have long-term affordable housing,” Rempel said during question period,
While the Liberals have doubled the cap to 10,000 parent and grandparent sponsorship applications, they hope to issue up to 20,000 visas — a target that remains unchanged from last year.
NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan said she is “disappointed” to see the level for parents and grandparents sponsorship stay the same as it was under the Conservatives.
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