December 16, 2021
By Hugo O'Doherty
Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has officially asked newly-appointed Immigration Minister Sean Fraser to “expand pathways to permanent residence for international students and temporary foreign workers through the Express Entry system.”
The new Immigration Minister’s marching orders were outlined in a Ministerial mandate letter issued December 16.
Express Entry has already been tweaked in favour of candidates already in Canada on temporary status — for example, candidates who studied in Canada receive bonus points.
Now, we can expect further moves to entrench two-step immigration to Canada, whereby people first move to Canada as international students or on a temporary work permit before leveraging their Canadian work experience and transitioning to permanent residence. How these mooted changes actually take shape remains to be seen.
Find the best immigration program for your family
Get immigration help you can trust
The letter also contains other to-dos for Fraser, who was appointed in October.
Fraser has been asked to reduce application processing times, including to address delays that have been impacted by COVID-19. A recent report showed that Express Entry processing times swelled to an average nine months in 2020, well outside the target six-month limit (if processing times grow much more, Express Entry may begin to sound ironic in name). Processing times for some other Canadian immigration systems and programs are measured in years, rather than months.
The Prime Minister wants to bring processing times down — it’s now the Immigration Minister’s job to figure out how to do just that. The Government recently allocated $85 million to help deal with a backlog of more than 1.8 million applications in progress, but critics worry that this may not adequately deal with the underlying issues.
The PM has also asked Fraser to “strengthen family reunification by introducing electronic applications for family reunification and implementing a program to issue temporary resident status to spouses and children abroad while they wait for the processing of their permanent residency application.”
Some sort of temporary status for sponsorees-in-waiting like this would go a long way to alleviating practical and emotional hurdles caused by separations in family units while a permanent residence application is in process.
Fraser has also been asked to make Canadian citizenship applications free, a priority initially outlined in 2019 but that has never been actioned. The current fee for an adult is $630.
Another rollover from 2019 is the Municipal Nominee Program. The proposed MNP would allow municipalities to nominate prospective new residents, in much the same way that provinces are able to.
Other priorities include the establishment of a trusted employer system for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, simplifying the process for companies that hire foreign workers repeatedly.
The target for resettling Afghan refugees has been doubled to at least 40,000, with a focus on settling Afghans who supported Canada and its allies over the past two decades, women, LGBTQ2 people, human rights defenders, journalists, and members of religious and ethnic minorities.
These and other priorities are elaborated upon in the Ministerial mandate letter.
Get personalized immigration help — for free!
December 16, 2021
By Hugo O'Doherty
New immigration pathway to help refugees work in Canada
Express Entry Draw – Latest Figures
Latest IEC Working Holiday Canada News
PNP Canada Live Tracker: which PNPs are open?
Canada Abroad is a transparent Canadian immigration consultancy with advice you can trust. Led by Deanne Acres-Lans (RCIC #508363), the team delivers professional, regulated, and efficient service.
Doherty Fultz Immigration
Led by Anthony Doherty (RCIC #510956) and Cassandra Fultz (#514356), the Doherty Fultz team uses their 40+ years of experience to empower you towards settling in Canada.
Perez McKenzie Immigration
Led by Jenny Perez (RCIC #423103), Perez McKenzie Immigration is a Canadian immigration consultancy based in British Columbia, with offices in Vancouver and Whistler.
Get your immigration questions answered by an expert
Find the best immigration program for you
Take our free immigration quiz and we'll tell you the best immigration programs for you!
Get matched to job opportunities
Get matched to job opportunities from Canadian employers who are seeking to hire people with your skills.
Access our immigration roadmaps
Our immigration roadmaps will teach you the basics of Express Entry, study permits, and more! Take control of your own immigration process.