Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has laid down the new mandate letters he has submitted in the cabinet on December 16th 2021. The mandate letter is the most important policy document that guides Canada’s immigration system. Canada’s new immigration minister, Sean Fraser, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will be tasked with implementing the agenda Trudeau outlined.
The mandate will not only impact federal immigration policies but provincial ones as well, given that the federal government plays the lead role in managing the country’s immigration system.
Trudeau’s Liberal party was re-elected for a third consecutive term in September. Since assuming power in 2015, they have pursued a policy of aggressively higher immigration levels. This has entailed increasing immigration from some 300,000 arrivals per year to a current target of over 400,000 per year
The mandate letter defines key issues cover varied objectives, from increasing the immigration quota for refugees to addressing delays in the system due to Covid-19. Strengthening of Canada’s economy remains the primary goal of Trudeau by keeping immigration policies in line.
In the letter of mandate issued on 16th Dec 2021, Trudeau has outlined some major measures that the immigration department is meant to focus on.
Highlights: New immigration system priorities: –
- Bring new comers: Trudeau has insisted to get more freshers into Canada to drive economic growth and recovery, as set out in the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan.
- Human rights defenders: Expand the new immigration stream for human rights defenders and work with civil society groups to provide resettlement opportunities for people under threat.
- Application processing: Trudeau calls on Fraser to “Reduce application processing times, including to address delays that have been impacted by COVID-19.”
- Express Entry: Create more permanent residence pathways via Express Entry for international students and temporary foreign workers.
- Family reunification: Introduce electronic applications for family reunification and implementing a program to provide temporary residence to spouses and children abroad while they await the processing of their permanent residence applications.
- Create a new Municipal Nominee Program: The purpose of the MNP is to help promote a broader distribution of immigration across Canada. It was initially outlined as a priority following the 2019 election but has been delayed due to the pandemic. In addition, Fraser is to also ensure immigration better supports small- and medium-sized communities.
- Waiving Canadian citizenship application fees: This was also identified by Trudeau as a priority following the 2019 election but has been another deliverable delayed by the pandemic.
- Establish a Trusted Employer system: Fraser is being asked to work with the other ministers to establish a Trusted Employer system for Canadian companies hiring temporary foreign workers. In addition, he is being asked to improve the Global Talent Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) by simplifying work permit renewals, upholding the two-week processing standard, and establishing an employer hotline.
- Undocumented workers: Build on existing pilot programs to identify how to regularize status for undocumented workers in Canada.
- Francophone immigration: Continue to work with Quebec to support French-language knowledge of immigrants in Quebec and also continue to promote the national Francophone immigration strategy.
- Afghan refugees: Fulfil Canada’s goal to resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees.
- Better immigration system: Ensure that immigration better supports small- and medium-size communities that require additional immigrants to enhance their economic growth and social vibrancy. This will include expanding the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, moving forward on the Municipal Nominee Program and making the successful Atlantic Immigration Pilot a permanent program.
- Third country agreement : Lead the government’s work on irregular migration, including continued work with the United States to modernise the Safe Third Country Agreement.
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