Government launches new immigration programs and backs them in Budget-2021

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Yuri Bilinsky, New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

Over the past two weeks, the Liberal government launched several new immigration programs and backed them up in the Budget-2021.

On April 14, Canada’s immigration minister, Marco Mendicino, announced new programs which offer six new pathways to permanent residency for essential workers, international student graduates and French speakers. These programs will pave the way for 90,000 new immigrants to get permanent status this year. The other three streams for French-speaking immigrants will have no intake cap.

The new programs will be for temporary workers employed in hospitals and long-term care homes, and those on the frontlines of other essential sectors, as well as international student graduates from Canadian educational institutions.

As of May 6, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will begin accepting applications under the following three streams:

  • 20,000 applications for temporary workers in health care
  • 30,000 applications for temporary workers in other selected essential occupations
  • 40,000 applications for international students who graduated from a Canadian educational institution

These individuals will be able to begin to apply for permanent residence beginning on May 6. The streams will remain open until November 5, 2021, or until they have reached their limit.

These new public policies apply to workers in 40 healthcare occupations, as well as 95 other essential jobs across a range of fields, like caregiving and food production and distribution.

To be eligible, workers need at least one year of Canadian work experience in a healthcare profession or another pre-approved essential occupation. International graduates must have completed an eligible Canadian post-secondary program within the last four years, and no earlier than January 2017.

Graduates and workers must have proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages; meet general admissibility requirements; and be present, authorized to work and working in Canada at the time of their application to qualify. They also must be residing in any Canadian province other than Quebec.

“These new policies will help those with a temporary status to plan their future in Canada, play a key role in our economic recovery and help us build back better,” Mendicino said in a media release. “Our message to them is simple: your status may be temporary, but your contributions are lasting—and we want you to stay.”

On April 15, Minister Mendicino announced plans to accelerate caregiver application processing. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to application processing at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Many caregivers working in Canada are waiting to be reunited with their families. To address this backlog, IRCC will

  • finalize permanent residence applications for up to 6,000 caregivers who have completed their in-Canada work experience and their immediate family members, by December 31, 2021
  • make at least 1,500 first-stage decisions on applications for the Home Child Care Provider and Home Support Worker pilots by June 30, 2021

IRCC promises to ensure that applicants receive acknowledgement of receipt letters by May 31, 2021.

The Home Child Care Provider and Home Support Worker pilots were launched in 2019. They feature a transition for caregivers from temporary to permanent status, as well as occupation-specific, rather than employer-specific, work permits. They also provide the opportunity for caregivers and their families to move to Canada as they gain work experience.

In his press release, Minister Mendicino said: “The pandemic disrupted people’s lives in Canada and around the world, and Canada’s immigration processes were no exception. Immigrant caregivers, who take care of our families and elders, are often separated from their own families, and the pandemic has significantly slowed down permanent residence application processing, keeping them apart from their families longer than we would have hoped. With today’s announcement, we’re getting caregiver immigration back on track, which will help reunite front-line heroes with their loved ones.”

The federal Budget-2021, tabled on April 19, outlines several immigration priorities.
The Budget references the new immigration programs announced by Minister Mendicino on April 14 which provide accelerated pathways to permanent residence to essential workers and international graduates.

The Liberal government also plans to invest $430 million to modernize its IT infrastructure. The investment will be made to replace the Global Case Management System used to manage immigration applications. This would allow the federal government to respond to higher levels of foreign national arrivals in the future, improve IT security and application processing times.

The Budget indicates plans to reform the Express Entry program, which is the main vehicle for Canada to select economic class immigrants. The government would like to give the immigration minister more authority to “select those candidates who best meet Canada’s labour market needs”.

So far in 2021, IRCC has invited 49,390 Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence, nearly double what it was at the same time last year. Canada is ramping up its Express Entry intake in order to meet its 2021 immigration targets.

Since the start of 2021, IRCC has held 12 Express Entry draws. On April 14, 266 Express Entry candidates were invited to apply for permanent residence. In order to be invited in this draw, candidates needed a score of 753.

The Budget-2021 calls for $110 million in additional spending over the next three years on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). The spending will go towards providing information and support to vulnerable foreign workers, increased inspections of employers to ensure they are treating foreign workers well, and improving service delivery to vulnerable workers so they can obtain open work permits if they have been abused by their previous employers in Canada.

The Budget-2021 allocates funds to support racialized newcomer women who sometimes face barriers to employment in Canada due to factors such as developing English or French skills, lack of Canadian experience, lack of affordable child care, and discrimination. The Budget proposes an additional $15 million in spending over the next two years to build on existing initiatives aimed at helping to improve the employment outcomes and career advancement of newcomer women.

Over the next three years, Canada is aiming to accept about 1.2 million new immigrants. In 2021, the federal government plans that the country will get 401,000 newcomers. The coronavirus-related travel restrictions, which are still in effect, so far have hindered many from immigrating to Canada.

With files from cicnews.com