03 November 2011

Despite tough talk, Canada keeps immigration intake high

The level of immigration intake to Canada will remain at the current level, despite the Conservative Government's pledge to introduce stricter rules for family migration, humanitarian visas and citizenship criteria.

Canadian immigration

Canada will keep its migration intake at the current level of 250,000.

The 1 million people on the waitlist for a Canada visa will face an equal chance of being granted entry in 2012. 

Canadian immigration minister Jason Kenney this week indicated the number of immigrants accepted into Canada will remain at 250,000, as stipulated in the soon-to-be-released Immigration Action Plan 2012.

"In our immigration plan for 2012 you’ll see our intention to maintain high levels of immigration to Canada,” Minister Kenney told an Institute of Canadian Citizenship function.

"I don’t think we can increase it very much because the economy is a little unstable. We don’t want to bring immigrants to Canada who [will subsequently] face unemployment.

"On the other hand, we do need immigrants to fill jobs in the economy now. So I suspect that our overall level of immigration stay about the same — over a quarter of a million a year."

Mr Kenney's pledge to maintain the current immigration intake, follows a series of measures announced this month which have created a perception of this Conservative Government as tough on immigration.

Several weeks ago, Mr Kenney flagged his intention to introduce stricter language-testing criteria for Canadian citizenship.

"I have met too many citizens that don't speak English or French," he said.

"Under this new system that's not going to happen any longer".

The Government has also expressed concern over the number of asylum applications it is receiving from Eastern European nationals of Roma descent, indicating it may reduce its humanitarian intake.

Furthermore, Kenney has unveiled a plan to provide stricter rules for the provision of family and spouse visas, following in the footsteps of the UK Government earlier this year.

Just last week, Kenney also told the Canadian news media that his department may have to consider accepting fewer visa applications to deal with the substantial backlog of demand.

The release of the Immigration Action Plan is expected over coming weeks.

The Canadian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people make their application to the Canadian Embassy.

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