28 February 2013

Canada immigration rates continue to rise

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The federal government's latest reports on the Canadian immigration program were released yesterday and confirmed that the number of people moving to Canada continued to rise for the seventh consecutive year.

Canada visa

The latest Canadian immigration statistics show an increase for the seventh consecutive year.

The Canadian immigration system has undergone significant changes in the past year, changes which have been both welcomed and vilified. The federal government cancelled almost 300,000 Canada visa applications in March last year and closed its Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) to new applications while its processing system was revamped.

However, despite this, figures show 257,515 moved to Canada in 2012, a slight increase from the 248,751 who entered the country in the year before. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney touted the figures as proof of Canada's commitment to its immigration program.

"Canada continued the highest level of immigration in Canadian history," said the minister.

Current rates of Canadian immigration make it one of the most open countries in the world on a per capita basis. While the US welcomed around one million migrants in the same period, this represents just 0.4% of its population; Canada's 257,515 immigrants represent approximately double that.

However, one immigration lawyer claims the credit for Canada's admirable record on immigration should lie with the provincial governments and not at the federal level due to the FSWP's moratorium on new applications and the increase in applications to provincial nominee programs.

"A closer look at these numbers reveals that the big increase is through the Provincial Nominee Programs rather than the Federal Skilled Worker or Sponsorship routes. What this tells us is that the doors are opening provincially but the federal program numbers are in fact decreasing, not increasing," said Michael Niren.

The federal government has set a target of between 240,000 to 265,000 immigrants a year for the immediate future. While the most recent figures appear to be in line with this, Mr Niren says the federal government still have more to do.

"A deeper look at the data reveals that the [federal government] are not keeping up with demand. The provinces should be given the 'golden star' this time around."

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

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