New system will reduce wait-times for family reunification, says Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum
International students pursuing post-secondary education in Canada are being short-changed by unfriendly policies and laws that make it difficult for them to become Canadian citizens, said Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum.
An announcement in the fall will change that scenario, the minister promised.
McCallum, who appeared in Brampton on Thursday for an immigration town hall hosted by Brampton West MP Kamal Khera also hinted at the possibility of other reforms including: an increase to the number of immigrants Canada will admit in the coming years, quicker processing of applications for family reunification program and increase in funding for resettlement programs.
“International students are not treated well in the current system,” McCallum said. “International students are among the most promising group of immigrants–they are young, can speak English or French and know about Canada. So, we’re going to give them more points under express entry and make it easier for them to become permanent residents.”
In a previous town hall meeting in Brampton, McCallum told media, the Liberals plan on admitting up to 305,000 newcomers in 2016, as opposed to the 285,000 the Conservative had earmarked for 2015.
Also, the current government hopes to issue up to 20,000 visas in the parent and grandparent sponsorship applications category.
“The single-most important commitment we made in the election campaign was to substantially reduce the processing time for the families,” the minister said. “We’re working right now to reduce the inventory of people waiting. We will be announcing a new system in the fall which will substantially reduce the processing time for family unification.”
Asked whether the government planned to do anything to create incentives and job opportunities for new immigrants to settle in other provinces and places instead of a few select cities, the minister said the government has been working with communities and companies across Canada to ensure they are immigrant-friendly.
In Atlantic Canada, the Liberal government has been working to introduce a system that would speed-up the accreditation process of foreign degrees, he said.
“Canada was built by immigrants and immigrants will continue to build the country, especially now since we have an aging population,” he said. “I have had consultations across the country throughout the summer and just about everywhere I go, including Alberta, people are saying, at least in the medium term, we need more immigrants.”