News Release — Legislation to Protect Canada's Immigration System Receives Royal Assent

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Ottawa, June 29, 2012 — Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney today welcomed the final passage and Royal Assent of legislation that will protect and improve Canada’s immigration system.

“This legislation will help stop foreign criminals, human smugglers and those with unfounded refugee claims from abusing Canada’s generous immigration system and receiving taxpayer funded health and social benefits,” said Minister Kenney. “Canada’s immigration and refugee system is one of the most fair and generous in the world and will continue to be so under the new and improved system.”

The Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act brings further reforms to the asylum system. These changes will provide faster protection to those who genuinely need it by reducing the time it takes to review and decide a refugee claim. There will be faster removal of those who don’t require protection and limited access to appeal mechanisms for failed refugee claimants who come from generally non-refugee producing countries.

With the Balanced Refugee Reform Act and today’s legislation, the provinces and territories are expected to save in the range of $1.65 billion over five years in social assistance and education costs.

The new measures also address the heinous crime of human smuggling by making it easier to prosecute human smugglers and impose stiffer penalties.

“Human smuggling is one of the most dangerous forms of migration,” said Minister Kenney. “Every year people die in human smuggling operations around the world. These new measures send a clear message to human smugglers that Canada’s generosity will not be abused, that we will enforce our immigration laws against human smugglers.”

Under the new measures, the Minister of Public Safety will be able to designate the arrival of a group of persons into Canada as an irregular arrival, and make those involved subject to the Act’s measures such as detention for individuals aged 16 and older.

These individuals may be released from detention by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada when it conducts detention reviews within 14 days and every six months thereafter, or following acceptance of their refugee claim. Individuals may also be released from detention by the Minister if he/she is satisfied that the reasons for detention no longer exist or that there are exceptional circumstances that warrant release.

The changes also prevent people who come to Canada as part of a designated irregular arrival from applying for permanent resident status for a period of five years. This means that they would be unable to sponsor family members during that time.  

The new measures also require biometric data to be included as part of a temporary resident visa application, work permit, and study permit. Travellers, students and workers from certain visa-required countries and territories will be required to provide their fingerprints and have their photo taken before they arrive in Canada.

“With these changes, the integrity of Canada’s immigration programs and the safety and security of Canadians will be protected,” said Minister Kenney.

Some of these new measures come into effect immediately, while others will come into effect later this year at a date that will be determined by the government. The new biometric measures will come into effect in 2013.

See the Summary of Changes backgrounder for more information on timing.

For more information on this legislation, visit the CIC website.

This news release is available in Tamil.

Backgrounders

Refugee Reforms

Human Smuggling

Biometrics

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Photo of Minister Kenney will be available later today at: www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/photos/high-res/index.asp.

For further information (media only), please contact:

Alexis Pavlich
Minister's Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
613-954-1064

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
613-952-1650
CIC-Media-Relations@cic.gc.ca

Building a stronger Canada: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) strengthens Canada’s economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping ensure Canadian safety and security while managing one of the largest and most generous immigration programs in the world.

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