ARCHIVED – Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, 2010

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SECTION 1
Making Immigration Work for Canada

Throughout Canada’s history, immigrants have played a pivotal role in shaping its social, cultural and economic development. Canada is among the world’s major immigrant-receiving countries, welcoming approximately 250,000 permanent residents and over 200,000 temporary foreign workers and international students on an annual basis. Canada is also an international leader in migration management and respected for its long-standing commitment to protecting refugees and persons in need of humanitarian assistance.

Immigration is essential to Canada’s economic development and plays a significant role in shaping Canadian society. CIC’s challenge is to manage this movement of people while balancing economic, social and cultural development goals, and also protecting the health, safety and security of Canadians. In the face of considerable volumes of applicants in both the temporary and permanent immigration streams, CIC continues to explore strategies to manage the multiple priorities and goals of the immigration program and ensure Canada remains a destination of choice for talent, innovation, investment and opportunity.

The Action Plan for Faster Immigration [note 2] was introduced in the fall of 2008 and has resulted in significant progress toward the achievement of the Government of Canada’s immigration goals. Changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in February 2008 allow CIC to return unprocessed applications that are not aligned with Government of Canada objectives. Previously, CIC was obligated to process all applications, resulting in a federal skilled worker backlog of 640,000 people at its peak. The Ministerial Instructions issued in November 2008 [note 3] focus the processing of new federal skilled worker applications on the applicant’s ability to work in Canada, either because of arranged employment or prior experience in Canada as a student or temporary foreign worker, or based on skill and experience in one of the in-demand occupations. As a result of these changes, as of March 31, 2010, CIC has reduced the pre-February 27, 2008, backlog of federal skilled worker applications by over 40 percent, to 374,827, and issued more than 27,000 visas for new applications received after that date. The total federal skilled worker inventory, which includes those applications received both before and after February 27, 2008, has been reduced by 16 percent. However, rising volumes of new federal skilled worker applications prompted an exploration of options to update the Ministerial Instructions to ensure sustained progress on the Action Plan for Faster Immigration. Discussions with provinces and territories, as well as consultations with key stakeholders and the public, were instrumental to the development of the second set of Ministerial Instructions, published in the Canada Gazette on June 26, 2010. [note 4]

CIC continued to consider requests for humanitarian and compassionate considerations. In addition, a public policy was developed to support special immigration measures to facilitate immigration to Canada for certain local staff supporting the Canadian military mission in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Following the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti,CIC introduced special immigration measures [note 5] for those directly and significantly affected. CIC reunited families affected by the earthquake through early admissions and priority processing measures, and successfully united more than 200 children in the adoption process with their adoptive parents in Canada. These efforts to unite persons in situations of distress with their family members in Canada are part of the humanitarian tradition that CIC upholds.

In addition to the Department’s operational efforts, CIC plays a lead role in advancing Government of Canada positions and activities related to the emerging global conversation on international migration policy. The Department works with representatives of foreign governments and international stakeholders in presenting and promoting Canadian positions on migration issues. This involves direct participation in, or support for, roughly 80 international migration related events each year. Of particular note in this regard is the recently created Global Forum on Migration and Development, which represents a new global level of discussion on migration issues.

CIC continued to work with a range of partners on key issues related to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. CIC and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, in consultation with the Canada Border Services Agency, prepared a package of regulatory amendments [note 6] to establish authorities to help improve worker protection and ensure employer compliance with program requirements. Subsequent regulatory amendments to the Live-in Caregiver Program [note 7] further improved protection for these temporary foreign workers.

While maintaining historically high levels of immigration, CIC contributes to protecting the health, safety and security of Canadians by establishing admissibility policies and screening foreign nationals for permanent and temporary residency.

In 2009, the Department, in collaboration with the Canada Border Services Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, advanced work on sharing biometric information under an international information-sharing framework known as the Five Country Conference. Based on a series of memoranda of understanding with the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, Canada can share approximately 3,000 fingerprint records per year for matching against the immigration fingerprint holdings of these other countries (the fifth country, New Zealand, is not yet participating in data sharing). The initial results show that 43 percent of shared Canadian fingerprint records have a matching record with the immigration and refugee databases in the United States. In 2010, Canada and the United States have been seeking authority to process more cases, given the high client match rate experienced to date.

Canada continues to maintain one of the world’s largest refugee resettlement programs, reflecting Canadians’ long-standing humanitarian tradition of offering protection to the displaced and persecuted. Canada has played a leading role in bringing international attention to, and advancing the international discussion on, protracted refugee situations—situations of displacement for long periods of time with no prospect of solution. In 2009, Canada worked very closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and with other states to draft the High Commissioner’s Executive Committee Conclusion on Protracted Refugee Situations. [note 8] Canada worked closely with other resettlement countries to bring about a lasting solution to over 100,000 Bhutanese refugees who have been living in camps in Nepal for almost 20 years. Close to a thousand Bhutanese were resettled in 2009 as part of Canada’s multi-year commitment to bring 5,000 Bhutanese refugees to Canada. In response to ongoing domestic and international appeals for additional resettlement support to Iraqi refugees, the Department committed to increasing the number of resettlement spaces available for this population. In 2009, Canada resettled over 4,000 Iraqi refugees. The private sponsorship community is a vital partner for this and other resettlement initiatives.

As well, the Department continued to work with partners to ensure that its asylum program is being delivered efficiently and effectively, while developing policy and program options to streamline the current asylum system.

Canada’s Immigration Plan for 2011

The immigration levels plan for 2011 reflects Canada’s long-term vision for immigration and recognizes the importance of immigration to Canada’s economic growth and prosperity. In addition, the plan fulfils the objectives of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to reunite families and reflects Canada’s increased international commitments and humanitarian obligations.

This year’s plan indicates the number of skilled immigrants being selected (principal applicants) and the estimated number of spouses and dependants they would bring. Federal economic categories (Federal Skilled Worker, Business Class, Canadian Experience Class and Live-in Caregiver) have been combined to create greater flexibility for CIC’s application processing network. This added flexibility will allow the network to shift resources from one category to another to respond to changing operational pressures. Additionally, because provinces and territories are increasingly involved with the selection of economic immigrants, this year’s plan identifies economic immigrants according to the government responsible for their selection or nomination: the Government of Canada or provinces and territories.

The levels plan reflects growing commitments in the economic, social and humanitarian streams. In particular, the admissions range for federal economic immigration has been reduced to permit further growth in the Provincial Nominee Program. CIC has made progress to date on key commitments in the Federal Skilled Worker category, and is seeing modest growth in the Canadian Experience Class, which is expected to continue in 2011. In the Family Class, spouses, partners and children admissions are expected to return to historical levels in 2011 while admissions in the parents and grandparents category are expected to remain stable. The levels plan incorporates the first year of a three-year plan to increase the number of refugees settled in Canada, announced with the introduction of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act. Also, following recent appointments at the Immigration and Refugee Board, resulting in more cases being processed, the range for protected persons in-Canada and their dependants abroad has been increased. As a result, Canada’s total planning range for the Protected Persons Class is higher than last year.

Table 1: Immigration Levels Plan 2011

Immigrant Category 2011 Plan Target Ranges
  Low High
ECONOMIC CLASS
Federally Selected Economic Class* 74,000 80,400
Principal Applicants† 33,200 36,600
Spouses and Dependants† 40,800 43,800
Provincially Selected Economic Class* 76,600 80,900
Principal Applicants† 31,900 33,800
Spouses and Dependants† 44,700 47,100
Provincial Nominee Program 42,000 45,000
Principal Applicants† 17,500 18,800
Spouses and Dependants† 24,500 26,200
Quebec-selected Skilled Workers and Business 34,600 35,900
Principal Applicants† 14,400 15,000
Spouses and Dependants† 20,200 20,900
Subtotal Economic Class—Principal Applicants 65,100 70,400
Subtotal Economic Class—Spouses and Dependants 85,500 90,900
Total Economic Class 150,600 161,300
FAMILY CLASS
Spouses, Partners and Children 45,500 48,000
Parents and Grandparents 13,000 17,500
Total Family Class 58,500 65,500
PROTECTED PERSONS
Government-assisted Refugees 7,400 8,000
Privately Sponsored Refugees 3,800 6,000
Protected Persons In-Canada 8,200 10,500
Dependants Abroad of Protected Persons In-Canada 3,800 4,500
Total Protected Persons 23,200 29,000
OTHER  
Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds/Public Policy 7,600 9,000
Permit Holders 100 200
Total Other 7,700 9,200
TOTAL 240,000 265,000

*This year admission projections for economic immigration are being presented based on selecting and/or nominating jurisdiction because the direct involvement of provinces and territories in economic immigration has grown. Under the Canada–Quebec Accord Relating to Immigration and Temporary Admission of Aliens, the Government of Quebec has responsibility for selecting immigrants destined to its province, and other jurisdictions participating in the Provincial Nominee Program have the responsibility to nominate foreign nationals for permanent resident status.

†The number of principal applicants and spouses and dependants is estimated based on historical averages, and is included for illustrative purposes only.

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