Come to Canada: we are open: true or false?

As the world’s second largest country, immigration played a vital role in filling Canada’s vast open spaces and necessary to building its economy. So Canada’s open door policy became a necessity and being ranked as one of the most welcoming countries for immigrants and refugees (being granted the same rights and freedoms as citizens), multiculturalism became part of Canada.

Today, Canadians look at immigration in a different light although most still support it. Under the Harper Government, the open door policy is slowly becoming ajar from the temporary pause on sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents, temporary pause on applications for federal skilled workers (in 2008 the National Occupational Classification condensed the required professions list from 100 to 29), creating tougher citizenship tests and doubled the lump sum required to gain quick access as an investor 1, to passing bills to fine and jail people-traffickers to penalizing unauthorized immigration advisers and/or consultants who charge fees. But that is not all. The Harper government has further tightened the belt on immigration by giving priority to the skilled labour but more specifically, effective July 1, 2012, to those only who have arranged employment (job offer) from a Canadian company or are applying under the PHd stream and so although Canada’s doors are still open, the door is seemingly shut to those who have been waiting for a long time.

“The pause has no impact on the number of workers Canada admits into the country, as CIC continues to process applications already received. Current immigration remains at historically high levels.” (Kenney)

One has to understand that changes had to be made to accommodate the Canada of today but the government also knows that it can never completely shut the door on immigrants. Canada’s economy is growing and in order for it to grow means more jobs are being created and therefore people need to fill these jobs. The temporary pause on sponsorships for parents and grandparents or the Federal Skilled Workers is to hopefully become caught up with all the applicants and become more effective in processing applications. The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) stream is being examined and is being scheduled to reopen and start accepting applications again in January 2013 but rumour has it that emphasis will be put on language skills and younger immigrants! We shall see. But in defense to this possibility one can understand that emphasizing on language skills will better help the immigrant interact and socialize with other Canadians to have a smooth transition. On the other hand, if Canada wishes to increase trade with Asia or China, for example, it is not helping their people by enforcing the language matter as Canada will no longer become attractive to these citizens.

Regardless of when and how the FSW reopens, potential immigrants should keep in mind that it is just one of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, and that the door to Canada remains open. Below is a brief overview of programs that are open.

Canadian Immigration Program Without a Required Job Offer

Quebec Skilled Worker Program: Many immigrants have turned to Quebec’s popular immigration program as a way of coming to Canada and obtaining permanent residency. Last year, 51,736 new permanent residents arrived in Quebec – the highest level of immigration to any province except Ontario. They were selected through one of a handful of programs specific to the province.

The Quebec Skilled Worker program is continuing to accept applications. It is a separate program from the FSW, and has not been affected by the FSW’s temporary pause. It uses its own unique points-based system to assess applicants, and is open to individuals from more than 100 fields of study.

Other Open Canadian Immigration Programs

Provincial Nominee Programs: Almost every province/territory in Canada has its own Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). These allow the provinces to target immigrants with skills and/or connections that they place high value on, and to streamline the process for those targeted immigrants. Every PNP has slightly different immigration streams and requirements. For instance, did you know that:

  • Most PNPs have their very own Skilled Worker streams. Generally, they require that the applicant already be working in the province.
  • Alberta’s PNP has special streams for tradespersons, engineers, and semi-skilled workers.
  • Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Manitoba all have streams for individuals with family connections in the province.
  • British Columbia’s PNP has a stream for designated health professionals and semi-skilled workers in the province.

Canadian and Quebec Experience Class: These popular streams are designed for temporary workers and international students. The Canadian Experience Class is intended for individuals planning to settle outside of Quebec, while the Quebec Experience class is meant for those who will settle in the Province of Quebec.

Temporary Foreign Workers: Tens of thousands of individuals come to Canada from around the world each year to perform temporary work. This work can last anywhere from a few days to multiple years. In fact, Canada is currently experiencing a labour shortage, which means that more than ever, foreign workers will be called upon to fill job openings throughout the country.

Temporary work requires a job offer from a Canadian employer. For some, this is a first step to achieving permanent residency status.

Family Sponsorship: Canada remains committed to keeping families together. Federal sponsorship programs are continuing as usual. As mentioned above, some PNPs also include family connection streams.2

So the statement, “Come to Canada: We are open: true or false?”, I would have to say is true and Canada’s doors remain open. Immigration is a major component to the population and economic growth of Canada. As from the beginning of time to today and the future, Canada will continue to strengthen its economy and culture through its immigration programs and another reason that Citizenship and Immigration Canada will keep the door open.

Frances Puglisevich
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku


1 Economist
2 CIC News

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