Immigration Policy is Changing Like the Weather
In Edmonton this week 25 settlement workers from Northern Alberta, including myself, went to Lister Centre at the University of Alberta to attend a two day training session on Canadian immigration processes offered by the Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA). It was obvious to us from the first five minutes into the class that today’s immigration is a hot topic. The presenter indicated that she was frantically changing her presentation before the workshop to put in the latest changes to immigration processes. Immigration policy is changing like the weather.
Minister Jason Kenney is making announcements almost weekly with changes to immigration policy that are radically transforming immigration which is the essence of Canada’s social, political and economic fabric. He is determining the destiny and future of thousands and millions of lives around the world. For people who are desperately waiting for a better future, hoping for a chance for a better life, or to reunite with loved ones, this is a volatile period of time in Canadian Immigration history. We should be used to Canadian weather, but are we ready for what’s next? In Canadian immigration, what was possible ten, five or one year ago is not a possibility today.
Almost every immigration stream at the current time is under construction like city roads in spring. The flow of immigration traffic is being capped, closed and redirected by Citizenship and Immigration like there is no tomorrow. The irony is at least when road construction happens, we see an improvement. The same cannot necessarily be said of the future of our Canadian immigration system. You only have to look at how Kenney is addressing the backlog of Federal Skilled Worker applications prior to February, 2008 to understand what I am talking about. Our Citizenship and Immigration Minister is wiping out 280,000 FSW applications to reduce a backlog that the Canadian Government claims is impeding our immigration system and therefore Canada’s economic future. People who have been waiting in excess of five years to go to Canada will have to start their applications all over again under ever evolving criteria. Their applications are being returned and supposedly we will have a new and improved way to address FSW applications. Our government had a moral and ethical obligation to process those applications and honor our immigration policy that was in place when these applications were submitted. If people qualified, they should have had their applications processed.
It seems to me that there is no transparency with respect to immigration policy change and little public consultation. The future of immigration is unknown. The movie announcer is saying “Coming soon to a theatre near you”, but not finishing the announcement. We don’t know what is coming.
The following links give some examples of what is happening on the Jason Kenney immigration weather channel. Stay tuned for the storm warnings!
May 9, 2012 – Balanced Refugee Reform Act to be legislated
April 18, 2012 – new “start up visa” for immigrant entrepreneurs
March 30, 2012 – return of Federal Skilled Worker applications submitted prior to February 27,2008
November, 2011 – 2 year pause on Parent and Grandparent sponsorships applications and the introduction of a 10 year Super Visa