Latest changes in the Canadian Immigration System

In today’s blog I will talk about the latest changes in the Canadian Immigration System. And will discuss if the reform is really necessary to protect the Canadian Immigration system or if it is just a way to stop the unwanted immigrant flow to Canada by the Kenney of the Conservatives.

As we know Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has made an announcement about the latest changes in the immigration system. Actually there are not any changes in the current immigration system there is only a temporary pause on most of the federal immigration applications until early 2013.

The changes that will be active early on 2013 includes;

  • eliminating the backlog of old FSWP applications;
  • improving the selection of FSWs;
  • creating a new Federal Skilled Trades Program;
  • modifying the Canadian Experience Class to help transition successful skilled temporary workers to permanent residence;
  • changing Canadian business immigration programs to target more active investment in Canadian growth companies and more innovative entrepreneurs; and
  • moving towards a new application management system, to develop a pool of skilled workers who arrive in Canada ready to begin employment. (1)

The changes that may come into effect on early 2013 would be a milestone in the Canadian immigration system if all the promised series of changes are made properly.

“This temporary pause on new Federal Skilled Worker applications will allow us to set the program on a new course as we intend to launch revised selection criteria soon,” said Minister Kenney. “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.” (1)

Beside the temporary pause the only positive change I see in the federal system is an upgrade on the federal self-employed application intakes. CIC started the regular
process for all the self-employed applications not considering if the application is made in or out of Canada. The changes can be view at the link given below.

Also by 1st of July CIC won’t be accepting any investor applications and entrepreneur applications until a further notice. I think this is a positive step because this will give a chance to other provinces to get their own investor and entrepreneurs.

Also Québec has stopped accepting applications for their business streams as well until March 2013.

Now let’s take a look at the biggest reform that is related to refugees.

As we know by June 29th Minister Jason Kenney welcomed the final passage and the Royal Assent of legislation to 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.” (2)

The reform seems to bring a faster protection to the ones that need asylum urgently. But the reform will be bring a faster removal for the ones who do not require a refuge.

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. (2)

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.(2)

Designated countries of Origin

There will be a two-step process for a country to be considered for designation. Designation is not automatic.

First, a country will have to meet one of two quantitative thresholds or limits set out in a ministerial order. The proposed triggers for a review are based on rejection rates, withdrawal and abandonment rates. A rejection rate (which includes abandoned and withdrawn claims) of 75% or higher may trigger a review. Similarly, an abandonment and withdrawal rate of 60% or higher may trigger a review.

For claimants from countries with a low number of claims, a qualitative checklist will be used and includes:

  • the existence of an independent judicial system;
  • recognition of basic democratic rights and freedoms, including mechanisms for redress if those rights or freedoms are infringed; and
  • the existence of civil society organizations.

Although there may be few refugee claimants from these countries, it may still be appropriate to designate these countries under the principle that they are generally not considered to be refugee-producing countries.

Once a country is triggered for a review, CIC may conduct a review in consultation with other government departments. The Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism will make the final decision on whether to designate a country. (3)


As we talked above the changes that will come into effect early on 2013 on the selection process of the Federal Skilled Worker and Federal Business people is a great step. Canadian Immigration System needed a reform on these streams and this
should have been done long time before. I really believe that will help to clear the backlog and will bring a dynamic/effective selection process. But Minister Kenney should take into consideration the caps per occupations needs to be increased. And bring a new system that will collaborate with the economically weaker provinces in the selection of the skilled workers. I think Mr. Kinney will foresee the occupational demands and develop an effective pool of jobs to satisfy the immigrants.

The balanced refugee reform act would be positive a approach in order to secure the taxpayer’s money but I find the designated country of origin part discriminative. If Canada had added the designated countries to the act before it would be much logical. This may cause problems in the decision step. For example a woman from Mexico who is suffering from her husband and who needs a fast refugee might be rejected by the new act. And she can be removed fast and this may cause her life. Sometimes people need to change countries in order to start a new life if they are in danger of death/torture. I have to say no to the designated country of origin article. This article is against the human rights. And I find Mr. Kinney wrong in this decision.

Cem Devrim Turetken
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku


(1) Minister Kenney Hits the Reset Button: Sets the Foundation for New, Faster, More Flexible Immigration System
(2) Legislation to Protect Canada’s Immigration System Receives Royal Assent
(3) Designated Countries of Origin

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