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Immigration Policy Changes and Updates: Staying Informed About Legislative

Immigration Policy Changes and Updates: Staying Informed About Legislative

March 27, 2024

Step into the dynamic world of Canadian immigration policy where every twist and turn holds implications for newcomers, legal professionals, and those deeply invested in the process.

Canada is starting an ambitious plan to welcome nearly 1.5 million new immigrants between 2024 and 2026, marking a significant increase from previous years. This guide is designed to provide newcomers, legal professionals, and those interested in Canadian immigration with the latest information on immigration law and the process of moving to Canada. With a focus on the most recent changes and updates, we aim to clarify the Canadian immigration process and offer practical advice for maintaining legal status in Canada.

The Canadian Immigration Process

The journey to becoming a newcomer in Canada begins with understanding the Canadian immigration process—a comprehensive system designed to assess and welcome immigrants from around the world. This process involves several stages, from the initial application and document verification to the final approval and settlement in Canada. Here’s a condensed overview of the key steps involved:

  • Research and Consultation: Start by identifying the best-fit immigration program through research and advice from immigration lawyers whom you can find in a lawyer’s marketplace.
  • Application Preparation: Gather necessary documents and submit your application with guidance from a legal professional to ensure accuracy.
  • Verification of Documents: Ensure all documents are verified and authenticated as per Canadian standards, with legal assistance as needed.
  • Processing and Additional Information: Wait for application processing by IRCC, and provide any additional information quickly if requested.
  • Decision and Preparation for Arrival: Receive your application decision. If positive, prepare for your move to Canada, understanding your rights, and familiarizing yourself with local systems.
  • Settlement and Newcomer Services: Upon arrival, complete any final immigration steps and engage with Canadian newcomer services for support in adjusting to life in Canada.

Legal professionals, particularly those specializing in immigration law, play an important role in guiding applicants through this complex procedure. They offer invaluable advice on the best immigration programs suited to individual circumstances, assist with document preparation and submission, and provide representation in complex legal matters or appeals.

Let’s now focus on some major immigration policy changes and updates and understand how those can be used.

Adapting Express Entry to Address Canada’s Labour Needs

In 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced a significant modification to the Express Entry system by implementing category-based draws. This approach was designed to more effectively match immigration selection with the country’s immediate labour shortages and demographic challenges, directly targeting foreign nationals whose skills and experiences align with critical sectors.

Check Your Eligibility for Canadian Immigration

The first year of this tailored approach saw a focus on candidates with recent work experience in key industries, including Healthcare, STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics), Trades, Transport, and Agri-Food/Agriculture.

For 2024, IRCC is set to continue utilizing category-based draws while also planning to reassess and potentially update the targeted categories based on the shifting dynamics of Canada’s labour market. This ongoing evaluation indicates that new industries and skill sets may emerge as priorities, potentially expanding the eligibility for category-based Express Entry draws to a wider group of aspiring immigrants in the upcoming year.

Provincial Nominee Programs for Targeted Immigration

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) serve as vital channels for local governments to select immigrants who can fill specific labour market needs. As outlined in IRCC’s recent Immigration Levels Plan, PNPs are set to become the largest immigration pathway by target numbers in 2024, underscoring their critical role in Canada’s immigration strategy.

New guidelines have been issued to provinces, establishing a refreshed framework for PNPs. These principles aim to refine how local governments identify and nominate candidates, ensuring a closer alignment with regional labour market requirements.

Starting in 2024, IRCC will implement multi-year planning for PNPs, granting provinces and territories the foresight of their 2025 allocations ahead of time. This forward-looking approach is designed to enhance the strategic planning capabilities of regional governments regarding immigration.

These updates to the PNP mean that individuals looking to immigrate through this pathway will benefit from a more transparent and strategically focused process, allowing for a clearer understanding of their opportunities to settle in their chosen province or territory.

Enhanced Funding for Asylum Seeker Housing Support

Because of the rise in migration around the world, Canada is dealing with the higher number of asylum cases by getting the federal, provincial, and municipal governments to work together.

Minister Marc Miller stated that the 2023–2024 Interim Housing Assistance Program (IHAP) will get an extra $362.4 million to help cities and provinces that need a lot of housing for asylum seekers. This is on top of the $212 million that was given last summer to help keep refugee seekers from being homeless.

The central government is still working with lower levels of government to improve how the country handles asylum claims and their effects on communities.

Key Points

  • Since 2017, almost $750 million has been set aside to help with living problems caused by asylum seekers.
  • Cities and provinces must ask for reimbursement for housing asylum seekers, and the central government will make payments based on these requests.
  • About 4,000 temporary housing units in Canada are home to more than 7,300 people who have asked for protection.
  • Through Reaching Home, the government is also spending almost $4 billion to help people who are poor. Last year, $2 billion was spent to help refugees and asylum seekers.

Focusing on Francophone Immigration Enhancement

The IRCC’s Strategic Report for 2024 outlines the initiation of a comprehensive Francophone Immigration Policy aimed at bolstering the presence and influence of Francophone minority communities across Canada and augmenting their demographic significance. This strategy includes a goal to attract 26,100 French-speaking permanent residents to regions outside Quebec by 2024.

Plans are in place to expand the Francophone Mobility Program and add a French language ability category to the Express Entry system to promote the growth of Francophone immigration even more. It is believed that the IRCC will introduce more programs and ways to bring Francophone immigrants to different parts of Canada in 2024.

Revisions to the International Student Program

Starting January 1, 2024, there’s an increase in the financial requirements for study permit applicants to better reflect the cost of living. A single applicant must now demonstrate access to $20,635, besides covering their first year’s tuition and travel expenses. This amount is set to be annually adjusted in line with the low-income cut-off (LICO) figures released by Statistics Canada. While these changes aim to ensure students can afford their living expenses during their studies, Canada is mindful of the diverse impact on applicants. Consequently, specific pilots are slated for 2024 to assist underrepresented international student groups in accessing Canadian education.

Furthermore, with the onset of the September 2024 academic term, Canada is instituting measures to refine the quality of education offered by designated learning institutions (DLIs). These measures include visa limitations and the introduction of a “recognized institution” standard, mandating DLIs to provide comprehensive student support, such as housing, to enhance the international student experience.

Key updates for international students in 2024 also encompass:

  • To combat fraud, post-secondary DLIs must now directly verify each applicant’s acceptance letter with the IRCC.
  • The exemption allowing international students to work off-campus for more than 20 hours a week has been extended until April 30, 2024.
  • The policy permitting international students to count online study toward the duration of a future post-graduation work permit remains in effect for programs started before September 1, 2024. This provision will not apply to programs commenced on or after this date.
  • The temporary policy granting an additional 18-month work permit to post-graduation work permit holders will not continue into 2024.

These reforms and additional measures reflect Canada’s commitment to maintaining a supportive, fair, and robust framework for international students.

Special Immigration Initiatives

In the past few years, Canada has started a number of temporary immigration policies to help people who are affected by humanitarian disasters around the world. People from Afghanistan, Ukraine, Iran, Hong Kong, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Gaza, and Sudan have been helped by these special measures, which make it possible for them to live in Canada temporarily or permanently.

In 2024, the IRCC is likely to keep working to deal with humanitarian crises around the world through new or continued immigration programs.

Canada Launches Temporary Resident Pathway for Palestinian Extended Families Amid Gaza Crisis

Because of the worsening war in Gaza, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada has set up a way for Palestinian extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to become temporary residents. This plan, which was announced by Minister Marc Miller on January 9, 2024, is meant to help people who are affected by the disaster and have family in Canada who are ready to help them. Close family members, such as spouses, children, siblings, parents, and their direct relatives, are also eligible.

This road not only gives them a safe place to stay, but also gives them a fee-free study or work permit to help them pay for their stay in Canada. They also get three months of health coverage through the Interim Federal Health Program and can use settlement services. This shows that Canada is committed to helping people in need, keeping families together, and making it easier for qualified people to leave Gaza safely, even though it can be hard to leave the area. The program, which has a special question service, has time and noise limits. This is to show that Canada is still keeping an eye on things and changing based on what’s happening in Gaza.

In conclusion, understanding the legal requirements for Canadian citizenship is important in navigating the dynamic landscape of immigration policies. As Canada launches an ambitious plan to welcome newcomers, staying informed about legislative developments becomes increasingly crucial.

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