The Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney, recently paid homage to the role immigration has played in Canadian history, while also announcing future levels of immigration were under the spotlight.
In a speech last month at the Vancouver Board of Trade, Minister Kenney acknowledged:“Immigration has always been an important part of the Canadian story. It has been a sustaining feature of Canada’s history and continues to play an important role in building our country.”
The Immigration Minister then went on to announce that input was being sought from key stakeholders and members of the Canadian public to establish the correct level of immigration in the future: “Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is in the middle of consulting with Canadians on… how many people we invite to immigrate to Canada, and who are they? We’re also looking for feedback on how we can better manage the system to make it more
The consultation process will involve discussions with settlement organisations, employers, industry bodies and community associations; there will also be online consultations. The main focus of the process is to determine: which immigration schemes CIC should focus on; how skilled migrants should be selected to fill shortages in the Canadian workforce; and how to reduce the time between skilled workers applying for and being granted visas.
One part of the current Canadian immigration system that looks set to continue into the future is the Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP). This programme was singled out for praise by Minister Kenney as a way of making immigration policy more responsive to labour market needs. The programme is a way Canada’s Provinces and Territories can react to the workforce needs they recognise in their areas.
“We intend to welcome a record number of provincial nominees this year,” Minister Kenney announced. “In 2011, we plan to admit about 40,000 immigrants in the provincial nominee category, five times more than the 8,000 welcomed in 2005. The previous high was 36,428 provincial nominees in 2010.”
The consultations the Minister is engaging in with stakeholders will continue across Canada and the Canadian government has promised to take into account the responses to the consultation when it sets future immigration policy.