December 3, 2023

Sean Fraser, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, announced the launch of a new initiative, “An Immigration System for Canada’s Future,” which will gather feedback to inform the country’s future migration policy.

Postsecondary institutions and academia are on the list of those involved in the consultation, as are businesses and settlement organizations.

The goal of the review is to examine how immigration policies can support Canada’s future economy and create “the best experience for newcomers.”

“Immigration is critical to Canada’s long-term success and we must ensure that our policies and programs are aligned with the needs of our communities,” Fraser said.

“That’s why the Government of Canada is launching this large-scale initiative that will give a wide range of stakeholders and Canadians the opportunity to share their ideas and perspectives on how we can build a stronger and more adaptive immigration system for Canada’s future.” .”

IRCC predicts that immigrants will soon account for 100% of the country’s labor force growth and could make up half of Canada’s total population within the next decade. The country welcomed a record 437,000 new permanent residents in 2022.

Asked which policy areas the discussions would focus on, an IRCC spokesman said the initiative would touch on “the whole range of policies, programs and pathways”.

Will Tao, a Canadian immigration lawyer at the firm Heron Lawpredicted that when it comes to international education policy, consultation is likely to include conversations about international student well-being.

“Politicians are now very invested and have a large population of foreign students”

“We’re seeing, I would say, an unprecedented level of interest in the welfare of international students,” Tao said, pointing to recent media reports including CBC’s Fifth Estate as a driving force.

“Politicians are now very invested and have large populations of international students and families living in their constituencies and are also starting to speak up and express their concerns.”

Shamira Madhany, CEO of World Education Services in Canada, said the country needs “a framework and tools to continue to attract international students while addressing the very real challenges these students present.”

WES will recommend that the consultation explore ethical recruitment and transparency in the provision of advance information and ongoing support to international students, among other things.

Tao predicts that processing application from francophone Africa it will also be part of the discussions, along with pathways to permanent residency.

He pointed to conversations in the sector about the need to change the application process to tackle the high number of rejected applications after the study permit rejection rate peaked at 49% in 2020.

“I see that Canada is watching very closely what Australia is doing and I think there is an interest in higher approval rates, fewer applicants,” he said.

“It’s a little early to tell, but I know there are many advocates for a weighted system or a system that has different categories of sub-categories of international students so we don’t leave humanities students at the door.”

An IRCC spokesperson said PIE News that the body is approaching the review “with an open mind and a genuine desire to hear what our partners and stakeholders, experts, clients and the public have to say about the immigration system of the future”.

The government will be holding engagement events throughout the spring, including face-to-face ‘dialogue sessions’, workshops and a public survey. Fraser held the first of these events in Halifax on 23 February.

The government will also launch an online public inquiry in March 2023, with the consultation period due to end in April 2023.

Tao called on the government to ensure that roundtables include people affected by immigration policy, not just organizations and entrepreneurs.

Canada follows Australia in inviting public feedback on immigration policy. The Australian Department of Home Affairs is currently conducting a review of the country’s migration system.

Due to recent policy announcements related to turkey and Iran, Tao said he is “curious” to what extent this consultation process will contribute to future change, compared to how much it will be used to disseminate information about new policies already planned.

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