This week the Federal government tabled its final budget before the 2019 election. There are some significant immigration implications as a result of new and additional funding measures. Here’s what you need to know:
Global Talent Stream Now Permanent
The Global Skills Strategy (GSS) helps employers find highly skilled workers faster and featured faster application processing times, work permit exemptions and enhanced customer service. As part of GSS, the Global Talent Stream (GTS) was launched in June 2017, a two-year pilot project to help innovative Canadian companies quickly access the highly skilled global talent they need. The application is processed by a dedicated team at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). When hiring a foreign worker through GTS, employers must develop a Labour market Benefits Plan and commit to activities that will have a lasting and positive impact on the Canadian labour market. Once the application is submitted, employers can expect faster processing of applications by ESDC with a service standard of 10 business days, personalized, high-touch assistance throughout the assessment process and eligibility for highly skilled workers to have their work permits processed in two weeks by IRCC.
Building on the success of GTS, the government proposes to make GTS a permanent program. CILF applauds the decision to turn the pilot project into a permanent on. This program provides employers with expedited processing and centre-focused service helping employers become competitive on a global scale.
Improving Immigration Call Centre Client Service
An important part of our immigration system is client service. Navigating our immigration system and obtaining information and updates can be frustrating at times. High-quality client service for those seeking to immigrate to Canada to allow them to obtain accurate information in a timely manner is imperative. The government recognizes this and, in an effort, improve immigration client services proposes an additional funding to increase the number of IRCC call centre agents so that enquiries can be responded to more quickly, with a focus on the business lines with the longest delays. CILF welcomes this additional funding as we know how frustrating it can be at times to simply get a hold of a live agent when calling into IRCC’s call centre. Long delays affect both clients and legal service providers and efforts to curb wait times is much appreciated.
Protecting People from Unscrupulous Immigration Consultants
The government recognizes and acknowledges the unfortunate reality that some applicants are preyed upon and taken advantage of by unscrupulous immigration consultants. As such, they’ve proposed money to regulate consultants and support public awareness initiatives to help vulnerable newcomers and applicants protect themselves against fraudulent immigration consultants. In addition, the amendments will be made to IRPA and the Citizenship Act in order to implement and strengthen compliance and enforcement measures.
While we appreciate the acknowledgment of this long-standing problem, the action proposed will not properly address the issue and will cost tax payers over $52 million. If the government was concerned about protecting the public, they would have required immigration consultants to work under the supervision of a lawyer or law firm. This measure would not have cost the tax payer a penny and would have protected the public as lawyers are regulated by law societies that have a power and record of protecting the public. Many immigration consultants currently do work under the supervision of a lawyer or a law firm, others could have joined firms and only those unable to align with a law firm would be out of business and likely are the ones who prey on vulnerable applicants in any event.
Enhancing the Integrity of Canada’s Borders and Asylum System
Canada has a strong reputation as a fair and welcoming country with robust borders and asylum system. Considering recent elevated numbers of asylum seekers including those who crossed into Canada irregularly, the government is implementing a comprehensive strategy to better position our immigration, border and law enforcement officials to detect and intercept individuals who cross Canadian borders irregularly and who try to exploit our immigration system. In order to support the processing of 50,000 asylum claims per year as well as facilitate the removal of failed asylum claimants in a timely manner, government proposes to invest $1.18 billion over five years, starting in 2019-20 and $55 million per year ongoing. In addition, the government will make regulatory amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) to better manage, discourage and prevent irregular migration. This is a major step in alleviating long delays and providing additional resources to allow our asylum determination process to become more efficient.
Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement
In related news, recently it has been reported in the media that IRCC policy advisors in a January 2018 advised Minister Hussen that the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement was “no longer working as intended”. Under the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement refugee claimants are required to request refugee protection in the first safe country they arrive in, unless they qualify for an exception to the Agreement. Exceptions include family member, unaccompanied minors, document holder and public interest exceptions. With conditions south of the border becoming more hostile and unwelcoming for refugees and asylum seekers, some have argued there is real concern whether the United States can still be considered a safe country under the Trump administration. A change in designation can have significant implications for our refugee and asylum determination system
Corporate Immigration Law Firm – Caruso Guberman Appleby is a Top Ten Immigration Boutique Law Firm as recognized by Canadian Lawyer magazine, with many of our lawyers recognized in Who’s Who Legal: Corporate Immigration year after year. We can be reached at 416-368-1111 or email@example.com for all your immigration law needs.