The federal government is considering allowing would-be Canadian immigrants to pay more to speed up their applications.
As part of a consultation process involving nationwide meetings and an online questionnaire, the Liberals are asking if Canada should let people pay to jump to the front of the line.
“Is there any rationale for providing options to those willing to pay higher fees for an expedited process?” is how the question reads on the government survey, available online until August 5.
Critics say any system of payment would effectively create a two-tier system that allows richer people to bypass everyone else.
Others say the funds created could be used to speed up immigration processing overall.
Immigration Minister John McCallum is well aware processing times are a key issue as he sets about conducting a complete review of the federal programs.
He is currently travelling around Canada holding a series of meetings aimed at gathering feedback on exactly what people want from a revamped immigration system.
Other key issues include speeding up the application process for people wishing to come to Canada to attend weddings and funerals.
Time and Resources
McCallum has also stated he wants to make it easier for international students to stay in Canada once they have graduated.
MPs are keen to see some of the issues tackled to free up their time and resources.
They currently play a big role in dealing with immigration queries from members of the public, and raising complaints with the immigration department.
A typical MP’s office has a staff member dedicated to dealing with immigration queries and complaints.
McCallum is expected to announce a raft of changes to the system in the fall, in a complete overhaul of how immigration to Canada works.
The government survey covers topics including welcoming newcomers, how numbers should be set and whether the emphasis should lie with social or economic immigration.
The Federal Government Immigration Survey:
On Strengthening Canadian Fabric
- How many newcomers should we welcome to Canada in 2017 and beyond?
- How can we best support newcomers to ensure they become successful members of our communities?
- Do we have the balance right among the immigration programs or streams? If not, what priorities should form the foundation of Canada’s immigration planning.
On Unlocking Canada’s Diverse Needs
- How can immigration play a role in supporting economic growth and innovation in Canada?
- Should there be more programs for businesses to permanently hire foreign workers if they can’t find Canadians to fill the job?
- What is the right balance between attracting global talent for high-growth sectors, on the one hand, and ensuring affordable labour for businesses that have historically seen lower growth, on the other?
- How can immigration fill in the gaps in our demographics and economy?
- What Canadian values and traditions are important to share with newcomers to help them integrate into Canadian society?
On Modernizing the Immigration System
- Currently, immigration levels are planned yearly. Do you agree with the thinking that planning should be multi-year?
- What modernization techniques should Canada invest in for processing of applications?
- What should Canada do to ensure its immigration system is modern and efficient?
- Is there any rationale for providing options to those willing to pay higher fees for an expedited process?
On Leadership in Global Migration and Immigration
- Is it important for Canada to continue to show leadership in global migration? If so, how can we best do that?
- How can Canada attract the best global talent and international students?
- In what ways can Canada be a model to the world on refugees, migration and immigration?
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