Critics are expressing concern over new statistics which show that Canada is admitting fewer immigrants this year so far in comparison to last.
New data obtained and release by the Toronto Star, shows that for the first quarter of 2011, 63,224 new immigrants came to Canada. For the first quarter of 2010 that figure was at 84,083 – showing a drop of about 25 percent.
“It’s a very sharp decline,” says Ryerson University professor Myer Siemiatycki. “It begs the question: What is going on here? Has the government decided on the outset that they want fewer admissions? Is the tap being closed tighter?”
Government representatives say that this is not the case, and comparing this year’s figures to those from 2010 is misleading, because 2010 was a “banner year” for immigration, with record-setting numbers of new permanent residents.
“The department [of Citizenship and Immigration] is confident that irrespective of lower visas/authorizations issuance and admissions in the first quarter, it will meet its annual target of visas,” said a government spokesperson.
Yet critics remain unconvinced, saying that the recent cuts to settlement programs as well as plans to reduce federal spending show that immigration is not one of the Conservatives’ main priorities.
Immigration lawyers anticipate that the government’s next move on immigration policy will be to set quotas on family-class applications, mirroring the recent changes to the economic streams.
Canada’s Immigration Minister has recently set out on a nation-wide tour, holding consultations with experts in the private and public sectors, to determine what the department’s priorities should be in the coming years.
Source: Toronto Star