The federal government will take aim at waiting times for visitor visas as part of its overhaul of the Canadian immigration system.
Immigration Minister John McCallum says his team is looking at how to speed up the process, and mentioned weddings and funerals as occasions when a fast visit visa might be required.
McCallum was in Peel, Ontario as part of his tour around the country to get feedback from stakeholders on changes they want to see in the immigration system.
He was asked specifically about the process for getting a visa in Chandigarh, India, where there have been significant problems.
“Chandigarh is not the only place facing problems, McCallum said.
“We are determined to make it easier for people – particularly for visitor visas, weddings and funerals. We are determined to find a timely solution for it. Soon we will have a much quicker entry process.”
McCallum made a series of other commitments at the event, reiterating the Liberals’ plan to make speeding up Family Class applications the top priority.
“Right now, it takes approximately two years for a husband and wife to be reunited,” he said. “It is unacceptable.”
Wholesale changes can be expected this fall, with McCullum also focused on making it easier for international students to remain in Canada after their studies end.
Canada could take a key jump ahead of the competition in this field, with Australia, the UK and the USA all in the market for attracting foreign students.
McCallum is expected to give a greater Express Entry score to those who have studied here.
“International students are at the top of the government’s list to become permanent residents because they are young, educated, and fluent in English or French,” he said.
The previous Conservative government left behind an immigration system not fit for purpose, according to McCallum.
Changes are also planned in the skilled and economic immigration categories.
Changes currently being considered include:
- Re-designing the Temporary Foreign Workers Program to meet the needs of employers while protecting the Canadian labour market.
- Re-designing Express Entry to be more fluid and more flexible.
- Eliminating the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement for businesses that wish to hire candidates using Express Entry who are currently working in Canada under the International Mobility Program.
- Revising the assessment process for international students working under the Post-Graduate Work Program (PGWP), to qualify under Express Entry.
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