2020-01-03 – With a new federal immigration minister at the helm in the shape of former Crown Prosecutor Marco Mendicino, plenty of Canada immigration developments are expected in 2020.
The Liberal Party made a number of promises on immigration ahead of the October election, backed up in Justin Trudeau’s mandate letter to Mendicino.
Mendicino must also be preparing his first immigration levels plan to submit to parliament.
Liberal Government Promises On Immigration
1) Creation of a new Municipal Nominee Program
The Liberals have proposed a new Municipal Nominee Program to help smaller communities struggling with ageing populations and shrinking labour forces.
The MNP would operate alongside the existing Provincial Nominee Program, with a minimum allocation of 5,000 spaces per year.
2) Abolishing the citizenship application fee
Trudeau’s proposal to abolish the $630 citizenship application fee ($530 for processing and $100 ‘right of citizenship’ fee) is projected to cost taxpayers $100 million per year.
The fee was significantly increased under the previous Conservative government and has been blamed for a reduced rate of permanent residents become citizens.
3) Making the Atlantic Immigration Pilot permanent
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot is another program introduced by the Liberals aimed at bringing more immigrants to a region struggling with ageing populations and shrinking labour markets.
Initially introduced as a pilot, the Liberals say they will make it permanent.
4) Continued managed immigration level increases
Given the consensus already mentioned between Canada’s main parties, a continuation of managed immigration increases under the Liberals can be expected.
The 2018 immigration levels plan saw numbers expected to rise to 350,000 newcomers per year by 2021.
5) Modernization of the Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S.
The steady flow of asylum seekers crossing the border from the U.S. at unrecognized points has been contentious for Trudeau throughout his first term.
Those numbers increased beyond 2018 levels in the summer months, meaning it remains a major issue, particularly in Quebec as the province that receives 95 percent of border crossers.
Express Entry In 2020
Stakeholders should expect more of the same from Express Entry during 2020. Canada’s re-elected minority Liberal government did not flag any intended changes either before or after the October election.
Previous changes to the CRS have been tabled well in advance, making further alterations in 2020 more unlikely.
One possible change that could impact Express Entry is the introduction of a Municipal Nominee Program.
It is possible the new program could be linked to Express Entry in a similar way to parts of the Provincial Nominee Program.
Parents and Grandparents Program In 2020
The turn of the year saw the federal government announce it would be delaying the intake process for the Parents and Grandparents Program, which was due to open on January 1, 2020.
IRCC will hope to find for a final solution to a problem it has been plagued by for a number of years, namely how to make the process fair for everyone.
In reality, a process that has 20,000 application spaces for more than 100,000 potential applicants is always going to court controversy.
Quebec Immigration In 2020
Meanwhile, further developments can be expected in Quebec, starting with the introduction of the Quebec values test on January 1, 2020.
The French-speaking province is also likely to have a second attempt at reforming the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) after the botched effort at the end of 2019.
Provincial Immigration In 2020
Several of Canada’s provinces have proven themselves willing and able to modernize and develop their provincial nominee programs, so more of the same should be expected in 2020.
As local labour markets evolve, PNPs are best equipped to react quickly to developing needs, with federal programs bringing in immigrants based on broader criteria.
A new Municipal Nominee Program is also expected in 2020, enhancing Canada’s ability to respond to developing labour market needs at a hyper-local level.