The list of occupations were announced by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney recently along with a promise to maintain immigration levels in the face of a looming recession and a global trend towards lower migrant flows. These changes were introduced by the Conservative government on February 27, freezing a waiting list running into 900,000 applications, including 600,000 in the economic category.
If you were to include dependents, the number waiting to have their visa applications processed would be over three million. It marked the first time in 40 years that
No longer will it be a first-come-first-served system, but rather one that privileges people in a few select professions who can immediately fill labour market shortages in
This change makes good sense given the hardships faced by immigrants unable to find jobs and get their work experience or academic credentials recognised by Canadian employers. It makes even more sense if you factor in the reality that the points system had opened the floodgates and by
For new applications, this waiting time will be cut down to just six months, but not many people in the UAE or elsewhere are likely to see much of an improvement immediately.
That’s because the 156,000 visas that will be given to economic migrants this year will be split between those already in the backlog of applications and those who can prove they belong to one of the 38 identified occupations. At least 70 per cent will go to those whose applications were submitted before February 27.
The room for new applicants will get further whittled down by a new class of applicants: the Canadian Experience class that includes foreigners already here on work visas or international students attending universities.
There is obviously a need to strike a balance between the new and the old, and it will be some time before all economic immigrants arriving in
However, the big picture remains sanguine for would-be immigrants. Unlike countries such as
The plan for 2009 includes 156,000 visas in the “economic” category, 71,000 under the family class and 37,400 as refugees. (These include only the “principal applicant,” not family members and dependents) The relative proportion of immigrants under the three classes remains unchanged.
Numbers mean a lot, not just to people in the UAE or elsewhere who are stuck in a long backlog of people waiting to come to
At the current rate, the backlog will take more than a decade to clear if all those on it choose to keep their names on it.
George Abraham - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?col=§ion=opinion&xfile=data/opinion/2008/December/opinion_December68.xml