MP An­der­son high­lights im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem keeps im­prov­ing

The Southwest Booster - - OPINION -

To the edi­tor: I am pleased to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion and clar­i­fi­ca­tion re­gard­ing a let­ter to the edi­tor writ­ten by an im­mi­gra­tion con­sul­tant which was re­cently pub­lished in your paper.

The im­mi­gra­tion con­sul­tant stated that “changes will be in­tro­duced that will mean that im­mi­grants can no longer in­clude de­pen­dent chil­dren older than 18 years old.”

I would like to clar­ify this. The pro­posal was pre-pub­lished in the Canada Gazette Part I on May 18, 2013, along with the pro­posed reg­u­la­tory changes to the Par­ent Grand­par­ent Pro­gram (PGP). While the changes to the PGP pro­gram came into ef­fect ear­lier this year, cur­rently no changes have been made to re­duce the age of de­pen­dents from un­der 22 to un­der 19.

The pur­pose of pre-pub­li­ca­tion is to gather com­ments from the pub­lic which may fur­ther in­form our pol­icy. Com­ments re­lated to the scope of the pro­posed tran­si­tional pro­vi­sions were re­ceived and those com­ments are cur­rently be­ing re­viewed.

Our Govern­ment’s pri­or­ity is hav­ing an im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem fo­cused on Canada’s eco­nomic and labour force needs. Hav­ing a fast, ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem is cru­cial for Canada’s long-term pros­per- ity. When our Govern­ment first took of­fice in 2006, we in­her­ited a sys­tem that was mis­man­aged and poorly suited to meet the needs of Cana­di­ans. Suc­ces­sive Lib­eral gov­ern­ments had let the back­log of ap­pli­ca­tions bal­loon out of con­trol and they were not do­ing enough to en­sure that new Cana­di­ans were able to con­trib­ute to the econ­omy as quickly as pos­si­ble.

Since tak­ing of­fice, our Govern­ment has worked hard to undo these er­rors. The ap­pli­ca­tion back­log for Skilled Work­ers has been re­duced by over 150,000 people and ap­pli­ca­tions are be­ing pro­cessed in as lit­tle as one year, as op­posed to five.

In 2011, our Govern­ment cam­paigned on a prom­ise to cut the wait times and the back­log for the spon­sor­ship of par­ents and grand­par­ents. That same year we be­gan to deliver on that prom­ise by in­tro­duc­ing phase one of our Ac­tion Plan for Faster Fam­ily Re­uni­fi­ca­tion. As of Jan­uary 2014, we re-opened the Par­ent and Grand­par­ent Pro­gram (PGP). This pro­gram has been re­designed so that it will fur­ther re­duce back­log and in­crease pro­cess­ing time.

Specif­i­cally, our Govern­ment is in­tro­duc­ing new qual­i­fy­ing cri­te­ria for Cana­dian res­i­dents who wish to spon­sor their par­ents or grand­par­ents. This new crite- ria will in­crease the fi­nan­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity that spon­sors must as­sume from 10 years to 20 years, lim­it­ing the bur­den on tax­pay­ers and our health care sys­tem.

Phase two of the Ac­tion Plan for Faster Fam­ily Re­uni­fi­ca­tion also makes our Su­per Visa pro­gram per­ma­nent. This 10 year, mul­ti­pleen­try visa al­lows suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cants to stay in Canada for up to two years and will help keep our im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem flex­i­ble and suited to the needs of fam­i­lies.

These mea­sures will help us keep high lev­els of im­mi­gra­tion with­out putting a strain on the sys­tem. An ef­fec­tive im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem is one of the key’s to Canada’s fu­ture. We are one of the few na­tions that have a gen­er­ous fam­ily re­uni­fi­ca­tion pro­gram, and it is one of the main rea­sons why Canada continues to be a des­ti­na­tion of choice for tal­ented, en­tre­pre­neur­ial new­com­ers.

That’s why our Govern­ment will con­tinue to make it more ef­fec­tive and bet­ter suited to the needs of po­ten­tial spon­sors, while en­sur­ing that tax­payer dol­lars are re­spected and used re­spon­si­bly.

Cana­di­ans can trust our Govern­ment to keep Canada’s im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem work­ing in the best in­ter­est of Cana­di­ans.

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