Shortly after the Economic Action Plan 2012 was announced, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney spoke to media on the several immigration policy changes that come into act in the next several weeks, including elimination of 300,000 immigration applications.
“All the applications in the skilled worker category that we received prior to February 28, 2007 will be returned. That will reduce the backlog from 420,000 to 160,000,” he said, adding the application fees will be refunded in the following months.In response to a question from the Canadian Immigrant, Kenney said some 20,000 applications received during the period between 2001-2008 have been partially processed and depending on how far along the process the application is, it may be assessed or returned.
While he blamed the previous Liberal government for creating the backlog and being unfair to skilled category applicants as well as Canada, he avoided responding to the question on his government being unfair to those applicants who had waited as long as 11 years in queue.
According to Minister Kenney, the new system is created “to making our immigration system truly fast and flexible in a way that will sustain Canada's economic growth” and “make Canadian economy better and wealthier.”
Other important changes to immigration system featured in the Economic Action Plan 2012 are:* Realign the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to better meet labour market demands.
* Support further improvements to foreign credential recognition and identify the next set of target occupations beyond 2012.
* Move to an increasingly fast and flexible immigration system where priority focus is on meeting Canada's labour market needs.
* Return applications and fees to certain federal skilled worker applicants who have been waiting for processing to be completed.