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Citizenship and Immigration Canada Announces New Immigration Targets
Every year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) sets immigration targets to meet the Canadian government's economic, family reunification, and humanitarian goals. 2012 will see a large increase in the issuance of visas from overseas, with total documents rising from 217,800 in 2011 to a projected 255,100 for this year.
Almost all categories of Canadian immigration will see increases in the amount of visas being issued in the upcoming year. Amongst these, some have increased dramatically. Visas available to parents and grandparents, for instance, numbered 11,200 last year. For the current period, the target has been set at 36,500. Other significant increases have been projected for Federal Skilled Workers (55,900 to 61,000), and Provincial/Quebec Nominees (73,600 to 78,000). In total, overseas visa issuance will rise an impressive 17% for this year. A further 26, 884 visas are expected to be issued to immigrants already in Canada.
On top of national goals, specific visa issuance targets are given to visa processing centers in each geographic region. Overall, these centers are expected to issue a greater number of immigration documents. In the Africa/Middle East region, large increases are planned for the Federal Skilled Worker program. Specific increases in parent/grandparent visas issued from the Damascus office are also expected to occur. In the Asia/Pacific region, overall immigration goals are planned for all but one visa office, with parent/grandparent visas more than doubling. Europe and the Americas will see similar changes. Particularly large increases are planned across the board for the Mexico City and Havana offices.
Immigration targets are set by the federal government with several goals in mind. These goals are carried out under the overall framework of the 2002 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). The IRPA is responsible for outlining objectives, but it does not prioritize these objectives or explain how they should be carried out and allocated nationally and globally. Such decisions fall to the current Canadian government. The Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has previously announced that the central driving force behind his administration's immigration policy will be economic in nature, and increases to such economically-driven programs as Federal Skilled Worker and Provincial Nominee programs appear to reflect this expressed goal. Further to this, both Federal and Quebec Business class immigration will be streamlined to more accurately target desired business immigrants.
In addition to meeting economic goals, the Government of Canada has expressed other immigration priorities for this year. Of paramount importance is shortening the overall processing times and reducing the backlog of applications currently found in some immigration categories. Steps have been also been made to accommodate a growth in family class applications and improve the Canadian system of asylum and refugee resettlement.
Immigration priorities are determined through a lengthy process of research and dialogue with key economic and social stakeholders. Provinces and Territories are heavily consulted throughout the year for the setting up and running of both provincial and federal immigration programs. Also integral to the decision making process is research on economic conditions and labor market needs. While bringing in immigrants to fill immediate labour shortages, it is also important to seek to address long term issues such as the geographic distribution of labour and the aging Canadian population. Finally, Canada's capacity to welcome newcomers must be in line with immigration goals so that arrivals may be successfully integrated to their new home. Last year, $600 million was allocated for these efforts outside Quebec, and $250 specifically located to the Province of Quebec.
CIC's immigration targets for 2012 can be viewed in detail below: