Canada's Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum, has stated that his department aims to speed up processing times for family class immigration, economic immigrants and refugee claimants by applying the lessons it learned from bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada over recent months.
“We have to re-engineer our whole department in terms of the processes we follow, the speed at which we do it — and we can draw on the experience we’ve just had with the refugees,” said McCallum in a speech yesterday at the Metropolis Conference, an annual national conference on immigration issues in Toronto.
“The people in my department, they learned how to do processes concurrently rather than consecutively. They learned how to do things quicker. They learned how to drop certain parts of processes that weren’t really needed."
With processing times that often stretch into two years or longer, McCallum described processing times under the Family Class of Canadian immigration as "a mess." Processing of sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents takes more than four years.
“We want to reform our own economic immigrant processes,” added McCallum. The government plans to meet with provincial governments and will look into handing more control over the selection of economic migrants to the provinces through the Provincial Nominee Programs, he explained.
McCallum also said that the government will consider the provincial governments’ views on immigration schemes for low- and semi-skilled migrants, making it easier for international students to settle in Canada, and whether there is a need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in certain instances. In most cases currently. a positive LMIA must be obtained by businesses wishing to hire internationally in order to prove that no Canadian citizens or permanent residents are ready, willing, and able to take a job for which they plan to hire a foreign worker.