|Subject: New's about immigration
||Immigration levels to rise 40 per cent
September 23, 2005
OTTAWA -- Canada´s current immigration levels would rise 40 per cent within five years under a plan that will soon be presented to the federal cabinet, The Canadian Press has learned.
Prime Minister Paul Martin described immigration in a speech this week as key to Canada´s economic success in an era defined by low birth rates, an aging population and an ever-deepening shortage of skilled workers.
His immigration minister will address that challenge by announcing the target by Nov. 1 after consulting cabinet colleagues.
Joe Volpe will table a document in Parliament setting out the goal and will also deliver a wide-ranging plan for meeting it in a presentation to his cabinet colleagues next month.
Volpe declined to provide specifics but said something needs to be done to ramp up the country´s immigration levels.
"We´ve got to have more," the minister said in an interview Friday. "There isn´t a place in the country that hasn´t used that four-letter word: `More´."
Volpe said the reality of Canada´s immigration needs hit home as he travelled the country over the last five months and heard the same refrain from coast to coast, in rich and poor provinces and in urban and rural areas.
Government sources say his proposed target would see immigration levels rise to one per cent of the Canadian population within five years -- or about 328,000 per year and growing.
That would represent an increase of about 40 per cent from last year´s level of 235,824 people who became permanent residents of Canada -- which fell within the government´s current target range of 220,000 to 245,000 new residents per year.
Prime ministers have long cited the one-per-cent goal without success. Volpe´s plan would set out a strategy for finally achieving the target, though one Opposition critic said the Liberals are merely recycling a broken promise.
"I find it interesting that after 12 years the Liberals are talking about meeting their own targets," said Tory critic Diane Ablonczy.
"Parliament´s going to want to know -- what´s changed?"
Municipal and provincial officials, labour leaders and businesspeople struck a recurring theme while lobbying Volpe over the summer.
Economic growth is being hampered in places like Edmonton, Calgary and Fort McMurray because they can´t fill jobs fast enough, Volpe said.
Rural communities in Atlantic Canada are dying and existing public services such as schools and hospitals are emptying for lack of use.
About 6,000 long-haul trucks are sitting empty in New Brunswick because there aren´t enough truckers to fill the available spots, he said.
Volpe said he also heard that 5,000 skilled jobs needed to be filled in Saskatoon. In Abbotsford, B.C., the need was for 1,000 computer engineers for graphic- and video-game design.
"There´s a big sea change in perspective in the entire country -- virtually everywhere you go. And I do mean everywhere," Volpe said.
"It doesn´t matter if it´s Edmonton or Calgary, small towns like Trail, (B.C.), or smaller major cities like Fredericton. The issue is the same: `We want more immigration´."
But Volpe also encountered frustration from officials lamenting Ottawa´s failure at steering immigrants to regions of the country where they´re needed most.
He conceded that Canada´s immigration system has done a poor job informing computer-digital engineers, for instance, of the booming market for their skills in Abbotsford.
Proposals presented to cabinet will be aimed at improving programs to attract foreign university students and keep them here. Better ways to spread immigration across the country and reducing the bureaucratic backlogs that slow down the application process will also be put forward.
"Both business and labour, and government officials are starting to say: `We need to change the way the department operates´." Volpe said.
"Essentially what they´re really saying is that the department has been in management mode.
"Are we (now) prepared to go out and actually recruit people -- to sell the destination points in Canada and the local economies around Canada that go begging for people?"
Speeding up the bureaucratic machine will be another challenge.
Some estimates peg the average backlog of permanent-residence visas at 700,000 -- more than triple the number approved each year and a cause of frustratingly long waiting times for people applying through the system.
The prime minister laid out the challenges facing the immigration system in a speech this week to Ottawa civil servants. He also said Canada must do a better job getting immigrants to apply their skills on this country´s job market.
"Canada needs more immigrants, plain and simple, and we need them to succeed," Martin said.
"Too often today´s new Canadians, despite higher levels of education ... are not achieving economic success as previous generations.
"We will keep -- indeed we must keep -- our doors open to immigrants of all classes and refugees from around the world. But as the numbers increase we also must be more active in recruiting immigrants who meet Canada´s evolving needs."
Ablonczy, the Tory critic, said she wants to see a new national agency help co-ordinate the recognition of skills credentials.
If immigrants aren´t able to put their foreign diplomas to use here the federal government isn´t doing them any favours, she said.
"Bringing more people into a badly mismanaged system is going to cause newcomers a problem they shouldn´t have to face," she said.
"To bring people in to have them fall behind without fixing the main problem ... that´s not fair to them."
? Canadian Press 2005
| (in reply to: New's about immigration)
THIS IS A GOOD NEWS FOR ALL THOSE WHO HAD APPLIED FOR PERMANANT RESIDENCY FOR CANADA.IT WILL DECREASE THE PROCESSING TIMES.BUT WILL IT ALSO EFFECT THE PROCESSING TIMES FOR FAMILY SPONSERSHIP CASES ?????
AND DO U THINK SHAWN THAT CANADA GOVERNMENT WILL TAKE EARLY STEPS TO FINISH THIS BACKLOG OF 7,00,000. ?????
| (in reply to: New's about immigration)
There may be fast-tracking for those who are willing to settle outside the major cities like Toronto. See towards the end of this article: