By James E. Turner, Barrister and Solicitor
A new Canada Immigration Act, the first entirely new statute since 1978, will become law in the next few months. At present, the new Immigration Act is still under consideration by Canada's Parliament, and Canada's government will doubtlessly revise its final terms before it becomes law. At Gordon & Velletta our lawyers make a point of staying current, not only with existing laws, but also with any new legislation that might be expected to affect the areas of law we practice. While the final terms of Canada's new Immigration Act will not be known for certain until it becomes law, some general trends are obvious at this time.
The general philosophy of Canada's new Immigration Act is to provide Immigration Officers with more discretion and clearer guidelines on how to use their discretion. In general, the new Immigration Act should make it easier for deserving applicants to enter Canada, while preserving Canada's right to security and its ability to screen out criminals. Some important changes are:
Expansion of the Independent Class.
It is expected that more emphasis will be placed on skills, work experience, and adaptability for Independent Class Immigrants. Until now, a rigid point system has frequently resulted in worthy applicants being forced into "pigeon holes" to qualify for Immigration, regardless of their qualifications and their ability to contribute to Canada.
Returning Resident Permit.
The new Immigration Act will recognize the increasingly global nature of the economy by making it easier for Landed Immigrants to maintain their connections to their home country without risk to their status in Canada. Under present rules a person must be present in Canada for 183 days of the year or risk losing his status as a Permanent Residence. Under the proposed rules, a person will only have to spend 2 years out of 5 in Canada in order to keep his or her status.
It is expected that the new Act will clarify and expand the ability of foreign workers or Canadian employers of foreign workers to obtain work visas or employment authorizations. This is a welcome step, which is expected to assist Canada's economy as well as the lives of those who wish to come to Canada and work without immigrating.
However, there are some changes which may make it more difficult for some individuals to immigrate to Canada. The Self-Employed Class is expected to be clarified and limited to artists, entertainers, athletes, and those otherwise contributing to the artistic and cultural life of Canada. It is anticipated that under the new rules, the Self-Employed Class will not apply to business people as it currently does.
After September 11
Many of our clients ask if the terrible tragedies of September 11, 2001 in New York City will affect Canadian Immigration Law. While no one can know for certain, we expect that legitimate immigrants will not find it more difficult to come to Canada. While the Canadian Government is likely to be more careful in confirming identity and background checks, no substantive changes will be made to the immigration categories themselves. Canada will continue to be a country which will openly accept people from all countries, religions, and nationalities in the world.
Why It May Be Best To Apply Now
Although we have tried in this article to give our best assessment, no one can know for sure what changes will be made to the Immigration Law of Canada. If you are considering immigrating to Canada, you should make your application now in case the law changes to your disadvantage. Applications filed before the law changes will be assessed under the existing law.
If you have any questions, please contact James E. Turner at email@example.com or call Toll Free 1-866-383-9104.