In April, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivered the 2021 budget in the House of Commons. It highlighted key areas in need of development to ensure the competitiveness of Canada, and put in motion steps to help Canada’s economy recover and rebound stronger and more resilient. As part of the Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience after the shattering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the immigration system was identified as a core component in Canada’s economic strength.
Modernize IT infrastructure
Starting next year Ottawa will invest $428.9 million over the next five years (with $398.5 million in remaining amortization) to replace the Global Case Management System (GCMS). This system is used to manage immigration applications with an enterprise-wide digital platform. According to the budget, this investment will allow the federal government to speed up the processing of applications and give more support to applicants by as early as 2023.
Streamline Express Entry
Canada hopes to welcome more than 1.2 million newcomers between 2021 and 2023. This breaks down to 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021; 411,000 in 2022; and 421,000 in 2023.
The current Express Entry system is not responsive enough to select applicants to fill particular labour market needs. The budget suggested a change to provide the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship of Canada (IRCC) with authority to use Ministerial Instructions to select candidates who best meet Canada’s labor market needs from a growing pool of candidates who wish to become permanent residents through the Express Entry System. In other words, additionally to federal draws that focus on an applicant’s Comprehensive Ranking Score, IRCC will conduct draws based on the applicant’s area of work experience. This will allow the selection of certain applicants in response to labor market needs.
Enhance the Temporary Foreign Worker program
$110 million has been set aside over the next three years, starting next year, to support temporary foreign workers:
- $49.5 million for Employment and Social Development Canada to support community-based organizations which provide services to migrant workers, including orientation services and emergency help, through the Migrant Worker Support Program;
- $54.9 million for Employment and Social Development Canada and IRCC to up inspections of employers and ensure temporary foreign workers have the right working conditions and wages;
- $6.3 million for IRCC to support faster processing and improved service delivery of open work permits for vulnerable workers.
In addition to this, the budget also pledged $12 billion over the next two years to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy. This may help foreign workers remain employed in Canada, contributing to overall economic recovery while helping them gain the required Canadian work experience needed to transfer their status from temporary to permanent.
Support racialized newcomer women
Language skills, lack of Canadian experience, lack of affordable child care, and discrimination are major barriers that newcomers face, especially women. To minimize these obstacles, the budget will provide $15 million over the next two years for IRCC’s Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot which was a program announced in the government’s 2018 budget with the purpose of boosting job and networking opportunities for racialized women. The budget allocated a total of $558.9 million to strengthen Canada’s immigration system. That may help Canada remain the most desirable location in the world for migrants for years to come.
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