A new Canadian bill that will fast-track immigration for skilled applicants and slow it for others may have implications for Indians.
Currently, Canada gets about 250,000 new immigrants each year, with the Chinese being the largest group. With India likely to overtake China as the number one source of immigrants for Canada this year, the new bill may have implication for would-be immigrants from India.
While skilled applicants who now wait in New Delhi for up to five years could enter Canada early, others may take the back seat.
The bill, which will amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and was introduced in parliament Friday, also gives the immigration minister the powers to set limits on the category of immigrants that are allowed into Canada each year.
The minister would also be empowered to reject a would-be immigrant even if immigration officers have cleared him or her.
Introducing the bill, Immigration Minister Diane Finley said it aims to "ensure that families are reunited faster and skilled workers arrive sooner." Currently, there is a backlog of over 80,000 applications for immigration to Canada.
The minister said: "One of the challenges facing our immigration system today is the large number of people waiting in the queue. This is especially a problem in the skilled worker category which makes up most of the backlog."
Under the proposed measures, she said, Citizenship and Immigration Canada would have greater flexibility in processing new applications, especially from skilled workers.
"The legislation is intended to provide greater flexibility in addressing a range of labour market needs. It will not apply to refugees and does not affect our objectives related to family reunification.
"Once passed, the new measures will apply to applications received on or after February 27, 2008. Those who applied prior to February 27, 2008, will not be subject to the new measures and will be dealt with fairly under the existing rules," Finley said.
All the three opposition parties are opposed to the bill that, they said, is aimed at shutting the doors on immigrants that Canada needs desperately.