The Canadian government has forecast its intake of newcomers to the country in 2017 will remain at the levels seen this year, but prospective migrants from countries such as India may have reason for cheer as targets for categories under which they are admitted have been raised.
Canada’s minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship John McCallum announced the 2017 immigration plan, the first of the Justin Trudeau government, after nationwide consultations. The government expects to welcome 300,000 new immigrants into Canada next year, the same figure as 2016.
However, a drop in the intake of refugees means the quotas for the economic and family reunification classes will be enhanced.
In 2016, the target for the economic class – the category most used by Indian immigrants – was at 160,600. This has now been upped to 172,500. The family reunification class has been increased by 4,000 to 84,000.
Leading immigration lawyer Ravi Jain, of Toronto-based Green and Spiegel LLP, said: “This new target will benefit Indians as there will be more room to bring in Indian immigrants through both the family class and the economic stream.
“I have already seen a decrease in processing time for my Indian clients who are sponsoring spouses and I expect that parental sponsorships will be processed faster as well.”
The new plan could also be helpful for students from India, as Jain pointed out, “With the higher number of economic class immigrants coming in every year going forward, there will be room for the government to award higher points for Indian international students so that they can once again more smoothly transition to permanent residence.”
The announcement comes days before McCallum leaves for a week-long visit to India, during which he will travel to Amritsar, New Delhi and Chandigarh.
Data released for 2015 showed India was among the top two source countries for new permanent residents. With 39,530 admitted that year, a slight increase over 2014, Indians only trailed permanent residents from the Philippines.
McCullum said in a statement, “The 2017 levels plan will put Canada in a strong position for the future and support our overall economic and social development as a country.”
While there were demands during the consultation process to increase the levels of immigration to 450,000 annually, Macullum settled on a figure that matched the one for 2016, partly due to a record influx of refugees, particularly from Syria.
In his statement introducing the immigration plan, McCallum said, “In 2017, economic immigration programs will see an overall increase of 7% over 2016. Immigrants with skills and experience are able to quickly contribute to the Canadian economy and society, improving life for the middle class as they help create jobs, spur innovation and strengthen communities.”