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Revisions to Immigration Act Tabled

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On April 6, 2000, Elinor Caplan, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, introduced a new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in Canada’s Parliament.

The stated goals of the new legislation are to “curb criminal abuse of the immigration refugee systems while expanding policies to attract the world’s best and brightest to Canada.” The new legislation, entitled An Act respecting immigration to Canada and the granting of refugee protection to persons who are displaced, persecuted or in danger, has yet to be passed by Parliament.

A more detailed discussion of the changes proposed by the new legislation will appear in an upcoming edition of the Canada Immigration Newsletter. Some of the more noteworthy changes may be briefly summarized as follows:

* Penalties will be increased for existing offences
* Human trafficking/people smuggling will become an offence
* Sponsorship will be denied to those convicted of spousal abuse, those in default of spousal or child support payments and those on social assistance
* New criteria will be introduced to evaluate business experience for Entrepreneur and Investor permanent residence applicants
* New criteria to maintain permanent resident status will be introduced: individuals must be physically present in Canada for a cumulative period of at least 2 years in every 5 working years
* The right to appeal Visa Officer decisions will be limited and restricted

The Family Class will be expanded to increase the age of “dependent children” from under 19 to under 22.
In addition, new regulations have been promised which will overhaul the selection criteria for Skilled Worker permanent residence applicants. Based upon past experience, applications submitted before the new legislation takes effect will be retroactively “locked in.” In other words, these applications will be assessed based upon the selection criteria in effect prior to the implementation of the new rules. “Locked in” applications will also benefit from any changes to the rules which are to their advantage. Since the proposed changes to the selection criteria have not yet been made public, individuals who qualify under the current selection criteria would be wise to submit their applications as soon as possible.