Canadian federal election will have implications on immigration to Canada

CIC News
Published: September 29, 2008

On October 14th, a Canadian federal election will be held to either re-elect the governing Conservatives, or to elect a new party and Prime Minister.  Given the changes to Canadian immigration policy that have taken place over the past few months, the outcome of this election will have important implications for immigration to Canada.  If the Conservatives and Prime Minister Stephen Harper are re-elected, their new immigration priorities (which are, as yet unknown to the public) will finally be put into practice. If not, other political parties plan to repeal the amendments and introduce their own strategies for modernizing and streamlining the Canadian immigration system.

Stephen Harper's Conservatives are currently a minority government in the House of Commons. Because of this, they have faced a lot of opposition since taking office in 2006, including much resistance to their amendments to the Immigration Act this spring.  Harper hopes that he will capture more seats in the upcoming election so that his government can make up a majority in the House of Commons, and thereby be able to effect changes and address issues more easily and more quickly.

Regardless of whether a majority or a minority, if the Conservatives are re-elected, the immigration changes that they have been talking about since March, will finally be put into practice, and all those Federal Skilled Worker applicants that have been frozen in the system since February 27th, will finally know their fate.

If Conservative plans are carried out, it seems that Federal Skilled Worker applicants will be selected based on whether their occupations are on Citizenship and Immigration Canada's (CIC) recently established list of 38 qualifying occupations. Applicants whose occupations are on this list and who meet the minimum points requirements under the Federal Skilled Worker category will be qualified for Permanent Residency. Those whose occupations are not on the list, will need to apply for Canadian Permanent Residency through the Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP), if they can qualify.

According to CIC Minister Diane Finley, this list will not be made public until later in the fall.

In the meantime, Stephane Dion, leader of the Liberal party, has announced his plan for Canadian immigration, if elected as Prime Minister. In addition to repealing the Conservative amendments, the Liberal party would allocate $800 million to modernize and streamline the Canadian immigration system.

$400 million would go towards clearing out the existing backlog of applicants. $200 million would be allocated to a new initiative to help immigrants succeed in the workforce, called "Bridge to Work" - a program to help them with foreign credential recognition, training and accreditation, and access to internships, mentorships, and work placement opportunities.  Another $200 million would be invested in a language training program.

Read more about what the election results will mean on for prospective applicants on David Cohen's blog.

Throughout the coming month, keep checking the Immigration News section of to keep up-to-date as to the election results and their implications on Canadian immigration.

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