Canada expects up to 265,000 new immigrants in 2009

Improvements to skilled worker program will speed up application process
||Last Updated: 01/23/2009

The federal government will accept between 240,000 and 265,000 new permanent residents in 2009 and is working to make the immigration process more responsive to employer needs, according to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

“While countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia are talking about taking fewer immigrants, our planned numbers for 2009 are on par with last year and are among the highest for this country over the past 15 years,” said Jason Kenney.

The 2009 plan includes up to 156,600 immigrants in the economic category, 71,000 in the family category and 37,400 in the humanitarian category.

In order to make the immigration program more responsive to Canada’s labour market, visa officers reviewing new federal skilled worker applications are instructed to process those from candidates who:

• are in 38 high-demand occupations such as health, skilled trades, finance and resource extraction; or

• have an offer of arranged employment or have already been living legally in Canada for one year as a temporary foreign worker or international student.

The list of 38 occupations was developed after consultations with the provinces and territories, business, labour and other stakeholders.

“We expect new federal skilled worker applicants, including those with arranged employment, to receive a decision within six to 12 months compared with up to six years under the old system,” said Kenney.

New federal skilled worker applications that do not meet the eligibility criteria outlined above will not be processed, and the application fee will be fully refunded.

“The eligibility criteria apply only to new federal skilled worker applicants and will not affect Canada’s family reunification or refugee protection goals,” said Kenney, adding applicants could also qualify under the provincial nominee program or as temporary foreign workers.

The ministry's website includes a specific section for employers and a new interactive tool that matches information provided by potential applicants with immigration programs that best suit their circumstances.

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