New government may bring immigration changes

20 Oct 15



Canada has elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose Liberal Party will take a majority in the House of Commons, earning a mandate to pass reforms, which could include changes to immigration policy.

The party platform includes several proposals that, if implemented, would make migration more flexible for foreign nationals and family members. They include the following:

  • Increase resources for family class immigration. A proposed doubling of the budget for family class applicants would speed processing times for spousal, parent and grandparent sponsorships.
  • Raise the quota for parent and grandparent sponsorships. A proposed doubling of the quota from 5,000 to 10,000 applicants per year would allow more applicants into this popular program.
  • Award Express Entry points to applicants with family ties in Canada. Applicants with siblings in Canada would earn more points in Express Entry.
  • Give new spouses immediate permanent residence status. Spouses would no longer have to wait during a two-year conditional status before applying for permanent residence.
  • Allow children to qualify as dependents up to age 22. In August 2014, the government lowered the age of dependency to 19 years old, preventing foreign nationals working in Canada from bringing older, university-aged children with them. A return to the older age of dependency would alleviate this restriction and allow parents to include children up to age 22 on their applications.
  • Grant Mexican nationals visa exemptions. This change would eliminate lengthy consular visa processing for Mexican nationals and facilitate visitor visas and work permits under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
  • Review of the LMIA application fee. A review and possible reduction in the CA$1,000 (about US $770) LMIA fee for certain cases would reduce barriers for employers recruiting foreign national employees.

BAL Analysis: The new government has not implemented any of its proposals yet and it is too early to tell which reforms may be pursued or adopted. BAL will update clients should there be any changes in immigration policy.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Canada. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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