PRESS RELEASE March 31, 2008 “Budget Changes Threaten to Rock the Foundation of Immigration” Immigration consultants offer alternatives CAPIC Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants – ACCPI L’Association Canadienne des Conseillers Professionnels en Immigration (CAPIC-ACCPI) strongly objects to recent proposals included in the budget bill which would fundamentally change Canada’s Immigration system by giving the Minister of Immigration the right to deny an application even after it has been approved by a Visa Officer. The view of immigration professionals is that the change is unnecessary. They offer alternatives for dealing with the issue of backlogs. Since the recent proposals apply only to applications filed after February 27th, 2008, they will not affect the backlog of permanent resident applications. Any processing time the government frees up will have to be directed to processing the new Canada Experience Class and the rapidly growing Temporary Worker programs. Those waiting in the Skilled Worker Backlog will still be waiting for many years to come. In view of Canada’s urgent economic needs, in particular growing labour shortages, it is not difficult to understand why the Minister might want more powers, but there is another, better way without resorting to what she has proposed. CAPIC suggest that the following be done to reduce the backlog and meet the urgent need for more workers: • increasing immigration intake levels to 1% of Canada’s population • funding CIC infrastructure projects such as replacing paper files with electronic files so they can select immigrants with needed skills who are in the backlog and expedite their processing; • encourage better decision making practices at Visa Posts to approve needed Temporary Workers, eliminating employers’ frustrations; • working with HRSDC to exempt most companies in BC and Alberta from having to spend months proving what everyone knows – that there are not enough workers available in Canada to meet their needs; • preventing the backlog from growing by announcing a negative list of occupations – a list of occupations excluded from qualifying applicants for immigration, based on sectors of high unemployment which exist in any economy; • changing the way that processing times for applications are reported to a simple “we are now processing applications received on [day/month/year]” would give applicants a much better idea how long they will have to wait. CIC already does this for some applications filed in Canada. No one can control how many people want to come to Canada, so no one can control the size of the backlog. Applicants only want to know that their applications have been received, and how long processing will take. Experience with other systems shows that this will reduce complaints which will therefore reduce the burden on the dedicated professionals in CIC who are already working at full capacity. We believe our suggestions would make great progress towards improving the system, and note that the Minister already has the authority do all of the above. -30- CAPIC Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants – ACCPI L’Association Canadienne des Conseillers Professionnels en Immigration (CAPIC-ACCPI) CAPIC-ACCPI is the largest association of Canadian immigration consultants and all registered full members agree to abide by the Code of Ethics mandated by the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC). CAPIC supports continuous improvement in all areas of the Canadian immigration system, and works tirelessly to champion the cause of fair treatment of our clients and to have our members recognized as professionals deserving of our client’s trust.
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