In Parliament on Friday, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney tabled his immigration plan for 2010.
Although the overall target will remain the same as in 2009 — 240,000-265,000 new immigrants — there will definitely be some big winners and losers in the year to come.
The big winners in the immigration game this year are the provinces, Quebec in particular, which will be handed the right to pick an even greater percentage of Canada’s immigrants than they have in the past.
In 2008, we accepted 43,360 skilled workers who came to Canada accompanied by 60,376 spouses and children. This overall total will drop to about 101,000 from 103,700 in 2010, with a greater percentage being reserved for those destined for Quebec. What is truly surprising about this number is that immigration experts expected the skilled worker program would be reduced so that the immigration department can allow for increased numbers in the Canadian Experience Class, which was introduced in September, 2008. The immigration department allowed for 5,000-7,500 immigrants to be landed in this category in 2009. However, it is only planning to admit 2,670-2,856 in this category in 2010. Most expected that the CEC would expand and the skilled worker program would contract. Inexplicably, the opposite is being planned.
Our once-proud business immigration program will continue to take a beating in 2010. In 2008, Canada received 447 entrepreneurs (who promised to start a business here), 164 “self-employed” individuals (farmers, and those contributing to artistic or cultural life in Canada) and 2,831 investors (who gave our government an interest-free loan of $400,000 for five years). Including their dependants, this group of 12,400 in 2008 will drop further to 10,800-11,620 individuals, a 6.5-13 per cent reduction.
So much for attracting foreign capital to stimulate our sagging economy.
Nannies should be smiling as their numbers could increase by nearly nine per cent in 2010. In 2008, 6,157 nannies were landed here with 4,300 dependants in tow. While this number is welcome given the fact that we have an aging society and more in-home care is needed, this number is hard to reconcile with a mere 3,442 business immigrants landed in 2008.
In 2008, Canada landed 21,860 refugees and is planning to land anywhere from 19,600-26,000 in 2010. I am betting that the actual number will be closer to the lower number than the higher, leading to a drop rather than a gain.
Also, it looks like humanitarian applications will be harder to get approved. Such applications are usually made by those who are here for a long time without status and are ultimately allowed to stay. In 2008, we accepted 10,627 in this category. This number will definitely drop to anywhere from 7,000-9,000 i.e. a huge drop in compassion of about 15-34 per cent.
Finally, I have some advice for those Canadians who might be falling in love with someone overseas. You will need more patience in 2010 because the line for sponsoring spouses (and any children) will be getting even longer. In 2008, we sponsored 47,451 spouses and children. In 2010, the immigration department has only budgeted for 42,000-45,000. With our growing population, it is hard to understand why the department would think Canadians would need to sponsor fewer spouses and children next year. In fact, the 42,000 figure hasn’t been seen in Canada since before 2003. Typically the department will stick to their numbers regardless of our needs. As usual, we will just have to be patient.
That is the plan for 2010.
– Guidy Mamann practices law in Toronto at Mamann, Sandaluk and is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as an immigration specialist. Reach him confidentially at 416-862-0000 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.