Bill C-31 was read for a third time in Parliament earlier this week and was passed into law. The new Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act.
Among other things, the Act cancels applications filed before 2008, which affects 284,000 applicants worldwide. Of the people bumped out of line by the changes, about 12,000 are from mainland China or Hong Kong. The government has set aside $130-million to refund application fees and says applicants are free to try again under the new criteria.
According to the government, a heavy backlog of applications has made it impossible for government to respond to Canada’s rapidly changing labour market needs. Nearly 400,000 foreign arrivals came to Canada last year, with a majority settling within the core metro regions of Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, according to CIC statistics.
- the immigration minister would have the power to choose which countries are safe without a committee including human rights experts
- rejected refugee claimants from countries on the safe country list would no longer be able to appeal the decision to the Immigration and Refugee Board
- claimants from countries on the safe country list would have to wait a year before applying for compassionate and humanitarian considerations to become permanent residents, and could be deported in the meanwhile
- claimants from countries on the safe country list would be able ask for a judicial review by the Federal Court, but could be deported before the court makes a decision
- biometric identification would be implemented for people that apply for visas to visit Canada
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