Canada immigration

Canadian immigration policy to focus on family reunification in 2016

by Ray Clancy on March 9, 2016

Immigration policy in Canada in 2016 is to have a particular emphasis on family reunification, the country’s Immigration Minister has announced.

In what he describes as an “ambitious” plan to bring in between 280,000 and 305,000 new permanent residents to Canada, John McCallum, said the country will show global leadership.

“Canada will welcome a greater number of immigrants in 2016 with a special emphasis on family reunification. Canada will reunite families, offer a place of refuge to those fleeing persecution, and support Canada’s long term economic prosperity,” he said.


Through the Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, which includes the 2016 immigration levels plan, he outlined how it will increase levels of family class immigration, which will address the application backlog and reunite families more quickly.

McCallum also explained that the distribution among immigration programmes is designed to support the Government of Canada’s priorities related to the accelerated resettlement of Syrian refugees and reunification of Canadians with their families, while also meeting economic objectives.

Immigration to Canada can be either on a permanent basis or temporary in nature, such as to visit, study or work. Permanent residents are persons who have been admitted to live in Canada on a permanent basis and who have the right to work and study in Canada, but have not become Canadian citizens.

To maintain this status and not become inadmissible, they must continue to meet residency requirements and not violate the conditions of their status. There are three basic classes of permanent residents: economic, family and refugees.

The report points out that to meet the admissions targets set out in the immigration levels plan, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) must balance pressures related to processing high volumes of applications for temporary residence, including work and study permits, and backlog reduction strategies for various permanent immigration programmes. The Department allocates resources to meet operational targets while also maintaining service standards.

The latest official figures available show that Canada admitted 260,404 new permanent residents in 2014, an increase over 2013’s 258,953, but a slightly lower level than the average number of admissions from 2010 to 2014 which was 261,339. Of those, 63.4% were economic immigrants along with their spouse/partner and dependants, 25.6% were in the family reunification category and 11% were in the humanitarian category, including refugees.

More visas were granted to international students who are welcomed for bringing with them new ideas and cultures that enrich the learning environment within Canadian educational institutions. They also make a major economic contribution, spending more than $8 billion dollars in Canada annually.

International students are also regarded as being well prepared for the Canadian labour market and can integrate quickly into Canadian society, primarily due to their Canadian educational credentials.

In 2014, the number of student applications received was 176,802, an 11.1% increase compared to 2013. IRCC issued 127,698 new study permits for international students, a 4% increase from 2013. In addition, a total of 6,937 international study permit holders transitioned to permanent residence through the economic streams.

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