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Canada has elected a new Government. What does it mean for work permits?

After leading the government of Canada since 2006, the Conservative party was handed a significant defeat last night, as the Liberal Party was elected to a majority leadership. The Conservatives have been known for implementing many changes in the past several years, many of them surrounding permanent and temporary immigration programs. Some of these changes were likely needed: permanent resident programs were plagued with enormous delays and selection criteria that was decidedly out of date. The Conservatives overhauled this and the current permanent resident programs are being processed in roughly six months. However, in order to do this, the Conservatives essentially closed the door on hundreds of thousands of applicants who had submitted applications in good faith, waited for years, and then were then told that their cases would simply not be processed.

Some of the changes implemented by the Conservatives have been debated. Following a number of media-fuelled embarrassments surrounding fraud and abuse in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, a series of overhauls were announced in the 2013 and the most significant in June of 2014. This all saw processing fees raise from $0 to $1000 per person, and demands for eligibility increased significantly. Certainly, anything that reduces or eliminates fraud is needed. However, the baby has been thrown out with the bath water, and legitimate businesses face much more difficulty getting temporary help that they need from outside of the country. A good example of this had been servicing of foreign-manufactured machinery, although there has recently been expansion of programs for out of warranty equipment that alleviates some of the difficulties there.

So what will happen with work permit programs now, under the newly elected Liberal government? It’s hard to say for sure. Certainly, we should see a decrease in processing backlogs for inland extension and change-of-terms applications. The Conservatives had employed a classic election-year strategy of dedicating most of their inland immigration resources to citizenship applications in order to try to increase the number of votes that they might receive. This did not pay off, and inland delays are at an all-time high as a result of this. With the election over, we should see processing times start to decrease as immigration officials return to their normal responsibilities. However, it will take time to clean up the backlog that has been created.

We will need to wait to see what other changes the Liberals have in mind. Those measures that were implemented in order to eliminate fraud should be maintained and strengthened. Perhaps there should be modification of fees based on the duration of the required stay in Foreign Worker applications. Hopefully, the new government has other ideas that will continue to seek to improve the various programs.

Date Posted: October 20, 2015 Posted In: Express Entry,Labour Market Impact Assessment,Temporary Work Permits

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