Halifax, April 19, 2012. Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney spoke to the Halifax Chamber of Commerce today and outlined how a transformed immigration system would benefit Nova Scotians and all Canadians.
In his speech, the Minister outlined a series of changes to the immigration system that are expected to make it faster, more flexible and more focused on jobs, growth and prosperity.
“Canada is looking for workers who can fill our labour market needs now,” Minister Kenney said. “My vision for the immigration system is one that can get immigrants here with a job offer in hand, within months of applying to come to Canada.”
Proposed changes to the economic immigration system include:
- eliminating the backlog of old Federal Skilled Worker applications;
- modernizing how workers are selected under that program to better reflect the importance of younger immigrants with Canadian work experience and better language skills;
- updating federal business immigration programming related to investors and entrepreneurs;
- creating a new Federal Skilled Trades program;
- modifying the Canadian Experience Class to better facilitate skilled temporary workers’ successful transition to permanent residence;
- developing a “start-up” visa that would link immigrant entrepreneurs with investors;
- strengthening the assessment of education credentials of applicants to the Federal Skilled Workers Program;
- exploring, with provinces, territories and employers, approaches to developing a pool of skilled workers who are ready to begin employment in Canada; and
- setting minimum language requirements and shifting to a solely economic focus within the Provincial Nominee Program.
“These reforms would help Nova Scotians in tangible ways,” said Minister Kenney. “Together, they will make our immigration system faster and more flexible. This will help Nova Scotia and all regions of the country ensure that they are getting the people they need where and when they are needed.”
In his speech to the Chamber of Commerce today, Minister Kenney announced the results of a pilot program that tested the impact of vouchers on uptake of language services funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
Under the 2009 pilot, close to 2,000 newcomers in Ontario, Alberta and Nova Scotia were randomly sent vouchers, inviting them to take advantage of free language training at a local service provider in their community. This group was compared with over 24,000 newcomers with similar profiles who did not receive vouchers. The use of the vouchers saw an increased uptake of these services by almost 25%.
“We also discovered something else – that among all the newcomers monitored by CIC, over 98% of clients accessing their first language service did so in their province of destination during their first year of permanent residence,” said Minister Kenney. “This is important, as it supports our current approach to providing settlement funding based on where immigrants land in Canada.”
The pilot findings will be incorporated into CIC’s ongoing work to review its settlement programming and ensure that it continues to respond efficiently to both the needs of newcomers and the expectations of Canadians.