In this interview, director of immigration Jim Metcalfe talks about Canadian immigration news.
300,000 Immigrants To Canada In 2016
Q: Minister McCallum recently said that Canada will welcome 300,000 immigrants in 2016, mainly from the family and refugee class. What do you think of the plan?
Jim Metcalfe: I believe Mr. McCallum has a very ambitious plan. Although I am certain he is going to tell his people to do their best, I think it is going to be very difficult to deliver the results. One of the problems he has is that the previous government closed offices, cut back on the number of Canada-based officers working in the program, and created an application process with multiple forms for collecting redundant information. It’s going to take a lot to overcome that. I wish him good luck, however I don’t believe he will be able to achieve his targets with the current mindset of the officers and decision-makers he has in the field right now.
Temporary Foreign Workers
Q: We have received questions from Temporary Foreign Workers who want to stay in Canada. Is there a path to permanent residency for them?
JM: Tempoary foreign workers in Canada can apply for permanent residence in Canada under the Express Entry program. However, the problem is that the program is points-driven. Unless the applicant has a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or is chosen under a provincial program, the average person will not score high enough to be one of the “chosen.”
Canadian Immigration Delays
Q: You talk a lot about delays in the system. How is the new government doing in regards to long application wait times?
JM: First of all, the government has to recognize that they have a problem in processing applications with respect to lengthy delays. It sounds like they’re paying more attention to it now, but they should establish targets for processing. I would suggest that spouses should be processed within 10 months of the application being submitted to the processing centre in Mississauga, Canada. Processing at that office takes approximately four months. Processing by posts abroad should be limited to six months on average. This was done in the past with some success.
I believe that this type of service commitment should become part of the immigration program and it should be written into the program’s regulations. While there always will be exceptions to the rule for taking extra time with specific applications, there is no need to make sponsored spouses and children wait for any great length of time.
Q: Immigration news reports had investor issues back in the headlines. The Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Programattracted only 6 investors instead of the desired 60. What is wrong with this program and how can it be fixed so investors will want to use it?
JM: I really don’t think anybody understands the program. I, for one, have difficulty understanding what the concept is because the program is not very transparent. I would scrap it completely.
In the past, my team and I suggested that the government of Canada start a program in which investors could put money into an infrastructure fund, for example to help build bridges and toll roads. These would be real investment projects that Canadians could see and touch. Unfortunately, our efforts fell on deaf ears. I really think that the ministry should think outside the box and come up with programs which would be attractive to high net worth persons and that these investors should be prepared to commit at least $1 million into projects which will assist in the development of infrastructure. Their investment should also have an element of risk, so it isn’t just a case of “buying a passport.” Make investors put skin in the game and give Canadians something they need.