Ottawa eases immigration rules
Need for more skilled workers necessitated change, Coderre says
OTTAWA – The federal government is easing the rules for immigrants to enter Canada, ending a long-standing grievance by thousands of applicants.
Immigration Minister Denis Coderre announced today that a backlog of about 100,000 immigration applicants will be allowed to apply to Canada under an old set of rules that place fewer barriers to entry.
The minister is also lowering the grade level for assessing people who want to immigrate.
“These proposed changes reflect the principles of fairness, openness and flexibility which form the core of Canada’s immigration program,” Coderre said.
A restrictive immigration law that came into effect in the spring of 2002 had required backlogged applicants to qualify under the new rules – even though they had originally applied before those rules came into force.
Coderre came under fire from immigration lawyers and a federal court judge, who said the grandfathering of the restrictive rules was unfair.
With regard to assessing immigrants, applicants will soon be required to pass a mark of 67 on a scale that measures language and skill levels. That’s down from the pass mark of 75 set out in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Coderre said the change is being made to help attract more skilled workers to Canada.
Canada currently allows between 220,000 and 245,000 people to immigrate each year. New targets are expected in about a month.