Canadian Government to Legislate Elimination of 280,000 Immigration Applications

The Conservative government proposed to eliminate 280,000 applications filed before February 27th 2008 for the Federal Skilled Worker Program in last Thursday’s federal budget.

If this proposal is approved, as it is expected to be, the hundreds of thousands of applicants affected will either have to give up on their hopes of immigrating to Canada or re-apply under new immigration rules.

For the last few years, the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Ministry has been searching for a way to solve the massive backlog in the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has previously suggested that Canada adopt New Zealand’s approach and legislate an end to the backlog. With Thursday’s announcment, that option has officially been selected.

The wipe-out will cost the Canadian government $130 million in the refunding of application fees paid by those who applied under the Federal Skilled Worker Program before the February 27th 2008 cut-off date and whose files are being closed.

Mr. Kenney says the new immigration system that will replace the current one after the backlog has been eliminated will create a pool of immigration applicants and allow provinces to nominate those who they believe are most promising to have their application fast-tracked.

The Canadian government believes this will create an immigration system that is more responsive to the needs of Canadian employers and select applicants that have skills more greatly demanded by the Canadian economy.

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