Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino recently announced that Canada is moving towards a fully online immigration process in its bid to compete for immigrants from all over the world.
“We are moving toawards fully online immigration process”
“My vision for Canada’s immigration system going forward is that it is completely virtual that each and every one of these steps is integrated so that we become the envy of the world,” Minister said in an online interview with TVO.
Canada is already a global leader in putting its online immigration process on the internet, says Marco Mendicino.
“In a world that is continuously going virtual, we are leading the way, especially when it comes to our immigration system,” he said in that interview. “To my knowledge, we are the only ones that have moved our citizenship ceremony online, and now we are also advancing into the digital space when it comes to testing applicants.”
Last year, on Canada Day, the country held its first-ever virtual citizenship ceremony. During the global pandemic, that ceremony on the 1st of July was specifically for healthcare workers.
According to Mendicino, Canada has been able to use its Express Entry system and leverage its online services to help new immigrants settle into their communities by getting them the skills, supports, and services they need before their arrival.
Currently, Canada charges citizenship fees of $630 per adult which includes a $530 processing fee and another $100 right of citizenship feel. During the last general election, the ruling Liberal Party of Canada promised to waive or cut those fees. That has not yet happened.
But the Minister hinted at a possible pending announcement in the interview, saying “I really am excited about the prospect of reducing barriers. So, stay tuned for more.”
Although immigration fell off significantly last year due to border and travel restrictions, Canada has raised immigration target levels. It is planning to bring in more immigrants than ever.
The federal government of Canada wants to welcome more than 1.2 million new permanent immigrants between 2021 and 2023. There are to be 401,000 newcomers to Canada this year, 411,000 next year, and 421,000 in 2023.
Mendicino Says Canada Fully Committed To Immigration
In the TVO interview, Minister Marco Mendicino reiterates Canada’s commitment to immigration.
“When I presented the immigration plan a little while ago, we could have put a pause, we could have reversed, we could have reduce immigration but I believe, I strongly believe and our government believes that through immigration we will continue to grow our economy,” he says.
“I’m confident that we can hit the immigration levels that we have set … I am confident because we are innovating at an alarming speed … We have created new policies that will allow people into the Canada, but in a manner that is safe.”
The drop in immigration last year due to border restrictions has led Canada to look at other sources of future new permanent residents.
Among them are international students and temporary foreign workers already living in Canada.
Temporary foreign workers, International Students Seen as Valuable Sources of New Permanent Residents
“We have got a unique opportunity to take a look at the local immigration population that is already within our borders …. temporary foreign workers who work in the healthcare sector (or) who work in the building trades,” said Minister Mendicino in the interview.
The immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is also taking a harder look at international students and trying to figure out how to encourage many of them to stay in Canada after their studies.
“These are among the brightest who are the early stages of their lives and have chosen Canada to come and take part in an education,” said Mendicino. “They are very much looking forward to settling and contributing.
“I believe we have an opportunity to move forward and hit some of those buttons.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, international students in Canada provide a $21.6 billion annual boost to the Canadian economy. However, this school year, many of them had to stay back in their home countries and take their courses online while awaiting the opportunity to come to Canada and take in-person university or college classes.
“We have revived immigration pathways to enable them return to Canada,” says Marco Mendicino.
“We have created a two-stage process that allows foreign students begin their studies abroad online. For those who are already living here, already giving back, who are volunteers on the front lines of hospitals and care home facilities where we desperately need those reinforcements, we have created permanent work,” says the Mendicino.