Two major events over the next coming months will shape Canada’s immigration system for years to come.
Firstly, a new mandate letter is expected to be written by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to immigration minister Marco Mendicino. This letter will address Canada’s new immigration priorities and it may be released shortly, perhaps next week.
The second is Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan from 2021-2023. The plan will clearly states Canada’s new permanent residence targets in the next three years and it may be announced by October 30th.
More about the new immigration mandate letter
In Canada, the prime minister usually states the responsibilities that they want their respective cabinet members to undertake while the ruling party manages the government.
In this case, the Prime Minister will provide minister Marco Mendicino with a letter that will guide his efforts to lead the operations of the Canada immigration department, also commonly known as the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
In what will be a rare occurrence, Prime Minister Trudeau will release his second immigration mandate letter in less than one year.
Typically, Mandate letters tend to be issued to each minister every two to four years. They are normally issued when a new government assumes office and when a minister is given a new portfolio.
In August, however, the Prime minster ended the last session of Canada’s parliament as he wanted to readjust the government’s priorities in the wake of the new realities brought as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The federal government’s new priorities were defined on Sept. 23rd during the speech from the throne, which kicked off the new session of Parliament. The throne speech formally reiterates Canada’s objective of welcoming more immigrants to maintain its economic global standings,
As such, the Prime Minister will now set new immigration priorities for Mendicino and IRCC to pursue. So, the new immigration mandate letter may be available as early as October 2020.
COVID-19 pandemic has disorganized many of the priorities outlined in Mendicino’s present mandate letter. Mendicino was well on his way to carrying out the government’s immigration plan when he released Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2020-2022 in early March.
But COVID-19 has now delayed goals such as introducing a new Municipal Nominee Program and waiving Canadian citizenship application fees.
We should expect Mendicino’s new immigration mandate letter to heavily emphasize the coronavirus.
The government may likely provide a run-down of how it seeks to adapt Canadian immigration policies and how it will process applications moving forward in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023
Canada will soon announce its Immigration Levels Plan for the second time in one year.
The immigration levels plan is typically announced each fall around the last week of October. This is specified by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is the main law that guides Canada’s immigration system.
However, IRPA also specifies that the immigration levels plan announcement can be delayed in election years, as was the case last year when Canadians went to the polls.
Hence, we expect that the immigration Minister will follow the 2020-2022 immigration levels plan announcement he made this year March, with a similar announcement that will likely be released by Friday, Oct. 30th.
IRPA specifies that the immigration minister is to release the plan by November 1st each year when Parliament is sitting but unfortunately that date coincides with a weekend, and hence the announcement may come a bit earlier.
Mendicino has always affirmed Canada’s commitment to immigration throughout the coronavirus pandemic. This commitment is being shown by the ongoing Express Entry draws that the immigration department is conducting that are seeing record levels of people receiving invitations to apply for permanent residence.
The question on everyone’s mind leading up to Mendicino’s imminent landmark announcement is: How will COVID-19 impact on Canada’s immigration levels?
In the medium-long-term perspective, Canada can be expected to return to high levels of immigration. This is on account of Canada’s need for immigration to support its economic recovery.
However, there is far greater uncertainty as to the number of immigrants Canada will able to welcome amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the Express Entry and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) draws holds and application processing still continues, the actual number of new immigrants completing their permanent residence landing process remains constrained and limited by the pandemic.
The release of the new immigration mandate letter and the 2021-2023 Levels Plan announcement will give us more clarity in terms of how quickly the federal government believes Canada’s immigration system will be able to return to normal.