A Step Backwards Say Many Immigration Lawyers in Canada
Immigration in Canada has seen a number of policy changes over the past year, making the process more difficult for both new and existing immigrants. If there was any question as to the effects of these changes, new data from the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) has the answers. In the latest world ranking, which is based on 167 indicators and includes 38 developed countries, Canada moved from third to sixth place in providing migrants access to equal rights, support and opportunity.
One area where Canada saw a substantial decline was in the “access to nationality” category. In 2010 Canada scored a MIPEX score of 71 out of 100 points, while this year that category score dropped to 67 points. If you ask any immigration lawyer in Canada, they’ll probably tell you this decline is no surprise. Canada is making it more difficult to become Canadian, first by raising the citizenship application fee to over $500 (a 430 percent markup from 2013) as well as by increasing the difficulty of the citizenship test.
Another area where immigration in Canada fared poorly was the “secure from state arbitrariness” category. With a mere 23 points, Canada’s score was much lower than that of Australia, New Zealand, the United States as well as the European average. Again, any immigration lawyer in Canada could have seen this score coming after recently introduced laws give the government permission to revoke citizenship from dual citizens for certain crimes instead of using our existing criminal justice system.
Finally, with a 15-point drop (from 79 in 2010 to 64 in 2015) in the “eligibility for sponsoring family members” category, it’s evident that immigration in Canada has also been greatly affected by recent reunification changes. Some of these new restrictions include increasing the sponsorship commitment from 10 to 20 years, reducing the age of dependents from 22 to 19 years, increasing the income requirement for sponsoring parents and grandparents by 30 percent and increasing the requirement period. According to the MIPEX report these new restrictions, “expect immigrant families to live up to standards that many national families could not.”
If you ask any immigration lawyer in Canada, they’ll tell you that while this information does show areas that need improvement, it doesn’t mean Canada is a bad place to live. In fact, Canada’s immigration system still leads in labour market integration, anti-discrimination and creating a sense of belonging for newcomers. While immigration in Canada has certainly taken a few steps backwards, in many ways it is still ahead.
For more information on the changes to immigration in Canada, contact an immigration lawyer in Canada today.
Photo: Justitia (Roman goddess of justice) statue outside of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa.