A Look At The Government’s Ambitious Immigration Plans – And If They’re Appropriate
It’s no secret that the federal government has ambitious plans to increase immigrant numbers. Immigration Minister John McCallum has commented on the government’s desire to “spread the immigrants across the country relatively evenly,” using a number of pilot programs and incentives to entice settlement in certain regions.
It’s certainly a compelling idea, but it raises a number of legal and ethical questions surrounding immigration in Canada. The incentivization of settlement in certain areas will certainly carry benefits for those regions, especially considering that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada classifies applicants to its permanent resident program based largely on their economic class (that is, skilled workers, entrepreneurs, investors, business owners, etc.). The idea is that the federal government will offer incentives to these immigrants to settle in regions in Canada that need a shot in the arm, economically speaking. Rural Albertans, in particular, have made it clear they’d like an increase in immigrants to boost their workforce despite the province’s current economic downturn.
Some have commented that such incentivization and prioritization could infringe on the mobility rights of citizens and permanent residents as laid out by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. McCallum himself has acknowledged that the government’s plans are constitutionally limited, but a recent editorial in The Globe and Mail points out that Charter rights aren’t necessarily absolute for permanent residents as they’re dependent on certain qualifications and reasonable limits.
Legally, it’s a gray area for immigrants to Canada, not to mention the federal government. There’s no doubt that many Canadians would enthusiastically support immigration that boosts the national and local economies, but would such a scheme be in keeping with the letter and spirit of Canadian law?
This is a discussion business immigration lawyers are dealing with more frequently. If the intent of these proposed changes is that immigrants are to become Canadian citizens or permanent residents, how is it fair to limit to their choices during settlement?
Regardless of where permanent residents and immigrants in IRCC’s economic classes settle, business immigration lawyers can help with the process of work eligibility, starting a business, and any other requirements of the immigration process in Canada. The solution to this issue is likely to be found in greater discussion and debate, but for now, it’s an ongoing conversation that warrants national attention and input.