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Member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Canadian Bar Association

Passage of Bill C-50 in the Commons:

Bill C-50 has passed in the House of Commons on June 9, 2008. The Bill may clear the Senate within 2 or 3 weeks and then become law.

Bill C-50 contains a controversial component to reform Canada's immigration system. The Bill changes Canadian immigration law to give the federal minister of citizenship and immigration new powers to fast-track certain groups of potential immigrants. The government has said this provision is required to help reduce the backlog of 925,000 permanent-resident applications. Opponents of the bill say the new powers are too vague and will be open to political abuse. Under the new legislation, Immigration can select which applicants it will process. Applications that are not processed will be returned along with the application fees. The problem is that applicants lose the certainty that was previously available. It was previously guaranteed that if an applicant made an application, the application would be processed. There was no guarantee that the application would be approved, but there was a guarantee that at least the application would be processed. No longer. The government argues that this new process is needed to allow the government to reduce the backlog and to target areas of the economy where specific labour and/or skill shortages exist.

Specific skill-area and labour shortages have been predicted and forecasted for many years.

In September 1999, one headline read: “Shortage of skilled workers will get worse: labour experts,”

September 07, 1999. The Globe and Mail

With the jobless rate at 7.7%, it might be hard to believe that there are labour shortages across Canada. But manufacturers, high-tech employers and resource companies are having trouble finding skilled workers. Technical schools and colleges cannot keep up with the demand from expanding businesses.

Shortages will become worse as baby boomers start to retire, leaving large gaps in the work force. It is not just high-tech persons but also many skilled trades-persons that are in short supply. About 40 percent of the more than 500 Canadian companies recently surveyed by the Alliance of Manufacturers and Exporters said their difficulty in finding skilled workers has become a serious constraint on expansion. The companies surveyed especially find it hard to find workers skilled in such fields as management, engineering, and product design.

In recent years, specific skill areas and labour markets have experienced shortages. In some parts of Canada, the shortages are so drastic that employers are paying low-skilled workers more than double what the same person would earn in other parts of the country. Talk of alleviating the shortages has been going on for a long time. In recent years, the provinces have negotiated with the Federal Government and received the right to have their own Provincial Nominee Immigration Programs (PNPs) to have more control over immigrants coming to these specific provinces. The goal was to attract certain immigrants who sought to stay and reside in the Province, as well as to deal with specific skill shortages and high demand occupations. Some of these PNPs have been very successful. PNPs are discussed elsewhere on this website.

Final Note:

In many cases, persons seeking entry to Canada for a temporary purpose, apply themselves, especially for a visitor visa. However for cases, where Canadian immigration rejects the applicant, the second attempt is much more difficult. If the recent announcement requiring visitor visa applicants put up bonds is applied, then there may be an opportunity created for those who would normally be refused to be accepted providing they provide the necessary cash bond requested by immigration. Where the application is less than straightforward, an applicant seeking the safest and least risky approach for applying for a visitor visa, should seek professional assistance from the start.

Similarly with respect to renewing Permanent Resident Cards as well as making citizenship applications, in order to follow the safest and least risky approach for applying for citizenship, an applicant should first seek professional assistance from the start.

Obtaining legal advice is very important, especially in complicated situations, to better lay the foundation for a successful application, especially in the current environment where Immigration authorities have become stricter in applying the temporary visa and citizenship criteria rules and regulations. Further, with respect to temporary visas, given the current trend toward refusing more and more temporary authorizations, there is a greater need to speak to a qualified immigration lawyer about the risks and pitfalls. As always, the prospective temporary visa applicant, should seek proper and honest legal advice in order that the prospective visa applicant does not lose the right to obtain the sought after visa.

Protect yourself. Contact Marvin Moses Law Office now! Obtain competent, experienced, and honest advice!

For further information on immigration to Canada, please contact one of us at Marvin Moses Law Office.

(Since the issues and matters in reality are quite complex, it is recommended that legal or other appropriate professional advice should be sought before acting upon any of the information contained therein. Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this article, no individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this article accepts any contractual, tortious, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.)