CANADA: Election Results Set to Improve Immigration Policy

The highest voter turnout since 1993 saw a resounding win for the Liberal Party of Canada in the 19th October Canadian election results, with Justin Trudeau”s party taking almost 40% of the vote.

Gaining more than four million voters since the 2011 elections, the Liberal Party captured a resounding 184 seats and will replace the Conservative party in a decisive victory for the left.

As expected, immigration policy is near the top of the agenda for the Liberals, with Trudeau introducing his plan for Real Change. The agenda states how the immigration system had been “mismanaged” during Stephen Harper”s term as Prime Minister and includes detailed steps the Liberals will take to improve a system they claim had become heavily politicized under the Conservatives.

The steps include an expansion of refugee intake from Syria and Iraq, initially to 25,000 but with plans to work with private sponsors to increase this further in the coming months. In addition to this, an additional $200 million will be invested over the next year to fast-track refugee application processing, as well as an immediate $100 million contribution to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to support relief activities in the region.

Further improvements to Canada”s refugee system include establishing an Expert Human Rights Panel in order to provide a right to appeal refugee decisions for citizens in affected countries.

As well as addressing the refugee crisis, Trudeau”s policy also focusses on family values and the importance of allowing families to stay together. As such, proposals to double the budget for family class immigration processing will drastically improve the processing times for these type of applications.

The allowance of new applications for parents and grandparents is set to increase, from 5,000 to 10,000, with greater access also being given to applicants with Canadian siblings by granting additional points under the Express Entry system. These improvements are designed to simplify the process of family applications, helping immigrants build a new life for themselves in Canada and contribute to the economic success of Canada as a whole.

The Liberals’ manifesto seeks to addresses several areas of weakness inherited from the previous Government, summarising that they will “reverse the roadblocks that the Harper Conservatives have needlessly added to the immigration system roadblocks that have created unnecessary inconveniences and costs for Canadians and Canadian businesses.”

Whilst Trudeau”s immigration policy was evidently a hit with the voting majority who got his party elected, it remains to be seen whether his softer stance on inbound immigration are sustainable in the long-term.

The Liberals’ victory is in stark contrast to the results of Switzerland”s Federal election on the 18th October, where the anti-immigration Swiss People”s Party took 29.4% of the vote.

The full Real Change policy report can be read here.

Should you need any advice regarding Canadian immigration, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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