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Ottawa tightens temporary immigration to the country

Photo: Adrian Wyld The Canadian Press Canada's Immigration Minister Marc Miller is targeting a reduction in temporary immigrants to 5% over the next three years. They alone currently represent 6.2% of the Canadian population.

The federal government will reduce the number of temporary immigrants in Canada after it “increased significantly”, now reaching 2.5 million people.

“Starting this fall, for the first time, we will expand the Immigration Levels Plan to include both temporary residents and permanent residents,” announced the federal Minister of Immigration Marc Miller in Ottawa on Thursday.

Temporary immigration includes foreign students, work permit holders and asylum seekers. Minister Miller wants the share of the Canadian population it represents — 6.2% — to increase to 5% over the next three years.

Programs to review

Programs currently welcoming temporary residents will be reviewed to better align them with workforce needs and “eliminate abuses in the system”.

Starting May 1, Canadian employers will see the maximum share of temporary foreign workers authorized in their workforce drop from 30% to 20%. The health, construction and agriculture sectors will, however, be exempt, specified the Minister of Employment and Workforce Development, Randy Boissonnault. To set the new Canadian targets, a meeting with the provinces and other ministers will be convened in May.

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However, Minister Miller did not specify whether the provinces, including Quebec, had been consulted ahead of Thursday's announcement. “We heard the desire to reduce the number of people who are in Quebec temporarily, so it is well understood. […] It is a target that will be managed with the provinces,” he replied. The latter indicated that he would meet his Quebec counterpart, Christine Fréchette, next week.

Ottawa's final targets will be set in September.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister François Legault said that Quebec was approaching a “breaking point” due to the influx of asylum seekers on its territory and urged Prime Minister Trudeau to slow down the flow of these new arrivals. At last count, nearly 530,000 temporary immigrants resided in Quebec.

The question of Mexican nationals

Last month, Ottawa announced the return of visas for Mexican nationals in order to curb the significant increase in the number of asylum requests from that country, which had exploded in recent years .

Minister Miller confirmed Thursday that a “significant decrease” in the number of Mexican asylum seekers has already been measured; however, these figures are not yet public. Asked if he intended to impose a visa on other nationals, the elected official admitted that “other measures had to be taken”. However, he insists on the need to be careful to “stop the irregular flow” without violating the rights of people fleeing conflict.

The departments of Employment and Immigration have also asked employers to prioritize, as of May 1, asylum seekers already in the country before bringing other workers to Canada. “We ask employers, after considering and offering employment to Canadian citizens, permanent residents and refugees, to give priority to asylum seekers and under-represented groups who have a valid employment permit,” explained the Minister Boissonnault.

With Sarah Champagne

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116