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Canada considers visa limit to deal with backlog

Canada is considering limiting the number of visa applications it receives and processes as a solution to the backlog of demand for Canadian immigration, which has now reached one million names.

Canadian immigration and citizenship minister Jason Kenney has raised the possibility of accepting fewer applications to a Canada visa, meaning fewer opportunities for immigration. He raised the policy proposal as a solution to the processing backlog.

‘Those are the only two possible solutions. It’s a math problem’, Mr Kenney said, going on to explain that Canada must either vastly increase immigration acceptances – which is unlikely given the tough immigration stance of the current government – or take fewer applications in the first place.

The Minister pointed to the ‘family class’ path to migration as one of the reasons behind the backlog. Under Canadian immigration law, parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens are eligible for immigration which saw 37,500 applications in 2010 and has a ten year wait for processing.

Kenney said the government is considering adding conditions to the family class, including possible prerequisites of family income, family health insurance or a bond, similar to the proposal currently before the UK House of Commons.

Immigration law specialist Richard Kurland has expressed support for a tightening of the family migration scheme.

‘Unless you solve the intake problem, you’re going to have a growing backlog with growing processing times and it’s time to bite the bullet’, he said.

The NDC opposition has responded cautiously, immigration spokesperson Don Davies saying a cap on family migration is ‘not the only policy tool available to the minister’.


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