Canada halves visa backlog

Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has announced the backlog of Canada visa applications has shrunk by 40% in just a year following the government's changes.

Mr Kenny has been at the forefront of sweeping changes to the Canadian immigration system in the past year in order to create a more efficient system. While not all of the minister's changes have been popular - particularly cancelling almost 300,000 visa applications and issuing a moratorium on new ones - they have proved effective so far.

The minister said the total waiting list at the end of 2011 stood at over one million visa applications; this has now been reduced to just over 600,000. Mr Kenney has said that number would have more than doubled by 2015 had the - some would say drastic - measures not been introduced. Behind every one of those [applications] lies a human life’, said Mr Kenney. ‘Someone who has the hope and expectation of coming to Canada. ‘We were doing wrong by them and wrong for Canada by making people wait for eight or nine years and it would be even more wrong to force them to wait for 15 or 18 years, which is where we were headed in many of our immigration programs.’

The minister has long since touted his new immigration system which he claims will better benefit all involved. Applicants with skills needed by the country's economy as well as an acceptable standard of either English or French will have their applications prioritised as a matter of course.

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