This year, Canada Day weekend has introduced with it some significant changes with regards to the Canadian Immigration system. First off, refugees in Canada will lose some health benefits. With cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program, announced by Citizenship and Canada Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, refugees will no longer receive dental and vision care and will have reduced prescription drug coverage. The government says the cuts will bring refugees’ health-care coverage on par with what is paid to other Canadians, while critics say the changes will threaten the health of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Second, new immigrant workers will have to face language tests before arrival to Canada. Starting July 1, most applicants for semi and low skilled professions under the Provincial Nominee Programs will have to undergo testing and meet mandatory minimum language standards in either English or French.
Lastly, skilled worker Canada applicants and entrepreneurs need not apply. Canada Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced week an immediate freeze on applications under the federal skilled worker program and the immigrant investor program to reduce the backlog of applicants seeking to come to Canada under those programs. Kenney had already announced that applications from skilled workers made before 2008 would be cancelled and fees returned. New applications under the Canada skilled worker category will be accepted again in January, but the investor program freeze is indefinite.