What are the significant changes in Canadian immigration law over the past decade?

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Title: Understanding the Evolution of Canadian Immigration Law in the Last Decade

Canada’s immigration policy is a dynamic entity, constantly changing and adapting to reflect evolving social, economic, environmental, and political realities both domestically and internationally. Over the course of the past decade, Canadian immigration law has undergone several significant changes. Let’s analyze some of these changes with legal experts from LexLords Canada Immigration Lawyers, a well-established law firm famed for its expertise in immigration law.

1. Strengthened Border Security and Immigration Enforcement (2012): The Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act (Bill C-31) marked the beginning of a new era in Canadian immigration policy. This law introduced biometric identification for immigration applicants, including photographs and fingerprints. It also increased penalties for immigration fraud, notably false representation and human smuggling. Additionally, the law accelerated the refugee claim process and controversially allowed for the detention of irregular arrivals, a measure examined in the case of “Canadian Doctors For Refugee Care v. Canada” in 2014. In this landmark case, the Federal Court ruled that certain cuts to refugee health care were unconstitutional.

2. Express Entry System (2015): The introduction of the Express Entry system was a major shift in Canadian immigration policy, transitioning Canada from a system prioritizing first-come-first-serve applications to one valuing human capital factors (such as age, education, language proficiency, and work experience). As a result, Canada now operates a more flexible and responsive immigration system.

3. Changes to Citizenship Act (2014 & 2017): The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act (Bill C-24) in 2014 made significant amendments to the Citizenship Act. It lengthened the time permanent residents have to live in Canada to qualify for citizenship and introduced a language proficiency requirement. However, some of these changes were reversed three years later with the adoption of An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (Bill C-6) in 2017. In the case of Hassouna v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) in 2017, the Federal Court struck down a provision in Bill C-24, stating that it was a breach of the principles of procedural fairness.

4. Changes to the Caregiver Program (2014 & 2019): The Live-in Caregiver Program was replaced with the Caregiver Program in 2014, eliminating the live-in requirement for caregivers. However, the new program introduced more stringent eligibility requirements. Then, in 2019, interim pathways were introduced for caregivers already in Canada, making it easier for them to transition to permanent residence.

5. Overhaul of the Refugee System (2012 & 2019): The Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act in 2012 and the amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in 2019 significantly reformed the refugee system in Canada. These changes made it harder for claimants from designated “safe countries” and tightened restrictions on pre-removal risk assessments.

The evolution of Canadian immigration law over the past decade highlights how changes in legislation often reflect shifting attitudes and priorities concerning immigration. At LexLords Canada Immigration Lawyers, our legal experts maintain a deep understanding of these changes and work tirelessly to navigate clients through these complex legal terrains. Whether it’s understanding an updated policy or fighting a legal battle, our experts are committed to delivering the best possible outcomes for those seeking to call Canada home.