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Reasons why Canada launches Immigration pilot programs

Posted on January 18, 2020
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Canada pilot immigration programs

Canada introduced its economic pilot program following reform to its Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) in 2012. The economic class pilot program was designed to welcome migrants who can help in the economic development of provinces and meet its labor shortage. This is part of the immigration strategy to introduce pilot programs periodically.

Since its introduction, Canada has launched several pilot programs with two new ones expected to be introduced this year to help potential migrants to the country.

Before the economic pilot programs were introduced, the federal government had to present a proposal to the parliament which took a long time for approval before it could be applicable for prospective migrants. The slow process made it difficult to bring in foreign employees in times of labor shortages.

With the introduction of the economic pilot programs in 2012, the scene has changed. It brought about benefits that include:

Federal government can launch pilot projects quickly without waiting for parliament’s approval. The pilot projects can be run for five years and the government can welcome up to 2,750 applicants every year that the pilot program is valid.

The pilot programs can be a testing ground to see if an immigration program works. This helps avoid the investment of time and money on immigration programs which may turn out to be unsuccessful.

History of pilot programs:

Since 2012 Canada has lunched pilot programs which have met with mixed success. The Start-up Visa Pilot was launched in 2013 to welcome innovative entrepreneurs to Canada. This program became permanent in 2018.

In 2015, the government launched the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Fund pilot to welcome immigrant investors, but the program was closed after one year.

The most successful pilot program launched so far is the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) that was launched in 2017 to encourage more immigrants to Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. More than 4000 migrants have settled in the Atlantic region of Canada under this program. The government is proposing to make this program permanent with a target of at least 5000 migrants every year.

In 2019, the federal government launched the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP). Today the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia are participating in the RNIP.

The Agri-Food Immigration Pilot was launched in July 2019 to help meet the labor shortage in the agricultural sector in the country constantly deals with. The government also launched two new pilot programs for caregivers in 2019.

What is in store for 2020?

The government plans to introduce two new pilot programs in 2020.  These are a new Municipal Nominee Program (MNP) which will support the existing Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). The government intends to launch the Municipal Nominee Program to overcome the drawbacks of the PNP.

It was observed that migrants who came to the country under the PNP program prefer to settle down in the larger cities and well-developed municipalities of the provinces rather than choose the smaller cities and municipalities. This has led to a concentration of migrants in large cities while smaller cities struggle with labor shortages.

The Municipal Nominee Program will seek to correct this imbalance by encouraging migrants to settle down in smaller cities of the provinces.

The government is also planning to introduce a rural pilot program to promote the development of rural areas.

The federal government’s strategy of launching pilot programs is an endeavor to improve the immigration programs of Canada. The pilot programs become a testing ground to assess whether the intended results are achieved before the immigration program becomes permanent. They are part of the well-planned approach Canada adopts for its immigration targets.

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