- Budget 2023 of Canada focuses more heavily on healthcare spending, clean energy initiatives, and affordability measures for Canadians.
- The budget 2023 proposes to spend up to $55 million on immigration in the 2023-2024 fiscal year, with funding going towards supporting current programs and streamlining application processing.
- The budget also includes measures to expedite citizenship application processing, expand eligibility for the Electronic Travel Authorization Program, support Francophone immigration, and support Ukrainians who wish to come to Canada to escape current unrest.
Canada recently released it’s Budget 2023, which will have an impact on immigration programs in the country. The budget reflects the government’s priorities, plans for spending, and outlook for Canada’s fiscal and economic health.
Spending on Immigration Programs
The Budget 2023 plans to spend up to $55 million on immigration in the 2023-2024 fiscal year. This funding will support current immigration programs and streamline the application processing system. Additionally, the budget proposes to provide $10 million over five years to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to implement biometrics. This will help expedite the processing of citizenship applications.
Expanding the Electronic Travel Authorization Program
The budget 2023 proposes to expand the eligibility for the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) Program to travelers from low-risk countries. The measure will cost $50.8 million over four years. This move is expected to make Canada a more attractive destination for trusted travelers and free up resources for screening high-risk travelers. Currently, the service is only available in Brazil, but a list of eligible countries will be released soon.
Support for Ukrainians
To support Ukrainians who want to come to Canada to escape the current unrest, the government will commit an additional $171.4 million over three years, starting in 2022-23. The Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) has been extended to July 15, 2023, and those who currently hold a CUAET permit have until March 31, 2024, to travel to Canada. CUAET participants who are already in Canada have until the same date to extend or adjust their temporary status without any fees.
Boosting Francophone Immigration
The budget proposes $123.2 million to boost Francophone immigration in Canada. This includes support for Canadian employers to recruit French-speaking foreign workers and increased support for these immigrants once they arrive in Canada. The government’s official mandate is to expand the French language in communities outside of Quebec.
Previous Immigration Announcements in Budgets
The Budget 2022 committed $1.6 billion over six years and $315 million ongoing to support Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan and welcome 500,000 new permanent residents each year by 2025.
Additionally, the 2022 budget supported further enhancing the Express Entry System by providing the Minister of Immigration with expanded authority to use Ministerial Instructions to help select candidates who best meet Canada’s labor market needs. These changes are set to begin in Q2 this year, but there is no fixed date.
Impact of Economic Outlook on Immigration
While Canada has a stable economy, the Bank of Canada (BoC) expects a slowdown in economic growth in 2023 due to the increase in interest rates and inflation continues to be higher than the targeted 2%. However, the BoC expects inflation to fall to 2.6% by the end of the year. Raising the interest rate will slow and decrease the rate of inflation, which reached a high of 8.1% last June.
Budget 2023 has several policies that will impact Canadian and newcomer populations, including support for healthcare spending, clean energy initiatives, and affordability measures. Funding for immigration programs will streamline the application processing system and expedite citizenship applications.
The expansion of the Electronic Travel Authorization Program will make Canada a more attractive destination for trusted travelers, while the support for Ukrainians and Francophone immigrants will help them settle in Canada. While the economic outlook is uncertain, Canada’s stable economy and strong job recovery rate will continue to make it an attractive destination for immigrants.