T) IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEES

123. Immigration Principles

The Conservative Party supports a non-partisan, welcoming and well-managed immigration system for Canada based on:
i. a fair, transparent and efficient process that earns the respect and confidence of Canadians as well as of the international community;
ii. compassionate measures to assist in family reunification;
iii. ensuring that Canada is successful in encouraging skilled immigrants and their spouses and children to make Canada their destination of choice;
iv. a clear, workable and efficient process for immigrants to obtain equivalency for their international skills, training and experience;
v. addressing the need for adequate long-term funding for settlement services providers; and
vi. upholding Canada’s humanitarian tradition of providing safe haven for refugees.

124. Settlement Support

The Conservative Party wants to ensure that immigrants have the best possible opportunity to contribute to Canada’s economic and social well-being. Support from settlement organizations and the broader community plays an important role.

The Conservative Party believes in:

i. working cooperatively with the provinces and municipalities on policy relating to settlement support for immigrants;

ii. addressing the need for adequate and equitable resources to provide language instruction (in order to allow immigrants to achieve functional capability in one of the two official languages), encourage adaptation to Canadian values and traditions and community mentoring, build job search skills and offer other settlement services to meet the needs of
immigrants, including children;

iii. working to streamline the funding process to deliver enhanced funding stability and allow long-term planning by service providers; and

iv. examining the feasibility of having federal funds for settlement services follow the movement of newcomers from one region to another.

125. Immigration by Temporary Workers

The Conservative Party recognizes that temporary workers can be a valuable source of potential immigrants because of their work experience in Canada. We believe the government should:

i. continue development of pilot projects designed to address serious skills shortages in specific sectors and regions of the country, and that attract temporary workers to Canada;
ii. examine ways to facilitate the transition of foreign workers from temporary to permanent status; and
iii. work to ensure that temporary workers, especially seasonal workers, receive the same protections under minimum employment standards as those afforded Canadian workers.

126. Entry Applications, Permits and Landing Fees

The Conservative Party endorses changes made to the applications process which minimize stress and uncertainty for applicants and their families while reducing the backlog and meeting the economic needs of Canada. We also endorse the lowering of landing fees for new immigrants.

We believe the government should:

i. ensure that Citizenship and Immigration Canada is properly staffed, trained and resourced to improve the processing of people wanting to come to Canada;
ii. reorganize the applications process so that applicants are given accurate information about what to expect, are readily able to obtain information on the status of their files, and are given service in a considerate and professional manner;
iii. reverse the Liberal policy of separating married couples while the application of the non-status partner is being processed;

iv. extend automatic Canadian citizenship to children adopted from abroad by Canadian parents once the adoption is final; 

v. provide options such as the posting of a bond to allow higher acceptance rates for family and other special visits while protecting the integrity of the system from queue jumping;
vi. reduce the need for Temporary Resident Permits (TRPs) issued by the Minister by making the applications process more fair and efficient, and make the use of TRPs by the Minister both transparent and accountable through a process of independent review; and
vii. refrain from using the term ‘resident’ or ‘residence’ in temporary, student and visitor visas to ensure greater certainty for those temporarily visiting Canada.

127. Recognition of International Credentials

The Conservative Party believes in providing new immigrants and Canadians with foreign qualifications with the best possible opportunity to use their education and experience here in Canada. We see this as a matter of fairness to them and their families and a means of ensuring that Canada receives the full benefit of foreign qualifications.

We support working with the provinces to develop, in consultation with Canadian professional and trade associations, a process to evaluate standards in countries of origin in order to establish a workable system for assessing and recognizing credentials and experience;

We support working with the provinces to:

i. ensure that equivalency exams are fair and that they accurately reflect the level of understanding expected of individuals educated in Canada; 

ii. to develop, in consultation with Canadian professional and trade associations, criteria for obtaining equivalent Canadian professional status, transition and bridging programs for integration of foreign qualified individuals into the Canadian workplace; and

iii. work with recognized professional bodies to prequalify internationally trained individuals for certain occupations as part of the immigration process.

We support requiring the credentials process to be disclosed to applicants by immigration staff overseas and on the Citizenship and Immigration Working in Canada website.

We support encouraging international students graduating from accredited Canadian colleges and universities to remain and work in Canada.

We support developing a better system to identify Canada’s occupations facing current labour market shortages and make the immigration system more flexible to ensure these needs can be met.

128. Refugee Determination

The Conservative Party is proud of Canada’s humanitarian tradition of providing safe haven to those who have had to flee their homeland, and we welcome refugees to Canada. We believe the government should promote the integrity and fairness of our refugee determination system, and should ensure that decisions are made expeditiously and with respect for due process. We believe the current appeals process is flawed and moves far too slowly.

We believe in:

i. streamlining the process of validating refugee claims;
ii. where the Immigration and Refugee Board finds claimants do not qualify as genuine refugees, ensuring such individuals are escorted from Canada in a timely manner and provided with the information they need to start the proper process of applying for an immigration permit from abroad;
iii. giving greater priority to refugees identified pursuant to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees;
iv. implementing a fully merit-based process for Immigration and Refugee Board appointments; and
v. developing a refugee appeals process that is fair and timely


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