Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

December 30, 2008 17:18 ET

Citizenship and Immigration Canada/Statement: Minister Kenney Offers New Year's Greetings

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 30, 2008) - The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement on New Year's Eve:

"As we turn our thoughts to celebrating the start of a new year, I would like to take this opportunity to offer my best wishes to all Canadians and newcomers to our country, as well as look back on what we accomplished in 2008.

"Our government introduced an Action Plan for Faster Immigration that better aligns our immigration system with our labour market needs. The Action Plan will also help clear the immigration backlog and process new skilled workers in 6 to 12 months, as opposed to 5- to 6-years under the previous system.

"Our government has been investing an additional $1.4 billion over five years in settlement funding since 2006 for activities such as language training, job search and employment services to help newcomers integrate successfully in Canada.

"We introduced changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, which would make it easier for international students to get Canadian work experience after they graduate.

"We introduced the Canadian Experience Class, a new avenue for immigration which allows an applicant's Canadian experience to be considered as a key selection factor when immigrating to Canada.

"In addition, our decision to extend NAFTA work permits to 3 years will make Canada an even more attractive destination for high-skilled professionals, such as doctors, nurses, lawyers, and teachers.

"In 2009, while other countries are considering scaling back their immigration levels, our government has promised to maintain immigration levels, including in family class, skilled worker, and humanitarian categories."

"The coming year will present challenges. However, we will meet these challenges together as we have many times before. We are fortunate to live in a country of great peace, prosperity, diversity and potential.

"As Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I wish you and your family a safe and joyous New Year's celebration and a happy and prosperous 2009."

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