Timeline of CIC policy changes, March 2009 to April 2012


March 29, 2009: Visitors from Croatia no longer require a Temporary resident visa.

April 17 2009: New Citizenship law in effect, people who became citizens on or after January 1st 1947, and then lost their citizenship will have their citizenship restored back to the date of when they lost it.

July 14, 2009: Canada imposes visas on Mexico and the Czech Republic.

July 23, 2009: Removal of exception to Safe third Country agreement, the removal of the exception being people who are from countries with a temporary suspension of removals.

August 21, 2009: Under the partnership, Canada will be able to securely and confidentially check fingerprints with those stored in Australian and U.K. databases.

January 16, 2010: Special immigration measures in response to the earthquake in Haiti, Priority will be given to new and existing sponsorship applications from Canadian citizens, permanent residents and protected persons who have close family members in Haiti. Quebec expanded the family class to sponsor anyone in need.

June 26, 2010: to be eligible to apply as a federal skilled worker, applicants must either have a job offer, or they must have experience in one of 29 in-demand occupations.

June 26, 2010: Investor Class applications: Cap on the number of applications to be processed per year.

October 21, 2010: Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act (C-4):

  • Creates the new category of “designated foreign national” for members of a group which has been designated by the Minister as an “irregular arrival” to Canada with the resultant creation of a new detention regime; mandatory conditions on release from detention; restrictions on the issuance of refugee travel documents; and bars on certain immigration applications, applicable only to “designated foreign nationals”;
  • Restricts the ability to appeal certain decisions to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD), and adds to the powers of officers detaining persons upon entry to Canada for suspected criminality;
  • Amends the definition of what constitutes “human smuggling” under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), introduces new mandatory minimum sentences for human smuggling, and adds new aggravating factors to be considered by the court when determining the penalties for the offences of “trafficking in persons” and “disembarking persons at sea”; and
  • Amends the Marine Transportation Security Act (MTSA) to increase the penalties for individuals and corporations who contravene existing laws, and creates new penalties to be imposed specifically on vessels involved in contraventions of the MTSA.

November 19, 2010: Preventing Trafficking, Abuse and Exploitation of Vulnerable Immigrants Act; The reintroduction of these important legislative amendments to Canada's immigration laws will help protect vulnerable foreign workers such as exotic dancers who could be victims of exploitation or human trafficking.

November 22, 2010: Canada lifts visa requirements for Taiwan.

December 1, 2010: Canada re-opens Immigrant Investor Program; Canada will once again accept applications under the federal Immigrant Investor Program. Under the new program criteria, investor applicants will need to have a personal net worth of $1.6 million, up from $800,000.
January 15, 2011: Application for a Temporary Resident Visa to Visit Canada. The only TRV application form that will be accepted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada is the new Application for a Temporary Resident Visa Made Outside of Canada [IMM 5257] form.

June 16, 2011: the government reintroduced Introduction of the Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act as Bill C-4.

June 30, 2011: Refugee reform under the new system:

  • No earlier than 15 days after having their asylum claim referred to the IRB, claimants will be interviewed by a public servant. Interviews will occur sooner only if the claimant agrees;
  • A different public servant at the IRB will conduct the hearing within 90 days in most cases;
  • For claimants from designated countries of origin, hearings will occur within 60 days;
  • One of the key elements to refugee reform is timely removals;
  • Limits on pre-removal risk assessments - the government will introduce a limit on access to pre-removal risk assessments (PRRA) and temporary resident permits for one year following the final Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) decision;
  • Assisted voluntary returns pilot program;
  • Introduction of Refugee Appeal Division.

July 1, 2011: Changes to economic immigration programs; the changes will affect new applicants to the federal Skilled Worker requiring occupation listed in NOC. The Minister is also introducing a temporary moratorium on new federal entrepreneur applications.

November 4, 2011: CIC is putting in place a temporary pause of up to 24 months on the acceptance of new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents. The pause comes into effect on November 5, 2011.

November 25, 2011: announced allocations for federal funding of settlement services in all provinces and territories outside Quebec for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

December 1, 2011: Parent and Grandparent Super Visa introduced.

December 9, 2011: Canada is proposing changes to the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program that would help to reduce backlogs and improve processing times to reduce delays in processing PSR applications, the regulatory proposal would require that both the sponsorship application form and the permanent resident application be submitted at the same time.

December 11, 2011: all live-in caregivers who had met their obligations and submitted an application for permanent residence have had their files reviewed. Those who submitted an open work permit application with no missing information are being issued open work permits.

February 16, 2012: Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act (Bill C-31) introduced:

  • Change from interview to basis of Claim form;
  • Refugee Appeal division, Humanitarian and compassionate grounds application restricted not applicable to Designated country of origin, irregular arrivals, and unfounded claims. Also not available to anyone making a refugee claim until a year after the final negative decision;
  • Stricter policies on cessation as change of conditions in a country included to be able to lose status;
  • Change to citizenship act no longer giving automatic citizenship to anyone born in Canada;
  • Faster timelines on refugee claims;
  • Re-introduction to provisions on Bill C-4.

March 2, 2012: Sponsorship restriction to address marriage fraud; Regulatory changes now in force mean sponsored spouses or partners will have to wait five years from the day they are granted permanent residence status in Canada to sponsor a new spouse or partner.

March 28, 2012: proposes to assess foreign education credentials before skilled workers arrive; The proposed new requirement would mean that applicants wanting to immigrate as Federal Skilled Workers would have their foreign education credentials assessed and verified by designated organizations before they arrive in Canada. 200,000 application and its fees will be returned and ask to apply again.

April 11, 2012: Starting July 1, 2012, most Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applicants for semi- and low-skilled professions will have to undergo mandatory language testing of their listening, speaking, reading and writing abilities and meet a minimum standard across all four of these categories.


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