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Canada has, in line with many other countries, decided to raise its immigration and visa processing fees for 2020-2022. The move is specific to the permanent residence route that many migrants use to enter the country if they are looking to live there for the long-term. The move may surprise many (as will the size of the raise), but as Canada becomes an ever more sought after migration destination, its operational costs to provide immigration services have risen. To meet these additional costs, and invest in new infrastructure, an increase of approximately 50 percent has been added to the cost of applying for permanent residence across its various options.
It is likely that the new fee structure has raised some questions for those who are looking to move to Canada. Below, we have taken a look at what we believe some of the most common questions are likely to be. If you need any more information then please get in touch and our team will be happy to help with any query that you may have about migration to Canada, whether it be as a permanent resident or via any of the currently available Canada Visa routes.
The new fee structure will be applied to permanent resident applications from the 30th of April 2020 at 9 am. Any application received before this date will be charged at the existing rate (see the next section for the breakdown) but is likely to be heavily delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. With many immigration offices currently closed and a skeleton operation currently running, the government is prioritizing applications for those who need to urgently enter Canada and have been exempt from the delays that are currently in place.
As applications can only be made online, you will need to make a valid application when it comes time to move, but as no foreign nationals (apart from those who are exempt) can currently travel to Canada, it makes sense to wait for the government to return to some form of normality to proceed. You can, however, apply now and have your application be frozen, should you have made your mind up and wish to be considered at the earliest possible opportunity. When this will be is anyone’s guess, but as Canada has been one of the least affected countries of the outbreak so far, it is not likely to be excessive.
The changes coming in to force on the 30th of April affect all of the different sections of the permanent residence route in Canada. Below we have laid out both the original and the new costs of applying for permanent residence in Canada so that you can see just how big the increases are for 2020-2022:
As you can see, there is quite a wide variance when it comes to the changes; some are as little as 2 percent while others are around the 50 percent mark. The rise has been calculated solely for the years 2020-2022 and is due to an increase in line with the Consumer Price Index in future years. This, of course, maybe changed, but Canada does not tend to aggressively raise immigration fees and we believe that this will likely be the case in the future.
As things stand, it is only applications for Canadian permanent residence that have seen a fee increase. This means that residence documents, certification and other documents will remain at the current price. Whether these changes going forward remains to be seen, but as the Canadian government currently has its hands rather full, there are likely to be few if any more changes made to the fee structure for other immigration routes into the country.
Taking into account how rarely these permanent residence fees are hiked (the price hasn’t increased since 2002!), it is hard to fault the Canadian government for putting them up now. As Canada has had to adapt its systems and people to cope with ever-larger numbers, it isn’t really a surprise that an increase is required to cover the necessary costs.
While the fee increases seem large, it must be made clear that these applications have not seen a fee increase since 2002. It is also notable that it is only the application fee that is going up and not the fees for certificates and travel documents etc. While many, especially those hit by the higher fee rises, may not be delighted at what are fairly stiff fee rises on some of the routes, it is clear that Canada has needed to invest in its infrastructure as it becomes an ever more popular destination for migrants from around the world. Indeed, since Mr. Trudeau became prime minister, the annual immigration statistics have gone from around 250,000 to 300,000 per year. With so many applications, Canada needs to have a system that works. As well as applying increases to only certain applications, the government has also capped the rises in line with the Consumer Price Index. While no one likes rises, at least Canada can easily justify the rises and has applied them as fairly as it possibly can.
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