December 1, 2008

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am pleased to inform you that, as part of the Government’s Action Plan for Faster Immigration, I issued the first set of ministerial instructions for processing new federal skilled worker immigration applications and tabled the 2008 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, which includes the 2009 immigration plan.

The ministerial instructions were developed after extensive consultations this past summer with provinces and territories, business and labour leaders, and immigration experts. They outline a set of eligibility criteria against which federal skilled worker applications are assessed before they are recommended for processing. The criteria correspond to Canada’s economic immigration needs. In general, these needs are in high-demand areas such as health, skilled trades, finance and resource extraction.

The instructions relating to the Action Plan for Faster Immigration arise from changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act designed to modernize Canada’s immigration system and keep this country a competitive destination for immigrants the world over. Together with the annual immigration plan, they represent a significant step toward meeting the Government of Canada’s goal of more closely aligning immigration with labour market needs, while reducing wait times and drawing down the backlog of over 900,000 immigration applicants, two thirds of whom are in the Federal Skilled Worker category.

Our Government recognizes the importance of immigration, and is committed to reuniting families, protecting refugees and supporting Canada’s economy. While other countries have announced plans to reduce the number of immigrants they welcome annually, Canada is maintaining immigration levels and plans to welcome between 240,000 and 265,000 immigrants in 2009. These levels are on par with last year and are among the highest for this country in the past 15 years.

The ministerial instructions and 2009 levels plan are part of a coordinated, comprehensive series of improvements to the immigration system. These improvements include the introduction of the Canadian Experience Class, enhancements to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, use of the Provincial Nominee Program, the establishment of the Foreign Credentials Referral Office, and additional resources for both improving the immigration system and increasing settlement services.

For more information on all of these initiatives, please click on the attachments and links to our Web site below. The site has also been expanded to include a specific section for employers ( and a new interactive tool ( that matches information provided by potential applicants with immigration programs that best suit their circumstances. In this way, we are helping prospective immigrants navigate the range of immigration options available to them and ensure they benefit from improvements to the application process.

I look forward to working with you in the coming months in my new role.

Yours sincerely,

The Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism

Relevant links:

Ministerial instructions
2008 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration
Brochure: Canada Welcomes Newcomers (PDF)

Reference: Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration