July 3, 2012
Bill C-31 Receives Royal Assent
On June 28, 2012, Minister Jason Kenney announced that Bill C-31, Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act had received Royal Assent. The Act brings further reforms to the asylum system which will provide protection to those in need as well as remove those who don’t require protection faster. There will be limited access to appeal mechanisms for a failed claim and reduced time in reviewing claims. The new legislation also imposes stiffer penalties and makes it easier to prosecute human smugglers.
The Minister of Public Safety will also hold irregular arrival visitors subject to disciplinary measures such as detention, which will also include limiting the circumstances which will warrant a release for these individuals. These individuals deemed as irregular arrivals will be prevented from applying for permanent residency for a period of 5 years. This also holds limits regarding sponsorship. These changes to legislation are with the intention to further establish security measures put in place to help protect Canadians.
The new measures also require biometric data to be included as part of a temporary resident visa application, work permit, and study permit. Travellers, students and workers from certain visa-required countries and territories will be required to provide their fingerprints and have their photo taken before they arrive in Canada.
Some of these new measures come into effect immediately, while others will come into effect later this year at a date that will be determined by the government. The new biometric measures will come into effect in 2013.