Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Immigration into Sask. communities increasing

REGINA — What a difference three years can make to the diversity of a province.

Rural Saskatchewan used to have difficulty attracting and retaining immigrants but small communities around the province are now becoming increasingly cosmopolitan.

The Rural and Small Town Canada Analysis Bulletin released by Statistics Canada on Monday provides a snapshot of Canada's rural and small town areas in 2006 — a time when immigrants accounted for 5.3 per cent of the nation's population. In Saskatchewan, immigrants accounted for 2.6 per cent of the total population — 0.3 per cent were new immigrants.

Between 2001 and 2006, 15,000 people left Saskatchewan — the highest net migration in the country, said Roland Beshiri, co-author of the Statistics Canada report.

"The migration of people in general looked very bad at that time for Saskatchewan," he said. "It sounds as though things are much better now."

That's the case in Whitewood — a community of 1,000 people who are benefiting by the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region's January trip to the Philippines, which resulted in 72 registered nurses hired for hard-to-recruit positions.

Thirty nurses — expected to arrive in late August — will be working in rural hospitals, health centres and long-term care facilities in Whitewood, Balcarres, Broadview, Grenfell, Imperial, Indian Head, Lestock, Montmarte, Moosomin, Raymore, Fort Qu'Appelle and Wolseley.

Mayor Malcolm Green said Whitewood will put out the welcome mat for two Filipino registered nurses when they arrive.

"Our goal is to make sure they're very comfortable so they want to stay here," Green said. "These positions aren't getting treated any different than if a nurse wanted to come here from any province in Canada. The incentive is exactly the same."

The nurses will join several other Filipino women who are working in the area as a senior's companion and as nannys.

"Like anybody who moves to your community, they add value and become part of the community," Green said.

Rob Norris, the minister responsible for immigration in the province, said in his government's first year, more than 1,400 newcomers settled in communities outside of Regina and Saskatoon. He expects that will increase with the launch of a new immigration strategy.

"We will be bringing in 10,000 newcomers from around the world over the next 18 months," Norris said.

His goal is to create more diverse, dynamic and cosmopolitan communities right across the province.

"The good news today is that newcomers are settling in more than 160 communities in Saskatchewan — 30 per cent are locating outside of Regina and Saskatoon and while there is still a significant focus on Regina and Saskatoon, we are seeing a greater geographic distribution and that's very healthy," he said.

A significant number of newcomers to the province are welders, truck drivers, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers, registered nurses and carpenters.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Manitoba's population jumps by a record 14,007


Source: CBC News

Manitoba experienced record population growth in the last 12 months, growing by 14,007, according to Statistics Canada.

Since the current record-keeping system began in 1971, Manitoba's population has never increased so much in a 12-month period. The previous record year was 1983-84 when the population grew by 13,615.

Andrew Swan, training and trade minister, said Wednesday that international immigrants are behind the population boost. Manitoba welcomed more than 12,000 immigrants between April 2008 and April 2009, another modern-day record.

"All Manitobans should be very pleased that more people are choosing this province as a great place to live and work," Swan said. "We are all looking forward to further strong population growth in the coming years."

The population growth is a direct result of Manitoba's provincial nominee program, which helps facilitate immigration to Manitoba for skilled and eager workers, he said.

"In the first year following the launch of the provincial nominee program in 1998, only 11.2 per cent of immigrants were provincial nominees," he said. "Now, they constitute more than 70 per cent of all the immigrants coming to Manitoba."

According to Statistics Canada data released Tuesday, Manitoba's population stood at 1,217,200 people as of April 1.



Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The fortune in our future


Yuen Pau Woo and Wang Huiyao

Special to Globe and Mail Update, Monday, Jun. 22, 2009 05:58PM EDT

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi's visit to Canada this week is a sign that recent Canadian overtures, including trips to China by Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon and Trade Minister Stockwell Day, are bearing fruit.

It is too early to declare that the period of “cool politics, warm economics” is over. But it is not too early to think about what a new phase of Canada-China relations should look like. Most analysts agree that Prime Minister Stephen Harper needs to visit Beijing, and he has said he will. What then?

It would be tempting to rewind bilateral relations to 2005, when President Hu Jintao and prime minister Paul Martin announced a “strategic partnership.” Some even advocate a return to the heady days of the Team Canada missions of the 1990s. The current context for Canada-China relations, however, is vastly different from four years ago, let alone the previous decade.

First, the U.S.-China relationship has become the primary lens through which many global issues are addressed. From the reform of the Bretton Woods institutions to the conclusion of the Doha round, from the denuclearization of North Korea to a new global deal on climate change, solutions will have to be found in both Washington and Beijing. In the absence of a formal G2, new and old multilateral channels will continue to be important, especially the G20, which has solid Canadian pedigree.

Second, China has gone global. In both hard power and soft power, China's global presence will become more apparent, even as, ironically, its export products - especially of the cheaper mass-produced variety - become less dominant. China's global footprint will increasingly be defined not so much by the ubiquitous “Made in China” label, but by the more amorphous notion of “Made by China.”

Third, two-way people movements between China and Canada will become more important than simply one-way inflows to Canada. There is already a robust return flow of recent Chinese immigrants to Canada, many of whom are taking influential positions in their native country. Talent from many countries is starting to flock to China for professional and economic advancement.

Fourth, China's response to the current downturn will likely result in a profound restructuring of global demand, with China - and Asia more broadly - reducing its reliance on exports as a source of growth, and turning increasingly to domestic spending on infrastructure, social welfare, health and private consumption.

Some of these changes, such as a more assertive Chinese foreign policy and competition from Beijing for the attention of U.S. policy-makers, will be uncomfortable for many Canadians and challenging for Ottawa. But other features of China's globalization present Canadians with exciting new opportunities.

Chinese outward investment is set to increase in the years ahead. According to a recent Asia Pacific Foundation survey of more than 1,100 Chinese enterprises, Canada was perceived as the second-most open market for Chinese investment, behind the United States and ahead of Australia. Contrary to popular commentary here, Chinese enterprises do not believe that the Canadian government or public will react negatively to Chinese investment. Ottawa should put the attraction of Chinese investment at the top of a bilateral economic agenda, and address any residual concern about discrimination against Chinese enterprises, including state-owned companies.

Facilitating two-way people movements should also be given top priority. Aside from immigration, tourism and education flows, special attention should be placed on the growing number of “binationals” who have extensive personal and professional attachments to both Canada and China. Research by the Centre for China & Globalization suggests that the return flow of overseas talent will be a major factor in China's development in the years ahead, and that many of these returnees will re-enter China as citizens of other countries, including Canada. To take just one example, the head of Zhongguanchun, China's equivalent to Silicon Valley, has strong ties to Canada.

It is in the interest of both China and Canada to embrace this highly mobile talent pool by acknowledging their attachments to both countries. Recognizing that the quest for global talent has implications for citizenship policy, Beijing is looking at creative new ways to attract the world's best to China, including less stringent visa requirements and dual citizenship for former nationals who have immigrated to selected destinations. In this respect, Canada is one of China's most important partner countries, not only because of the number of Chinese nationals who have settled in Canada, but because of the substantial flow of returnees who carry Canadian passports.

A comprehensive human-capital agreement could clarify a number of thorny citizenship, extradition and rights issues, while advancing two-way people flows through scholarships, student and faculty exchanges, and mobility of temporary labour. Such an agreement would unlock the hidden potential of Canada-China people linkages and pave the way for deeper economic and political relations. On the eve of the 40th anniversary of bilateral relations, the need for new thinking along these lines is greater than ever.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Canada's need for foreign talent remains strong

CATHRYN ATKINSON

Special to The Globe and Mail, Friday, Jun. 19, 2009 03:47AM EDT

Experienced chartered accountants from abroad are still in great demand in Canada even though the current economic crisis is causing layoffs in other sectors.

And, luckily, the federal government has mostly been listening to concerns about the shortage, business immigration lawyer Jonathan Leebosh says.

Mr. Leebosh, a senior manager in Egan LLP, an immigration law practice allied with Ernst & Young, offers accountancy firms assistance in moving staff and personnel to Canada.

"It's a very interesting time," he says. "Historically, there has been a shortage [of CAs] over the last 10 years. There's always been demand for accountants that Canada itself hasn't been able to meet."

Accountancy is one of 38 occupations listed as being needed in this country for the foreseeable future by Immigration Canada. Mr. Leebosh says Immigration Canada is being more focused in terms of what type of immigrants are allowed into the country.

"To me, the story to tell is that accountants are still in demand in Canada, maybe not to the same degree as a couple of years ago, but they are recognized as an occupation in demand."

Mr. Leebosh's firm works with human resources departments of chartered accountancy firms, including Ernst & Young, and helps them shape their hiring strategies.

His biggest difficulty, he adds, is the slowness of the immigration system, with permanent residency taking up to 12 months to complete. And then there is Canada's notorious difficulty in providing short-term work permits to fill immediate employment gaps.

"Apart from all the procedural issues, what is happening now is that the government is taking steps they feel are necessary to ensure that Canadians are offered jobs before foreign workers," he says.

But qualified Canadians are in short supply.

"Our clients identify their accountancy needs and once they're identified, they're probably in desperate need for them, and they can't really wait 12 months," Mr. Leebosh says.

"Typically we are trying to get work permits for people in the interim. It would be wrong to say that the short-term work permits aren't there, but they are certainly very challenging to obtain."

Fiona Macfarlane says 25 per cent of Ernst & Young's work force in Canada are skilled immigrants. Originally from South Africa, she emigrated in 1987. After a struggle to find work, Ms. Macfarlane is the firm's Americas chief operating officer, tax, a $3-billion practice.

"At a recent tax event we had all the people from the practice in Canada come together, and we welcomed the audience in their native language. We had to stop at about 15 languages. We were running out of time. It was amazing and very moving," she says.

"You think about where the clients are coming from ... they may not be headquartered in North America any more. They may be headquartered in China or Dubai. So to have that kind of skill set and context within your own practice can be very powerful."

Ms. Macfarlane says Ernst & Young put a lot of effort and resources into programs.

"We depend on immigrants for our economic growth. We try to level the playing fields. We have Succeeding-in-Canada training, we have cross-cultural training," she says. "Once you understand there are differences and understand your own biases, it's much easier for you to figure out what the other person is saying and help them be successful."

Tim Forristal, the vice-president of education at the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, says Canadian employers want to be able to hire foreign CAs with confidence. "Canada is looking for lots of people right now, especially those with an international financial reporting background," Mr. Forristal says. "Establishing best practice [in setting qualification levels in foreign CAs] is a huge part of our mission."

The CICA has approved 13 foreign designated accounting bodies, whose members need only to pass local tax and law exams in the province or territory in which they intend to practise. They are: Ordre des Experts Comptables (France), the Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, Institut des Réviseurs d'Enterprises de Belgique, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, Instituto Mexicano des Contadores Publicos, Nederland Instituut van Register Accountants, New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy in the U.S.

Four foreign designated accounting bodies have been determined not to be equivalent: The Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants, the Philippines Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants of the United Kingdom.

And a further four are under review: the Institutes of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Zimbabwe.

Foreign CAs from other jurisdictions are not automatically eligible for exemptions from any education or examination requirement of the Canadian CA program. They can ask for assessments to see if any exemptions apply. If not, then they must complete all requirements.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Government of Canada Introduces New Resource for Employers Interested in Hiring Internationally Trained Workers

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- 06/16/09 -- A new resource to help guide employers through the hiring process for internationally trained workers was announced today by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

"The Government of Canada is committed to improving the labour market integration of internationally trained workers - this is essential to building a strong Canada: socially, culturally and economically," said Minister Kenney. "Employers are key partners in helping internationally trained workers find jobs in their areas of training, and this resource makes it easier for employers to assess their qualifications."

The Employer's Roadmap will help employers meet their labour needs and will allow skilled newcomers to put their knowledge and training to work in Canada more quickly.

"This is a practical resource that employers in any sector will find useful in helping to meet their staffing needs and improve their competitiveness in a rapidly changing economy," said Andrew Cardozo, Executive Director, The Alliance of Sector Councils (TASC). "The Employer's Roadmap is exactly what is needed to make the process of hiring and retaining internationally trained workers a lot more efficient."

The Employer's Roadmap addresses questions many employers have about hiring internationally trained workers, such as how to recruit, assess and select them. It also includes suggestions on how to integrate and retain these workers once they become new employees. Information is also provided on the range of national and regional resources available across the country to support employers.

The Employer's Roadmap is the result of a partnership between the Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO), part of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and TASC. It is one of several measures that the Government of Canada is taking to help newcomers successfully integrate into the Canadian labour market as quickly as possible.

In addition, Canada's Economic Action Plan includes an investment of $50 million over two years to support the development of a common approach to foreign credential recognition.

Monday, June 15, 2009

How Canada Does Banking

By Ian Austen

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is among many Canadians these days who are boasting about the strength of the country’s banking system.
During the credit crisis, no Canadian banks failed, and none required government capital infusions. And last week when Canada’s major banks issued their quarterly statements, all but one were profitable. Even that exception, a second-quarter loss of 50 million Canadian dollars (on 6.8 billion Canadian dollars in revenue) at the Royal Bank of Canada, was largely related to a write-down in the value of its American operations.
Mr. Harper, a Conservative who generally favors limiting government influence in markets, credits Canada’s regulatory system for the banks’ good fortune and suggests that it should be a model for the world.
He’s not alone. Julie Dickson, the superintendent of financial institutions, has gone from being an obscure bureaucrat to something of a minor celebrity. A recent cover story in The Report on Business Magazine, which is published by The Globe and Mail newspaper, said she was “integral to the policy that is being credited with keeping the nation afloat during a financial storm that saw banks just about everywhere else in the world pushed to the brink because they had taken on too much leverage and excessive risk.”
Canada’s regulatory system, of course, is not perfect. And Mr. Harper’s enthusiasm aside, the health of its banking industry may have more to do with its structure than its watchdog.
Ms. Dickson’s office is known to be risk-averse. When the market for Canadian structured debt products collapsed because the banks, apparently at the suggestion of the regulator, declined to support it, Ms. Dickson rejected criticism from investors.
“Our primary job is to protect the interests of depositors,” she said at a news conference.
Her office also requires Canadian banks to maintain relatively large capital holdings. Brenda Lum, the managing director for Canadian financial institutions at DBRS, a debt rating agency in Toronto, said that Canadian banks have an average Tier 1 capital level of 10.8 percent.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation calculated the similar number for all American banks at 10.74 percent as of March 31. But unlike banks in Canada, some large American banks fall far from that figure. Wells Fargo, for example, was at 8.3 percent on that date, and Bank of America stood at 4.5 percent, although it has since raised more than $26 billion in capital to improve that ratio.
Helping Ms. Dickson with her job were other government policies that ensured that subprime mortgages accounted for only a tiny portion of Canada’s housing market. And because Canadian tax rules never allowed mortgage interest deductibility, home purchases in Canada are not effectively subsidized by the government.
But looming above all of those factors is the scope and market power of Canadian banks within their home market. While many foreign banks have subsidiaries in Canada, Ms. Lum estimates that Canadian banks hold 80 to 85 percent of their home market. Most of that business, in turn, is concentrated in the five largest banks.
The big five are also one-stop shopping banks offering everything from retail services (a particularly profitable line of work) to investment banking through networks of branches and offices spanning the country. On top of that, government rules prohibit anyone or any company from owning more than 20 percent of a Canadian bank, effectively making it impossible for foreign competitors to enter the market through an acquisition.
All that makes for what Ms. Lum described as “an orderly market.”

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Arriving In Canada With The Permanent Residence

by invited blog: Correr es mi destino. Author:Zhu

So, you received the great news: “decision made”, you have just obtained the permanent residence in Canada! What’s next now?

Before you arrive

If your permanent resident application is approved, you will be asked to submit your passport to the Canadian visa office where you applied in order to receive your permanent resident visa.

You will get two important documents:

* The confirmation of permanent residence (with identification information, photograph…)
* An entry visa

The confirmation of permanent residence has an expiry date by which you must arrive in Canada. This doesn’t mean you have to settle in Canada by that date, but it does mean you must travel to Canada and become a landed immigrant before the confirmation of permanent residence expiry date. After that, you may come back to your home country and prepare your actual arrival if you wish.

You must have your Confirmation of Permanent Residence and your visa with you when you arrive in Canada.

When landing in Canada

When you arrive in Canada with the permanent residence, you become a landed immigrant. This is a very important step.

Whether your arrive by air or by land, you will first meet an officer from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

The officer will ask to see:

* Your passport
* Your valid permanent resident visa
* Your confirmation of permanent residence
* If you immigrate through a category that requires you to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself (for example, the skilled worker category), the officer will need to see the supporting documents, such as a recent bank statement.

There are a few routines questions to establish your identity and to make sure you gave correct informations that match your application, but this usually only take a few minutes.Make sure you have all your documents with you and everything will be fine!

Be aware that you will be asked to declare items you bring in Canada. Take a moment to check out what you can and can not bring in Canada, and what you must declare. You may want to check “How to I bring my belongs with me?” as well.

After that, the officer will authorize you to enter Canada as a permanent resident. He will also confirm your Canadian mailing address. Your permanent resident card will be mailed to you at this address.

The permanent resident card

A permanent resident card is a small wallet-sized card and a very valuable document, which allows you to prove your status in Canada or when traveling in and out of the country.

Permanent residents cards are not issued on the spot when you arrive in Canada. They are mailed to your Canadian address within a few weeks. If you do not have a Canadian address at the time when you land in Canada, you must supply one to CIC within 180 days (plenty of time!). There is not fee for the permanent resident card applied for at the time of the landing process. It usually takes about 30 days to receive the permanent card after you land in Canada, but it varies (you can check the current processing time here).

The permanent residence card is normally issued for 5 years. It can be renewed if you wish to remain a permanent resident, or you may not need it anymore if you apply for Canadian citizenship after three years of residency!

…And then what?

After landing in Canada, some people decide to go back to their home country for a little while to finalize their move and settle their affairs. Some have houses to sell, some have to finish their work etc. This is perfectly acceptable. Once you become a landed immigrant, your are free to travel in and out of Canada!

However, if you leave Canada before you receive your permanent resident card, you may need to apply for a single-use permanent resident travel document to return to Canada. If you hold a passport from a country that does not need a visitor visa to come to Canada (such the an American or a U.E passport), you should be able to enter Canada without your permanent resident card. See the list of countries which require visa to visit Canada or read the article I need to leave Canada but I do not have my PR card yet for more informations.

Be aware that to keep your status as a permanent resident in Canada, you must meet the residency requirement. This means that you must live in Canada for at least two years within a five-year period. If you don’t, your will lose your permanent residence status (and yes, it does happen a lot).

If you stay in Canada right away after becoming a landed immigrant, you can start applying for Canadian IDs (such as your SIN card), looking for a job, a place to live etc.

About being a permanent residence

As a permanent resident in Canada, you have both rights and responsibilities.You can:

* Live, work or study anywhere in Canada
* Receive most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, such as health coverage
* Be protected under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Your responsibilities include paying taxes and respecting Canadian laws.

Note that as permanent resident, you can not vote or hold certain jobs that have a high security clearance.

You may lose your permanent status if you don’t meet the residency requirements or if you are convicted of a serious crime.

After three years in Canada as a permanent resident, you may choose to apply for Canadian citizenship if you meet the requirements.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Institute of Wellbeing issues first report, creates index on quality of life

Jun. 10, 2009 Get Medbroadcast Health News via RSS Feed


Provided by: The Canadian Press
Written by: Anne-Marie Tobin, THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO - A new index is being created to measure the well-being of Canadians, which will go beyond what we learn about ourselves from economic indicators like the GDP.

The new Canadian Index of Wellbeing will measure eight areas of life, including health, education, state of the arts and standard of living, says Roy Romanow, chair of the non-partisan and independent institute that will produce the index.

In addition, it will tally figures on participation in the democratic process, quality of environment, the way Canadians use their time and the vitality of communities - including volunteer activities.

Romanow, a former premier of Saskatchewan and commissioner on the future of health care in Canada, described the project as "absolutely necessary."

"Right now in Canada, the one measuring stick, if I can use that phrase, that we have - that dominates everything - is the GDP, gross domestic product, sometimes called the gross national product," he said in an interview prior to the launch Wednesday.

It has become a surrogate for telling Canadians whether they're better or worse off, Romanow said, but in reality all it does is measure goods and services produced. But not all things that are produced are good for our lives, communities or health, he added.

"We'd like to have a complementary mechanism of measuring those things which the GDP does not, namely the quality of life."

The data being crunched will come from Statistics Canada, the CIBC employment quality index and a variety of other sources, he said.

On Wednesday, the newly launched Institute of Wellbeing, which is affiliated with the University of Waterloo, issued its first report dealing with three of the eight areas of life that will eventually be covered by the index.

Andrew Sharpe, executive director of the Centre for the Study of Living Standards in Ottawa, is the co-author of the living standards component, which looked at data from 1981 to 2008.

"Average incomes did fairly well in Canada, but what happened was much of the gains went to the top 25 per cent of the households, so median incomes - that's the middle family - actually only increased by around two per cent, over that whole period," he said. "That's very small."

The report said average real net worth in 2007 was up 73.3 per cent on a per capita basis and 51.7 per cent on a household basis from 1981.

As well, Sharpe said there's been a historic decline in the poverty rate - it was 9.2 per cent in 2007, down from 16 per cent around 1996. There were marked declines in child poverty and poverty among seniors, he noted.

"But the problem is, we're going to lose that. All this progress we've made through public policy and economic growth, we're going to unwind much of that with the next years to come because of this recession," he said.

The health portion of the report said Canadians' life expectancy rates are among the best in the world - a Canadian born in 2005 could expect to live to 80.4 years, up from 74.9 years in 1979.

But the health picture isn't all rosy, according to Romanow.

"If you plumb further down into that figure, you'll see some very disturbing aspects about life expectancies - for example, in the three territories - or life expectancies with aboriginal and native organizations," he said.

A child born in Nunavut in 2004 could expect to live only 70.4 years, the report said.

"These are circumstances where their health outcomes are worse, I suspect, because their incomes are also worse," Romanow surmised.

In terms of community vitality, the report said 61 per cent of Canadians were members of non-profit, voluntary organizations in 2003 compared with 51 per cent in the late 1990s.

And the number of people reporting six or more close friends dropped from 40 per cent to 30 per cent between 1996 and 2003.

Romanow said three more components that will comprise the index will be reported in the fall, and the other two will likely come in 2010.

As the eight domains are reported, researchers will concurrently be working at developing what they hope will be a single indicator, similar to the GDP, he said.

The composite figure "will be able to tell us as Canadians ... where improvements need to be made or where changes in policies should be implemented, or whether we just simply need a new initiative."

The idea originated about a decade ago when the Atkinson Charitable Foundation in Toronto was concerned about identifying scientific data that could tell us as a society whether Canadians are doing better or worse, Romanow said.

He came on board after filing his health-care report in 2002.

The advisory board is identified as the Institute of Wellbeing, and it's guided by experts who have been working on data for years, Romanow said.

There is a "virtual relationship" with the University of Waterloo, to give it an academic home.

"It's a citizens' group, not owned by any government. We're non-partisan - all we want to do is get the facts out there so that Canadians know and governments and communities respond accordingly."

Monday, June 8, 2009

Why Skilled Immigrants Are Leaving the U.S.

Source: Business Week
New research shows that highly skilled workers are returning home for brighter career prospects and a better quality of life

By Vivek Wadhwa


As the debate over H-1B workers and skilled immigrants intensifies, we are losing sight of one important fact: The U.S. is no longer the only land of opportunity. If we don't want the immigrants who have fueled our innovation and economic growth, they now have options elsewhere. Immigrants are returning home in greater numbers. And new research shows they are returning to enjoy a better quality of life, better career prospects, and the comfort of being close to family and friends.

Earlier research by my team suggested that a crisis was brewing because of a burgeoning immigration backlog. At the end of 2006, more than 1 million skilled professionals (engineers, scientists, doctors, researchers) and their families were in line for a yearly allotment of only 120,000 permanent resident visas. The wait time for some people ran longer than a decade. In the meantime, these workers were trapped in "immigration limbo." If they changed jobs or even took a promotion, they risked being pushed to the back of the permanent residency queue. We predicted that skilled foreign workers would increasingly get fed up and return to countries like India and China where the economies were booming.

Why should we care? Because immigrants are critical to the country's long-term economic health. Despite the fact that they constitute only 12% of the U.S. population, immigrants have started 52% of Silicon Valley's technology companies and contributed to more than 25% of our global patents. They make up 24% of the U.S. science and engineering workforce holding bachelor's degrees and 47% of science and engineering workers who have PhDs. Immigrants have co-founded firms such as Google (GOOG), Intel (INTC), eBay (EBAY), and Yahoo! (YHOO).
Who Are They? Young and Well-Educated

We tried to find hard data on how many immigrants had returned to India and China. No government authority seems to track these numbers. But human resources directors in India and China told us that what was a trickle of returnees a decade ago had become a flood. Job applications from the U.S. had increased tenfold over the last few years, they said. To get an understanding of how the returnees had fared and why they left the U.S., my team at Duke, along with AnnaLee Saxenian of the University of California at Berkeley and Richard Freeman of Harvard University, conducted a survey. Through professional networking site LinkedIn, we tracked down 1,203 Indian and Chinese immigrants who had worked or received education in the U.S. and had returned to their home countries. This research was funded by the Kauffman Foundation.

Our new paper, "America's Loss Is the World's Gain," finds that the vast majority of these returnees were relatively young. The average age was 30 for Indian returnees, and 33 for Chinese. They were highly educated, with degrees in management, technology, or science. Fifty-one percent of the Chinese held master's degrees and 41% had PhDs. Sixty-six percent of the Indians held a master's and 12.1% had PhDs. They were at very top of the educational distribution for these highly educated immigrant groups—precisely the kind of people who make the greatest contribution to the U.S. economy and to business and job growth.

Nearly a third of the Chinese returnees and a fifth of the Indians came to the U.S. on student visas. A fifth of the Chinese and nearly half of the Indians entered on temporary work visas (such as the H-1B). The strongest factor that brought them to the U.S. was professional and educational development opportunities.

What They Miss: Family and Friends

They found life in the U.S. had many drawbacks. Returnees cited language barriers, missing their family and friends at home, difficulty with cultural assimilation, and care of parents and children as key issues. About a third of the Indians and a fifth of the Chinese said that visas were a strong factor in their decision to return home, but others left for opportunity and to be close to family and friends. And it wasn't just new immigrants who were returning. In fact, 30% of respondents held permanent resident status or were U.S. citizens.

Eighty-seven percent of Chinese and 79% of Indians said a strong factor in their original decision to return home was the growing demand for their skills in their home countries. Their instincts generally proved right. Significant numbers moved up the organization chart. Among Indians the percentage of respondents holding senior management positions increased from 10% in the U.S. to 44% in India, and among Chinese it increased from 9% in the U.S. to 36% in China. Eighty-seven percent of Chinese and 62% of Indians said they had better opportunities for longer-term professional growth in their home countries than in the U.S. Additionally, nearly half were considering launching businesses and said entrepreneurial opportunities were better in their home countries than in the U.S.

Friends and family played an equally strong role for 88% of Indians and 77% of Chinese. Care for aging parents was considered by 89% of Indians and 79% of Chinese to be much better in their home countries. Nearly 80% of Indians and 67% of Chinese said family values were better in their home countries.
More Options Back Home

Immigrants who have arrived at America's shores have always felt lonely and homesick. They had to make big personal sacrifices to provide their children with better opportunities than they had. But they never have had the option to return home. Now they do, and they are leaving.

It isn't all rosy back home. Indians complained of traffic and congestion, lack of infrastructure, excessive bureaucracy, and pollution. Chinese complained of pollution, reverse culture shock, inferior education for children, frustration with government bureaucracy, and the quality of health care. Returnees said they were generally making less money in absolute terms, but they also said they enjoyed a higher quality of life.

We may not need all these workers in the U.S. during the deepening recession. But we will need them to help us recover from it. Right now, they are taking their skills and ideas back to their home countries and are unlikely to return, barring an extraordinary recruitment effort and major changes to immigration policy. That hardly seems likely given the current political climate. The policy focus now seems to be on doing whatever it takes to retain existing American jobs—even if it comes at the cost of building a workforce for the future of America.

Canada Recognises Indian Law Degree

Source: The Hindu News Update Service
Toronto (PTI): Broadening prospects for legal professionals coming from India and other Asian countries, Canadian authorities have decided to recognise their law degrees equivalent to that of the U.K. and Australia.

"The National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) has decided that three-year full-time law degrees from Common Law Countries including India, England and Australia should be treated equivalently regardless of their country of origin. It is a substantial reduction in barrier to entry into legal profession," Vern Krishna, outgoing executive director of the NCA, said on Sunday.

Prof. Krishna, who will retire on June 30 after 27 years of his service, said that the new decision that came in force from March 1 and again revised on May 1, 2009 would pave the way for Indian lawyers and other foreign trained professionals quicker integration into the mainstream.

"Law degrees from India, Australia, Bangladesh, England, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, the U.S., Wales and West Indies are being treated equivalently," Prof. Krishna said.

He, however, said that professionals from these countries willing to practice law in Canada have to qualify exams in about six subjects depending upon the subjects they studied and grade obtained in order to achieve equivalence. Besides, they will have to write bar exams to practice as a lawyer here, he added.

The exams will test ability of foreign aspirants about their knowledge of law, how they apply it and their competence that allow them to serve public, he said.

Prof. Krishna said that Canada is offering vast opportunities for South Asian Legal professionals as trade and investment between Canada and South Asia are expected to grow significantly in years to come.

Welcoming the NCA's decision, Bhausaheb Ubale, former chief of Canadian Human Rights Commission, said that the step removed biggest barrier faced by Indian legal professionals and demanded similar provision in other professions also.

Foreign credentials recognition - or, more aptly, its non-recognition - is a "systemic problem" that continues to exist in Canada, said Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney.

He said his government has tripled its fund allocations to the foreign credential recognition programme.

"We're creating a national framework and hope to be able to present it in a year for now," he said, adding that it will enable the newcomers to have their credentials assessed quicker and paving the way towards their integration into the mainstream jobs market.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Recession Makes the Frozen North More Appealing By Tamar Lewin

Source:http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/02/canada/?hp

With American college costs rising, and the American dollar strong against the Canadian currency, more and more high school students are looking to Canadian universities for their college education.
Canadian and U.S. dollarsAP Photo/Ryan Remiorz, The Canadian Press

According to the Canadian embassy, more than 9,000 U.S. students are studying at Canadian universities and colleges, up from 2,500 12 years ago.

The cost advantage is enormous. Because Canadian universities are publicly financed and heavily subsidized by the government, even the higher tuition for foreign students is only about $15,000 — about half as much as at a selective American liberal-arts college.

Not surprisingly, given the recession, American interest in top Canadian universities has been particularly strong this year. A Boston Globe article in December found that in many Massachusetts high schools, universities like McGill, in Montreal, Dalhousie, in Halifax, and the University of Toronto, were very much on students’ radar.

The Canadian press, too, has carried recent stories about the trend, like this one from The Globe and Mail, in which a recruiting official at the University of Toronto, where applications from American students have tripled in seven years, said that when she tells American parents to expect to pay about $30,000 for tuition, books and housing, they often ask if that is for a term or for the whole year.

A Canadian government Web site, helps guide prospective students through the simpler-than-in-the-United-States admissions process.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Indian students flock to study in Canada

June 01 2009 by Ranjan Chakraborty

Canadian immigration is taking measures to attract Indian students with a new pilot project which will enable students who want to study in Canada to gain student visas within just seven to ten days.

The scheme follows problems involving false documentation, with many Indian students being rejected for Canadian student visas after being duped by bogus immigration agencies. In light of this, the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi is piloting a scheme that will check for fraudulent documentation and boost the number of Indians going to study in Canada.

Jagdeep Singh, from International Educational & Career Consultants, says the Canadian High Commission is hoping to attract more Indians to move to Canada to study this year following a high rejection rate in 2008. He says the new scheme will be simplified and is intended to quickly ascertain an applicant’s “correct financial status.”

Singh says that Canada is now hoping more Indian students will choose Canada rather than going to study in the US or in Australia. He says that Canada has high quality universities and that it wants to generate more money for its economy by boosting the number of foreign students it welcomes.

Advice to students looking to obtain a Canadian student visa includes: [1] using a bona fide, reputable immigration agency with an excellent track record; [2] choosing the right course at the right educational establishment; [3] be truthful at all times and show genuine documentation. If the application is rejected because of fraudulent documentation, the chances of reversing a refused visa are very slim.

Monday, June 1, 2009

How Much Does Immigrating Really Cost?


Let's welcome another interesting blog article from Zhu. She is the blogger behind Correr es mi destino blog.

Are you eligible to immigrate to Canada? Are you filling up the paperworks? Awesome! But wait… do you have enough money?

Sure, you though of the processing fees. But did you realize there were also a lot of fees associated with immigrating to Canada? In this post, I’m going to try to sum up how much do you really need to paid to immigrate to Canada.

The processing fees

Depending on the category you applied in, you will be charged different fees:

* In the skilled worker category: it’s $550 for the principal applicant, $550 for the spouse, and $150 per children under 22 years old.
* In the sponsorship category: the sponsor application is $75, the person sponsored is charged $475.

Applicant who plan to settle in Quebec must apply for a Certificat de Selection du Quebec (CSQ). It costs $390 for the principal applicant, $150 for a spouse, and $150 for each child.

All landed immigrants in Canada must paid the right of permanent residence fee, which is $490 per person.

Citizenship and Immigration has a handy table to help you calculate your application fees.

Fees associated with the application

* If your documents (such a degrees, work documents etc.) are not in French or English, you must provide a translation of these documents. This has to be done by a authorized translator.
* You must include several photographs and the rules are quite specific (yes, Canadians are weird with passport pictures!). Depending where you live, it adds up. In Canada, it cost about $12 for two pics — not cheap if you immigrate as a family!
* You may need to have your foreign degrees recognized in Canada. This is called a credential evaluation, and it’s done by specific organization, such as World Education Services. A basic official evaluation cost about $115 and up.
* If you are from a country where nor English nor French is the official language, you will have to prove your language abilities. This is one of the 6 selection factors for skilled workers. The language proficiency test must given by an organization that is approved by Citizenship and Immigration, for example IELTS ($265) and CELPIP f($250) for English, or the TEF for French ($250). No cheap!
* A medical exam is compulsory for each applicant and their dependents (spouse, children) and must be made by a physician on Canada’s list of designated medical practitioners. Usually, you paid twice: once for the exam itself, and once for the X-rays that have to be taken. Fees vary by country, and even by geographic location within a country. Doctors fees vary, so shop around! I remember paying $100 for the medical exam and another $100 for the X-ray, in 2005, in Ottawa.

Don’t forget to consider miscellaneous fees!

* Traveling expenses: you may have to travel from your city to your local Canadian visa office (typically, in your home country’s capital, with some exceptions). Why would you need to travel? Well, if you need to be interviewed for your application. Sometimes, your city won’t have a designated medical practitioner, so may have to travel to another city for your medical exam.
* Passport application: a lot of people don’t realize they need a passport from their home country to immigrate to Canada. You have to apply for one before you start the immigration process, and chances are, it will cost something, although it varies by country.


Don’t forget…

And don’t forget the settlement funds. If you apply in the skilled worker category, you will have to prove that you have enough funds to support yourself and your family for the first few months following your arrival in Canada. For one person, it’s roughly $10,000, and up to almost $23,000 for a family of five.