Sunday, March 21, 2010

600,000 skilled workers in line for Canadian visas

By Mata Press Service

Close to 600,000 skilled workers around the world are waiting in line to get into Canada with some processing missions showing visa queues that could stretch up to 15 years, a top immigration expert said.
Using data obtained via Access to Information requests, Richard Kurland, a lawyer and one of Canada’s top immigration analysts said that the numbers are an early warning sign for Immigration Canada to act and reduce the waiting times.
There are 594,274 people in inventory waiting for 80,055 skilled workers visas in 2010, Kurland estimated.
“Parliament does not want long processing queues for skilled workers, and gave the Minister of
Citizenship and Immigration harsh policy tools (“C-50”) to be deployed in this kind of situation,’ said Kurland in his latest Lexbase information bulletin.
“The Minister needs to consider downsizing the number of eligible occupations from the current 38, to a much smaller number.”
The global average waiting times for all categories at all missions is 2.64 years.
“But then we examined the skilled workers. A very different picture emerges. Global average for all missions is 7.62 years ,” Kurland noted.
Kurland said downsizing the total number of eligible occupations does not mean Canada loses out on potential immigrants.
“The people who are no longer eligible federally, may apply under Provincial Nominee Programs, or can choose to seek temporary status in Canada under the Foreign Worker Program and subsequently apply under the Canada Experience Class… Canada’s door remains open,” said Kurland.
“It may be unpopular politically, but the Minister needs to fix this.”
Current projections and estimates show processing times for skilled workers of 12.79 years (New Delhi 117,098 people); 7.69 years (Hong Kong 30,763 people); 57.80 years (Nairobi 8,960 people); 33.51
years (Accra 18,688 people), or 30.06 years (Islamabad).
“Experience shows that unless a Minister is able to say ‘no’, processing inventories will bloat, and processing times will continue to lengthen beyond reasonable limits,” warned Kurland.
Kurland’s warning comes as Statistics Canada reported that Vancouver’s visible minority population is on track to become the majority over the next two decades.
The report shows visible minority groups are growing rapidly and will account for 59 per cent of the metro region’s total population by 2031, up from a current figure of about 40 per cent.
Immigration — led by China and South Asia — is a leading factor in the changing demographic picture.
Of the estimated two million visible minorities living in the region in 20 years’ time, one in three will be Canadian-born, the report states.
Nationally, Vancouver’s diversity projections are second only to Toronto, which could be home to 63 per cent of visible minority residents by 2031. The Abbotsford-Mission region ranks third with an estimated population of 39 per cent over the same time period, followed by Calgary (38 per cent), Ottawa (36 per cent), Windsor, (33 per cent) and Montreal (31 per cent).
Meanwhile, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said he is streamlining the process for assessing the language skills of applicants to the Federal Skilled Worker and Canadian Experience classes.
“The language requirements themselves have not changed,” said Minister Kenney.
“But beginning April 10, 2010, prospective immigrants will be required to prove their English and French language abilities at the time they apply. This requirement supports our commitment to fast, fair and efficient application processing.”
Previously, to prove language ability in French or English, applicants could either submit an independent, third-party test or a written submission to a visa officer.
An immigrant’s English or French language ability is one of the strongest predictors of their success in the job market.
Kenney also announced a new internet resource for newcomers to help them quickly and easily find a range of government services, in addition to settlement services, in their communities
This resource is easy to find at www.servicesfornewcomers.cic.gc.ca.