Monday, June 28, 2010

Convention Refugee Claims in Canada

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Proposed Changes Hope to Streamline Refugee Determination Process

Read more at Suite101: Convention Refugee Claims in Canada: Proposed Changes Hope to Streamline Refugee Determination Process http://news.suite101.com/article.cfm/convention-refugee-claims-in-canada-a220131#ixzz0jzCR1kuQ

On March 30, 2010, the government introduced Bill C-11 that will divide refugee claimants into two streams. The goal is to speed up both determinations and removals.

For years many Canadians including politicians have described Canada’s refugee system as broken. Since the current procedures were enacted in 1989, Bill C-11 constitutes the first major overhaul of Canada’s refugee determination process. The purpose of the bill is to vastly reduce the time that it takes to decide whether or not a claimant is a genuine refugee and to speed up removals of failed claimants.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told the National Post editorial board that the proposed legislation is an attempt to stop the “gaming of the system” by which people come to Canada and make false refugee claims knowing that the longer they get to stay, the less likelihood they will ever be removed.
Canada’s Current Refugee Determination System

When a foreign national, either at a port of entry or within Canada tells an immigration officer that they want to make a refugee claim, they are given a form to fill out. The claimant then has 28 days to complete the form and file it with the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). After the form is received, a date for a hearing is scheduled to be heard before a member of the Refugee Protection Division of the IRB. Under existing legislation, members of the Refugee Protection Division are appointed for fixed terms by the government of the day.

After the matter is heard and a decision rendered the successful applicant, together with any accompanying spouse and dependants, can apply to become a permanent resident of Canada. Those who are unsuccessful do not have the right to appeal that decision but they can apply for leave to seek judicial review of that decision in the Federal Court of Canada. Failed refugee claimants who apply to Federal Court do not automatically have the right to remain in Canada; however an application can be made to a justice of the Federal Court to stay the removal order until such time as that court decides the matter.

Currently, the average time between a person’s initial claim to be a Convention refugee and the time a determination is made is 19 months. The time that it now takes to remove a failed refugee claimant from Canada is close to five years after their initial claim is made.

The Refugee Protection Division currently has a backlog of 60,000 cases that are scheduled to be heard. Part of the backlog is due the reluctance of the current Conservative government to fill vacant positions on the board.

At the present time there are about 15,000 failed claimants who are waiting to be removed from Canada. It is also estimated that there are 38,000 unsuccessful refugee applicants whose whereabouts are unknown. It is not known whether they have left Canada or remain underground.
The Balanced Refugee Reform Act

Bill C-11 or the Balanced Refugee Reform Act as it will be known if passed will require refugee claimants to be interviewed by an immigration officer within eight days of making their claim. This replaces filling out a form and filing it within 28 days. If the claimant is found by the officer to be eligible to make a refugee claim, the matter will be set down for a hearing before the Refugee Protection Division within 60 days. The proposed legislation will replace government-appointed fixed term members on the board with career public servants.

The most controversial aspect of Bill C-11 is that refugee claimants will be divided into two different streams. The government will be able to designate certain countries as being “safe”. These safe countries will be those that are democratic, seen to have good human rights records, and be characterized as non-refugee producing countries. Examples of countries that the government would designate would be the United States and European Union countries.

Claimants who come from designated safe countries will not be able to appeal negative decisions of the Refugee Protection Division. Other claimants will be able, for the first time, to appeal to the newly created Refugee Appeal Division. The appeal will be based on the record of the Refugee Protection Division and the only evidence that will be allowed will be new evidence of events that happened after the initial hearing.

Failed claimants will still be able to apply for leave for judicial review in Federal Court of their final Immigration and Refugee Board decision. To that end, the bill will increase the number of justices who sit on the Federal Court of Canada.
Criticism of the Proposed Legislation

Although many applaud the government’s attempt to streamline the system; to remove failed claimants more quickly as well as grant speedier landing to those found to be refugees, there has been vocal criticism of some of the bill’s provisions. The main criticism is of the ability of Canada to designate some countries as safe. Many refugee advocates and lawyers feel that each person’s case should be determined solely on its own merits, equally and not according to their country of origin. The two streams could result in unfair hearings to those who have claims from countries that are already presumed not to produce genuine refugees.

Another complaint is that the time periods involved; eight days to be interviewed and another 60 days for the hearing will not allow the claimant sufficient time to obtain competent counsel to assist them and to adequately prepare for the hearing.

It is estimated that, if enacted, the legislation will cost taxpayers $540 million over five years.

Sources:

National Post
The copyright of the article Convention Refugee Claims in Canada in Law, Crime & Justice is owned by Arthur Weinreb. Permission to republish Convention Refugee Claims in Canada in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.
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Study: Canada Attracts Older, More Educated Migrants

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AHN News Staff
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (AHN) - A Gallup Poll survey has found that younger but less educated migrants prefer to live in the United States, while Canada attracts older but more educated immigrants.
Gallup conducted the survey in 148 nations. The poll found that 41 percent of people in the age bracket 15 to 24 prefer to migrate to the U.S., while only 27 percent picked Canada. But for those in the age ranges 25 to 44, about 48 percent preferred Canada and 40 percent the U.S.
When grouped according to educational attainment, those who finished only elementary picked the U.S. as their migration destination. Among those who completed secondary education, 59 percent want to move to Canada versus 51 percent to the U.S.
Association for Canadian Studies Executive Director Jack Jedwab explained that because more educated immigrants choose Canada, the average income of migrants in 2006 reached $44,170, while those who moved to the U.S. earned only $34,400.
The study also compared how the two North American neighbors welcome migrants. Canada actively assists new arrivals through free language-training vouchers. The U.S. lacks a national integration policy and gives little support for English-language classes.
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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Eligibility criteria for federal skilled worker applications

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Under changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, federal skilled worker applications are assessed for eligibility according to the criteria listed below. Note: This does not apply to applicants intending to live in the province of Quebec.
These criteria affect you only if you applied on or after June 26, 2010. If your application was received before June 26, 2010, it will be processed according to the rules that were in effect at that time.

  If you are applying under one of the 29 eligible occupations, as of June 26, 2010, a maximum of 20,000 Federal Skilled Worker applications will be considered for processing in the following 12 months. Within the 20,000 cap, a maximum of 1,000 Federal Skilled Worker applications per eligible occupation will be considered for processing each year.

These limits do not apply to applications with an offer of arranged employment.
For your application to be eligible for processing, you must include the results of your official language proficiency test, and either:
  • have a valid offer of arranged employment, OR
  • be a skilled worker who has had one year of continuous full-time or equivalent part-time paid work experience in at least one of the following eligible occupations within the last ten years:
0631 Restaurant and Food Service Managers
0811 Primary Production Managers (Except Agriculture)
1122 Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management
1233 Insurance Adjusters and Claims Examiners
2121 Biologists and Related Scientists
2151 Architects
3111 Specialist Physicians
3112 General Practitioners and Family Physicians
3113 Dentists
3131 Pharmacists
3142 Physiotherapists
3152 Registered Nurses
3215 Medical Radiation Technologists
3222 Dental Hygienists & Dental Therapists
3233 Licensed Practical Nurses
4151 Psychologists
4152 Social Workers
6241 Chefs
6242 Cooks
7215 Contractors and Supervisors, Carpentry Trades
7216 Contractors and Supervisors, Mechanic Trades
7241 Electricians (Except Industrial & Power System)
7242 Industrial Electricians
7251 Plumbers
7265 Welders & Related Machine Operators
7312 Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanics
7371 Crane Operators
7372 Drillers & Blasters - Surface Mining, Quarrying & Construction
8222 Supervisors, Oil and Gas Drilling and Service
NOTE: the occupations above are all Skill Type 0 (managerial occupations) or Skill Level A (professional occupations) or B (technical occupations and skilled trades) on the Canadian National Occupational Classification list.

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Government of Canada will welcome more economic immigrants in 2010

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Toronto, June 26, 2010 — Canada is adjusting its 2010 immigration plan to put even greater emphasis on economic recovery and further reduce the federal skilled worker backlog, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney told a news conference today.
“When I met with my provincial colleagues last week, they all stressed the importance of economic immigration,” Minister Kenney said. “As we recover from the recession, increasing economic immigration will help ensure employers have the workers they need to supplement our domestic labour supply.”
Each year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) sets out a plan for the number of immigrants it intends to welcome within economic, family and humanitarian immigration categories. The planned range for 2010 is 240,000 – 265,000 immigrants. CIC generally achieves the midpoint of this range. In 2010, CIC anticipates achieving the upper end of this range, allowing Canada to welcome more immigrants in the economic category than originally planned. This includes federal skilled workers and record-level numbers of provincial nominees, without reducing the number in the family or humanitarian immigration categories.
Minister Kenney noted that some of his provincial colleagues expect the need will grow further in the years ahead. “This is something we will need to take into consideration when we consult more broadly on plans for future years,” he said.
Even with higher numbers of economic immigrants, Canada still receives many more applications than can be processed in a timely way. As a result, the department is limiting the number of new applications it will consider in the federal skilled worker category every year.
“Canada will continue to welcome historically high numbers of immigrants, but we need to manage the number of new applications or risk creating new backlogs and longer processing times,” Minister Kenney said. “We have more than enough applications on hand now to fill many of our needs, and we want to be fair to those people who have been waiting the longest.”
Effective immediately, to be eligible to apply as a federal skilled worker, applicants must either have a job offer, or they must have experience in one of 29 in-demand occupations. These occupations were identified through analysis of updated labour market information and consultations with provinces, territories, stakeholders and the public.
For those applying under the occupation list, the government will limit the number of applications considered for processing to 20,000 per year as a way to better manage the supply of applications with labour market demand. Within the 20,000 limit, a maximum of 1,000 applications per occupation will be considered. The limit does not apply to applicants with a job offer.
In addition, all federal skilled worker and Canadian Experience Class applicants must submit the results of an independent language test before they will be considered.
Other than the language test result requirement, these changes apply only to the federal skilled worker immigration category. The authority for the changes, known as ministerial instructions, comes from amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act approved by Parliament in 2008 as part of the Action Plan for Faster Immigration.
The instructions are meant as a flexible tool to allow the government to keep the intake of applications for economic immigration in line with the number and types of jobs available in Canada, as well as reduce application backlogs and processing times.
Since the first instructions were issued in November 2008, the backlog of federal skilled worker applicants in process prior to the legislation has dropped from 640,000 to 380,000. The majority of decisions on new applications are being made in six to 12 months, compared with up to six years prior to the changes. But in the first quarter of 2010, the number of new applications rose significantly beyond the department’s ability to process them in a timely way, leading to the recognition that a more refined approach is necessary.
“These changes bring Canada in line with the practices of the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, our main competitors for skilled immigrants,” said Minister Kenney. “They help match the supply of applicants to our processing capacity and today’s post-recession job market needs. This is the only responsible way to manage our immigration system.”
The Government is also proposing new eligibility criteria for the immigrant investor program so it makes an even greater contribution to the Canadian economy. Proposed regulatory changes will require new investors to have a personal net worth of $1.6M, up from $800,000, and make an investment of $800,000, up from $400,000. These proposals were pre-published today in the Canada Gazette for a 30-day public comment period.
Canada’s current criteria for investors are the lowest in the world, and have not been changed since 1999. As a result the program draws a larger number of applicants than can be admitted every year under the immigration plan, and processing times are increasing.
Until the changes are finalized, the Government will stop accepting new investor applications to prevent a flood of applications before the new criteria take effect, which would stretch processing times even further. When the new criteria are in place, new applications will be processed alongside the old ones. In this way, Canada can begin to realize the benefits of the changes immediately.
“Canada needs investor immigrants,” said Minister Kenney. “These changes are necessary to keep Canada’s program competitive with that of other countries, and keep pace with the changing economy.”
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Saturday, June 26, 2010

G20: Why we all want to be Canadian now

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Even on a rainy weekday at Ottawa's By Ward market, Canadian shoppers are cheery.
As Americans and Europeans face deficits and drastic government cuts, Canada's economy is recovering from only a mild recession.
Sheltering near the maple syrup stall, local restaurant promoter Melissa Grecco says Canada escaped the fate of the US.
"We felt the effects on corporate bookings, companies not spending money on staff or booking on a limited budget. But we didn't feel it as much as the US. And within the last couple of months our business has exploded."
Painful reforms
Pierrre de Varennes Real estate broker, Ottawa
So Canada is now one of the top performing industrialised economies. How did they manage it?
For a start, painful reforms in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Canada's government, based in the stone neo-gothic Parliament building in Ottawa, along with individual provinces, were able to afford an economic stimulus package.
Whilst other nations borrowed, Canada had a budget surplus for over a decade.
According to James Flaherty, Canada's jaunty finance minister, it was also down to a more cautious approach.
"The Canadian character is relatively fiscally conservative. Canadians themselves are relatively prudent, I think, in terms of how much they are prepared to borrow and the risks they are prepared to take."
Safe as houses Certainly, fewer risks are allowed in the housing market.

Julie Dickson Banking superintendent Europe told to 'focus on growth'
Canadian home values have held fairly steady according to Pierre de Varennes, a real estate broker in Ottawa, with 350 employees.
He says stricter standards for homebuyers meant no housing boom and bust in Canada:
"In Canada, you cannot over-mortgage your property. In fact if you are financing more than 75% of the value, you have to get insurance. Not for you but for the bank."
With that protection, Canadian banks have done well from mortgages. And with less exposure to toxic sub-prime mortgages in the US, Canada's six biggest financial institutions, headquartered on Bay Street in Toronto, survived the financial crisis disaster free.
'Big stick' The Toronto skyline that Gordon Nixon, the President of Royal Bank of Canada, can see from his office on Bay Street not only looks very different to Manhattan. It is run differently, too.
"The structure of our marketplace in Canada is very different," he says.
"Most mortgages are held on the balance sheet of banks. The terms are more conservative and there is not as aggressive a marketplace.

"Sub-prime lending is very limited in the Canadian marketplace. What was the weakest asset class in the US and spread to the balance sheets of many banks was one of the strongest in Canada."
But Canada has also been happy to wield a bigger stick when it comes to financial regulation.
Banking superintendent Julie Dickson credits Canadian firms with better risk management.
But banks must also adhere to more stringent standards. What's more, her office is within walking distance.
"We spent a lot of time looking at what they are doing on a day-to-day basis. We also had good rules when it comes to capital and leverage. And the industry is of a size that it is easier for the regulator to get their arms around it."
Canada's financial sector is smaller and perhaps more insulated than in the US.
Critics add that Canadian banks are less innovative, with higher costs for consumers. Talking to Canadians, they seem to shrug off those arguments, happy with the results of a more prudent and, some argue, less greedy economic philosophy.
Puzzle solved  John Criswick says being in Canada has helped his business The G8 and G20 is a crucial opportunity for Canadian policy makers, eager to vaunt their successes to leaders gathered in Toronto.
And Canada need only point to growing businesses like Magmic. The Canadian IT firm makes games for the Blackberry, Apple's iPhone and iPad.
John Criswick, who founded in the firm in 2002, says the recession was painful but the odds have been tipped in his favour because he is in Canada.
"The recession definitely had an impact on us. We are half the size we used to be. But we are growing out of that and being in Canada has aided us in that recovery. It is pushing us beyond what our competition are doing in the US."
John's most profitable game? The iconic US brand the New York Times Crossword - currently the top selling gaming app on the iPhone.
The Canadians, it seems, have answers for even the toughest puzzles and they are keen to share their strategies with the rest of the world. Why in this economy, we all want to be Canadian.
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Ottawa caps number of skilled immigrants

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The federal government will cap at 20,000 annually the number of visa applications from skilled immigrants in an attempt to reduce the backlog.
Immigration applicants must also submit proof of proficiency in one of Canada’s two official languages through a mandatory test, according to new instructions released Friday by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. Until now, some applicants were allowed to submit a written declaration testifying to their language ability. For example, exemptions could be granted to those who were educated in English or French.
“Only test results from a third-party language testing agency . . . will be accepted,” the instructions say. Kenney will officially announce the changes Saturday in Toronto.
The approved language tests include the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Test d’évaluation de français (TEF). The language requirement also applies to applicants under the Canada Experience Class.
As part of the changes, the number of occupations eligible for the federal skilled worker program has also been reduced from 38 to 29.
Due to an oversupply in the job market, 20 of the original 38 job categories have been removed, including managers in finances, computer and information systems, health care and construction, as well as university professors and college and vocational instructors.
They are being replaced with 11 new occupations: social workers, psychologists, dental hygienists and therapists, pharmacists, dentists, architects, biologists and related scientists, insurance adjusters and claims examiners, primary industry production managers (except those in agriculture) and professions in business services and management.
Applicants must have one year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in at least one of the occupations to qualify.
The immigration department will also limit the number of applications in each occupation to no more than 1,000; the applications will be processed on a first-come-first-served basis. These instructions and restrictions are effective until June 30, 2011.
Kenney introduced his first instructions in February 2008 to reduce the ever-growing immigration backlog by restricting the qualifying occupations, but applications kept coming. Critics have said the backlog appears to be re-emerging despite those measures.
Based on an analysis of department data by immigration lawyer Richard Kurland earlier this year, the average processing time from all Canadian visa posts is 7 ½ years, with 600,000 people in the queue for the 80,055 skilled immigrant visas granted in 2010.
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Government of Canada Will Welcome More Economic Immigrants in 2010

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TORONTO, ONTARIO -- 06/26/10 -- Canada is adjusting its 2010 immigration plan to put even greater emphasis on economic recovery and further reduce the federal skilled worker backlog, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney told a news conference today. "When I met with my provincial colleagues last week, they all stressed the importance of economic immigration," Minister Kenney said. "As we recover from the recession, increasing economic immigration will help ensure employers have the workers they need to supplement our domestic labour supply."
Each year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) sets out a plan for the number of immigrants it intends to welcome within economic, family and humanitarian immigration categories. The planned range for 2010 is 240,000 - 265,000 immigrants. CIC generally achieves the midpoint of this range. In 2010, CIC anticipates achieving the upper end of this range, allowing Canada to welcome more immigrants in the economic category than originally planned. This includes federal skilled workers and record-level numbers of provincial nominees, without reducing the number in the family or humanitarian immigration categories.
Minister Kenney noted that some of his provincial colleagues expect the need will grow further in the years ahead. "This is something we will need to take into consideration when we consult more broadly on plans for future years," he said.
Even with higher numbers of economic immigrants, Canada still receives many more applications than can be processed in a timely way. As a result, the department is limiting the number of new applications it will consider in the federal skilled worker category every year.
"Canada will continue to welcome historically high numbers of immigrants, but we need to manage the number of new applications or risk creating new backlogs and longer processing times," Minister Kenney said. "We have more than enough applications on hand now to fill many of our needs, and we want to be fair to those people who have been waiting the longest."
Effective immediately, to be eligible to apply as a federal skilled worker, applicants must either have a job offer, or they must have experience in one of 29 in-demand occupations. These occupations were identified through analysis of updated labour market information and consultations with provinces, territories, stakeholders and the public.
For those applying under the occupation list, the government will limit the number of applications considered for processing to 20,000 per year as a way to better manage the supply of applications with labour market demand. Within the 20,000 limit, a maximum of 1,000 applications per occupation will be considered. The limit does not apply to applicants with a job offer.
In addition, all federal skilled worker and Canadian Experience Class applicants must submit the results of an independent language test before they will be considered.
Other than the language test result requirement, these changes apply only to the federal skilled worker immigration category. The authority for the changes, known as ministerial instructions, comes from amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act approved by Parliament in 2008 as part of the Action Plan for Faster Immigration.
The instructions are meant as a flexible tool to allow the government to keep the intake of applications for economic immigration in line with the number and types of jobs available in Canada, as well as reduce application backlogs and processing times.
Since the first instructions were issued in November 2008, the backlog of federal skilled worker applicants in process prior to the legislation has dropped from 640,000 to 380,000. The majority of decisions on new applications are being made in six to 12 months, compared with up to six years prior to the changes. But in the first quarter of 2010, the number of new applications rose significantly beyond the department's ability to process them in a timely way, leading to the recognition that a more refined approach is necessary.
"These changes bring Canada in line with the practices of the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, our main competitors for skilled immigrants," said Minister Kenney. "They help match the supply of applicants to our processing capacity and today's post-recession job market needs. This is the only responsible way to manage our immigration system."
The Government is also proposing new eligibility criteria for the immigrant investor program so it makes an even greater contribution to the Canadian economy. Proposed regulatory changes will require new investors to have a personal net worth of $1.6M, up from $800,000, and make an investment of $800,000, up from $400,000. These proposals were pre-published today in the Canada Gazette for a 30-day public comment period.
Canada's current criteria for investors are the lowest in the world, and have not been changed since 1999. As a result the program draws a larger number of applicants than can be admitted every year under the immigration plan, and processing times are increasing.
Until the changes are finalized, the Government will stop accepting new investor applications to prevent a flood of applications before the new criteria take effect, which would stretch processing times even further. When the new criteria are in place, new applications will be processed alongside the old ones. In this way, Canada can begin to realize the benefits of the changes immediately.
"Canada needs investor immigrants," said Minister Kenney. "These changes are necessary to keep Canada's program competitive with that of other countries, and keep pace with the changing economy."

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Changes in the Federal Skilled Worker Program Published.

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Henry Chang | June 25, 2010On June 26, 2010, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) published revised Ministerial Instructions (the “Instructions”), which affect the Federal Skilled Worker (“FSW”) Program.
Annual Cap Imposed on Certain FSW Cases
According to the Instructions, a maximum of 20,000 FSW applications filed without an offer of arranged employment will be considered for processing each year. Within the 20,000 cap, a maximum of 1,000 FSW applications per National Occupational Classification (“NOC”) code will be considered for processing each year.
In calculating the caps, the applications will be considered in order of the date that they are received. In addition, for the unique purpose of calculating the caps, the first year will begin in June 26, 2010, and end on June 30, 2011. Subsequent years will be calculated from July 1 to June 30, unless otherwise modified in a future Ministerial Instruction.
Language Proficiency Assessment Required
According to the Instructions, all FSW applications received by the Central Intake Office in Sydney, NS, on or after June 26, 2010 must be accompanied by the results of the principal applicant’s English or French language proficiency assessment. Only test results from a third party language testing agency designated by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism will be accepted.
Revised Restrictions on Who May Apply under the FSW Program
On or after June 26, 2010, only the following applications will be accepted under the FSW:
  1. Applications submitted with an Arranged Employment Offer (“AEO”) consistent with the requirements of Subsection 82(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR”); or
  2. Applications from skilled workers with evidence of experience in the last 10 years under one or more of the following NOC codes:
    • 0631 Restaurant and Food Service Managers
    • 0811 Primary Production Managers (Except Agriculture)
    • 1122 Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management
    • 1233 Insurance Adjusters and Claims Examiners
    • 2121 Biologists and Related Scientists
    • 2151 Architects
    • 3111 Specialist Physicians
    • 3112 General Practitioners and Family Physicians
    • 3113 Dentists
    • 3131 Pharmacists
    • 3142 Physiotherapists
    • 3152 Registered Nurses
    • 3215 Medical Radiation Technologists
    • 3222 Dental Hygienists & Dental Therapists
    • 3233 Licensed Practical Nurses
    • 4151 Psychologists
    • 4152 Social Workers
    • 6241 Chefs
    • 6242 Cooks
    • 7215 Contractors and Supervisors, Carpentry Trades
    • 7216 Contractors and Supervisors, Mechanic Trades
    • 7241 Electricians (Except Industrial & Power System)
    • 7242 Industrial Electricians
    • 7251 Plumbers
    • 7265 Welders & Related Machine Operators
    • 7312 Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanics
    • 7371 Crane Operators
    • 7372 Drillers & Blasters — Surface Mining, Quarrying & Construction
    • 8222 Supervisors, Oil and Gas Drilling and Service
No H&C Requests to Overcome Requirement of Ministerial Instructions
Requests made on the basis of Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds that accompany a FSW application not identified for processing under the Instructions will not be processed.
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Working temporarily in Canada: Special categories—Information technology workers

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IMPORTANT
The simplified entry process for information technology (IT) specialists will come to an end on September 30, 2010.
Effective October 1, 2010, employers who wish to hire foreign workers previously eligible for IT facilitated processing will be required to apply for a Labour Market Opinion.
Note: for employers wanting to hire foreign workers for positions in Quebec, the facilitated process will remain in place for a limited time after September 30, 2010.


To fill critical shortages in Canada’s software industry, Canada has a simplified entry process for workers whose skills are in high demand in that industry.
Under this process, no confirmation letter from Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) is necessary for specific jobs when hiring a foreign worker, since it will not have a negative impact on Canadian or permanent-resident job seekers and workers.
This means that if you are coming to Canada to work in one of the jobs listed below, you do not need a letter from HRSDC, and your work permit application may be processed more quickly.

Note: It is up to your employer to make sure the job you are being offered falls under one of these descriptions.
  1. Senior Animation Effects Editor (NOC 9990.1)
  2. Embedded Systems Software Designer (NOC 9990.2)
  3. MIS Software Designer (NOC 9990.3)
  4. Multimedia Software Developer (NOC 9990.4)
  5. Software Developer—Services (NOC 9990.5)
  6. Software Products Developer (NOC 9990.6)
  7. Telecommunications Software Designer (NOC 9990.7)
 Temporary foreign workers wishing to take a position in Quebec must obtain a certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) in order to participate in this facilitated processing. Information for employers is available on the website of the Ministère de l’immigration et des Communautés culturelles (MICC).


Effective October 1, 2010, employers who wish to hire Temporary Foreign Workers previously eligible for IT facilitated processing will be required to apply for a labour market opinion and demonstrate that:
  • the wage rate meets (or exceeds) the prevailing wage rate for the occupation and region;
  • the working conditions are consistent with Canadian standards;
  • efforts to hire Canadians or permanent residents have been made and the TFWP advertising guidelines have been followed;
  • the employment of the foreign worker will directly create new job opportunities or help retain jobs for Canadians;
  • the foreign worker will transfer new skills and knowledge to Canadians;
  • the hiring of the foreign worker will not affect a labour dispute or the employment of any Canadian worker involved in such a dispute.
Please note that employers are required to conduct advertising and recruitment efforts as per TFWP guidelines before submitting a labour market opinion application and should plan sufficient time to conduct these activities.  Upon receipt of a complete labour market opinion application, the processing time, on average, takes two to three weeks.
Effective October 1, 2010, work permit applications received by Citizenship and Immigration Canada or by the Canada Border Services Agency at a port of entry, will require a copy of the labour market opinion for the seven specific IT occupations that were previously under the facilitated process.

 Source:  http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/special-tech.asp
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Canada legislates against rogue immigration consultants

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People seeking help to emigrate to Canada are set to be better protected after the Canadian government announced new legislation to deal with fraudulent immigration consultants. 

By Lucy Hyslop

Britons are among thousands exploited by the so-called crooked consultants, who are paid “extortionate amounts of money” by potential immigrants duped into believing they can guarantee them visas, for example, reduce the wait time for applications or claim to have connections in the Canadian immigration department who will expedite the process.
The national police force, the RCMP, and the Canada Border Services Agency are reportedly dealing with hundreds of current investigations into allegations against unscrupulous consultants across Canada. Around a quarter of a million people worldwide emigrate there yearly, while the number of immigrants settling from the UK has doubled in the past decade from approximately 4,500 in 1999 to 9,500 last year.
A member of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC), Skerrett has heard from clients who have been given misleading or fraudulent advice from other companies, or told they are eligible for an immigration route when, in fact, they are not. “It leaves their dreams of moving abroad shattered,” she added. “Ghost agents give the industry a bad name and are a thorn in the side of bona-fide consultants trying to offer a quality service. It affects our professional image and the ability to do our work.”
The Canadian government’s Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act aims to close a loophole in the current legislation, which does not regulate any consultants’ involvement in the pre-application period. If passed, it would require all paid-for advice or representation be provided by an authorised immigration consultant, lawyer or notary only. It would also give the government power over the body governing immigration consultants “in order to ensure the integrity of the process”.
Jason Kenney, Canada’s minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, said at an earlier conference that, while most immigration consultants working in Canada were professional and ethical, “the unfortunate reality is that many consultants are acting dishonestly or even illegally to profit from people’s dream of coming here.” He cited one case of an exorbitant fee of $90,000 (around £60,000) paid to a crooked consultant by an immigrating family. “These prospective immigrants often find out too late that they’ve been deceived,” Kenney added
While the legislation of course covers Canada only, the minister will be also encouraging foreign governments to tackle the problem of crooked consultants dealing with immigrants to Canada. Jason Kenney is in London next week to talk about these and other immigration issues with Home Secretary Theresa May and Immigration Minister Damian Green as part of the Five Country Conference, comprising the UK, Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand.
With the act increasing the risk of penalties, fines and possible imprisonment, Skerrett hoped that “the fear would be a major deterrent for these ghost agents”. She added, “Brits and immigrants will be better protected through proper representation, and provided with an assurance of quality and competence.”
If anyone is defrauded by an immigration consultant in the UK, they are advised to file a complaint with the local police and inform the Canadian Embassy, said Kelli Fraser, media relations adviser for Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
She pointed out that immigration fraud happens, of course, around the world not just in Canada, but added that it threatens the integrity of Canada’s immigration system. “It also raises security concerns, wastes tax dollars, adds to the processing time for legitimate applications, and it is unfair to those who do follow the rules,” she said.

 

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Most would move to Canada, if they could: poll

Supreme Court of CanadaImage via Wikipedia
OTTAWA — A majority of people from around the world would move to Canada if presented with the opportunity, according to a survey out Tuesday.
The online survey of over 18,000 people in 24 countries, conducted by Ipsos Reid, showed that 53 percent of people -- including 77 percent of respondents from China and 68 percent from India -- would like to live in Canada, if they could.
Almost one-third (30 percent) of Americans would choose Canada too, according to the poll results.
Eight in ten respondents (79 percent) said they think Canadians enjoy one of the best qualities of life anywhere in the world.
Seventy-two percent believed that Canada is welcoming to immigrants, including 86 percent in China and 84 percent in India.
Seventy-nine percent described Canada as being "tolerant of people from different racial and cultural backgrounds."
"Canadians have long considered ourselves a multicultural success story," said Andrew Cohen, President of the Historica-Dominion Institute, which commissioned the poll in partnership with the Munk School of Global Affairs.
"The world seems to agree."
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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Online Consultants Can Help You Relocate To Canada

Canadian Horseshoe Falls with city of Buffalo,...Image via Wikipedia
Posted on May 18, 2010, 9:15 am, by Adriana Noton, under SEO & Google Marketing.
There are many residents in Canada who know somebody who is in the planning stage of immigrating to Canada. Or, it could be a relative or friend who wants to enroll at one of the country’s excellent universities or schools. Either way, you should recommend the use of one Canada’s immigration consultants.
There are so many reasons why people seek citizenship in Canada. Apart from its awesome beauty and vast natural resources, the United Nations declared Canada to be the ‘best country to live in’ for 7 consecutive years. It is the 2nd largest country in the world and is America’s biggest trading partner. A Canadian passport allows citizens entry to over 20 countries without having to apply for a visa.
It is a multicultural, diverse country offering fantastic options for business growth and job opportunities. A comprehensive public health scheme is offered to every citizen. In addition, it has good judicial and welfare systems. With many fine schools, public and private, Canada is known to be one of the best educated nations in the world. People of varying cultures and backgrounds live in complete harmony, and Canada is free of discrimination.
The government has taken steps to encourage immigration. This is to guarantee that long-term plans for economic development come to fruition. It is hoped that at the end of 2010, some 250,000 new citizens will settle in Canada. With this injection of skilled labor, the country can grow and quickly recover from the economic downslide.
To encourage immigrants, the government has allowed each province to determine the number of extra skilled workers needed. Quebec has made great strides in this regard and has implemented an effective Skilled Worker program. This is to facilitate an easy immigration transition for new residents.
Essentially, this means that Quebec has formed its own unique immigration policy. It has laid down a set of criteria that do not necessarily conform to existing national immigration policies. This means that if you have applied for a work visa, but it has been declined, you are free to apply to Quebec.
To receive immigration approval, a person has to be skilled so that they can easily be integrated into Canada’s job market. To further increase chances of success, applicants should have a basic knowledge of French, and able to converse fluently in English. Those who have qualifications in a highly skilled field will receive priority.
It will help to have family members who are Canadian citizens or those who have ‘permanent resident’ status. If the applicant is married, his or her spouse may have ties with Canadian residents. In this case, these details should also be furnished. Most importantly, the applicant should be in possession of a written employment offer by a registered business in Canada.
Seeking out immigration consultants is easy online. It would be best to find one who is well versed with all the immigration criteria in Canada and its provinces. By hiring such a person, you could save expenses and lengthy waiting periods. Your consultant will be able to ensure that the application goes through smoothly. If every requirement has been properly addressed, you should have a good chance of success.
Looking to receive a home inspection, increase your safety training to your employees, or perform SEO services for your company? Then contact your local consultant to perform essential services to sustain your business!
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Skilled immigrant-worker need to skyrocket by 2020, study says

Vancouver is the business capital of British C...Image via Wikipedia
 
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Canada: Challenges and Oportunities for Immigrants.

Immigrant visaImage by qousqous via Flickr
Most new immigrants are pleased to be living here and have positive views of Canada's social and political environment. However, after four years in the country, their biggest difficulties are still finding an adequate job, and dealing with the language barrier, according to two new reports from the third wave of the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC).
The first report, "Immigrants' perspectives on their first four years in Canada", examines immigrants' assessments of life in Canada and the difficulties they face here.
Four years after arriving in Canada, the majority of new immigrants (84%) were positive about their decision to come here.
When asked about the single-most important reason for settling permanently in Canada, the most prevalent responses were the quality of life here (32%), the desire to be close to family and friends (20%), the future prospects for their family in Canada (18%) and the peaceful nature of the country (9%).
The report found that two-thirds of new immigrants said that life in Canada has lived up to their expectations.
These new immigrants were also asked what had been their biggest difficulties since arrival. The difficulty mentioned by the most immigrants was finding an adequate job (46%), followed by learning English or French (26%).
The second report, Knowledge of Official Languages among New Immigrants: How Important is it in the Labour Market? examines these two difficulties in detail. It analyzes the relationship between new immigrants' knowledge of the two official languages and their chances of finding an "appropriate" job.
It shows that the employment rate of immigrants increased with their ability to speak English.
Moreover, the ability to speak English is linked with the kind of job that new immigrants find, as those who reported speaking English well or very well were more likely to have an "appropriate" job than those who reported speaking it less well. However, the relationship between the self-reported ability to speak French and the chances of having an "appropriate" job was not as clear.

Two-thirds said Canada lived up to their expectations

The first report, "Immigrants' perspectives on their first four years in Canada", examines immigrants' subjective assessments and perceptions of life in Canada and the challenges they face here.

Note to readers

This release summarizes the findings of two reports based on data from the third and final wave of the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC). This survey was designed to study how newly arrived immigrants adjust over time to living in Canada.
During the first LSIC interview, some 12,000 immigrants aged 15 and over were interviewed between April 2001 and May 2002, about six months after their arrival. During the second LSIC interview, about 9,300 of the same immigrants were interviewed again in 2003, about two years after their arrival. In 2005, about 7,700 of the same immigrants were interviewed a third time, around four years after their arrival.

Immigrants come to Canada with expectations, whether realistic or not, about what life will be like. LSIC respondents were asked whether life in Canada is better than they had expected, about what they had expected, or worse than they had expected.
About two-thirds of new immigrants reported a fairly positive congruence between their expectations and their experiences, while about one-third reported a low or declining degree of congruence between their expectations and experiences. Immigrants in different admission categories differed in this regard. While 15% of economic immigrants reported that their expectations of life in Canada had consistently been exceeded, this was the case for about one-third of family class immigrants and refugees.
Four years after arriving in Canada, the majority of new immigrants (84%) were positive about their decision to come here. However, those who felt their expectations about life in Canada had not been met were less likely than others to feel this way.
When asked about the single-most important reason for settling permanently in Canada, the most prevalent responses were the quality of life here (32%), the desire to be close to family and friends (20%), the future prospects for their family in Canada (18%) and the peaceful nature of the country (9%). Less than 5% cited employment-related reasons.

Immigrants themselves underscore difficulties in the job market

During the past 15 years, numerous studies have documented the difficult labour market faced by new immigrants. The findings of these studies have been underscored by immigrants themselves in the LSIC data.
The study found that between 7 and 24 months after arrival 62% of all new immigrants aged 25 to 44 had looked for a job, and that during the period between 25 to 48 months after arrival 53% had done so. The majority of job seekers reported that they experienced a problem or difficulty when searching for employment.
Considering all difficulties cited when seeking employment, lack of Canadian work experience was mentioned most often (50%), followed by lack of contacts in the job market (37%), lack of recognition of foreign experience (37%), lack of recognition of foreign qualifications (35%) and language barriers (32%).
New immigrants often experienced multiple problems when looking for work. For example, almost two-third of job seekers who reported a language problem also reported that lack of work experience was a difficulty.

Greatest challenges encountered since arrival

Four years after their arrival in Canada, new immigrants were asked what had been the greatest difficulties they had encountered. Two difficulties came out more than any other: 46% said it was finding an adequate job while 26% said it was learning English or French.
Among all new immigrants admitted in the economic category, almost half (45%) said finding employment was the greatest difficulty they faced while 15% said it was learning English or French. Among refugees, 26% said finding employment was their greatest difficulty and 30% said it was learning English or French.
The report "Immigrants' perspectives on their first four years in Canada", published today in a special edition of Canadian Social Trends (11-008-XWE, free), is now available from the Publications module of our website. For more information about the report, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Grant Schellenberg (613-951-9580 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              613-951-9580      end_of_the_skype_highlighting), Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division.

Language: Self-reported ability to speak English and French

The second report, Knowledge of Official Languages among New Immigrants: How Important is it in the Labour Market? examines in detail the two greatest difficulties encountered by new immigrants since their arrival — finding an adequate job and learning English or French. It looks at immigrants' self assessment of their ability to speak each official language and analyzes the relationship between new immigrants' knowledge of the two languages and their chances of finding an "appropriate" job.
In the survey, immigrants were asked to assess how well they could speak each official language at three points in time — six months, two years and four years after their arrival.
Six months after their arrival, 58% of immigrants reported that they were able to speak English well or very well, while the corresponding figure for French was 11%. Four years after arrival, 69% were able to speak English well or very well, and 14% could speak French so.
In Quebec, 55% of immigrants reported speaking French well or very well six months after their arrival. This proportion had climbed to 73% four years after their arrival. The corresponding proportions for English went from 40% to 54%.
For immigrants in Quebec, learning or improving the language of the minority, English, appeared to be just as important as learning or improving the language of the majority, French.
Overall, 45% of immigrants said they had taken language training in English since coming to Canada; 10% had done so in French. In Quebec specifically, 42% of immigrants had taken language training in French since their arrival, while 37% had done so in English. About 16% of Quebec immigrants had taken language training in both official languages.

Knowledge of English increases the chances of having an "appropriate" job

The percentage of immigrants employed grew substantially over time, according to LSIC data. The employment rate of immigrants aged 25 to 44, the prime working-age group, went from 51% six months after arrival to 65% two years after arrival. Four years after arrival, it had reached 75%.
The employment rate of immigrants in the survey's third wave thus approaches the national rate for Canadians in the same age group calculated for the equivalent period, specifically 81.8%.
Knowledge of the two official languages can be expected to be an asset in looking for a job. LSIC data showed that the employment rate of immigrants aged 25 to 44 increased with higher levels of self-reported proficiency in spoken English, for each of the survey's three waves.
Across the country in general, the chances for immigrants of having an "appropriate" job increased with their ability to speak English.
More specifically, immigrant's whose self-reported level of spoken English was good or very good were more likely to have a high-skill job, a job in the intended field, a job similar to the one held before immigrating and a job related to training or education. They also had higher wages, compared to immigrants whose spoken English level was not as good. This was true six months, two years and four years after immigrants' arrival in Canada.
However, the relationship between the self-reported ability to speak French and the chances of having an "appropriate" job was not as strong, nor as persistent.
In Quebec specifically, the impact of language was mainly on earnings. The hourly earnings of immigrants who spoke English very well were generally higher, regardless of the level of French, than those of immigrants who did not speak either official language well.
In Quebec, the level of French spoken by immigrants was not found to be related to their chances of having an "appropriate" job.
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