Monday, June 30, 2014

New Immigration Pathway Created for International Students

The flag of Nova Scotia, flying in Amherst, No...
The flag of Nova Scotia, flying in Amherst, Nova Scotia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


International graduates now have a route to immigrate to Nova Scotia after changes to the Provincial Nominee Program.
Beginning today, June 6, an international graduate from a Canadian college or university, with a job offer from a Nova Scotia employer, can apply for permanent residency through the nominee program’s Skilled Worker stream.
“This is great news for international students like me who will graduate soon and will be considering their options for what comes next,” said Durgesh Singh, NSCC construction management technology student.
“Now, because of these changes to the Nova Scotia Nominee Program, international graduates will have an avenue to immigrate to Nova Scotia that wasn’t open to them before.”
Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab said international graduates are ideal candidates to immigrate to Nova Scotia.
“International graduates are educated, they’ve made friends, they know the language, and they’re already familiar with all the great things Nova Scotia has to offer,” said Ms. Diab. “Over the past year, there hasn’t been a provincial door open to help them stay. Today, that changes.”
Universities, community colleges and businesses are key to help ensure international students and graduates have information, community contacts and jobs that will make them want to settle and stay in Nova Scotia.
“Government cannot boost immigration alone,” said Ms. Diab. “We are grateful for the support of the many employers, business organizations, connector programs, communities and people across Nova Scotia who work to recruit and retain international graduates who will help enhance our economy and our culture.”
The Halifax Chamber of Commerce welcomes government’s move.
“This policy change aligns well with the chamber’s work, and has the potential to help international students make better connections with employers that could lead to more international graduates choosing to stay in our region,” said Mark Fraser, the chamber’s lead for the skilled workforce task force.
“We believe that if you can help an international student feel like they’re a citizen by building roots in the community, the likelihood of them choosing to stay in our region increases.”
The change will also help colleges and universities attract international students.
“This will improve Nova Scotia’s position as an outstanding education destination in the international marketplace, and our ability to attract those students to institutions and communities across the province,” said George Cooper, University of King’s College president and member of the Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents.
“Our universities commend government for taking this decisive action, and we look forward to working with government and others across Nova Scotia to explore and act upon the enormous potential of universities to attract and retain top talent to our province.”
The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration negotiated the change with Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Through the Nova Scotia Nominee Program, the province can nominate potential immigrants, but Citizenship and Immigration Canada makes the final decision.
The Skilled Worker stream helps employers recruit and hire foreign workers for positions they have not been able to fill with permanent residents or Canadian citizens.
- See more at: http://novascotiaimmigration.com/new-immigration-pathway-created-for-international-students/#sthash.5qNxl0YQ.dpuf

Source: http://novascotiaimmigration.com/new-immigration-pathway-created-for-international-students/#sthash.5qNxl0YQ.dpuf

Friday, June 20, 2014

Food Services Moratorium

MP Jason Kenney of the Conservative Party fiel...
MP Jason Kenney of the Conservative Party fields a question from a community member at the All Candidates Forum at McKenzie Lake Community Centre in Calgary's Southeast on January 14th, 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


On April 24, 2014, the Minister of Employment and Social Development announced a moratorium on the Food Services Sector’s access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) as a result of serious allegations of abuse of the TFWP. Accordingly, Employment and Social Development Canada stopped processing any new or pending LMO applications related to the Food Services Sector. In addition, any unfilled positions tied to a previously approved LMO were suspended.

Effective immediately, the moratorium on the Food Services Sector’s access to the TFWP has ended.

Ending the moratorium now allows an employer to fill previously suspended positions tied to an approved LMO, unless the LMO expired during the suspension. Employers wanting to apply for a new Labour Market Impact Assessment to hire temporary foreign workers in the Food Services Sector need to submit new applications that will be subject to the new program requirements, including the cap on temporary foreign workers in low-wage occupations.

Work permit applications that were suspended from processing due to the suspension of the associated LMO will go back into the queue for processing by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Questions and Answers
Impact on employers

LMOs suspended under the moratorium are now unsuspended. As long as the LMO is still valid and has not expired, the prospective temporary foreign worker(s) named on that LMO may submit work permit applications to CIC, or, if eligible to apply on entry into Canada, to a Canada Border Services Agency port of entry.

No, employers with expired LMOs need to submit new applications that would be subject to new stricter program requirements, including the cap on temporary foreign workers in lower-wage occupations. Please visit esdc.gc.ca for details on applying under the new program requirements.
Impact on temporary foreign workers

Your application will go back into the queue for processing by Citizenship and Immigration Canada now that the suspension has been lifted.

If the LMO is still valid and has not expired, and you are named on that LMO, you may submit a work permit application as per normal procedures.

If the LMO is no longer valid or has expired, you may not apply for a work permit based on that LMO. Before you can apply for a work permit, your employer will need a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment (formerly the Labour Market Opinion).
[3:25:48 PM] Dirk Propp: http://www.esdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/foreign_workers/index.shtml

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

“Where the Jobs Are” in Canada

Tour CIBC
Tour CIBC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to a recent CIBC report there is a growing divide between the number of high-vacancy job fields in Canada and the skills of the Canadian workforce. To combat labour shortages, Canadian employers and government officials are increasingly looking beyond their own borders to find the employees they need. In addition, the government is taking ambitious efforts to secure skilled foreign workers, on temporary or permanent bases, to close employment gaps across the country.

In its report, CIBC targeted 25 professions that are most in need of qualified employees. They are as follows:
  • Managers in Engineering, Architecture, Science and Info Systems
  • Managers in Health, Education, Social and Community Services
  • Managers in Construction and Transportation
  • Auditors, Accountants and Investment Professionals
  • Human Resources and Business Service Professionals
  • Professional Occupations in Natural and Applied Science
  • Physical Science Professionals
  • Life Science Professionals
  • Civil, Mechanical, Electrical and Chemical Engineers
  • Other Engineers
  • Professional Occupations in Health
  • Physicians, Dentists and Veterinarians
  • Optometrists, Chiropractors and Other Health Diagnosing and Treating Professionals
  • Pharmacists, Dietitians and Nutritionists
  • Therapy and Assessment Professionals
  • Nurse Supervisors and Registered Nurses
  • Technical and Related Occupations in Health
  • Medical Technologists and Technicians (Except Dental Health)
  • Technical Occupations in Dental Health Care
  • Other Technical Occupations in Health Care (Except Dental)
  • Psychologists, Social Workers, Counsellors, Clergy and Probation Officers
  • Supervisors, Mining, Oil and Gas
  • Underground Miners, Oil and Gas Drillers and Related Workers
  • Supervisors in Manufacturing
  • Supervisors, Processing Occupations
These occupations are all considered skilled work by the Government of Canada. In general, these professions fall in the fields of healthcare, mining, and manufacturing or business services. When added together, these fields account for 21%, or about one-fifth, of jobs in Canada.
Canada’s need for qualified workers varies greatly from province to province. As demonstrated by the chart below, the need is most defined in the country’s rapidly-developing interior. It is reflective of Canada’s booming natural resources economy.  Source: CIBC 
By contrast, those who pursue employment in one of the above targeted professions have a high likelihood of employment.

The Canadian government has made efforts to offset employee shortages through a forward-thinking immigration system. Individuals with the education and skills most needed in Canada will find that programs for both temporary and permanent residence have been tailored to suit their profiles. Some recent immigration changes intended to bring in the workers Canada include:
  • The popular Federal Skilled Worker Program has overhauled its selection criteria to better target those individuals who have a high likelihood of succeeding upon arrival in Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada hopes to accept over 50,000 new permanent residents through this program alone in 2013.
  • A new class of immigration, the Federal Skilled Trades Class, has been created to more efficiently bring tradespersons to Canada.
Discussions are currently in place regarding the introduction of a new immigration system, known as an Expression of Interest system, that will directly connect Canadian employers and government officials with skilled workers interested in immigrating to Canada

Source: http://pdles.org/?mc_cid=23cf163d32&mc_eid=3cb254aa54
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Monday, June 2, 2014

Temporary Foreign Worker Program Moratorium To End In June

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A moratorium on Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program will be lifted at the beginning of June, Westlock-St. Paul MP Brian Storseth says.
He addressed a crowd of business owners and employees about that status of the program at a roundtable discussion at the St. Paul Legion Hall on May 20, listening to concerns and providing updated information to those gathered there about the moratorium that has been in place since April.
“We’re trying to give you guys a little bit of certainty when it comes to what’s being done with the program,” he said. “When the moratorium is lifted, I will go to each of our communities and go through all of the changes that are being made.”
Storseth described the moratorium as a chance for the federal government to look at better ways of enforcing laws, auditing and reviewing the way the program operates — with special attention paid to the service-sector jobs.
A focus of the discussion, and one of the most influencing factors leading to the moratorium was the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) portion of the Temporary Foreign Worker program. Storseth noted that the application process for LMOs coming under scrutiny was the reason the minister thought it important to put a moratorium in place.
“I wanted to push for certainty,” he said. “I said to the minister that these are businessmen and businesswomen, they can’t not know how long this moratorium is going to be in place for, how many of their employees it’s going to affect.”
Storseth added while he has heard 100 per cent support for the program from members of the business community, the support among residents-at-large is closer to 50 per cent.
He emphasized the need for business owners to advocate the program, with one of its biggest obstacles being public opinion outside of the business community.
“In polls, it’s consistently our friends and neighbours that don’t understand this program, and you have to let them know how important it is,” he said.
Storseth described changes that would improve the program, which included increased speed at which LMOs are processed and approved, and a regionalization of the program to fit the different needs of different municipalities and provinces with their own specific employment needs.
Westlock restaurant owner David Truckey — one of a half dozen from Westlock who went to St. Paul for the discussion — said he was happy with a lot of what he heard at the meeting. The coming end to the moratorium is good news, but he’s also happy with the idea of regionalizing the program.
“Obviously what people need in Alberta is not what people need in Ontario or the Maritimes,” he said.
“To put one system in place for the whole country makes it a little difficult to participate in the program.”
Truckey added one of his biggest concerns is the way the moratorium was enforced on an entire industry, rather than on a case-by-case basis for those employers who were abusing the program.
Not least of his concerns is what it means for workers who are affected by the moratorium.
“I think what has never been addressed is a lot of temporary foreign workers have been put in a very difficult situation,” he said.
One of the workers at his restaurant has been put in just such a situation, where the work permit has expired but that worker can’t get a new one — and therefore can’t work — because of the moratorium.
During the question period of the discussion, many in the audience raised concerns.
Brian Jones, a business owner from Smoky Lake, asked if about $8,000 in application fees from a declined application could be applied to future applications.
“It’s a different situation if someone applied and there’s been no decision rendered, compared to someone who already got rejected before the moratorium was in place,” Storseth replied.
Jones suggested the program was shut down before the official announcement was made, as he knows of many other businesses that were declined prior to the moratorium being announced — Storseth said he wouldn’t speculate on the topic.
Bonnyville mayor Gene Sobolewski asked whether there are specific concerns from the public about any aspect of the program, or whether public opposition is based on ignorance.
“A lot of it came about from …high-profile cases of abuse,” Storseth said. “It’s easier to show a seven-second clip on why it’s bad, and harder to take 10 minutes explaining the importance of the program.”
Another guest said, “We heard talk of an increased application fee for hiring workers, it was thrown out there, is there any information on that?”
Storseth also noted an application-free increase is being considered, but said he was concerned it could get expensive in this riding, where businesses are dependent on foreign workers. The application fee, however, has caused more businesses to be discerning in their use of the program.
“Employers around the country were aggressively pursuing the program when there was zero cost,” he said. “Since implementing a $275 fee, we’ve had 40 per cent fewer applications.”
Some in attendance expressed concern that temporary foreign workers are often described as unskilled, which isn’t necessarily the case — they’re skilled in whatever service they’re providing.
“They’re skilled in their own way, and if it wasn’t for them, the people from CNRL and all the oil companies wouldn’t be getting a cup of coffee and a Big Mac when they come through,” said Megan Land, the owner-operator of McDonald’s in Cold Lake.
“I have letters from people in our community, positive letters saying they contribute to our community,” she added. “Maybe you can help us get those stories out there too. We can’t attract negativity to us as businesspeople.”
Storseth reaffirmed it’s the business community that needs to advocate for the program.
“One thing I have noticed is the more temporary foreign workers there are in our communities, and the longer they’re here, the better the numbers are coming back from the poll,” he said. “One of the best things about this moratorium is that it scared people with what could happen and what the public perception is nationally.”
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