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Saskatchewan PNP Update: Province introduces new procedural guidelines for faster processing

Earlier this month, the province of Saskatchewan introduced new procedural guidelines for the Entrepreneur category of the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) that will speed up the processing of applications under this program. In recent years, Saskatchewan has been an attractive destination for immigrants to Canada because of the many employment and investment opportunities it offers.

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business ranking of top business-friendly cities, Saskatchewan is home to the most business-friendly cities in Canada. The province is currently experiencing a business boom and its highest population growth since 1952. As the economy grows, the creation of jobs and investment opportunities are increasing.

For this reason, the province has amended its immigration strategy to welcome a greater number of qualified immigrants.

“This new process will make Saskatchewan more competitive in Canada. It will bring talented managers and entrepreneurs to the province, it will spread opportunities for investment to more communities and create jobs,” said Saskatchewan’s Minister Responsible for Immigration Rob Norris.

Under the new process, nominations for the SINP Entrepreneur category are expected to be finalized within six months from the date of application.

In addition, three new streams have been added to this category:

* The Large Scale Investor Stream, for applicants who wish to invest $10-million or more in Saskatchewan;
* The Science and Technology Stream, for applicants who have an innovative idea or plan to partner with an existing Saskatchewan science and technology body; and
* The Young Farmers Stream, for applicants under the age of 40 who have farming experience.

Norris also announced plans to add two new streams to the SINP Entrepreneur category in the future: one for entrepreneurs to partner with First Nations and Métis businesses or communities, and one that will facilitate business succession in the province.

Source: Canada Immigration News


Quebec Immigration Update: Changes to the Quebec Skilled Worker Program will allow the province to welcome more immigrants

The new selection system for Quebec Skilled Workers may make it easier for some applicants to qualify.

The most significant change reduces the overall selection pass mark from 59 to 55 for a single applicant, and from 68 to 63 for a couple.

The breakdown of points awarded for education has been amended to recognize more types of diplomas than under the previous system. Undergraduate diplomas attesting to 1 or 2 years of university education and more vocational and technical diplomas are now considered.

In addition, the “Areas of Training” criterion, which awards bonus points to applicants with certain educational or training backgrounds, has been changed to reflect the current needs of Quebec’s economy and labour market. Applicants with certain educational backgrounds will not only benefit from more points, but will also qualify for priority processing.

The breakdown of points awarded for an applicant’s age has also been adjusted, so that it declines less rapidly after the age of 35 than under the previous system.

The more favourable weighting of the education and age criteria could make it easier for some applicants, who did not qualify under the previous system, to become eligible to immigrate to Canada under the Quebec Skilled Worker category.

Successful applicants obtain a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ), and must then submit their application to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (a Canadian visa office) for medical and security checks and the issuance of a Canadian immigration (permanent resident) visa.

This new selection system is in effect as of October 14 2009. Applications that were received by Quebec immigration offices before that date will be assessed under whichever system is more favourable to the applicant, while those received on or after October 14 will be assessed under the new system.

Source: Canada Immigration News

Government of Canada Tables 2010 Immigration Plan

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 30, 2009) - Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, tabled Citizenship and Immigration Canada's 2009 Annual Report today in Parliament.

"While other countries have cut back immigration levels as a short-term response to the global economic downturn, our government is actually maintaining its immigration levels to meet the country's medium- to long-term economic needs," said Minister Kenney.

"Canada plans to welcome between 240,000 and 265,000 new permanent residents in 2010, the same number of immigrants as in recent years. In 2010, Canada will again welcome more new permanent residents than the average annual intake during the 1990s," said Minister Kenney. "The focus of the 2010 plan is on economic immigration to support Canada's economy during and beyond the current economic recovery."

In particular, the admission ranges for immigrants nominated by the provinces and territories have been increased. Provinces and territories are in the best position to understand how Canada's immigration intake can be aligned to their labour market needs. Second, by increasing the admission ranges in the Provincial Nominee Program, the Government of Canada is helping to ensure that the benefits of immigration are distributed across this country. Canada and the provinces will work together to manage growth in the provincial nominee program. Increasing the total number of immigrants processed under the economic category will also allow CIC to continue reducing the backlog of federal skilled worker applicants as part of the Action Plan for Faster Immigration.

Although the Action Plan has been in place for less than a year, early indications are that it is paying off. "People applying now under the federal skilled worker program can expect to receive a decision within six to twelve months, compared to up to six years under the old system," said Minister Kenney. "We've also brought the backlog of federal skilled worker applicants down from over 630,000 to 425,000-a reduction of more than 30%."

The backlog consists of people who applied before February 27, 2008, the date the Action Plan took effect. Since then, almost 240,000 people have applied to the new federal skilled worker program under the Action Plan. But even with those additional applicants, the total number of people currently awaiting a decision on their application is still 12% lower than when the Action Plan took effect.

"Before we changed the system, we had to process every application received. Since many more people applied every year than could be accepted, a backlog was created," said Minister Kenney. "Now that we are processing only those applications that meet specified criteria, our Government is making significant progress in reducing the backlog."

Improving the federal skilled worker program is part of the Government of Canada's overall commitment to modernizing the immigration system to maximize its contribution to our overall economic growth.

"The Government of Canada will continue to work with provinces, territories and stakeholders to make sure immigration meets the needs of communities, employers and families now and in the future," concluded the Minister.

Boat migrants may have paid $45,000 each

CTV.ca News Staff

Date: Mon. Oct. 19 2009 10:54 PM ET

Would-be migrants who were found aboard a vessel headed for British Columbia may have each paid $45,000 for the trip.

The men, believed to be Tamils from Sri Lanka, remain in custody as Immigration Canada determines their identity. The ship, called the Ocean Lady, was seized by RCMP last Friday.

Another vessel carrying Sir Lankans was caught off the coast of Australia last week, and the passengers said they had paid smugglers $15,000 to board the ship. One man told a reporter about the Ocean Lady, and said he had wanted to board that vessel instead, but it was too expensive at $45,000 per person.

RCMP say they're looking into the report.

"Yes, we're aware of that information and the speculation this could be related," said Sgt. Duncan Pound, of the RCMP Border Integrity Program.

Seventy-six men were found aboard the Ocean Lady.

Pound said security partners tipped off Canadian authorities on Friday, alerting them to a vessel "that was demonstrating some behaviour that was probably inconsistent with the usual maritime practices and that raised it onto our screen for concerns."

"We worked then closely with the Canadian Forces and the Canadian Navy, and they provided assets to assist us with gathering further intelligence on the vessel," Pound told CTV's Canada AM during an interview from Vancouver on Monday.

In particular, when the ship failed to notify Canadian officials about its content and intended arrival time, authorities became concerned.

"It should be a planned event, as opposed to approaching unannounced," Pound said.

It is not clear why they came to Canada and the RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency remain tight-lipped about what, if anything, is known about their situation.

Pound said that translators are providing assistance, though "there is some English from some of the individuals on board."

Canadian Tamil Congress spokesperson David Poopalapillai said RCMP footage of the ship shows men wearing a style of clothing that suggests they are Tamils.

The men will have to be formally identified, photographed, fingerprinted and then under Canadian law, they will have their detention reviewed within the next two days, immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann said.

"It's going to be determined whether or not some or any of them should be released, and on what terms and conditions," Mamann said during a phone interview from Toronto.

"And then if they decide that they are going to make refugee claims -- and all the indications are that they will -- they will have to put down their story within 28 days and have that submitted to the Immigration and Refugee Board who will then schedule a hearing for them."

Pound said the RCMP will investigate to see if any criminal charges are relevant.

"The RCMP's perspective, as the lead investigative agency for criminal code offences or the federal statute offences, we'll be looking at any time a vessel approaches and arrives in Canada, where we're not sure of who the individuals are or what the cargo would have been on the vessel," Pound said.

"Part of our job will be to drill down on those details and find out if there are any offences that would apply under Canadian law."

Countrywide Pride Being Showcased This Week In Canada

Source: Government of Canada Posted on: 19th October 2009

This week, in citizenship ceremonies across the country, Canada will welcome hundreds of new Canadian citizens, and hundreds of Canadians will reaffirm their commitment to our country during Citizenship Week 2009.

“Canadian citizenship is highly valued. Citizenship Week 2009 is an opportunity for all Canadians to celebrate our citizenship,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. “It is a time to reflect on what it means to be a Canadian and to be grateful for the rights and freedoms that we enjoy. We should also take this opportunity to acknowledge our responsibilities to our country and to our communities large and small.”

“The theme of Citizenship Week 2009 is Our Citizenship. We want all Canadians to recognize that, no matter where you came from, when you become a Canadian citizen, Canadian history becomes your history and Canadian values become your values.”

Canada has one of the highest naturalization rates in the world, with 85 percent of immigrants becoming citizens. Last year alone, over 176,000 newcomers became citizens of Canada.

World's best town: Gibsons, B.C.

Tue Oct 13, 11:27 PM

VANCOUVER (CBC) - A huge honour has been bestowed on a small B.C. town, which was named Tuesday as one of the most livable communities in the world.

The town of Gibsons, population about 4,000, was named the best place in the world to live, among communities with fewer than 20,000 residents, by the International Awards for Liveable Communities. The award program has the endorsement of the United Nations.

Gibsons is the southernmost town on B.C.'s Sunshine Coast, a 40-minute ferry ride northwest of Vancouver, and was already well-known for more than its sea views and hillside homes.

The town was first thrust into the spotlight on The Beachcombers, an internationally distributed CBC television comedy-drama series that first began filming there almost 40 years ago.

Among the qualities recognized in Tuesday's award announcement was Gibsons' commitment to healthy living and environmental sustainability.

A geothermal plant is in the works, generating heat for hundreds of homes with a minimal carbon footprint. But residents said it's just one of the innovative ideas that won them the award.

"We may be small, but we're really good," town councillor Lee Ann Johnson told CBC News. "I think it really speaks to the community, because we have a very committed and involved community at all levels."

When Craig Perry docked his boat in Gibsons, it was supposed to be a brief stopover on a sailing trip to Russia.

"We tied up for I guess a week, and a week turned into a month, and a month turned into a year, and we never did get any further," said Perry.

That was 15 years ago. Perry now runs a floating fish-shop, hooked by Gibsons' charm.

"I think it's wonderful, I'm really proud of the town, and it's a really beautiful place to live," said resident Joanie Carter.

The community does have its challenges, and closely fought local elections in 2008 reflected the split between those who want to encourage development and those who want to slow it down.

Builders are fighting to turn the lush mountainside into luxury condos for retirees from Vancouver. The harbour is also being re-developed and environmental activists worry that could spell the end to what make Gibsons so special.

"People here aren't opposed to development, they just want intelligent development, and not necessarily on the waterfront of rare and endangered ecosystems," said resident Gerry Smith.

Smith said he hopes the international recognition for Gibsons special ecosystems will serve as incentive for the town to continue going green.

Source: CBC.CA
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/cbc/091013/canada/canada_britishcolumbia_bc_gibsons_liveable_award

Canada near top in quality of life (... at least you don't live in USA)

By Olivia Ward.
Source: theStart.com

The UN's verdict is in: Canadians have the fourth-best quality of life in the world, behind top-rated Norway, Australia and Iceland.

And Canada again surpasses the wealthier United States, which has slid from 12th to 13th place between 2006 and 2007, the last year for which international data was tabulated. Canada's position is unchanged since 2006.

The figures are tallied by the United Nations Development Program's annual Human Development Index, which analyzes the statistics of 182 countries.

"It shows that development can be measured not just through output or economic growth," said David Morrison, executive secretary of the UN's Capital Development Fund. "Because of Canada's well-developed social systems it traditionally scores at the top of the table."

The results come at a time when the U.S. is in a bitter debate over a new medical-care system, and critics warn against Canadian-style "socialism." The UNDP's annual index weighs individual purchasing power alongside educational achievements and life expectancy.

At the bottom of the quality of life scale is destitute Niger. Only a cut above is Afghanistan, in spite of billions of dollars of development money that has been earmarked for the war-torn country. It was rated for the first time this year, after decades of conflict that made it impossible to collect vital data.

Most of the country ratings have varied little over the past few years, although the worldwide economic downturn may alter them more dramatically when 2008 results appear next year. "One or two points difference doesn't signify very much," said Morrison.

The most notable advance for 2007 was made by China, which leapt seven points on the scale to 92nd place. It was followed by Colombia and Peru, which gained five points each to 77th and 78th places. The biggest reversal was Jamaica, which plunged by eight points, while Tonga dropped by five.

The vast discrepancies in the well-being of people in the upper- and lower-scoring countries that were highlighted by the report linked up with the theme chosen by the UNDP this year. It focused on migration, and the millions of people who leave poor countries in search of safer or better lives, and create a better quality of life for themselves and their families back home.

"Most migrants, internal and international, reap gains in the form of higher incomes, better access to education and health and improved prospects for their children," the report concluded.

Although the benefits of migration are a "hot button issue" at a time of recession, said Morrison, fears that migrants will steal jobs in their host countries, or lower wages by offering cheap labour, are exaggerated.


HOW THE WORLD RANKS

The annual United Nations human development index compiled by the UN Development Program ranks 182 countries based on such criteria as life expectancy, literacy, school enrolment and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.

1. Norway
2. Australia
3. Iceland (likely to drop in next survey since 2007 data was analyzed prior to global economic crisis)
4. Canada (has one of the most open immigration policies around)
5. Ireland
6. Netherlands
7. Sweden
8. France
9. Switzerland
10. Japan (longest life expectancy at 82.7 years on average)
11. Luxembourg
12. Finland
13. United States
14. Austria
15. Spain
16. Denmark
17. Belgium
18. Italy
19. Liechtenstein (highest GDP per capita at $85,383)
20. New Zealand
21. United Kingdom

BIGGEST IMPROVEMENT

92. China (moves up seven places from last year, rise credited to improvements in education as well as income levels and life expectancy.)

THE BOTTOM THREE

180. Sierra Leone
181. Afghanistan (life expectancy of 43.6 years, only Asian country in the bottom 10)
182. Niger

Population On The Rise

Source: Discovermoosejaw.com

More and more people are calling Saskatchewan home, that's according to new figures from Stats Canada. Just over 1,030,000 people live in the province.

So where Saskatchewan's newest residents coming from? 100 years ago, the bulk of immigrants coming to Saskatchewan were from Eastern Europe - Russians, Germans, and Ukrainians.

Like before, immigration is once again on the rise, but countries of origin are different. Today, most are coming from countries like China, Japan, and the Phillipines. Its no fluke. Doug Elliot with Sask Trends Monitor says the spike in immigration is the result of a change in government strategy, "Unlike the inter-provincial migration which is sort of up to people whether they choose to move here or not, the immigration one is more driven by government policy."

So expect to hear more accents in the coming years. Elliott says Saskatchewan is on track to have about 7,000 more immigrants just this year.

Saskatchewan Investment Minister Rob Norris hopes more foreign business people and their families will move to the province. Norris says the government has streamlined rules for the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program in an effort to entice them.

He says the changes should result in more investment and jobs. Norris says the program is focused on large scale businesses willing to invest $10 million.