Foreign Nationals in the US Make a Smooth Transition to Canada

--- October 2007 ---
--- October 2007 --- (Photo credit: Live And Basic)

The United States and Canada share a long geographical, political, and cultural history. An important part of this history is the exchange of peoples across the two countries’ long border. Every year, foreign nationals in the US come to Canada on both temporary and permanent bases. Upon arrival in Canada, many find that their prior experience in the US has prepared them well for the work and lifestyle that awaits them in their new home.
Why Do Foreign Nationals in the US Immigrate to Canada?
Canada has the highest immigration levels of any G8 country. Hundreds of thousands of temporary and permanent residents come to the country each year to take advantage of the thriving labour market, safe communities, world class education systems, public healthcare, and unparalleled natural beauty. These and other factors have helped the country achieve one of the highest standards of living in the world today.
There are a number of reasons why US visa holders choose to work, study, or live permanently in Canada. Oftentimes individuals will be residing in the US on a temporary visa such as the H1-B (temporary work), J1 (management trainee), and F1 (student) visas. When these individuals are for some reason unable to achieve Permanent Residency in the US, pursuing Permanent Residency in Canada presents an option to remain in North America. Often, the transition from temporary status to permanent resident status is easier in Canada than in the US.
When an immigrant becomes a Canadian citizen, they have the option of pursuing temporary employment in the United States under the auspices of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Since a NAFTA-based work permit can be renewed indefinitely, Canadians have an array of work and living options available to them.
Immigration Options for US Visa Holders
Canadian immigration programs have, in general, looked favorably upon holders of US visas. In the past, the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program had a specific stream for US H1-B (temporary worker) visa holders.
This program is no longer available. However, experience in North America continues to provide a strong advantage for those looking to immigrate. There are a number of temporary and permanent residency options that residents of the US are well-placed to pursue.
The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) class of immigration is being revised in such a way that US residents are likely to benefit. Legislation that will come into force in January 2013 will place a higher emphasis on language skills. US residents typically possess a high level of English and as such may do well under the revised system. In addition, the new program will require that applicants have their foreign educational credentials assessed for their Canadian equivalency. Individuals who completed studies in the US will find that their degrees are often equivalent to a similar degree in Canada.
No intake quota has yet been announced for the FSW class. However, it appears likely that a cap will be placed on application intake. Some proactive individuals are already preparing their applications in advance, so that they may submit before potential quotas are filled.
In addition to the FSW class, applicants without a job offer in Canada can also pursue Permanent Residency through the popular Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) program. The QSW program is currently open and receiving applications from eligible applicants with expertise in one of 110 areas of training/fields of study.
Temporary work permits allow foreign workers to come to Canada for up to four years at a time. A temporary work permit in Canada usually requires a job offer from a Canadian employer. Temporary work in Canada can often be used as a stepping stone to an application for Canadian Permanent Residency.
US Residents Adapt Well to the Canadian Lifestyle
Individuals who have worked in the US are in a good position to quickly find work and adjust toCanadian culture. They are already accustomed to the North American work style. Similarly, they are likely to be proficient in English, which Citizenship and Immigration Canada has stated is “a key factor in the success of new residents in Canada.”
US visa holders also benefit from being within an easy drive or flight away from most major Canadian cities. This relative proximity can be of great advantage to those wishing to search for jobs, interview, or visit their future homes before moving to Canada. Visiting Canada can be advantageous for some immigration applications. For instance, the QSW program awards points for having visited the Province of Quebec.
“Regardless of the program they apply to, US residents often have the skills and cultural know-how to succeed in Canada,” says Attorney David Cohen. “Not only does this help them build a strong application for Canadian immigration, but it will help them to hit the ground running upon arrival in Canada.”

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Some Aging Nations Look to Immigration to Avert Economic Squeeze

Annual population percent change in the world....
Annual population percent change in the world. Source: CIA World Factbook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By: Albert Bozzo

If you’ve ever wondered how the U.S. population could increase by almost 60 percent — to more than 300 million people — between the 1965 and 2010 national censuses, look no further than the Hart-Cellar Act, which ended a century-old policy of discriminating against non-northern European immigrants.
Crowd of people on the street.

About half of the U.S. population growth over the last 45 years can be attributed to immigrants and their descendants, a demographic flood that has forever changed the nation. Today, one in five Americans is either first- or second-generation U.S. residents, according to the Census Bureau.
During roughly the same period, the population of Japan increased about 30 percent, to almost 128 million. Only about 2.1 million were immigrants, according toJapan’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.
Japan also happens to be the oldest nation in the world and has one of the lowest fertility rates, according to the CIA Fact Book. After years of marginal growth, according to national census data, the population is now actually shrinking, experts say.
As striking as that is, Japan is not alone. Italy, Monaco, Greece and Germany have similar demographic profiles, according to a variety of statistics, and South Korea is likely to resemble Japan in a generation if dramatic changes are not undertaken.
The difference between these countries and the U.S.? Immigration policies.
“Countries that have traditionally been destinations for large immigration tend to have younger populations,” said Jacob Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “There is another link, which is probably more important for the preparation of the aging, and that’s if you have a relatively liberal immigration policy you tend to have relatively higher fertility rates. Also, having a fairly liberal economy, open labor markets, easy access and an economy that is relatively flexible is often reflected in immigration policy.”
This human dynamic may seem merely like demography’s ultimate case study, but it also has enormous implications for the economic health of nations and the quality of life of their citizens.
“An aging population means a decline in the labor force,” Kirkegaard added, reflecting a widely held opinion among experts. “It lowers potential [economic] growth rates. Where it becomes very problematic is the impact it has on social spending.”
Countries from North America to Europe to Asia-Pacific are grappling with this demographic time bomb, which threatens the sustainability of national pension and health-care systems, and is prompting fundamental changes to retirement law and labor markets. For some developed nations, the problem will get much worse before it gets even a little better.
For instance, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the European Union will experience a 14 percent decrease in its workforce and a 7 percent increase in its consumer populations by 2030.
A European Commission study shows that countries are not only raising the retirement age, but are also introducing a contingency clause that changes the size of the pension benefit based on expected demographic changes such at the time of retirement.
At the same time, countries such as Italy and Germany have liberalized immigration policy on top of the changes that came with the launch of the European Union’s single currency a dozen years ago, which opened borders to workers across a wide swath of member states.
Others, such as Japan and South Korea, however, have barely budged. (Read moreChina's Aging Problem)
“Immigrants come in at the prime of their youth,” said Madeleine Sumption, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, MPI, who specializes in labor markets “These people have a whole working life ahead of them. They earn an income and pay taxes, which helps the shortfall in public finances.”
Statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development illustrate the disparity among its member countries.
Over the 2000-2010 period, the percentage of immigrant workers, known as foreign worker inflows, in Japan and South Korea was relatively flat at 0.3 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. (Read more: Investing in Aging Asia.)
Milan, Italy

In contrast, inflows to Italy, Spain and the U.K. rose between 200 percent and 400 percent.
Italy recently overtook the U.S. in the pace of net migration, ranking among the top 25 in the world, according to the CIA Fact Book. Japan and South Korea ranked in the low 90s with no statistical growth in net migration.
“The European countries realize they need more workers,” said Nicholas Eberstadt, a political economist and demographer at the American Enterprise Institute, AEI. “Immigration augments the labor pool and changes the ratio between workers and retirees.”
These structural changes, which experts said are often unpopular, combined with immigration, can make a demographic difference. Such policies, however, must remain in place for long periods of time because second-generation immigrants usually adapt to local custom, which means smaller family sizes. Thus, new waves of immigrants are needed. The U.S., Australia and Canada are good examples of this dynamic.
Kirkegaard of the Peterson Institute added that most countries still need a “more strategic immigration policy,” such as one that brings in scientists and engineers, and also keeps track of “changing trends in the labor markets.”

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International Monetary Fund chief says Canada should be economic model

TORONTO – The head of the International Monetary Fund says measures taken to protect Canada’s economy should be a model for countries trying to fix their financial systems.
Christine Lagarde said Thursday that Canada has been a leader in creating policies intended to rein in the build-up of household debt.
“Abroad, Canada is identified by its values of co-ordination and consensus building, which have given your country influence beyond its years,” she said.
“Building a safe and stable financial system is in the best interests of the global community, but it also serves the self-interest of nations,” she added.
Lagarde made the comments at a dinner held in Toronto by the Canada International Council — an organization created to promote Canada’s position on the world market.
She pointed to the decision by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to boost down payments on new mortgages for homebuyers as an example of restraint that others should follow.
“All of these new reforms comprise the tools so far that will help us shape the future financial system,” she said.
“We must shape the system so it cannot again hold us ransom to the consequences of its failings.”
Lagarde’s speech focused on global financial reforms that while “heading in the right direction,” still haven’t delivered the safer financial system they were designed to create.
“Some financial systems are still under distress and crisis-fighting efforts are inadvertently impeding reforms,” Legarde said.
She singled out Basel III requirements as one of the financial reforms that had “generous implementation timetables,” that have been in development since 2010.
Under the proposed Basel III rules, a bank’s required capital levels must meet certain requirements, amongst other standards. The intention of the rules is to set a standard on key measures of a bank’s health and its ability to endure future economic downturns.
“There are many vested interests working against change and pushback is intensifying,” Legarde said.
“It is interesting how some banks say the new regulations will be too burdensome, but then spend hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying to kill them.”
Canadian banks have been proactive in reinforcing their balance sheets to meet the Basel III requirements ahead of schedule, and are widely considered a model for international banks because they weathered the global recession better than others.
“Most countries have committed to adopt some or all of the new regulations, and some have moved further ahead with their own national policies,” Lagarde said.
“The challenge now is to proceed to the end of the reform path all together.”

Canadian Immigration Department Enacts New Marriage Sponsorship Rules

English: Will and Kate on their first Overseas...
English: Will and Kate on their first Overseas Royal Visit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) introduced new spousal immigration sponsorship regulations today to reduce the incidence of marriage fraud. The new rules require sponsored spouses who have no children with their sponsor to be in a live-in relationship with their spouse for two years to get full permanent residence status.
Under rules in place until today’s announcement, a sponsored spouse received permanent residence on the day they arrived in Canada, and subsequently could leave their spouse and retain their residency status in Canada.
Calls to reform immigration sponsorship rules have increased as several high-profile cases, like those of Lainie Towell and Heinz Munz, have brought the issue of foreign spouses leaving their Canadian husbands and wives soon after arriving in Canada to the public’s attention.
The new rules will not apply to sponsored spouses who have a child with their sponsor on the date of their spousal sponsorship application submission. The regulation also includes an exemption for sponsored spouses or partners who suffer abuse or neglect from their Canadian partner or someone related to their partner.
Those not exempt from the regulation must be in a relationship with their sponsoring spouse or partner for two years from the date that they receive their permanent residency or have their status in Canada revoked.
“I have consulted widely with Canadians, and especially with victims of marriage fraud, who have told me clearly that we must take action to stop this abuse of our immigration system,” said Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in announcing the new rules.
“Sometimes the sponsor in Canada is being duped and sometimes it’s a commercial transaction. Implementing a two-year conditional permanent residence period will help deter marriage fraud, prevent the callous victimization of innocent Canadians and help us put an end to these scams.”
Until today’s announcement, Canada was one of the few countries that did not have an initial conditional permanent residence period for foreign nationals sponsored for immigration by a spouse, and consequently, CIC says was considered a “soft target” by criminal organizations seeking to exploit Canadian immigration rules.
Several large-scale marriage scams have been uncovered in recent years, including the case of over 600 people involved in trading marriage sponsorships for money between 2007 and 2009.

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The benefits and risks of foreign students

Canada stands to benefit greatly from an immigration program that, since 2009, has been fast-tracking thousands of prospective residents who have done post-secondary studies in the country.
But there are perils for Canadian academia and for the excellent reputation of Canadian educators if some students are only seeking to exploit the new rules to avoid the usual immigration checks and enter Canada through a back door, rather than to gain an education.
The question arises because foreign students now have the right to work while studying in Canada and for as long as three years afterwards and, for the first time, they can apply for permanent residency from within Canada.
It is a live issue in India because thousands of students from here come to Canada every year to study and many more are likely to want to come.
London's Metropolitan University provides a troubling example of what can go wrong when a school focuses on foreign students. Two months ago, the U.K. Border Agency revoked its "highly trusted status." This denied the school, whose patron is Prince Philip, the right to sponsor visas for students from outside the European Union. Those foreign students already studying there had their visas revoked. This was devastating for Metropolitan because nearly half of its 22,000 foreign students come from overseas, according to the London Daily Telegraph.
The order to stop taking foreign students came after the Border Agency concluded that the school could not prove if many of its foreign students could speak English.
The saga of Metropolitan's phoney students may be a cautionary tale for Canada.
Until now, Canada has only accepted 7,000 people in the Canadian Experience Class program, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said last month. But the government's goal is to welcome 200,000 foreign students over the next 10 years. Most of them would have what amounts to preferred status to make application from within Canada to permanently reside in Canada.
I attended a students' fair offered last week by the Canadian University Application Centre near New Delhi. The joy expressed by those at the event who learned that they had been accepted into one of the 12 Canadian institutions of higher learning was contagious.
Students coming to Canada from not only India but many other countries get a good deal. They benefit from an education at such respected universities as St. Mary's in Halifax, Bishop's in Quebec's Eastern Townships and Victoria. Moreover, tuition costs less in Canada than at comparable institutions in Britain or Australia and a fraction of what it costs to undertake similar studies in the United States.
Nevertheless, it is clear from speaking with some of these kids - as well as university admission officers from Canada on a five-city tour of India - that the key attraction of such programs for many of them is that it allows them to gain Canadian work experience at the same time they study and almost guarantees them permanent residency in Canada when their studies end.
Canada gains bright, motivated, well-educated young immigrants more attuned to the ways of the country than other prospective newcomers who have never worked or studied within its borders. The presence of so many foreign students whose educations have not cost Canadian taxpayers a penny also preserves the jobs of some professors and teachers. This is a big help at a time when crippling budget deficits are pushing up tuition fees and forcing colleges and universities to make ruthless choices about what to chop.
Still, hanging over the process is the question of how many "students" bound for Canada are genuine. One of the complications confronting admission officers is that it is especially difficult to judge students' transcripts if they are from countries such as India, where standards vary widely and bogus documents of every kind abound.
Admissions officers visiting India last week acknowledged that they were acutely aware of the danger of dumbing down Canada's academic standards and that measures were in place to ensure that this does not happen.
But more than half of Canada's foreign students enrol at community colleges, not universities. Whether the same standards apply at all these colleges is another matter entirely. The federal government must ask hard questions about who is accepted to study based on what marks and whether attendance is closely policed. There are rumblings that grave problems exist at colleges that have accepted a large number of foreign students.
To preserve the quality of higher education in Canada and to avoid tarnishing the country's reputation in the booming and highly competitive international education market, the government must ensure that schools not only regard foreign students as a financial bonanza, which they are, but that maintaining high educational standards is paramount.

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Career Resources for Newcomer Skilled Tradespersons

English: La Cité collégiale, Ottawa, Ontario, ...
English: La Cité collégiale, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, photographed from the air on 12 October 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Skilled tradespeople are in demand in Canada. If you were employed in a trade in your country of origin and want to get back to it in Canada, you'll need resources. So we've put together some links for Internationally Educated Skilled Tradespersons, so you can find bridge training, credential recognition, and other resources for getting you back to your skilled trade as fast as possible. We hope these will help you in your new life in Canada.
All of Canada:
- lots of links to resources for skilled tradespersons
Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC)
- links for internationally trained tradespeople in every province of Canada
Red Seal Program
- recognized as the interprovincial standard of excellence in the skilled trades
- information on working in the skilled trades in different parts of Canada
New West Partnership Trade Agreement
- Links to regulatory bodies for skilled trades in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan
Internationally Trained Workers – Foreign Credential Recognition
- links to international credential recognition agencies across the country
Internationally Trained Workers – Resources by Province
- links to resources for internationally trained skilled tradespersons in all provinces and territories
Citizenship and Immigration Canada – Skilled Workers
- how to immigrate to Canada as a skilled worker
Careers in Oil and Gas
- information and links for skilled tradespersons wishing to work in Canada’s oil and gas industry
Explore for More – Careers in Mining
- resources for skilled tradespeople wishing to develop a mining career in Canada
Government of Canada – Foreign Credentials Referral Office
- provides information, path-finding and referral services on foreign credential recognition for internationally trained workers
Government of Ontario – Trades in Ontario site
- information and links for skilled tradespersons new to Canada
Government of Ontario – Ontario Bridge Training site
- information about bridge training for skilled tradespeople new in Canada
Internationally Trained Workers site
- information for internationally trained workers in the construction industry
La Cité collégiale
- offers skills bridging for francophone internationally-trained construction tradespeople
YMCA/YWCA National Capital Region – Power of Trades
- pre-employment bridging program for internationally trained tradespeople
Conestoga College Pathways into Trades & Apprenticeship
- offers opportunities for internationally trained tradespersons to challenge the qualification exams
The Ontario College of Trades
- This is the regulatory body for skilled trades in Ontario. They have important information for internationally trained skilled tradespeople wishing to work in Ontario.
Skills for Change
- offers 11-week programs for internationally trained HVAC mechanics, plumbers, millwrights, carpenters, construction/maintenance electricians and industrial electricians
British Columbia:
Industry Training Authority, British Columbia
- Oportunities for immigrants and internationally trained tradespeople
Skills Connect at Douglas College
- program of job placement and skills upgrading
Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP)
- employment programs for internationally trained skilled workers in over 90 recognized skilled trades
Working in Alberta
- guide for internationally trained newcomers who wish to work in Alberta
Government of Alberta - Apprenticeship and Industry Training
- important information for IESTs in Alberta
Government of Alberta
- information for internationally trained skilled tradespersons planning to work in Alberta
Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Grade Certification Commission
- important information for skilled tradespersons who want to work in Saskatchewan
- process map for internationally-trained skilled tradespeople wishing to work in Saskatchewan
IMMSkills program
- skills assessment for internationally trained tradespeople who want to work in Saskatchewan
Government of Manitoba - Trades Qualification
- IESTs can challenge the exams to qualify in their trades without additional training
Red River College - ESL for Trades
- English as a Second Language for internationally-trained tradespeople
Success Skills Centre
- helps internationally trained tradespeople become certified and employed in their trade in Manitoba
Workplace Integration of Skilled Newcomers in Trades (WISNIT)
- helps internationally trained tradespeople become certified and employed in their trade
Guide de la qualification professionnelle
- information on regulated trades in Québec (in French/ en français)
Emploi Québec
- information sur le marché de travail/ information on the labour market (in French and English/ en français et anglais)
New Brunswick:
Government of New Brunswick - Mobility/ Recognition of Credentials
- steps to take when you want to work in New Brunswick
Prince Edward Island:
Government of Prince Edward Island
- information on apprenticeship, training and certification for skilled tradespeople in PEI
Government of Prince Edward Island – PNP International Graduates
- Provincial Nominee Program – information about the PEI PNP for internationally trained tradespeople
PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada
- programs for newcomer skilled tradespersons – certifications, training, international qualification recognition
Nova Scotia:
Government of Nova Scotia
- information for newcomer skilled tradespeople who wish to continue their careers in Nova Scotia
Hants County, Nova Scotia
- links to resources for newcomers wishing to live and work in Nova Scotia
Newfoundland and Labrador:
Association for New Canadians – Employment Services
- services and resources for internationally trained tradespeople wishing to work in Newfoundland and Labrador
Career Information Resource Centre/ Employment Outreach Services
- information and links for those wishing to work in Newfoundland and Labrador
Immigrate to Newfoundland and Labrador
- information and links for getting your credentials recognized in Newfoundland and Labrador
Arctic College – PLAR Program
- information on the college’s Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition program for internationally trained newcomers who wish to work in Canada. They also have Skilled Trades Training Programs
Northwest Territories:
Northwest Territories Provincial Nominee Program
- information on the territory’s PNP program and how it can benefit internationally trained skilled tradespeople wising to work in NWT.
Career and Employment Development Division - Career Resources
- links to information for job-seekers in Northwest Territories
Government of Yukon – Apprenticeship and Trades Qualification
- information about qualifying to work in the skilled trades in Yukon

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