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Ottawa to create skilled immigrant pool, provinces would select applicants based on labour needs

Deutsch: Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum
Deutsch: Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nicholas Keung
Immigration Reporter 
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Ottawa has reached a consensus with the provinces to establish a pool of skilled-worker candidates by the end of 2014 that will allow employers to cherry-pick potential immigrants to fill regional labour shortages.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced Friday he is committed to working with his provincial counterparts to implement the Expression of Interest (EOI) system, whereby employers could screen and assess a pool of applicants for immigration consideration.
“We’ve had very fruitful discussions about the future of immigration in Canada,” Kenney said after the annual federal-provincial immigration conference in Toronto.
All the provincial government representatives — except Quebec’s immigration minister, who was absent from the meeting — agreed the immigration system has to be fast and responsive to regional economic needs.
However, Kenney was lukewarm to Ontario’s own immigration plan, unveiled earlier this month, that called for vastly increasing the number of skilled immigrants the province can hand-pick under the provincial nominee program — to 2,000 next year, and to 5,000 in 2014.
Currently, Ontario receives only a 5 per cent share of the 20,000 provincial nominees accepted across Canada each year.
“The concern for Ontario is that the number of immigrants coming to Canada is going down ... Moving forward, we do have to find a way to co-operate and collaborate to rectify the situation,” said Ontario Immigration Minister Michael Chan.
“All provinces want their provincial nominee programs expanded because immigrants coming in are successful in getting jobs that match their skills.”
To reduce backlogs in the federal skilled worker program, Ottawa allowed provinces to “mine” applicants in the queue earlier this year, and Ontario is expected to nominate as many as 700 candidates above its 1,000 annual quota.
A source from Kenney’s office said the minister cannot commit to Ontario’s request to boost that quota because he has to balance all the 60-plus immigration programs, and any additional quota for the province has to come from somewhere else.
Details of the EOI system, based on a system used in New Zealand and Australia, are not available. But Kenney said a formula will be developed to decide the “distribution of skilled immigrants across the country.”
A recent provincial report found that Ontario has seen its share of immigrants to Canada drop by one-third, from 148,640 in 2001 to 99,000 in 2011.
While 70 per cent of immigrants settling in other provinces belong to the “economic” class — skilled workers and investors, as opposed to refugees and people reuniting with family members — economic immigrants account for only 52 per cent of newcomers to Ontario.


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Immigration Canada to lure foreign entrepreneurs with prize of permanent residency

English: Supreme Court of Canada Français : Co...
English: Supreme Court of Canada Français : Cour suprême du Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nicholas Keung
Immigration Reporter 
0 Comments
Ottawa hopes to lure innovative entrepreneurs from abroad to Canada by offering them permanent residency.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Thursday the move will put Canada ahead of its competitors, such as Australia, the United Kingdom and United States, where entrepreneurs are offered only temporary residency, and their ultimate status hinges on business success.
“Our new Start-Up Visa will help make Canada the destination of choice for the world’s best and brightest to launch their companies,” said Kenney, who is planning a trip to Silicon Valley, the world’s start-up capital, to find foreign entrepreneurs looking for a permanent home.
“Recruiting dynamic entrepreneurs from around the world will help Canada remain competitive in the global economy.”
The new program, which will accept applications starting April 1, will link immigrant entrepreneurs with private sector organizations in Canada that offer support and resources for their ideas. Candidates must be sponsored by Canadian investors.
Review panels struck by Citizenship and Immigration will assess the applicants.
In addition to a sound business plan, applicants must meet an intermediate language requirement in English or French, possess one year of post-secondary education and pass the necessary medical and criminal checks.
Kenney said the five-year pilot program will accept 2,750 applications a year and be made permanent if the government is satisfied with the results. Applications are expected to be processed within one year.
“Canada’s future relies on today’s entrepreneurs,” said Kenney.
The initiative is an evolutionary leap from Canada’s archaic entrepreneur program, which had been in place since the 1970s by offering conditional residency to foreign entrepreneurs who opened mall kiosks, corner stores and small businesses.
Immigrant entrepreneurs admitted to Canada dropped sharply to 184 in 2011, down from 1,176 in 2002. In anticipating Thursday’s changes, the government stopped accepting new applications in July to control the existing backlog in the federal entrepreneur program. There are no plans to lift the moratorium.
Source: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1319738--immigration-canada-to-lure-foreign-entrepreneurs-with-prize-of-permanent-residency

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Top 10 Financial Steps you need to take upon arrival

A credit card, the biggest beneficiary of the ...
A credit card, the biggest beneficiary of the Marquette Bank decision (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


1. Get a Social Insurance Number

Obtaining a Social Insurance Number (SIN) is the first step you need to take in order to navigate the Canadian system. You will need this nine-digit number to open a bank account, apply for health insurance, get employed and access certain services. On the Service Canada website (www.servicecanada.gc.ca) you can find instructions on how to apply for a SIN.

2. Open a bank account

Opening a bank account at a local bank will allow you to better manage your finances and avoid significant transfer fees from your accounts back home. Pick a bank close to your home or work for convenience, and, when you apply, it is a good idea to set up online banking as well. You can open chequing and savings accounts on the spot and walk away with a debit card. For credit accounts, you will need to wait up to a month.

3. Get a credit card

Credit is an essential part of a person’s financial trajectory in Canada. You will need a good credit history to get a loan or a mortgage, and sometimes even to rent a home or obtain a job. Getting a credit card in Canada requires either a previous credit history or a deposit that will protect the lender in case you fail to pay your bill. This is also known as a secured credit card. A credit card may also come with incentives such as air miles or travel rewards.

4. File a tax return

You can file for a tax return in Canada and access certain tax benefits such as the Canada Child Tax Benefit even without having a Canadian job history.

5. Apply for health insurance

You should apply for health insurance for you and your family as soon as you arrive. Depending on your province, you may have to pay a monthly premium. You can find the application forms at immigrant settlement agencies, doctor’s offices, hospitals and pharmacies. In Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and New Brunswick, you will have to wait three months before you can access the provincial health insurance plan. During those three months, it is highly recommended to purchase private health insurance.

6. Assess your monthly expenses

While exploring your city, take a tour of the popular supermarkets and get an idea of the prices for basic items. Visit different cell phone and internet providers and compare plans and special offers. Do not be afraid to ask for additional explanations and never let yourself be pressured into signing any contracts before you are ready.

7. Make a budget

Once you’ve found a home and arranged for transportation, draw up a weekly or monthly budget. Even if you are usually a careful spender, do not underestimate the stress of setting up a new life and the myriad of things you will have to learn. A budget will help you keep an eye on where your money is going and give you a sense of control.

8. Access free and low-cost goods and services

While it is tempting to start your new life exclusively with shiny new items, it is not always financially sensible. Visit free classifieds websites such as Craigslist.org and Kijiji.ca to check out free or low-cost items. Immigrant settlement organizations can direct you to places where you could access donations of furniture and appliances. In large buildings, renters who move out often place ads to sell their furniture cheaply. Garage sales are a national pastime in Canada. Library cards are free and allow you to borrow DVDs and save on entertainment. Everywhere you look, there are opportunities to cut down costs; you just need to take advantage of them.

9. Shop smart

Get into the habit of shopping smart as soon as possible. Use coupons, avoid customer traps such as extended warranties, apply for discount cards at the major stores and resist the lure of special offers on items you don’t really need. Give a chance to smaller businesses such as neighbourhood produce stores or butcher shops, because they sometimes have better prices.

10. Shake off bad financial habits

Often , newcomers experience a state of excitement similar to that of tourists on holiday. While it is fine to enjoy your first weeks in Canada, the reality is that you are not on holiday, so avoid spending like you are. A new start is the best opportunity to develop good financial habits and get rid of bad ones. Whether you never keep track of your loose change or hate sticking to a budget, now’s the time to start fresh and control your finances better.

Source: http://www.prepareforcanada.com/Financial-First-Steps/Top-10-Financial-Steps-you-need-to-take-upon-arrival.html

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Mining the benefits of internationalization

Announcement at VIU of BC International Educat...
Announcement at VIU of BC International Education Strategy (Photo credit: Vancouver Island University)
Abu Kamara Issue No:253


International education is increasingly becoming a priority for governments around the world. As a result, most are implementing aggressive international student-friendly immigration policies to stay competitive in a pugnacious global international education market.

In a recent report, the Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education, a government-backed initiative, identified international education as an important factor in Canada’s future prosperity. More than simply an international education strategy, the report represents the first time the Canadian government has invested significant resources in the development of a comprehensive, cross-sector and cross-province international education strategy.

In addition to highlighting the role of the federal government in the development of Canada’s international education capabilities, such as establishing an international education promotion initiative and increasing the number of study permits issued to international students, the report identifies provincial governments and the private sector as important actors in Canada’s bid for a bigger piece of the global international education market. For example, the report notes that the province of Ontario established the Ontario Trillium Scholarship programme in 2010, which provides $20 million in scholarship funding to doctoral international students.

Besides the contributions of provinces and territories, the report names private sector job opportunities and internships for international students as crucial for Canada’s overall internationalisation efforts. In all, the report identifies cross-sector, public/private partnerships as important for accessing important resources that could be leveraged to help Canada recruit, develop, support, and integrate international students.

International growth machines

In many ways, the sort of cross-sector, public/private partnerships identified in the report – those that encourage gatekeepers from the private sector, government and university to work together in the internationalisation of Canada – can be described as 'internationalisation growth machines'. This is primarily because the behaviours of the elites that comprise such partnerships are mainly motivated by growth and a general belief in the necessity and benefits of internationalisation.

Such informal partnerships among local university, business and government leaders deploy narratives that identify internationalisation as a growth mechanism that could be employed for addressing Canada’s demographic challenges, and for meeting its need for skilled human capital in an expanding global knowledge economy.

Some local leaders in Canada are already forming internationalisation growth machines as a way of overcoming local demographic and economic challenges. For instance, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, local university leaders are working with local businesses and government leaders to integrate international graduates into the local labour market.

Serving as the incubator of such partnerships, the greater Halifax partnership, a local economic development organisation that is jointly funded by three levels of government and the business sector, has initiated several projects that aim to unite local gatekeepers from the university, business and government sectors on mutually beneficial projects. The most recent example of a greater Halifax cross-sector internationalisation measure is the international student connector programme.

The programme leverages resources from universities, business and local government to connect international student graduates to local employment possibilities. The introduction of the international student connector programme should come as no surprise, given that a 2009 Nova Scotia government report noted that international students contributed over US$173 million to the local economy.

Local internationalisation growth machines, informal partnerships between university, government and the private sector leaders, like those encouraged by the greater Halifax partnership, seem to represent creative local solutions to demographic and economic challenges.

The benefits of international students

While not the main focus of internationalisation growth machine elites, the growth discourses they produce and deploy to generate support for various internationalisation initiatives – discourses such as those that highlight the economic and ‘creative’ contributions of international students in Canada – may prove to be powerful counter-narratives against discourses that ‘pathologise’ international students, overemphasising their weaknesses while only minimally acknowledging or even completely ignoring their strengths and contributions.

As the competition for skilled human capital increases, as demographic challenges become more pronounced, as the global demand for higher education increases, and as the amount of resources required for building and maintaining international education-related infrastructures expand, internationalisation growth machines will likely become more common.

As this happens, the information flow between sector leaders will likely improve and this will eventually lead to a narrowing of the remaining gaps among sector leaders. Two university-level initiatives in Canada that point at a growing willingness by university leaders to reach out to the private sector and government leaders include, respectively, the establishment of university industry liaison offices, and the creation of specific university positions to strengthen government and community engagement.

In the midst of federal government education funding cutbacks, which is increasing global competition for skilled human capital, internationalisation growth machines seem for some local leaders to represent a creative way of accessing resources that could help them address local challenges and stay competitive in the international education market.

In so doing, they may just be ushering in the future of international education, a future that will most likely be dominated by super internationalisation growth machines, taking the model to an international level. However, regulating these will not be easy.

Abu Kamara is a PhD candidate at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada, with interests in internationalisation, international students, intercultural education and identity politics.
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Source: http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=2013010303370316

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Legal Tips for Canadian Immigrants with a Criminal Record

English: RCMP officer and truck
English: RCMP officer and truck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Are you a Canadian immigrant who currently has a criminal record? Were you hoping to travel outside of the country, only to find that you may have difficulty doing so as a result of your past?
Having a criminal record can change your life and hold you back from many opportunities. It can affect your career, where you live and where you travel. What many people may not be aware of is that they do have the opportunity to apply for a criminal pardon. By obtaining your Canadian pardon your criminal record is legally sealed, allowing to get your life back on track.

Obtaining a Criminal Pardon
Candidates must meet specific criteria to be eligible for a pardon. In almost all cases, it is necessary to wait at least three years—and up to five—to file your application with the Canadian police.

Though the steps to obtaining a pardon are relatively straightforward, it is strongly recommended that you work with a dedicated attorney who specializes in criminal pardons, or, a trusted third party entity that is accredited by the RCMP CCRTIS program, to ensure you have access to expert insights and information.

This can be a nerve-wracking time, but by staying in frequent contact with your pardons partner, you will be able to stay updated on all the details of your case as they happen.

If your pardon is approved, then you will be able to have your records sealed from the public. In some cases, they may even be erased completely. Note that you can also apply for a Purge and File Destruction request, which will have the police destroy any evidence of your arrest, court hearings, and anything else that could indicate a criminal past. Otherwise, even with a pardon on your record, you could still run into trouble down the road at customs agencies in other countries or even with potential employers.


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