The new Canada immigration system: this is how it works

From January 2015 Canada will apply the Express Entry system

From January next year Canada will transform its immigration policy. Where those interested in migration to Canada would currently select one of the many streams to submit an application, from next year onwards there will be one list to be sure to put your name on.
The new system has been named the Express Entry, indicating the aim of the Canadian government to actively recruit, assess and select skilled immigrants. The list will function as a job bank, where the government as well as employers will be able to select the candidates that are most likely to succeed.
Selected candidates will be invited to apply through three of Canada’s existing economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.
Some of the Provincial Nominee Programs will also be open for selected candidates of the Express Entry list, while other provincial programs will continue to exist on its own.
The new system is believed to lead to reduced processing times, with the majority of applications processed within 6 months.
With the launch date approaching, a lot of questions about the new system still remain. However, little by little the process is starting to become clearer. Here is what we know so far.
The first step: putting your name on the list
The first step towards migration to Canada under the new system will be to create an Express Entry profile. Applicants will have to provide information about their skills, work experience, language ability, education, and other details.
Once on the list, applicants will be ranked against each other. Although the criteria for gaining points has not been made clear, a successful candidate has been described as ‘those who deem to have the best chance of economic success’.
When the applicant has a valid job offer the invitation to apply for permanent residency is guaranteed. A job offer can be obtained once an employer has expressed interest in hiring a particular candidate. To increase the chances of being matched, applicants can submit their file on the Government of Canada's Job Bank.
What comes next?
Once the profile has been made the applicant will have to wait, while the government or province is assessing the many candidates. If no invitation has been after 12 months of being on the list, the applicant should submit a new application. If successful, the candidate will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residency.
When an invitation to apply has been sent, the applicant has 60 days to apply for permanent residency under one of the three programs, or listed provincial nominee programs.
The Federal Skilled Worker Program is currently the most popular program and will continue to exist. This program selects qualified skilled applicants from across the world based on factors like their education, work experience, language proficiency.
On the contrary, the Federal Skilled Trades Program targets those applicants that are valuable for their practical skills rather than educational credentials. This program was launched beginning 2013 and will be available for candidates selected by the Express Entry system.
The third program that will remain available is the Canadian Experience Class. This program was created for individuals who already gained skilled work experience in Canada.
Almost all provinces offer Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), accepting applicants based on the labour demand in that province. Provinces will choose to list some of these programs under the Express Entry system. In any regard, assessing the opportunities in the provinces is recommended, because a job offer will enable the applicant to apply for residency, also when the program was not under the Express Entry list.
Although most of these programs currently have occupation lists and intake caps, the Express Entry system is said to have neither of these thresholds. It is unclear what the existing programs will look like once the new system is in place.
What are the changes?
One of the most prominent programs that will be discontinued is the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), which currently aims to help workers come to Canada to fill jobs in sectors where the local workforce does not provide with the required expertise. These workers come to Canada on a temporary basis, and are able to apply for permanent residency under one of the existing programs when in the country.
The temporary nature of a job position will be no more, made the government clear. Whereas employers will still be able to select employees based on their needs, these employees will come to Canada as fulltime residents and without uncertainty, was the argument.
Furthermore, law firms have applauded the abolishment of the occupation list and intake cap, arguing that it is now free for anybody to apply regardless of the profession executed or time of application. However, as a counter argument it has been stressed that this principle itself is likely to lead to uncertainty, as applicants can do little more than waiting for an invitation to apply.
With 5 more months to go before the system is in place, applicants still have the chance to be assessed under the current criteria, as the application will be reviewed based on the criteria that were in place when the application was submitted.
(Image courtesy

Networking is the Most Important Skill for New Canadians

by Priya Ramanujam (@SincerelyPriya) in Toronto
Only eight per cent of the jobs in Canada are advertised. An astounding 76 per cent of the jobs are hidden or created. New Canadians packed into a Metro Toronto Convention Centre conference room to gain this type of insight about the Canadian job market from human resources professional, Sujay Vardhmane
Vardhmane’s presentation, Winning Ways – The Formula to Your Job Search Success, is just one of nine interactive speaker sessions part of a free, day-long Career, Education & Settlement Fair presented by Canadian Immigrant Magazine in partnership with Scotiabank and Centennial College. The annual fair, which also includes a trade show, resume clinic and speed mentoring sessions, is in its fourth year. Gautam Sharma, Publisher of Canadian Immigrant, says its goal is to provide real advice to newcomers. “The idea was to have a very sort of holistic opportunity for everyone to listen to,” he says.
Vardhmane’s main message during an hour-long presentation is that sitting behind a computer sending resumes all day long will rarely lead to securing a job. He gives newcomers a challenge: for six months, give yourselves points for every job-related action they take – 500 for an interview, 250 for an information meeting, 100 for making a phone call and 50 for applying for a job via the internet. If someone achieves 3,000 or more points weekly for six months he is confident they will land their ideal job.
But many of the attendees, who face barriers such as not knowing the language, not knowing anyone in Canada, and not having any Canadian work experience, may find his challenge daunting. Having immigrated to Canada in 2002 from India himself, Vardhmane can empathize with these struggles.
“[New Canadians often] develop a very negative mindset very early on that I’m a loser, I’m a victim and everyone is treating me badly,” he explains. “What you may find surprising is this, every person at every stage in life has challenges in a job search, I could be a white male who is 45, I will have some challenges in my job search, I could be a 60-year-old, I could be a 20-year-old I could be having challenges, whether I’m born here or not born here. But what tends to happen is we tend to look at it this way, I’m new in this country and I’m being penalized because of that.”
[New Canadians often] develop a very negative mindset very early on that I’m a loser, I’m a victim and everyone is treating me badly.”
During his workshop, Vardhmane shares that he has never been hired in Canada for a job that he has applied to in the traditional way of e-mailing a resume and cover letter. Rather, the opportunities that have come his way (he is also a part-time professor at Centennial, Seneca and George Brown colleges and the University of Toronto), have been because of relationships he’s built over time and networking.
“I think listening to people and positioning myself professionally with people [is why] people were willing to help me,” he shares, reminiscing about his early days in Canada. “Consistency of behaviour is very critical for people to be comfortable to refer you.”
Networking was stressed throughout the day as the number one most important thing newcomers must do to achieve whatever success they are pursuing. Corporate trainer, career specialist and workplace coach, Colleen Clarke, emphasizes this in her workshop, Networking How To Build Relationships That Count. She says newcomers should start the process even before they set foot on Canadian soil.
“I had a client a few years ago, he’s become a huge success here. Before he came to Canada – he knew he was immigrating here – we worked together long distance,” she shares. “He came here with the names of 20 people to contact of people back in Mumbai who knew people in Toronto. So when he came to Toronto he already had 20 phone numbers from the people in Mumbai who had family or relatives here.”
“Consistency of behaviour is very critical for people to be comfortable to refer you.”
Upon arriving in Canada, continue connecting with the people who you know from your day-to-day life, she adds. “Try to start with people that you know. Your bank teller, your hair dresser, the people within your own ethnic community, your children go to school, you must know some of the parents of the children.”
She closes by reminding attendees that it isn’t the first person they network with that will give them a job, but by building strong, positive relationships with several people, through the ideology of “six degrees of separation” where someone knows someone who knows someone, job referrals can and will happen. 
This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be freely re-published, with appropriate attribution, please.

Immigrant-owned Businesses Leverage Exports

by Patricia Rimok in Montreal
Immigration Business Network ib2ib applauds the findings of a recent study done by the Conference Board of Canada that clearly shows immigrant entrepreneurs advance Canada’s export agenda outside of the U.S. more than non-immigrant Canadian Small and Medium Enterprises, SME’s. This is very important given the sluggish Canada-U.S. trade since the financial crisis began in 2007 which has pushed many Canadian SME’s to venture elsewhere to export their goods and the government to redouble its efforts to pursue free-trade deals, bilateral tax treaties and foreign investment protection agreements with fast-growing economies.
So why hasn’t Canada been more successful in leveraging its diverse immigration to increase its exports outside of the U.S.?
The main reasons brought forward by the Conference Board study are that immigrant-owned businesses exporting to non-U.S. markets are less operationally efficient, more likely to compete on price than innovation and product novelty, and represent limited long-term export potential especially the ones that are in the wholesale-retail trade sector.
Caution justified
We need, however, to be careful with some of these observations, especially given that the immigrant-owned businesses surveyed were established in Canada for only five years and have yet to be as sufficiently familiar with Canadian legal, fiscal, legislative and financing frameworks or have had the time to develop strong local business networks that they can leverage as non-immigrant based Canadian SME’s can. In fact, these same limitations have also been the primary reasons why more than half of the immigrant entrepreneurs and investors that came through the defunct immigrant entrepreneur and investor programs have left the country after five years with their capital.
[T]hese same limitations have also been the primary reasons why more than half of the immigrant entrepreneurs and investors that came through the defunct immigrant entrepreneur and investor programs have left the country after five years with their capital.
Had we also included immigrant-owned businesses established for over 10 years in the Conference Board survey as a control group to measure and compare long-term impacts in the various business sectors studied, we may not have arrived at the same observations and conclusions. For example, wholesale and retail chains like Aldo, Point Zero, Peerless, Mep and countless others are immigrant-owned success stories that exist today which started in similar conditions, and yet, have been able to grow, export, diversify, innovate and employ thousands of people.
Other examples
In New Brunswick, for instance, the retail and wholesale trade sector is very important and experienced significant growth despite the fact that it is not associated to a high-growth or innovative sector. GDP associated to that sector was $2.6 Billion in 2010, up from $1.9 Billion in 2000 and projected to increase to $3.7 Billion in 2020. In 2011, out of 57,400 people associated to that sector, 53 800 were employed.
longitudinal case study in 2009 in Spain (Peri and Requena), which measured the export-creating effects of immigrants from 1998 to 2008, was able to conclude that a rise in immigration to Spain from 1% to 10% in that period increased trade from 35% to 44% of Spanish GDP and the number of exporting firms grew from 58,000 to 100,000 over the same period. Both research economists also found that doubling the number of immigrants from a certain country in a Province led to an increase of the export values from the destination province to the country of the immigrant’s origin by around 10% thanks to their differentiated culture and goods, diaspora business and social connections which increase the diffusion of information and reduce the costs of doing business with their country of origin.
Both research economists also found that doubling the number of immigrants from a certain country in a Province led to an increase of the export values from the destination province to the country of the immigrant’s origin by around 10% thanks to their differentiated culture and goods, diaspora business and social connections which increase the diffusion of information and reduce the costs of doing business with their country of origin.
Closer home
Using similar principles and closer to home, thanks to the contacts in China of a Chinese-Canadian immigrant entrepreneur and member of our network, Immigration Business Network ib2ib was able to secure for a Quebec-based clean-tech waste management company over $3 billion of financing to build 23 plants across Canada and create 1,500 permanent jobs. Wait, there is more! Now China wants the same plants built in their country and Brazil, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and others have expressed an interest to do the same. How is that for leveraging both Canadian imports and exports thanks to our immigration!
We need to continue this conversation with more Canadian immigrant-owned businesses that export as well as increase the connectivity and engagement of local Canadian SME’s with business immigrant and diaspora networks which bring foreign direct investment to Canada. The federal government has a great opportunity to continue improving on its more recent trade policies by incorporating them to their soon-to-be-released new immigrant entrepreneur and investor programs.
Patricia Rimok is President of the Montreal-based Immigration Business Network ib2ib Inc.
This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be freely re-published, with appropriate attribution, please.

Applications we will accept – Federal skilled workers

As of May 1, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will only consider federal skilled worker (FSW) applications from people who have:
  • at least one year of continuous and paid (full-time or an equal amount in part-time) work experience in a single occupation,
  • within the last 10 years,
  • at skill type 0, or skill levels A or B of the 2011 edition of the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC), and who are:
    1. in one of the 50 eligible occupations, and whose application is received under the occupation’s sub-cap and overall FSW cap, or
    2. with a valid offer of arranged employmentor
    3. who are applying under the PhD stream (see below) until the PhD cap of 500 applications is reached.
All applicants must also:

Applications per eligible occupation:

As of May 1, 2014, there is an overall cap of 25,500 for new federal skilled worker applications. This includes a cap of 500 applications from PhD students. There are also sub-caps of 1,000 for each of the 50 eligible occupations. The caps do not affect people with a valid job offer. These are the last applications we will accept under the current system before Express Entry launches in January 2015.
Note: Due to the large number of applications we get, we cannot check that each one is complete on the same day it gets to the office. The numbers on this page are updated at least once a week, but are only a guide. There is no guarantee that an application sent in now will fall within the cap by the time it gets to the Centralized Intake Office.
Total received toward the overall cap: 516 of 25,000
Eligible occupation
(by National Occupational Classification [NOC] code)
Number of complete applications counted towards the 1,000 sub-cap Footnote1
0013  Senior managers – financial, communications and other business services3
0015  Senior managers – trade, broadcasting and other services, n.e.c.
0111  Financial managers19
0112  Human resources managers3
0113  Purchasing managers3
0121  Insurance, real estate and financial brokerage managers1
0311  Managers in health care1
0711  Construction managers2
0712  Home building and renovation managers
0811  Managers in natural resources production and fishing
0911  Manufacturing managers1
1111  Financial auditors and accountants17
1112  Financial and investment analysts120
1113  Securities agents, investment dealers and brokers
1114  Other financial officers3
1123  Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations4
1212  Supervisors, finance and insurance office workers1
1224  Property administrators
2113  Geoscientists and oceanographers2
2131  Civil engineers20
2132  Mechanical engineers34
2133  Electrical and electronics engineers11
2145  Petroleum engineers
2171  Information systems analysts and consultants28
2172  Database analysts and data administrators4
2173  Software engineers and designers54
2174  Computer programmers and interactive media developers 130
2232  Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians
2234  Construction estimators1
2241  Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians2
2243  Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics2
2263  Inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety2
2281  Computer network technicians23
3011  Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors
3012  Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses7
3111  Specialist physicians
3112  General practitioners and family physicians
3132  Dietitians and nutritionists
3141  Audiologists and speech-language pathologists1
3142  Physiotherapists11
3143  Occupational Therapists1
3214  Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists
3215  Medical Radiation Technologists
3216  Medical Sonographers
3233  Licensed practical nurses
3234  Paramedical occupations
4011  University professors and lecturers4
4151  Psychologists1
4214  Early childhood educators and assistants
5125  Translators, terminologists and interpreters

Applications in the PhD stream:

CIC will accept 500 applications for processing per year under the PhD stream. To apply under this stream, you must have either
  • finished at least two years of study in Canada towards a PhD, or
  • graduated from a Canadian PhD program in the 12 months before we get your application.
Find out more about eligibility for this category.
The new PhD cap year began on May 1, 2014. These are the last applications we will accept under the current system before Express Entry launches in January 2015.
Applications received toward the overall cap: 19 of 500 (as of July 14, 2014).

A Summary of Quebec Immigration Today

JULY, 2014
Quebec immigration remains open to a wide range of applicants. In fact, immigrating to Quebec is a popular route to achieve Canadian Permanent Residency. With the goal of reducing processing times for applications, the Government of Quebec has introduced a number of changes to Quebec immigration programs in recent months. Permanent workers, investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed workers looking to apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate should take note; spots are filling up quickly. Here is an overview of where these various programs stand today:
As of July 4th, the Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) program has received over 4,400 applications out of a maximum intake cap of 6,500. This means that the program’s application cap, which was put in place on April 1, 2014, is now approximately two-thirds full.
Prospective immigrants applying to the QSW program must intend to live and work in Quebec. Applicants must, at a minimum, possess a diploma that corresponds to a Secondary School Diploma or a Diploma of Vocational Studies in the Québec education system.
Points are also awarded to applicants for a number of factors, including:
  • Level of education;
  • Area of training;
  • Age;
  • French and/or English language skills;
  • Work experience;
  • Relationships to Quebec residents;
  • Ability to be financially self-sufficient; and
  • An offer of employment, if applicable.
Moving Forward: Expression of Interest system
The Government of Quebec has hinted that, in 2015, it will follow the lead of the Federal Government in transitioning to an ‘Expression of Interest’ immigration system.
The Expression of Interest model is designed to better target skilled immigrants and fill identifiable gaps in the labour market. It screens applicants based on aspects such as work experience, education, and language ability. The government then invites the best-suited applicants to apply for immigration through one of its programs.
If the Government of Quebec transitions to this system next year, it will signal the end of the current QSW selection system. This means that this is the last chance for applicants to apply directly to the QSW program.
“As the program stands today, applicants have until March 31st 2015 to apply, or until the cap is filled,” said Attorney David Cohen. “It is looking more and more likely that the cap will fill well before March. This means that, for many individuals interested in immigrating through this popular program, time is absolutely of the essence.”
Quebec Investor Program
 The Quebec Investor Program also has a cap, which is the same as last year. No more than 1,750 applications will be accepted for review under this program. Moreover, no more than 1,200 applicants will be accepted from any one country.
Applications to this program will only be received during a short window of time, which has yet to be determined. While the official government website maintains that the program will be accepting applications between September 8th and 19th, the Quebec 2014 budget, which was adopted in June, indicated that these dates are likely to be changed. In any case, now is the time for applicants to begin putting his or her files together.
It is important to note that there is no cap for investors who are able to communicate in French at a high-intermediate level or higher. This means they can apply between now and March 31st 2015 regardless of how many other applications are received.
To qualify for the Quebec Investor category, investors must intend to reside in Quebec. They must also have a net worth of at least C$1.6 million and have a minimum of two years experience in management during the last five years. Lastly, investors have to agree to invest at least C$800,000 through a government approved financial intermediary.
Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed Workers
Like the QSW program, the Entrepreneur and Self-Employed Worker programs are quickly filling up. Over 300 applications have been accepted for review out of a maximum of 500 for the two programs combined.
To be eligible for the Entrepreneur program, among other things, an applicant must have net assets of at least C$300,000, and have a minimum of two years’ experience in the last five years running a lawful, profitable, business.
The eligibility requirements for the Self-Employed Worker program include having a net worth of C$100,000, and having at least two years of experience as a self-employed worker in the field the individual plans to practice in Québec.
Quebec Experience Class
Another option for immigration to Quebec is the Quebec Experience Class, which has no cap. This program is open to temporary workers who have held a skilled job in Quebec for 12 out of the last 24 months as well as graduates of Quebec universities or those nearing graduation. This program also requires knowledge of French.

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