Canada encourages Immigration through the Immigrant Investor Program

Canadian Provinces and TerritoriesImage via Wikipedia

In order to promote economic growth and employment, develop new commercial opportunities, and to improve access to growing foreign markets, Canada is attracting people around the world who are familiar with markets, people with capital, business acumen as well as people who have entrepreneurial skills into the country together with their special requirements and customs.

Canada is offering foreigners with business skills and who has had obtained a big net worth and is willing to live in the territorial provinces of Canada, to help support provincial as well as the territorial economic objectives in the country.
Canada’s banking system was again voted as the “soundest” in the world as it promoted the Immigrant Investor Program which would attract wealthy immigrants to invest in the Canadian economy in return of granting them Canadian visas.
Two ways in which investors can get Canadian visas
There are 2 routes in which wealthy business people who are planning to get a quick way to move into Canada. One is through applying through the Federal Investor Program, and the other would be to apply to the Quebec Investor Program if they are going to invest in Quebec which offers a different program from other Canadian territories.
Applicants in the program must have a minimum net worth of about $1,600,000 CAD that is legally obtained and liability-free, and is willing to invest the amount of $800,000 CAD into the Canadian economy, and with meeting other requirements such as having an experience in owning and managing a business, has an experience of managing employees not to be less than 5, and must confirm into writing, the intention to invest at least $800,000 CAD by transferring funds to the Receiver General or show documents proving that such investments have already been made.
Other incentives offered by the program
Investors are also entitled to opt for the Permanent Resident Card in which permanent resident card will be issued to the investors, the spouse as well as the dependents after their entry to Canada as a resident. The card together with the holder’s passport can also be used to travel freely within and outside Canada.
And if the investor, spouse or dependent has been present in Canada for 3 years out of the 4 years before the application for citizenship, the permanent resident, could apply for Canadian citizenship. And he/she can also be allowed to apply for a dual citizenship if he/she is qualified.
Visa application period
In applying for the visa however, the investment must be made prior to receiving the immigration visa, and in situations where the application for permanent residence is declined, the investor has 90 days to be able to claim the invested sum, and to receive a full refund guaranteed by the government of Canada.
The funds invested in a period of 5 years and are returned to the investor after that period, in which the government has full discretion in managing the funds. 
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New immigrant program for P.E.I.

Locator map for Prince Edward IslandImage via WikipediaThe P.E.I. government is finally set to announce a new Provincial Nominee Program.
Innovation Minister Allan Campbell said Tuesday there have been extensive discussions with Citizenship and Immigration over the fall and winter, and a new immigrant investors' program will be rolled out in about a month.
But, he said, there will be rule changes.
"The federal government has established a cap on the number of nominations that we can have here in the province for this year," Campbell said.
"They've established that number at 400, and we're obviously aspiring to hit those targets and hopefully see them increase."
The old PNP program allowed immigrants to invest $200,000 in a P.E.I. business and receive a Canadian visa. It ran from 2001 to 2008, attracting controversy when nearly 2,000 immigrants were pushed through in its final year.
Under the new rules, immigrants will have the choice of buying a one-third ownership in a company, or investing $1 million for five years as a loan.
Campbell said the precise rules to qualify are still being worked out, but some businesses are concerned they'll be too strict.
"I wouldn't say that it'll be tougher to access, but certainly the number of nominations that we'll see here will be lower," he said.
Provincial Opposition Leader Olive Crane spoke with federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney last week during a trip to Ottawa about a new program for P.E.I.
"We all know what this government's record is in terms of administering the program, and we certainly will be looking forward to the details of who will be eligible and how they plan on managing it," she said.
One significant change is that farmers and fishermen will now be eligible under the program.
"We want to see investment in our primary sectors here in the province, and we hope, and we're confident that this program will do that," Campbell said.
The original program was plagued by controversy.
Government MLAs and senior civil servants took advantage of immigrant investment, and Citizenship and Immigration complained about the quality of companies approved for investment.
A 2009 report by the University of Prince Edward Island showed that of the 44 immigrant families that arrived in the province through the PNP in the last four months of 2006, only 11 were still on the Island 2½ years later — a retention rate of 25 per cent.
Many of the immigrants reported that they were unhappy with how they had been treated by the province.

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Hiring new Canadians is a solution

I made it myself. this location is in Mississa...Image via Wikipedia

According to a recent research, labour shortages prevalent in the food and beverage industry in the mid 2000s will once again emerge as the Canadian economy continues to recover.

Staff writer

The Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC) recently published a compendium of “best practices” used in recruiting and retaining new Canadians as one potential solution to difficulty finding employees. 

According to a recent research, labour shortages prevalent in the food and beverage industry in the mid 2000s will once again emerge as the Canadian economy continues to recover. Projected shortages in the Food and Beverage industry could reach more than 142, 000 year-around jobs by 2025, the study indicates. Lessons learned during the previous labour shortages will be a valuable tool to Canadian businesses as new shortages emerge.

A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. has already begun acting, learning from those lessons, thanks to a meeting organized by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA.) It was in the fall of 2007, during the height of the national labour shortage. At the meeting where stakeholders and the government congregated, workforce solutions were explored. Instead of targeting temporary foreign workers from overseas, restaurants were encouraged to consider the large pool of immigrants already in Canada.

Thus the opportunity emerged to work with immigrant teens already in Canada with their families and A&W restaurants in Manitoba quickly acted upon it. It started working with a local immigrant and refugee agency to address labour shortages.

While the restaurant chain has found a solution for its workforce shortage, the teen immigrants take pride in starting their Canadian careers as well as help their families make ends meet.
 The idea really took off when Newcomers Employment Education and Development Services (N.E.E.D.S.) Inc. — a local nonprofit agency that offers services to immigrant and refugee youth — created a training program in hospitality industry that would offer newcomers to Canada an opportunity to acquire essential workplace skills.

It seemed like a natural partnership that would benefit both sides: A&W commits resources and employment opportunities, while N.E.E.D.S. Inc. manages the pre-employment training and placement process. “We realize that for most of our employees, working at A&W is not a career,” admits Dean, Fuller Restaurant Franchisee responsible for four restaurants in Winnipeg. “But our young immigrant employees take full advantage of how much they learn about Canadian customer service and work culture while in our employment.“

“This employment program has had a dramatic positive effect on the families and communities that have participated,” states Robyn Andrews, N.E.E.D.S. Inc. Employment Program Coordinator. “Immigrant-serving agencies are always looking to identify employers where there is an awareness that internationally trained workers (ITWs) make a significant contribution to the labour market. Getting involved in a work training program allows your company to be more competitive in hiring and retaining ITWs.”
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A Guide to Canadian Immigration

A Canadian Customs and Immigration service signImage via WikipediaBy David Cohen
Canada Immigration Expert

This guide is aimed to help you understand the process in place for you to live and work in Canada.

There are two main paths to Canada. One way is to obtain a permanent residence visa. The other way is to come to Canada on a temporary work permit.

What does it mean to be a Canadian Permanent Resident? Once you are issued a Canada Immigration Visa for permanent residency, you have most of the same rights and obligations as Canadian citizens. As the name suggests, you may hold this status indefinitely, so long as you accumulate 2 years of residency days in each 5 year period. After 3 years of Canadian residency, you may apply for Canadian citizenship. Canada recognizes dual citizenships, so you do not have to give up your current passport.

There are a few differences in practice between permanent residency and citizenship in Canada. The first is that as a permanent resident you may not vote in elections. The second is that while citizenship is a right that may not be taken away, as a permanent resident you may be deported if you commit a serious crime.

There are 6 main categories of Canadian Immigration. The categories are Federal Skilled Worker, Quebec Skilled Worker, Provincial Nominee Program, Family Sponsorship, Business Immigrant and Canadian Experience Class. Each category caters to a slightly different group of immigrants, and comes with its own set of requirements. You can also come to Canada under the Asylum category or the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Read below to find out about which category applies to you.

Federal Skilled Worker

The requirements of the skilled worker category are intended to assess applicants, who are likely to become economically established in Canada after arrival.
To be eligible, applicants must either:

  • Have at least one year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in the past 10 years in one of the 38 qualifying occupations; or

  • Have been living in Canada with legal status as a Temporary Foreign Worker or an international student for at least one year; or

  • Qualify for Arranged Employment with a full-time permanent job offer from a Canadian employer.

In addition to that, there are three other characteristics an individual must possess in order to be eligible to immigrate under the skilled worker category. The first is a minimum level of work experience. A skilled worker must have at least one year of continuous full-time employment (or the equivalent in part-time). This work experience must be of a skilled nature, satisfying either Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B in Canada’s National Occupation Classification (NOC) system. This work experience must have come within the 10 year period prior to applying.

The second element of the skilled worker category is one of financial resources. This is a straightforward requirement – an applicant must demonstrate that they have sufficient financial resources to support themselves and their dependents for 6 months after arrival in Canada. If you have an approved job offer, this requirement is waived.

The third element of the skilled worker category is a points-based assessment. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) uses a points-based system to measure an applicant’s potential for establishing themselves in Canada. Applicants are awarded points based on six different selection factors. An individual must reach 67 points on this assessment to qualify for immigration to Canada. A satisfactory score on this evaluation does not however guarantee approval, as Canadian Immigration Visa Officers may use their discretion to approve or refuse an application based on a substituted evaluation.

The selection factors that make up the assessment are:

Education (maximum 25 points)
  • Ranges from 5 points for completing high school to 25 points for completing a master’s or Ph.D.
  • The system also gives credit for trade certificates or apprenticeship programs.
Language Skills (maximum 24 points)
  • Canada uses both English and French as official languages, and you may receive credit for proficiency in either one, or both.
  • Marks are awarded separately for abilities to listen, speak, read, and write each official language.
Experience (maximum 21 points)
  • Full points for four or more years of experience at an appropriate level.
Age (maximum 10 points)
  • Full points for being between the ages of 21-49.
Arranged Employment (maximum 10 points)
  • If you hold a permanent job offer from a Canadian employer, or are applying from within Canada and hold a temporary work permit you may receive credit for your Canadian employment.
Adaptability (maximum 10 points)
  • This category brings in a number of factors related to an applicant’s ability to adapt to living in Canada, including previous experience working or studying in Canada, or having family in Canada.

Altogether these three elements, along with other requirements such as security clearances and medical examinations, make up the bulk of the requirements to come to Canada under the Skilled Worker category. If you are applying to live or work in Montreal, or elsewhere in Quebec however, you must meet the selection criteria of the Province of Quebec, outlined below.

Quebec Skilled Worker

According to an agreement between the Province of Quebec and the Government of Canada, the Province of Quebec has its own selection process for the skilled worker category of immigration. If you intend to live in Quebec upon arrival in Canada you will be assessed based on the Quebec Selection criteria and not the evaluation used by CIC. The application process for immigration to Quebec uses a similar points-based system but with slightly different criteria.

Like the federal system, Quebec uses a points-based system to assess potential immigrants. To qualify for a Quebec Selection Certificate, single applicants must score at least 60 points from the ten selection criteria, while an applicant with a spouse or common-law partner must score a minimum of 68 points.

The selection factors for immigration to Quebec as a skilled worker are:

Training (maximum 29 points):
  • Points are awarded separately for both education and job-related training.
  • Additional points are awarded for having more than one area of specialty.
Validated Employment Offer (maximum 10 points)
  • Points are awarded for having a job offer from an employer in Quebec, with greater points awarded for a job outside of the area of Montreal.
Experience (maximum 9 points)
  • Full points are awarded for four or more years of experience at the appropriate skill level according to the NOC.
Age (maximum 18 points)
  • Full points are awarded for being between the ages of 18-35.
Language Proficiency (maximum 22 points)
  • French is the official language of the Province of Quebec. The Quebec selection criteria place value on oral language abilities rather than written comprehension. Up to 16 points are available for oral interaction in French, with an additional 6 available for oral interaction in English.
Stay and Family in Quebec (maximum 9 points)
  • Having previously spent time living, working, or studying in Quebec, as well as having family in the province will help a prospective immigrant establish themselves more easily. Points are awarded for both of these areas.
Spouse’s Characteristics (maximum 18 points)
  • If an applicant is accompanied by a spouse or common-law partner, points may be awarded for the spouse’s education, training, work experience, age and language.
Children (maximum 8 points)
  • Up to the maximum, 4 points are awarded for each child under 12 years of age, and 2 points for each child between 13 and 21.
Financial Self-Sufficiency (1 point)
  • One point is awarded for having sufficient funds for financial self-sufficiency upon arrival. However without satisfying this requirement the application is automatically refused.
Adaptability (maximum 8 points)
  • This category uses an overall assessment of the applicant’s ability to adapt to life in Quebec.
Satisfying these requirements will lead to the issue of a Quebec Selection Certificate, which is recognized by CIC for immigration to Quebec. The applicant must still pass a security clearance and medical examination.

Provincial Nomination Program

One way to speed up the process of immigration to Canada is through the Provincial Nomination Program (PNP). The PNP consists of partnerships between the Government of Canada and provincial governments to select individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada and settle in that particular province. Most provinces in Canada have agreements in place to participate in this program. Under the terms of these agreements, provinces may nominate applicants who are in occupations in high demand, or who will otherwise make important contributions to the province.

To immigrate to Canada under the PNP, an individual must first apply for a Provincial Nomination Certificate to the provincial government where they would like to reside. Each province has different requirements based on their particular needs. To learn more about each province’s requirements, click here. After receiving the Provincial Nomination Certificate, an individual then must apply for a Canadian Permanent Resident Visa. Provincial nominees receive priority processing for their permanent residency applications.

The following provinces currently participate in the Provincial Nomination Program:
  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon
Provincial nominees are not assessed on the six selection criteria of the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

Family Class Sponsorship
The Family Class Sponsorship program allows Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are at least 18 years of age to sponsor close family members, who wish to immigrate to Canada. To sponsor a relative for Family Class immigration to Canada, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident must sign a contract promising to support the family member who wishes to immigrate for a period of three to ten years after their arrival. The length of the agreement depends on the age of the family member being sponsored, and the nature of the relationship. To apply for Family Class immigration, the sponsored relative must also sign a contract promising to make every effort to be self-sufficient.

To be eligible to sponsor a relative, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident must demonstrate financial ability to provide for the essential needs of the sponsored relative, should that be necessary. As a general rule, the sponsor must also be physically residing in Canada in order to sponsor. An exception is made for Canadian citizens, who wish to sponsor a spouse, common-law partner or children if the sponsor can demonstrate an intention to reside in Canada by the time the sponsored relative lands in Canada.

Family members eligible for sponsorship are:
  • Spouses or common-law partners.
  • Parents or grandparents.
  • Dependent children (must be under 22 years of age unless substantially dependent for financial support because they are a full-time student, or because of disability).
  • Children under 18 whom you plan to adopt Orphaned brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews whom are under 18 and unmarried.
  • A relative of any age if you do not have any of the family members listed above.
The Province of Quebec, according to its agreement with the Government of Canada on immigration, has a role in determining the eligibility of sponsorship applicants for residents of Quebec. This role however takes effect only after CIC has completed its initial assessment of the sponsorship application.

Business Immigration

The Business Immigration Program is designed to seek out individuals who are in a position to contribute to Canada’s economic development through their investment and managerial skills. Individuals who apply under this category have financial resources that will strengthen the Canadian economy and help create more jobs. Individuals with business experience and relatively high net worth may apply under one of three categories of the Business Immigration Program. Each of these categories targets a different contribution to the Canadian economy, and has its own requirements.
  • Immigrant Investor Program:  This program seeks to attract experienced businesspeople willing to make substantial investments in the Canadian economy. Applicants under this program must establish a net worth of at least CAD$1600,000, and demonstrate that this wealth was legally obtained. In addition, Immigrant Investors must make an investment of CAD$800,000, which the government of Canada will return to them at the end of five years, with no interest. To qualify as an Immigrant Investor the applicant must also have managed a qualifying business, as defined by Canadian Immigration authorities. Applicants destined to province of Quebec may qualify under a similar Investor Program administered by that province.
  • Entrepreneur Program:  The Entrepreneur Program is geared towards business immigrants who plan to have a hands-on role in their contributions to the Canadian economy. The net worth requirements for the Entrepreneur Program are lower than for Immigrant Investors (CAD$300,000 rather than CAD$800,000). Applicants under this category of the Business Immigrant Program must commit to both managing and owning at least one third of a Canadian business, which will create or maintain employment, within three years of landing in Canada. Applicants destined to province of Quebec may qualify under a similar Entrepreneur Program administered by that province.
  • Self-Employed Persons Program:  The Self-Employed Persons Program is in place for individuals with relevant experience and skills in business, culture, athletics or farming who are able willing to support themselves and their dependents through self-employed income. To apply under this program an individual may need to demonstrate experience, net worth and/or artistic qualifications depending on the criteria under which they are applying. Applicants destined to province of Quebec may qualify under a Self-Employed Program administered by that province.

Canadian Experience Class
The Canadian Experience Class caters specifically to Temporary foreign workers and international students who wish to become Canadian Permanent Residents. Having obtained a Canadian education and/or Canadian work experience, these individuals have already settled into Canadian society and have established important networks in their communities and their careers.

The Canadian Experience Class requirements are based on a pass or fail model. There are separate minimum requirements for the two types of applicants:

International Graduates with Canadian Work Experience

Applicants must have:
  • Successfully completed a program of study of at least two academic years at a Canadian post-secondary educational institution;
  • Obtained at least one year of skilled, professional or technical work experience within 24 months of the application date; and
  • Moderate or basic language skills, depending on the skill level of their occupation.
Temporary Foreign Workers
Applicants must have:
  • Obtained at least two years of skilled, professional or technical work experience within 36 months of the application date; and
  • Moderate or basic language skills, depending on the skill level of their occupation.
An applicant who has met the minimum requirements and is still in Canada on either a Post-Graduate Work Permit or a Temporary Work Permit may apply from within Canada. For individuals no longer in Canada, the applications must be submitted within one year of leaving their job in Canada.

As a world leader and champion of human rights issues, Canada also recognizes a responsibility to grant asylum to refugees who face danger, persecution and violations of their human rights in their country of nationality or habitual residence. Canada’s refugee system offers protection to thousands of such individuals each year. Refugees may be government-assisted or may be privately sponsored by individuals or organizations in Canada.

There are two main components to this program:
  • Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program:  This program is aimed at refugees currently outside of Canada who seek resettlement. CIC selects refugees seeking resettlement, determining first if they may be safe to remain where they are currently located or to return to their country of nationality. Selection depends heavily on recommendations from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, but also requires security and medical screening.
  • Asylum in Canada:  This program offers protection to individuals currently in Canada who fear returning to their home country. These cases are assessed by Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board.
Temporary Foreign Worker Program

For individuals who wish to come work in Canada, they may apply for a temporary work permit through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. As a general rule these work permits require a valid job offer from a Canadian employer, though there are exceptions. In most cases it is possible to extend work permits from within Canada, but some work permits have a maximum duration.

In many cases work permits require that the employer obtain Labour Market Opinion from Human Resources and Social Development Canada which confirms that the employment will not adversely affect Canadian workers. There are a number of exemptions to this rule.

Spouses and common-law partners of individuals who hold a Canadian work permit may accompany the work permit holder to Canada. In many cases spouses are eligible to apply for an open work permit, which allows the holder to work for any employer in Canada.

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Boomtown Regina: more people and jobs

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan festival tents...Image via WikipediaTHE LEADER-POST FEBRUARY 5, 2011

The term "boom town" was used to describe Regina in its infancy, when the future city was little more than a few wooden buildings, rudimentary houses, tents and stables in the 1880s.
Well, if early settlers thought that was a boom, the term certainly applies to the impressive expansion Regina is currently enjoying.
Even in a city used to good news of late, it's been quite a week:
- On Tuesday, the first phase of the $350-million Canadian Logistics Services (CLS) Distribution Centre officially opened. It's the first development in the massive multimodal transportation hub that will bring together rail, truck and possibly air cargo facilities just west of the city.
CLS will handle a variety of merchandise for Loblaw Companies and will move "80 semi-loads of groceries each and every day", Premier Brad Wall said. It currently employs 176 people, but the workforce will grow to up to 800 later this year. The province is said to be "very close" to announcements about other companies moving to the hub.
- On Thursday, Statistics Canada reported that Regina is the third fastest-growing metro area in the country after Saskatoon and Vancouver. The population of Regina and area swelled by almost 5,000 between July 2009 and July 2010, to an estimated 215,138 people. Particularly encouraging is the fact the Regina census metropolitan area's median age of 36.9 was fourth lowest in the nation. (Saskatoon, whose population jumped by 7,240 (to 265,259) has a median age of 35.4 -the lowest in Canada). Just a few years ago, when outmigration was at its height, it was feared Regina would have an aging population with too few young people. It's also good to know international immigration is playing a big part in population growth as the world discovers what Regina has to offer.
- Friday brought another Statistics Canada report, this time showing Regina with the lowest unemployment of all Canadian cities surveyed at just 4.5 per cent. There was a year-over-year increase of 6,700 jobs. Regina (and thirdplace Saskatoon) helped the province achieve a 5.4 per cent jobless rate, second in the nation after Manitoba.
Though some progress is being made, aboriginal unemployment remains unacceptably high. However, the city's biggest issue remains the short supply of rental housing -particularly affordable accommodation. Virtually all newcomers -even those who plan to buy property -initially need rental housing, yet the vacancy rate hovers around one per cent. Longer-term renters on low incomes -many of them aboriginal -are struggling with rising rents.
We look forward to the release of the province's housing strategy in June, which promises to have an "an emphasis on affordable and accessible housing". Municipalities, home builders, real estate organizations, chambers of commerce and community-based organizations across the province are working on solutions to this issue.
Affordable housing is a crucial element to marketing Regina and maintaining population growth. The pioneers might have been prepared to rough it in tents in the 19th century, but that's hardly an option for newcomers today.
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