Immigrants and the children of immigrants could represent almost half of Canada’s population by 2036, according to the latest Statistics Canada projections.
The diversity of Canada’s population is set to grow across every part of the country, although Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver will continue to dominate as the preferred places to settle for new immigrants.
The figures cast Canada in direct contrast to the U.S., where President Donald Trump plans to limit immigration, reduce refugee numbers and build a wall along the border with Mexico.
In the year to July 2016, Canada welcomed its highest number of immigrants since current record-keeping began, boosted by the federal government drive to bringing in thousands of Syrian refugees.
While 2017 will see refugee numbers fall, the overall number of immigrants will be maintained as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada looks to make up for a shortfall of skilled workers by bringing in foreigners from abroad.
An aging population and low fertility rates make immigration crucial to Canada’s economic prosperity. Labour market growth in the coming years will be fuelled entirely by immigrants, as a trend for newcomers as an increased proportion of the population, dating back to the early 1990s, continues.
Statistics Canada says the proportion of immigrants in the population could be ‘twice as high as in 1871’.
A recent International Monetary Fund report, released in November, says immigrants have an undeniable long-term benefit for advanced economies.
Both high and low-skilled immigrants make a contribution over time that results in boosting the GDP of the country they move to, the study says.
The IMF report is supported by a vast amount of collaborated evidence.
A leading study concludes that immigrants are far more likely to own businesses than their Canadian counterparts, a key growth component.
Released in March 2016 and titled Immigration, Business Ownership and Employment in Canada, the study says that ‘rates of private business ownership and unincorporated self-employment are higher among immigrants than among the Canadian-born population’.
We know this officially for the first time because data based on immigrant business ownership has only recently become available with the introduction of the Canadian Employer-Employee Dynamics Database, which you can access here.
Statistics also show immigrant children consistently beat their peers with Canadian-born parents in terms of educational attainment.
A paper entitled ‘Educational and Labour Market Outcomes of Childhood Immigrants by Admission Class’ by Statistics Canada reveals the children of immigrants graduate high school at a rate of 91.6 per cent, against 88.8 per cent of children who are third generation or more.
When it comes to university, the gap increases, with 35.9 per cent of immigrant children graduating against 24.4 per cent from the established Canadian group.
Contribution of Immigrant Children
CANADIAN (OR MORE)
Figures: Statistics Canada
At the same time, further figures show the percentage of immigrants in the working-age population has been steadily increasing for the last decade as the Canada-born proportion drops, illustrating the need to make up for the shortfall by bringing in foreign workers.
In 2006 less than 20 per cent of the workforce – those aged 15 and over – were from the landed immigrant population, while more than 78 per cent were born in Canada.
But fast forward 10 years and the latest data released by Statistics Canada shows an immigrant percentage just less than 24, while the Canada-born proportion has dropped almost as low as 74 per cent.
If the trend continues – and there’s no indication it will not – the two percentages will converge.
The numbers are increasingly dramatic over the last 12 months, when the number of immigrants in work increased by more than 260,000, 6.6 per cent higher than a year ago,
In the same period, the number of native-born workers has decreased by 93,300, although it is showing signs of recovery in the last two months.
Analysts say the data shows Canada has reached the point where it cannot grow without immigrants, with Canadian-born workers exiting the labour force at such a rate.
A further study suggests the more immigrants of a given nationality or culture a country welcomes, the more likely the nation of origin is to invest further down the line.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, investment comes in the long term, as often the ‘push’ factors of migration mean the nation of origin is not able to invest in the short term.
A good example of this is Syria, extremely unlikely to invest any time soon, but with refugees spreading all over the world, including almost 40,000 in Canada, investment could flow in more stable times when citizens are looking for places to put their assets.
Canada is now pivoting to capitalize on the immigration card. The current liberal government is pursuing policies to increase immigration levels as an important tool to grow the Canadian economy.
Canada’s federal government has published details of the new Atlantic Immigration Pilot, being operated in partnership with provincial immigration authorities.
The pilot, which will open in March 2017, will include programs for high-skilled and intermediate-skilled workers, plus international graduates.
Up to 2,000 new immigrants will be accepted in 2017 to the four Atlantic provinces: New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
The pilot is employer-driven, meaning candidates will require a job offer from a designated business in one of the Atlantic provinces. However, that employer will not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which should significantly streamline the application process.
A key requirement of the pilot is the completion of a needs assessment and settlement plan before immigration, informing the candidate and the candidate’s family about the community they are moving to, and where they can get help once they have arrived.
Under the international graduate program, candidates must have graduated from a publicly-funded university in one of the four provinces, as well as have a job offer.
Atlantic Immigration Pilot: The Programs
- Atlantic High-Skilled Program
- Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program
- Atlantic International Graduate Program
The work experience, education, and job offer a candidate needs will depend on whether they are applying as a worker or an international student graduate. The other requirements are the same for both.
You must have worked for at least one year (1,560 hours total or 30 hours per week) within the last three years. It can be full-time, non-continuous, or part-time, as long as it adds up to 1,560 hours.
The work must be:
- In one occupation (but can be with different employers)
- Paid (volunteering or unpaid internships do not count)
- At skill type/level 0, A, B, or C of the National Occupational Classification (NOC)
- Under the Atlantic High-Skilled Program, workers need one year of experience at skill type/level 0, A, or B.
- Under the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program, workers need one year of experience to be at the skill level C.
- The experience can be gained inside or outside Canada.
Candidates do not need work experience.
Candidates must have:
- A Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree,
- A foreign degree, diploma, certificate, or trade or apprenticeship education credential. Candidates need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) to make sure it is valid and equal to a Canadian credential. The ECA must show your education is equal to a completed Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree. Your ECA must be less than five years old when you apply.
Candidates must have:
- A minimum two-year degree, diploma, certificate, or trade or apprenticeship credential from a recognized publicly-funded institution in an Atlantic province.
- Been a full-time student in Canada for at least two years.
- Graduated in the 12 months prior to the application date.
- Lived in one of the Atlantic provinces for at least 16 months in the last two years before graduation.
- Had a visa or permit to work, study or train in Canada.
A candidate does not qualify if their study or training included:
- English or French second language courses for more than half of the program.
- Distance learning undertaken for more than half of the program.
A candidate cannot apply if their scholarship or fellowship required them to return to their home country after graduation.
Note: Starting in early March 2017, Atlantic Immigration Pilot candidates will be able to apply for a temporary work permit if the job needs to be filled urgently. If an employer wants a candidate to apply for a temporary work permit first, the candidate will need to commit to applying for permanent residence within 90 days of the temporary application being submitted.
Under the high-skilled, intermediate-skilled and international graduate programs, candidates must have a job offer that is:
- From a designated employer in an Atlantic province.
- Reviewed by the province (details on a new endorsement process will be available in early March 2017)
Job offers for high-skilled workers must:
- Be skill type/level 0, A, or B
- Last at least one year
Job offers for intermediate-skilled workers must:
- Be skill type/level 0, A, B, or C
- Be indeterminate (permanent)
Job offers for international graduates must:
- Be skill type/level 0, A, B, or C
- Last at least one year
A candidate’s job offer does not need to be in the same occupation as past work experience. However, a candidate does need to meet employment requirements for the job, as listed in the NOC.
The employer does not need an LMIA. Each province will communicate a list of employers hiring under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot.
Requirements applicable to all three programs
- Score at least a level 4 in the Canadian Language Benchmark exam in English or the Niveaux de Compétence Linguistique Canadiens in French.
- Take an approved language test and meet the level for speaking, listening, reading and writing.
Results must be less than two years old on the date of application.
Proof of Funds
Requirements applicable to all three program
Candidates need to show they have enough money to support themselves and their families after immigration. Amounts depend on the size of the family and includes family members a candidate supports that are not immigrating.
Proof is not required if a candidate is already living and working in Canada with a valid work permit.
A candidate must have a needs assessment before immigrating. After the assessment, a candidate will get a plan with information about the community they are moving to and where they can get help after arrival. To find out about the needs assessment, click here.
Immigration authorities will publish information about the endorsement process in March 2017.
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program was announced in July 2016 and is designed to combat the aging demographic and difficulty holding on to new immigrants in the Canadian region.
It is part of a new Atlantic Growth Strategy, aimed at boosting the economy in eastern Canada in five priority areas:
- Skilled workforce and immigration
- Clean growth and climate change
- Trade and investment
President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees is a shameful act by the United States government on many fronts.
Issued on January 27, 2017 and without forewarning, it mandates an immediate four-month suspension to America’s refugee program, banning all refugees to the US, allowing the government time to re-assess how refugees are vetted. In particular, it prevents entry of Syrian nationals as refugees, until such time as President Trump determines sufficient changes have been made to the United States Refugee Admissions Program.
The order, entitled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” coincides with the anniversary of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, established by the UN as the date for member nations to honor the memory of Holocaust victims. Resolution 60/7 commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jews, as well as another 500,000 individuals, by the Nazi regime. President Trump’s order hearkens back to the turning away of the SS St. Louis, a ship of Jewish refugees refused entry into the U.S. in 1939, many of whom later perished in the Holocaust.
It effectively prevents the entry of scores of refugees, including those who arrived at U.S. airports, were in transit to the U.S., or were preparing to board flights to the country, including Syrian refugees, and Iraqis who provided aid to U.S. forces, and have already been vetted and approved under the previous administration. These are immigrant refugees, recognized by the United States, who are fleeing war-torn countries and hold valid visas for which they have undergone years of extensive screening and processing, including multiple layers of international background checks. These individuals could be forced to return to displacement camps while the government re-assesses its undefined policies.
The order also blocks entry into the United States for 90 days of citizens from seven predominantly-Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. None of these countries have had a citizen involved in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, raising questions about the order’s effectiveness. Initially, even those with US Green Cards were included in the order, however the U.S. administration backed away from this in the face of mounting pressure. The executive order also cuts in half to 50,000 the number of refugees to be admitted to the U.S. in 2017.
The ban will not affect Canadian citizens with dual nationality in one of the listed countries. It will take days before it is known with certainty whether Canadian permanent residents travelling on a passport of a country listed in the executive order, are affected.
The Canadian government, along with provincial and municipal government leaders, as well as civil libertarians worldwide, have voiced outrage at this controversial act. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcometoCanada”. Trudeau came to power in 2015 on the basis of an election promise which resulted in the re-settlement of some 40,000 Syrian refugees.
The executive order follows President Trump’s general election campaign promise and was put into effect without instruction and orderly coordination between the affected agencies, forcing U.S. border officials to struggle with its application. A cloud of uncertainty surrounding how the administration is to carry out the order will affect thousands of dual citizen nationals.
In 2011, the US State Department stopped processing Iraq refugee requests for six months after the Federal Bureau of Investigation uncovered evidence that several dozen terrorists from Iraq had infiltrated the U.S. via the refugee program. Currently, in the absence of a credible threat that vetted refugees, and particularly those from Syria, pose an immediate risk, banning U.S. government-approved refugees is troubling. Successful court challenges have already been initiated. A federal judge in Brooklyn issued a nationwide stay, blocking part of the president’s actions and preventing the government from deporting some arrivals who found themselves ensnared by the presidential order. Justice Ann Donnelly wrote that sending the travellers home could cause them “irreparable harm”. She said the government was “enjoined and restrained from, in any manner and by any means, removing individuals” who had arrived in the U.S. with valid visas or refugee status.
One of Canada’s darkest days came when it pursued a policy of ‘none is too many’ in response to millions of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. But it must not stand idly by and close its eyes in the face of what appears to be illegal action taken by the Trump administration, barring entry to the U.S. of a number of persecuted individuals.
Prime Minister Trudeau should now give effect to the government’s position by immediately issuing temporary resident permits to these displaced refugees, including Syrians, estimated to affect between 300 and 500 individuals. It should also consider suspending its participation in The Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, which mandates the governments of both countries to share responsibility for providing protection to refugees who arrive at their borders. If the U.S. is denying access to approved and vetted refugees, it is arguably violating the 2004 agreement. Canada is unlikely to take this stand as it tries to minimize the effect of further measures the Trump administration plans to invoke, including the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The U.S. is Canada’s largest trading partner.
The latest policies paint the U.S. as anti-Islamic. The only people celebrating these perverse policies are the extremists, the very individuals Trump is trying to keep out. Allies of the U.S. in Europe have voiced unanimous objection to these policies. Canada is now in position to lead a concerted rejection by giving immediate entry to all displaced individuals, not just the minimal number stranded at the Canada-U.S. border. Sadly, this is an unlikely outcome.
Donald Trump’s plan to dramatically reduce the number of refugees welcomed by the U.S. puts an onus on Canada to keep its doors open, campaigners say.
With an estimated 65 million people displaced by the current global refugee crisis, Trump’s crackdown was described as ‘devastating news’ by one refugee campaigner.
The U.S. closing its doors would dramatically limit the options for refugees around the world.
Canada’s drive to welcome Syrian refugees in 2016 saw nearly 40,000 enter the country.
The federal government achieved its target of sponsoring 25,000 Syrian refugees in December, bringing the total number of Syrian refugees welcomed into the country since November 2015 to 39,271.
The government target is not to be confused with the initial surge to bring in 25,000 refugees by February 2016, as these were a combination of government, blended and privately sponsored candidates.
Syrian Refugees Entering Canada Since November 2015
|Blended Visa Office-Referred||3,923|
Source: Government of Canada
The federal government had its own target of sponsoring 25,000 by the end of 2016, and it achieved this in combination with the blended category, who are part-government and part-privately sponsored.
As the year ended, the rate of arrival rose to more then 130 per day, having dropped to as low as 11 in the summer following the initial surge to February.
The government recently announced it will limit the number of private sponsorship refugee applications it receives for Syrians and Iraqis to 1,000 in 2017, as it looks to clear the backlog already in the system.
This figure applies to applications only – an allocation of 25,000 resettled refugees is included in the 2017 immigration plan.
Trump’s policy specifically towards Mexico could see an increased number of asylum claims in Canada by Mexicans.
Canada recently dropped a visa requirement for Mexican travellers, but in doing so warned it would be reinstated if asylum claims surged.
There has been a notable increase in claims from Mexicans since the visa requirement was lifted.
Figures show 70 Mexicans claimed refugee status here in December, with the requirement lifted as of December 1, 2016.
The Canada Border Services Agency says it received a total of 248 claims from Mexicans in 2016, compared to 111 in 2015.
The increase will be closely watched, although numbers remain significantly fewer than 2009, when the previous Conservative government imposed the visa restriction because more than 9,500 asylum claims were made by Mexicans.
Government analysis says lifting the visa requirement will cost $433.5 million over the next decade, partly offset by an expected $171.6 million boost to the economy through increased tourism, investment and trade.
Canada has also promised to lift a visa requirement for Romanians and Bulgarians during 2017, as part of negotiations that saw the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) signed in late 2016.
Canadians crossing into the U.S. can be asked to unlock and handover their mobile phones for inspection by border security agents.
A spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale confirmed the power in the wake of several people being denied entry to the U.S. for Donald Trump’s inauguration and subsequent protests.
A phone simply counts among the goods a traveller is taking across the border, making it open to inspection.
Refusing to unlock a phone is regarded in the same way as refusing to unlock a suitcase when asked by a border security agent.
Quick Facts: The Canada-US Border
- Longest international border in world at 8,891km, 2,475km of which is with Alaska.
- 3 million Canadians travelled to the USA in February 2016, with 2 million moving in the other direction.
- 400,000 people and $2.4 billion in trade cross the border each day.
- Canada and US are second and fourth largest countries in the world by area.
- Canadian provinces and territories on border: Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick.
- US states on border: Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine.
A spokesman said the U.S. has the right, just like Canada, to set and manage those rules as it sees fit.
Several groups were stopped from crossing the border before, during and after Trump’s inauguration, and often held for lengthy periods before access was denied.
In December 2016, a bill that would expand U.S. border pre-clearance in Canada was adopted by the American Congress.
The move is aimed at enhancing trade and security on both sides of the border between the two countries.
It will see pre-clearance centres added for train travel, with the potential for bus and car journeys to be pre-authorized in future.
The hope is to ease border bottlenecks that slow down the movement of goods and people.
The bill has been several years in the making, taking so much time that many though it would never become law.
The legislation originated with Stephen Harper’s previous Conservative government.
Pilot projects are expected at Montreal’s central train station and on the Rocky Mountaineer line in Western Canada.
U.S. customs offices will be established at both locations, where the necessary checks will take place to allow trains to pass straight across the border.
If the pilots are a success, the project will be expanded to include further travel, plus bus and then car journeys.
Pre-clearance is nothing new in Canada, with centres already established at most major airports. Toronto’s Billy Bishop and Quebec City’s Jean Lesage will be added as part of the new agreement.
Specifics of the legislation allow American agents to carry weapons, question and detain travellers. The bill does not grant customs agents the power to arrest.
It was the 3rd draw in 2017 under the Express Entry System where the lowest CRS score was well below 500. It was the third draw in January and the 5th since immigration authorities substantially modified the express entry comprehensive ranking system in November 2016.
*November 30 draw with CRS 786 not included as it featured candidates for provincial programs only
Express Entry is an immigration system implemented by Canadian immigration authorities (“CIC”) on January 1, 2015 which manages skilled worker applications under Federal Economic programs. This includes the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Skilled Trades Program the Canada Experience Class and certain parts of the Provincial Nominee Program.
Read our 2015 Express Entry Year-End report, here.
Watch for our 2016 Express Entry Year-End report shortly.
What this means for employers
Employers are encouraged to consider securing an LMIA or nomination under provincial nomination programs (PNP’s) to ensure long term retention of employees.
We provide Canadian employers with unparalleled immigration legal services and recruitment of foreign nationals through our in-house enterprise Global Recruiters of Montreal (www.grnmontreal.com). We bring approved candidates to Canada in the shortest time possible. Employers in a wide range of industries can directly benefit from our unique position as one of Canada’s leading online immigration firms in the industry to meet both their recruitment and immigration requirements.
Interested employers wishing to seek our assistance are invited to contact us here for further information.
What this means for candidates
It is expected that the majority of applicants to be issued (ITA’s) under Canada’s Express Entry Immigration system in 2017 will require a CRS score well under 500 points, enabling a significant number of applicants to receive permanent admission to Canada without a job offer or nomination under a provincial immigration program. However, securing an approved offer of employment is highly recommended.
Find out whether you qualify to Canada by completing our free on-line evaluation. We will provide you with your evaluation results within 1-2 business days.
- Immigration.ca News Articles – A daily news source outlining the latest developments in immigration, employment and the economy with commentaries by Attorney Colin Singer.
- At Global Recruiters of Montreal we are dedicated to developing long-term strategic alliances with client companies and candidates alike. We strictly adhere to our guiding principles of honesty, integrity and confidentiality.
Colin R. Singer is immigration counsel for www.immigration.ca and Managing Partner of Global Recruiters of Montreal. He is one of Canada’s foremost senior corporate immigration attorneys. Colin is internationally recognized as an experienced and recommended authority on Canadian immigration and foreign recruitment. In addition to being licensed human resources professional, he is a licensed Canadian lawyer in good standing with the Quebec Law Society for more than 25 years and is authorized by the Canadian government in all immigration matters.
Interested employers: Kindly contact us here to receive further information.
Interested candidates: Find out whether you qualify to Canada by completing our free on-line evaluation. We will provide you with our evaluation within 1-2 business days.
The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) has launched a new online application process for its French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream.
The change is aimed at making it easier to apply for candidates and to reduce processing times.
Candidates who received a Notification of Interest before January 23, 2017 can still submit a paper application if they prefer, but all those receiving an NOI after this date must use the new online system.
The French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream is the only non-business immigration option currently open to applications under the OINP.
The province says the OINP allocation, set by the federal government, was reached for 2016, and now it is working on fulfilling its allotted number of immigrants for 2017.
Four of the OINP streams remain temporarily closed to applications.
- Human Capital Priorities (Express Entry)
- Employer Pre-Screen
- International Student (Masters Graduate)
- International Student (PhD Graduate)
The Ontario immigration streams that remain open to applications include:
- French-Speaking Skilled Worker (Express Entry)
- Investor Immigration (Corporate)
- Investor Immigration (Entrepreneur)
Ontario is also working on moving more of its immigration application system online, to reduce processing times and make it simpler for candidates.
In August it launched a new online application process for the Entrepreneur stream.
The allocation for provincial programs received a small boost under the federal government’s immigration numbers plan, released in October 2016.
In 2016, an allocation of 47,800 immigrants was set for the provincial programs (excluding Quebec). In 2017, that target has increased to 51,000.
Ontario recently announced a $3.35 million investment in its provincial Bridge Training Program, designed to assist newcomers in navigating the employment market.
The Ontario Bridge Training Program (OBTP) brings together immigrants and employers and highlights transferable skills and qualifications.
The province also provides free language training for all immigrants, a scheme in which it recently announced a $60 million investment.
Donald Trump is following through on his pledge to make renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) the first item on his agenda after being sworn in as president.
The new U.S. leader is already planning to open talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
He pledged during the U.S. election campaign to tear up the deal if he came to power, but it looks more likely that he will try to renegotiate the terms to better favour the U.S.
What this means for Canada is unclear, although experts say Trump’s overriding focus will be on the U.S.-Mexico part of the deal.
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and key adviser, is understood to be heading to Calgary for talks with representatives of Canada’s federal government.
“We will be starting negotiations having to do with NAFTA,” Trump said. “We are going to start renegotiating on NAFTA, on immigration and on security at the border.”
As with many of Trump’s policies, he is yet to provide detail on exactly how they will be enacted.
But buzz statements liking tearing up the agreement whipped up the enthusiasm of the supporters who swept him to power ahead of Hillary Clinton.
Now, as negotiations begin, it will start to become clear exactly what he wants to do with the trilateral agreement.
Elimination of a key U.S. visa category created under NAFTA could push more technology talent to Canada, experts say.
The Treaty NAFTA visa, created to allow high skilled individuals from Canada and Mexico to enter the U.S. provided they had employment offers, could be revoked Trump’s renegotiation plan.
It means Canadians and Mexicans who have built successful careers in the U.S. could be about to be told they have to go home.
Thousands of Canadians have taken the opportunity to cross the border and work in the U.S. under NAFTA, and Trump’s threat to end the treaty has them feeling extremely insecure.
Trump was quoted as saying the U.S. loses out significantly to Canada under the terms of the deal, saying the trade deficit was ‘tremendous’ during a campaign speech.
Whatever happens in the future, for those Canadians working in the U.S. with a TN visa, the current period is one of huge uncertainty.
With a wave of Trump-related uncertainty spread across the U.S., industry experts see at the very least an initial short term benefit to Canada’s competitiveness in attracting technology talent.
If Trump follows through on some of the anti-immigration rhetoric that was central to his victorious campaign, Canada’s competitive advantage could grow into something more long term.
Conservative estimates suggest Canada will have 182,000 vacancies in the technology sector by 2019. The growing sector is driving the economy, with 71,000 companies employing 5.6 per cent of the workforce and responsible for 7 per cent of the country’s output.
More people are employed in technology than a combination of oil and gas, mining and forestry – a indication the Canadian economy is undergoing a significant transition, meaning it needs workers with the right expertise.
Several Canadian technology companies have reported significant interest from Silicon Valley workers looking to make the move north since Trump’s election victory.
The federal government is preparing to back the industry, recently outlining a new fast-track visa specifically for technology talent, something the business community has been yearning for since the Liberals came to power in 2015.
Canadian technology giants Shopify and Hootsuite were among those lining up to praise the government’s initiative, which comes after hearing months of feedback saying the current system was inadequate.
The new plan is to allow companies that qualify to get visas and work permits approved inside two weeks as standard – under the current system the minimum processing time is six months.
Planned changes will also see the creation of a 30-day work permit that can be spread across a year, meaning companies can bring in workers for short stints without the need to apply for new paperwork each time.
The firms say they too often lose important hires to competitors in other countries because of the drawn-out process for obtaining a visa. Some have moved to employ talent from overseas to circumnavigate the visa issue.
The issue centres around the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), a tool designed to assess if a Canadian is available to fill the required position.
Under the new rules, companies will be able to qualify for the fast-track visa by proving they need highly-qualified foreign talent for investments, to create jobs or to transfer knowledge to Canadians. Multinationals making big investments will also be able to access the new system.
The federal government also recently tweaked its immigration policy in favour of the most qualified talent, as well as international students.
It means these groups will find it easier to qualify via the Express Entry System, the immigration tool used to select the most qualified out of those interested in moving here.
The changes – which see relatively more points awarded to candidates in certain selected professions over those qualified in other areas – came into effect on Saturday, November 19 2016.
With uncertainty surrounding the future of the US EB-5 under Donald Trump, Quebec is about to open applications for its popular investment immigration program.
The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) offers a stable and well-administered alternative to the EB-5, which has been beset with problems relating to fraud, manipulation of so-called Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) and an ever-growing backlog of applications.
Quebec is expected to maintain the QIIP investment threshold at CAD$800,000, putting it among the cheapest permanent residence programs on the market. This comes as the US looks likely to increase the lower EB-5 threshold to US$800,000 under recent proposals tabled in Congress.
- Legally acquired personal net worth of $1.6 million.
- Two years of suitable management or business experience within the five years preceding the application.
- Make investment of $800,000 for a period of five years bearing no interest. Money invested is returned at the end of the period.
- Intend to settle in the province of Quebec.
The QIIP program has not undergone an increase in investment requirements in more than a decade. Stakeholders expect the current program to remain unchanged for at least another cycle.
The EB-5 has likewise not seen an increase in requirements since inception in 1990. Since then the program has undergone several temporary extensions as U.S. lawmakers try to reach a consensus on what they want to do with the popular-but-controversial program.
Many expect President Trump to support the program, given the billions of dollars of investment it has attracted to projects across America. But there has been no indication yet on what Trump will do, meaning uncertainty is the buzz word among potential candidates.
The draw of moving to Canada, the relatively low investment requirement and the stability of that investment make the QIIP one of the world’s most appealing programs for high net worth individuals.
Get Expert Representation
Only Quebec-based immigration lawyers can represent candidates for the QIIP. For a free assessment to determine whether you qualify, click here.
In July 2016, Demetrios Papademetriou of the Migration Policy Institute described the QIIP as ‘among the most generous’ of the world’s investment programs, particularly among top tier nations.
He is not surprised that investors opt for Canada despite similar schemes in the U.S., the U.K., France and Australia.
The EB-5 is currently cheaper, but the $500,000 investment requirement has to be made without financing in often-risky, start-up projects which can fail and candidates can lose their investment and with it their residency option.
Tier 1 Program Comparatives
(CAD in brackets)
|Quebec||$800,000||· Applicant must have $1.6m net worth.
· Immediate permanent residence.
· Investment returned without interest after 5 years.
· Popular financing requires a cash outlay of $220,000.
|USA||US$500,000 ($652,790)||· Investment in a risky endeavour creating at least 10 jobs.
· Immediate temporary residence,
· apply for permanent residence after 2 years.
|UK||£2m ($3.5m)||· Investment in government bond or stocks.
· 3 year residence can be extended to 5 years.
· Possible permanent residence. Investment cannot be in real estate.
|Australia||AUD$1.5m ($1.5m)||· Applicant must have $2.25m net worth.
· Applicant must be under 45 years of age.
· Must speak English and have business experience.
|New Zealand||$1.5m ($1.4m)||· Investment in 5-year government bond.
· Applicant must be under 65 years old.
· Applicant must prove they will settle in country.
|France||€10m ($14.4m)||· Investment in business.
· Investor can stay for up to 10 years.
|Germany||€1m ($1.44m)||· Investment must create 10 jobs.
· Applicants must have health insurance.
· After 5 years, permanent residency possible
· provided applicant can speak German.
QIIP is controversial within Canada because many of the investors choose to live in Vancouver or Toronto, despite stating their intention to settle in Quebec as part of the application process.
The QIIP is also controversial in the rest of Canada because many of the immigrants who come in through the program end up settling in Vancouver and Toronto, despite declaring their intent to reside in Quebec as part of the application process.
Experts suggest this is one of the reasons for the inflated housing markets in both major cities, particularly the West Coast giant.
Critics say Quebec should not be benefitting financially from the program if the immigrants given permanent residency do not settle in the province.
Quebec says it has attempted to slow the movement of immigrants out of the province, first by introducing the declaration to reside rule, and also by focusing on French-speaking applicants.
Refugee rights campaigners are hoping progress made under former Immigration Minister John McCallum will continue under Ahmed Hussen, the new man in charge at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Campaigners have been lobbying for the repeal of changes made under the previous Conservative government, which established different categories of refugees arriving in Canada.
Then Immigration Minister Jason Kenney made the changes in 2012, as part of Bill C-31, named the ‘Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act’.
Under the act, a category of refugees called ‘irregular arrivals’ was created, which basically means they did not arrive on a flight or at a border crossing, but by crossing the border any way they could, often with the help of people smugglers.
Irregular arrivals are treated differently as a result of Bill C-31, including being held in jails even if they are children. An average of 242 children per year were detained over the past four years, according to figures obtained by campaigners.
While Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has committed to doing all he can to end the practice, activists want to see change immediately and not months and years down the line.
The main reason for incarceration is flight risk, as immigrants wait for hearings or for their identities to be verified.
Immigration centres in Toronto, Ontario and Laval, Quebec have been criticised as ill-equipped for housing children. One expert described them as being like ‘medium-security prisons’.
The government has also come under fire for its controversial use of provincial jails to house some immigration detainees.
They are aiming to dramatically reduce this practice, with purpose-built detention centres in British Columbia and Quebec among the plans.
Goodale announced a new National Immigration Detention Framework, under which he and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have been conducting consultations across Canada.
Major human rights concerns were raised over the categorisation of immigrants at the time Bill C-31 was up for debate, and the campaign has continued ever since.
The Conservative government reforms did not stop there. Bill C-31 also established new rules regarding refugees who came from ‘safe’ countries.
The changes meant that any asylum seeker coming from a country deemed safe by Canada’s immigration department would find it more difficult to get refugee status.
McCallum was able to achieve a great deal during his time in charge of the IRCC, including facilitating the arrival of nearly 40,000 Syrian refugees.
But, although campaigners felt the change was coming, he was unable to repeal Bill C-31 and ensure all refugees were treated the same.
Now those same campaigners are hoping they do not have to back to square one to convince Hussen that change is needed.