This fall thousands of immigrant children entered school in Canada for the first time. Despite all of the challenges they face, including linguistic barriers and learning a whole new culture, most immigrant children outperform their Canadian-born peers.
Such a fact may not be a surprise to immigrant parents – many of whom chose Canada because of its top-ranked education system. Some experts say that for numerous families, enrolling children in school is one of the first tasks performed upon arrival.
The numbers of immigrant children in Canadian schools are steadily building. The overall average rate of foreign-born students in Canada is 10 percent. In larger metropolitan centres such as Toronto, Calgary, or Vancouver, that number can reach up to 25 percent.
This has led many school systems across the country to implement new services to help families and students adjust. They show families how to register, assess student skill levels and explain some of the quirks of Canadian schooling – including the concept of snow days and the prohibition of nuts in school lunches.
“Education is the most important thing for most of these parents, it’s why they come here,” says Sharaline Joseph, a settlement worker at the Peel District School Board. Joseph notes that many of her clientele include families with high levels of education, who place extreme value upon learning.
Source: Globe and Mail
Thousands of would-be citizens are stranded without any claim to Canadian citizenship due to a legal loophole that has existed for decades.
In 2009 the Canadian government passed Bill C-37 in an attempt to help rectify the situation, which was due to the fact that before 1947 citizens of Canada technically did not exist – they were British subjects.
Around that time, massive amounts of migration in light of the war led to various ambiguous legislation regarding children born overseas to “Canadian” citizens or children born in Canada to foreign nationals.
Now, many of them are fully-grown adults, yet they hold no legal status – neither in Canada nor in any other nation. As of just three years ago, there were an estimated one million such cases in the country.
However, Bill C-37 helped solve the issue for about 95 per cent of the “Lost Canadians” who were stuck in limbo. Yet confusing legislation has left still thousands stateless. Some have applied for a special citizenship grant, but success is not guaranteed.
“Such grants are made on a case-by-case basis by the Governor in Council,” said a CIC spokesperson. “CIC receives on average approximately 10 requests for a discretionary grant of citizenship per month and the vast majority of these cases are approved. The overall approval rate for discretionary grants of citizenship (which includes cases of ‘lost Canadians’) is approximately 92%.”
Such figures are of little comfort to people like Jackie Scott, who was born out of wedlock to a Canadian soldier in England. She has lived in Canada since 1948, and her parents married not long after their arrival. She recently learned that she does not have Canadian citizenship, and her application for a citizenship grant has been denied two times thus far.
She is now working with others in a group called the Lost Canadians to fight for such citizenship rights.
Source: National Post
A disconcerting new report on Canada’s temporary foreign worker program finds that exploitation and abuse are “endemic.”
The report, compiled and released this month by the Metcalf Foundation, states that the problems are systemic, not anecdotal, and that massive policy changes would be needed in order to correct the situation.
The findings are spurring discussion, not because of the claims that worker abuse is occurring – that fact has been widely reported in recent years – but because the report was the first to look at the possible underlying systemic causes of the abuse, including faulty laws. The author of the report is Fay Faraday, a law professor at the Osgoode Hall Law School who specializes in issues of human rights and labour.
Over 300,000 migrant workers entered Canada in 2011, making it one of the fastest-growing streams of entry into the country. Nearly one-third of those migrant workers are employed in low-skilled positions, making them more vulnerable to exploitation with little hope of attaining citizenship.
The report recommends the Manitoba model, where temporary workers are granted freedom of changing employers as well as joining and organizing unions. The report further recommends that all migrant workers be granted permanent residency status in order to fight exploitation.
Source: Toronto Star
A new study has found that the practice of sending children to live with relatives overseas is quite common among newcomers to Canada, particularly those from China and South Asia, as well as Africa and the Caribbean.
The practice, which is also known as having “satellite babies,” is common across different ethnic communities in Canada, but the details surrounding when and how long the child is away do tend to follow cultural patterns.
Chinese immigrants, for example, are more likely to send their children to live with relatives back home when the child is quite young – between six months to two years old. This is due to the financial stresses of having a baby.
Others, like some families from Africa and the Caribbean, are forced to leave their children behind in pursuit of a better life – only to send for them once they have established themselves in their new homeland.
Though actual numbers are difficult to obtain – the situation is believed to be vastly under-reported – experts and advocates in the immigrant community say that such hardships are more common than most would think, and can be quite detrimental to both the parent and the child.
“These parents often expressed guilt and remorse for the decisions they made. They also reported issues with their child after they reunited,” says Yvonne Bohr, a child psychologist with York University and lead author on this study based out of Toronto.
Though some limited support groups do exist for immigrants facing this type of stressful situation, Bohr argues that more needs to be done by mental health professionals in order to recognize the problem and remove the social stigma attached to the practice.
Source: Toronto Star
The Canadian government has confirmed that new language regulations for immigrants will go into effect starting this November.
Though the changes were announced last year, they will finally be coming into effect on all new applications starting from the first of November. Applicants will now have to submit proof of their proficiency in one of Canada’s two official languages.
Formerly the regulations were more subjective, with language proficiency being determined at the interview stage or even during the citizenship test. The new rules will require that all applicants submit proof of language proficiency in one of three forms, either certified completion of a government training program, independent test results, or documents showing that they completed secondary or post-secondary education in either English or French.
A government report recently found that the new regulations will cost immigrants an additional $70 million per year in testing, as well as an additional $40 million for governments to provide training programs.
However, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney stands by the new policy, stating that the studies also show that proven language proficiency does significantly raise an immigrant’s chance of success upon arrival in Canada.
Source: National Post
The Conservative Government has announced plans to implement a new entrepreneur visa that would attract young and ambitious minds in such sectors as technology.
Under the proposed program, Canadian investors would be able to choose an entrepreneur in whom to invest, and they would be able to obtain a visa within a matter of weeks. Experts believe that the government could be targeting frustrated entrepreneurs who are having a hard time securing visas in the United States.
“This program will link brilliant, job-creating, immigrant entrepreneurs with Canadian investors,” said a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. “We want the world’s best and brightest to come to Canada – to start businesses and to create jobs in Canada.”
The previous entrepreneur program has been on moratorium for several months, after issuing approximately 700 visas in the year prior. Entrepreneurs were required to invest in a new business, hire one employee, and then leave the business after a period of one year.
The new program is expected to result in approximately 2,500 entrepreneur visas each year.
Many other federal immigration programs are also currently undergoing transformations, including the investor class which formerly required applicants to lend anywhere between $400,000 and $800,000 to provincial governments.
Source: Financial Post
The Department of Citizenship and Immigration has announced that over 3,000 people will be losing their citizenship status as a result of a massive crackdown on fraud.
The crackdown has uncovered more instances of fraud than first estimated by officials. Currently, over 11,000 people are under investigation for possible immigration fraud – most of which center on false claims regarding the amount of time spent living in Canada. Officials have even coined a specific term for this phenomenon – residence fraud.
Once an applicant is granted immigrant status in Canada they must fulfill certain residency requirements, such as having to spend two out of the next five years living in the country.
However, it has become increasingly common for certain applicants to arrive in Canada, get their visas stamped, and then head straight back home with no intention of moving. They are then able to sponsor relatives for immigration and soon obtain permanent residency themselves.
Government reports indicate that a large number of such cases originate from the Middle East, where circumstances can change easily and quickly. Some see Canadian citizenship as a sort of “back-up plan” to be used only in cases of emergency.
Sometimes the entire family moves to Canada but the main applicant stays behind to continue working and earning money for their dependents. This way a paper trail can be created to claim that they have fulfilled residency requirements.
“We will not stand by and allow people to lie and cheat their way into becoming citizens,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney upon announcing the massive citizenship initiative.
Source: National Post
The latest statistics show that Canada has the fastest-growing population of all G8 nations, a trend being attributed to continued high levels of immigration despite the recent global recession.
The data, compiled and released this month by Statistics Canada, shows that Saskatchewan’s population growth is a driving force, as the province continued to welcome record high numbers of newcomers last year.
Canada’s total population remains just under 35 million people, but its growth rate of 1.1. per cent over last year makes it the fastest-growing country in the G8 group of nations. In comparison, the United States’ population grew by 0.7 per cent in the same time frame.
Two-thirds of the growth in Canada can be attributed to net international migration. Besides Saskatchewan, the Western province of Alberta is also pushing up the numbers, with a growth rate of 2.5 per cent.
However, despite the good news about growth, there remains concern over the fact that overall the Canadian population is getting older. The number of elderly population is growing while the number of children is shrinking. The average age in the country is now 40, which could indicate that not enough young people are entering the population pool, as well as the labour market.
Policymakers have been expressing concern over this trend for several years, and many new immigration programs are in the works to address the possible disparity.
Source: Globe and Mail