The Canadian government is ramping up its recruitment efforts in Ireland in hopes of attracting more young workers to Canada.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney visited the country’s capital last month and even made an appearance on a popular local late-night television program to promote Canadian immigration programs.
“We are trying to raise the profile of Canada because we have seen huge numbers of highly educated young Irish going to Australia,” said Kenney in advance of his recent visit. “So this is a test drive on our effort to have a more proactive recruitment-based immigration system.”
At the same time a job fair was held in Dublin to recruit young Irish workers who might be seeking more opportunities abroad. Over 8,000 people turned out.
For centuries Irish immigrants have contributed to Canada’s economic growth. Now it is increasingly facing competition attracting Irish workers from countries like Australia and New Zealand.
In an attempt to keep up, the Canadian government is introducing some new regulations to ease the process for potential Irish immigrants, including increasing the length of work visas and raising the quota for Irish applicants of the International Experience Canada program.
The strong Irish community in Canada makes it a desirable location for many young people looking for work. Those who have in-demand skills will be at an advantage, as they already speak the language and would more easily qualify for permanent residency.
Source: Toronto Star
A new study finds that major changes to immigration policies in recent years could be hurting not only Canada’s international reputation, but also our own long-term economic prospects.
The study, conducted and released this month by Toronto-based think tank Maytree, looked at how recent changes to policy have placed more emphasis on immediate labour market needs rather than longer-term nation-building strategies.
Economists across the country are growing concerned about the amount of temporary workers entering the country on short-term contracts, according to the authors of the report. Not only does it make for a less flexible work force, but it also tends to produce a surplus of illegal undocumented immigrants who stay in the country after their work contract expires.
In fact, the authors recommend that the government look less at temporary foreign workers and more toward those who have already entered the country, such as unemployed skilled workers or refugees, to fill vacant positions.
“Some refugees might be very interested in doing some of the lower-skilled jobs as their entry into the labour market, and if provided with the necessary supports, would be quite capable of doing that,” says report co-author Naomi Alboim, adding that there is a disconnect between each immigration stream and thus, an incoherent overall policy.
However, what may even be more of a concern in the eyes of Alboim is the potential reputational harm that such quick and extensive policy changes could bring to Canada in the long term.
“In terms of stability and security, when immigration changes happen so quickly, if you apply and you play the game according to the rules and you’re in a queue for a number of years, and your application is sent back to you, saying “sorry, we’ve changed the rules,” that causes concern,” says Alboim.
Already, some of the effects of the recent changes are being felt. For example, China is no longer the top source of immigrants – it has now fallen to number three. Other long term effects can only be speculated on at this time, but experts say more public dialogue is needed so that all Canadians understand the implications of immigration policy in the coming years.
Source: Globe and Mail
The province of Ontario is looking at ways of attracting more skilled immigrants.
Though it is still the number one destination of new arrivals to the country, Ontario’s overall share of newcomers has been dropping in recent years as Western provinces have intensified their recruitment efforts amid booming economies.
Now, as the population ages and the baby-boomer generations retire, Ontario is facing the prospect of a worker shortage of its own and must find ways to make a competitive destination once again.
Experts are predicting that as many as 135,000 immigrants will be needed per year to offset the aging. Furthermore, about 70 percent of those will need to be skilled workers – most of whom since 2005 have been heading to other provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan.
A new report has recommended that the province will need to renegotiate its terms with the federal government to ensure more labour market flexibility, as well as to raise the limits on provincial nominees which currently sits at 1,000 per year.
The province’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister says he will use the recommendations to compile Ontario’s first immigration strategy – something most experts say is long overdue.
Source: Toronto Star
Though the government has announced intentions to maintain current immigration levels, they are shifting the quotas in different streams to make more room for those applying through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
The CEC is the fastest-growing immigration category, and allows those who have either worked or studied in Canada to apply for fast-track immigration status. It places an emphasis on people who have demonstrated the ability to adapt to Canadian society and contribute to the economy.
Over the past three years the number of immigrants entering via the Experience Class has more than doubled – up to 7,000 in 2012 from 2,500 in 2009. Prior to that, those who had been to Canada and wanted to immigrate here would have to return to their country of origin and wait while their application was processed.
The government is hoping that placing more emphasis on those who have proven the desirability of their skills will help to improve the public perception surrounding immigration. In recent years, polls have shown that Canadians think that the government is accepting too many newcomers.
“Findings from the 2012 tracking study suggest that attitudes towards immigration levels and the impact of immigration are somewhat tightening up,” said a recent report from the Department of Citizenship and Immigration. “Residents of Ontario are among those who seem less convinced as to the positive economic impact of immigration.”
The government aims to accept 10,000 applicants through the Canadian Experience Class in 2013.
Source: Globe and Mail
The government is introducing new regulations under the sponsorship immigration class in an attempt to combat marriage fraud.
The major change, announced this month by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, is a two-year residency requirement for all married couples who apply for sponsorship and have been married less than two years, having no children together at the time of application.
Minister Kenney says that too many Canadians are being “duped” into marrying fraudsters who are only looking to attain status in Canada. He hopes the new rules will curb such cases and make it easier for regulators to distinguish the legitimate marriages from the phony ones.
There will be exceptions to the rule, including those sponsored spouses who are victims of abuse and those whose Canadian sponsor passes away.
The new rules go into effect immediately and are part of a larger effort on the part of the government to curb marriage fraud. Earlier this year new regulations were implemented to prevent sponsored spouses from being able to sponsor their own spouse for at least five years.
Source: National Post
A new program is helping immigrants to land jobs with small businesses in the Toronto region.
The local program was established by York University and is unique in its aim to encourage smaller employers in taking advantage of new talent. Immigrants can pay a small fee to take introductory classes in English, business and professional-writing. Additional tuition fees grant access to more specialized courses.
Officials working on the York program say that small businesses can sometimes be intimidated by or unsure of foreign credentials. This program hopes to address that niche.
“In the past, small- and medium-sized businesses haven’t tended to focus on recruiting foreign educated talent, in large part because most don’t have human resources departments to vet foreign credentials and experience,” says York University’s Nora Priestly.
This new resource seems to be helping out both the smaller companies, who are in just as much, if not more, need of skilled workers, as well as the immigrants who are looking to find work. Often positions in smaller companies go unadvertised and rely upon word-of-mouth which make them hard to find for newcomers who do not have established networks in the region.
Already over 300 people have gone through the program in the two years it has been up and running.
Source: Globe and Mail
Canada is becoming increasingly bilingual, according to the latest data released by Statistics Canada.
Approximately 17.5 percent of the population speaks more than language at home, up from 14.2 percent in 2006. However, only one-quarter of those households are bilingual in Canada’s two official languages – English and French.
The most common language make-up is English and Punjabi. Languages from China are also heavily used. The usage of Tagalog has grown significantly as more and more immigrants arrive from the Philippines.
“We have all these transition phases where English and French are also spoken at home in addition to non-official languages,” said Statistics Canada analyst Jean-Pierre Corbeil. “This doesn’t happen only outside Quebec but in Quebec as well.”
Overall, the trend show that bilingualism in English and French is not growing in Canada – Francophone youth are more likely to learn English but Anglophone youth are less likely to learn French. Furthermore, Native languages are on the decline.
Experts warn, however, that the data may be slightly skewed because of the new regulations regarding the Census introduced by the Conservative government. Corbeil estimates that there is, in fact, even more diversity across Canada in terms of language.
Source: National Post
A recent influx of immigrant buyers is changing the Saskatchewan farming landscape. Investors from South Korea, China and India are snatching up prairie farmland by the hectare, taking full advantage of the province’s agricultural boom in recent years.
Most Canadians do not usually think of immigrants when they think of farming – especially when farming involves such detailed knowledge about the natural ecosystems in place. However, experts say that most of these investors are hiring out local farmers to take care of their crop and then reaping the economic benefits as their product is sold overseas – often in China.
The opportunity is appealing to many immigrant entrepreneurs who are having trouble establishing themselves in other sectors upon their arrival in Canada. Furthermore, the economic boom in Saskatchewan means that those buying land now are almost sure to see the value increase over the next few years. In the past year alone, land prices have risen approximately 20 percent.
“For farmland, especially Saskatchewan farmland, [immigrants] think it is much, much undervalued,” said Justin Yin, a Saskatoon real estate agent, himself a recently landed Chinese immigrant. “So they think that’s the best place to put their money.”
Yet the welcome has not always been warm. Despite the vast amounts of farmers nearing retirement age who are no doubt happy to see so many potential buyers, there are still some concerns over the massive influx of farm owners who are not fully familiar with the system and may end up overpaying for land.
Currently the province of Saskatchewan has some of the most stringent regulations in the country regarding who can and cannot own land. Buyers are optimistic that as older generations of farmers retire, the government will ease up its restrictions, which could drive land values even higher than they already are.
Source: Globe and Mail