A new survey has found almost universal consensus on the issue of whether or not immigrants should adopt Canadian values upon arrival in the country.
The survey, conducted and released by Environics for the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, found that 97 percent of Canadians agreed that immigrants should only be admitted to the country if they are willing to take on its values, including equality of men and women as well as tolerance of others.
The same view was held overwhelmingly by Canadian immigrants polled – 96 percent of whom agreed that newcomers need to adopt the values of their new country.
Results of the survey showed that values were more important to the public than economic contributions. Only about 60 percent agreed that immigrants should be financially independent within one year of arrival.
Other areas examined in the survey were whether immigrants should be familiar with Canadian history and culture (88 percent of Canadian-born respondents agreed while 87 percent of immigrants agreed) as well as whether immigrants should raise their children as Canadians do (approximately 80 and 74 percent agreed for Canadians and immigrants, respectively).
Many immigrants choose to come to Canada specifically because of the values known at the international level, with the country being particularly reputed for its strong roles as peacekeepers rather than soldiers.
Source: Globe and Mail
A new study has found that immigrants arriving through the skilled worker and refugee streams are most likely to have a positive impact on the Canadian economy.
The study was part of a report conducted and released by the Institute for Research on Public Policy. The findings recommend that the federal government focus more on these two categories of immigration – particularly in times of recession when immigrants are most likely the first to be laid off.
The study was conducted over 10 years across several groups of immigrants arriving in Canada between 1982 and 1994. The findings showed a consistent correlation between category of immigration and income level.
“Skill-assessed immigrants, people who go through the point system, consistently do better in terms of higher earning levels than other arriving immigrants – 35 per cent better for men and 56 per cent for women,” said study co-author Charles Beach, adding that refugees ranked highest in earning growth rates.
The report was critical of recent government policies on immigration, including the decision to limit the skilled worker category to only 29 occupations, and introducing a cap on the number of applications accepted each year. At the same time, levels of temporary workers and provincial nominees are increasing, which are generally accepting lower-skilled workers.
“There has been a huge growth in the Provincial Nominee Program – while that does a better job of getting people to regions and provinces and so on, the fact is, more than half of those people who come in are roughly low-skilled and the point of our study means, on average, they don’t do as well as people with more skills,” said Beach.
Source: Ottawa Citizen
The Canadian Government has announced plans to increase the numbers of immigrants accepted through various Provincial Nominee Programs across the country.
This month Citizenship and Immigration Canada made the announcement, saying that their goal for 2012 is to increase the number of nominees to between 42,000 and 45,000 which includes the nominee as well as their immediate family. That is an increase of almost 10,000 since 2010 when 36,000 newcomers arrived through PNP nominations.
Excepting Quebec and Nunavut, each province and territory have a PNP agreement with the federal government, which allows employers in the province to nominate certain skilled workers for fast-track immigration consideration.
Upon making the announcement, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney acknowledged the role that these Provincial Nominee Programs have had in attracting immigrants to places other than Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal – places such as Saskatchewan and Alberta where skilled workers are much more desperately needed.
“The Government of Canada recognizes the crucial role the Provincial Nominee Program plays in meeting local labour market needs,” said Minister Kenney. “The PNP has made great strides in sharing the benefits of economic immigration across the country.”
Minister Kenney also noted that his department is still working closely with provincial and territorial governments across the country to improve the PNP in the coming years.
Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada
The government of Canada has announced intentions to re-distribute resettlement funding to match recent trends that have seen more and more immigrants choosing to settle in places other than Ontario.
“We believe it is only fair that settlement allocations across Canada should be based on the share of newcomers that provinces and territories have,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in response to critics within the Ontario government, who say that cutting finances will further deter immigrants from coming to the province.
Last year Ontario was the destination of choice for approximately 52 percent of new arrivals to Canada. That is down 12 percent from just five years earlier in 2005 when 64 percent of immigrants settled in Canada’s most populous province.
The trend has resulted in three consecutive years of federal settlement funding cuts, and officials with Ontario’s provincial government are speaking out against the decision.
“[These cuts] will hit newcomers in Ontario especially hard at a time when the province could most benefit from the valuable contributions they bring,” said Ontario Immigration Minister Charles Sousa. “These unfair cuts will deny thousands … access to services that will help them find jobs and learn new skills.”
Sousa added that the lack of newcomers to the province is a reflection of inefficiencies at the federal level in terms of application processing, and that many potential arrivals have been stuck in the application backlog, waiting years for a decision.
However, still others say that Ontario must step up their efforts to attract and retain newcomers if it wants to remain competitive with other provinces who actively recruit abroad.
Source: Globe and Mail
Medical professionals are calling on the Canadian government to focus more attention and funding on improving the licensing process for immigrant physicians so that they are able to enter the workforce more quickly.
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada is calling for more funding in temporary work programs, or residencies, at hospitals which is a critical step in becoming licensed to practice medicine in Canada. The organization estimates that currently between 6,000 and 10,000 doctors are unable to practice because of the lack of residencies.
In the past, the government has attempted to deal with such challenges by promising to improve the credential recognition process. Most recently, a new rule was implemented where certain professionals in eight categories would have to wait no longer than one year to have their credentials assessed. The government pledged to add doctors to this list by 2012.
However, credential recognition is only one of many challenges facing foreign-trained physicians who also need to obtain Canadian experience before they can receive their license.
Increasing the number of positions available would help to ease the transitions for immigrant doctors. Professionals at the College have additional suggestions on how to improve the situation, including the creation of a separate body designated to examine the health industry and recommend hiring strategies according to need.
Source: Globe and Mail
The newest stream of immigration is growing rapidly with plans to raise targets for next year, according to the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
The Canadian Experience Class of immigration began three years ago with 2,545 applicants arriving in 2009. The number is expected to go up to 7,000 in 2012, making it the fastest-growing stream of immigration.
This particular category of applicants are granted residency in Canada based on their past experience either studying in Canada with a student visa or working under a temporary visa. These immigrants are particularly valued because they have already demonstrated their ability to adapt and/or contribute to the success of the country.
Until this program was created, any foreign students or workers who were in Canada would have to leave the country to apply for permanent residency.
“We’d tell them to leave the country because their temporary foreign work permit or student visa had expired” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney about the previous regulations. “And if they wanted to immigrate, we’d say, ‘Great, get in the queue of the federal skilled worker program,’ where processing times were up to seven years.”
Kenney says that the change was made to attract and keep more talent in Canada within an increasingly competitive global market.
Though the program is growing, critics say that even more can be done to increase the ease of the transition, including scrapping the mandatory language testing for this stream which spurs many applicants to apply through provincial nominee programs which have no such requirement.
Source: Globe and Mail
The number of immigrants losing their permanent residency over the past few years has rapidly increased, according to the latest data from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
The rule for new residents is that they must spend at least two years, or 730 days in Canada within the first five years of landing as immigrants. If not, they lose their status – a circumstance which is happening almost three times as often now as five years ago. Last year 4,587 immigrants lost their PR status compared to 1,653 in 2006.
“The increase in the number of permanent residency revocations, (especially) in 2008, is likely related to the PR card becoming mandatory for international travel in 2003 and the surge of renewal applications that occurred following the initial five-year validity period,” said a spokesperson for the department.
Whatever the cause of the trend, many of these immigrants are now left scrambling to find ways to enter or stay in Canada legally – some of whom had arrived with immediate family members who are still in the country.
“We recognize my father didn’t meet the residency requirement,” says Alina Popkova, 32, whose Russian father immigrated to Canada in 2004 but lost his residency status and is now having trouble obtaining a visitor visa to come visit his family. “[B]ut you can’t keep the family apart by denying him a visa to visit us. It is just inhumane.”
Popkova now plans on filing a sponsorship application for her father.
Source: Toronto Star
This month the Conservative government announced a two-year suspension on sponsorship immigration applications for parents and grandparents of Canadians.
The move comes after increasing pressures to address the 165,000 application backlog that has ballooned to the point where current processing times are in the range of seven years. If nothing changes, wait times could increase to ten years by 2018, according to some estimates.
“We understand how important it is for Canadians, including new Canadians, to live with their loved ones,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney upon making the announcement. “That is why it is absolutely essential that we bring in a temporary pause on applications.”
However, in an attempt to quell any backlash from their immigrant voters, the Conservatives are simultaneously introducing a new kind of visitor visa for relatives of Canadians. The parent and grandparent visa will be valid for a period of ten years, though visitors will only be able to stay in Canada for periods of two years at one time. In certain cases, applicants will have to undergo medical examinations and/or show that their relative will have the means to financially support them.
At the same time, the Conservatives plan to increase sponsorship quotas by 60 percent, or 25,000 per year.
Critics, however, say that even more should be done to raise quotas, not only to ease the backlog, but to address the looming labour shortages that Canada is already beginning to feel as the baby-boomer generation retires.
Source: Globe and Mail
Critics are speaking out against the Conservative government’s intent to implement crime legislation which could impact decisions by immigration officers in granting temporary work permits.
The crime bill was first introduced in 2007 and contains legislation meant to discourage exotic dancers from obtaining temporary work visas. The move was intended to reduce chances of humiliation or degrading treatment for foreign workers coming to Canada.
However, immigrant advocates are expressing concerns that the new laws leave many ambiguities that will be subject to the discretion of the Immigration Minister, who will be able to instruct visa officers to refuse applications based on an occupation or other “undisclosed” classifications.
“What this does is it gives [Citizenship and Immigration Minister] Jason Kenney or any subsequent minister of immigration a blank cheque to write what is and what is not exploitative,” said one Toronto immigration lawyer.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Minister’s office insists that the law is targeted toward foreign dancers, but admits that not all possible uses of the proposed legislation have been thoroughly considered. The word “vulnerable” which appears in the law, will depend on the particular context or situation of a case.
Experts in the legal profession argue that having visa officers judge cases based on such subjective moral standards is not in line with having a system based on explicit laws.
“We think it’s a really broad delegation of what’s a quite intrusive power and a very serious power, to take away people’s ability to work,” said Canadian Civil Liberties Association spokesperson Abby Deshman. “Any time you’re granting extremely broad discretion to government actors, you worry about things like arbitrary enforcement.”
The opposition has introduced amendments to the bill including the ability of rejected workers to appeal their case and requiring a House committee approval on Ministerial instructions. Debate on the bill concludes this month.
Source: Globe and Mail
A new report is sparking concern over the lack of resources available to Canadian visa officers at home and abroad, which is inhibiting their ability to make informed decisions on applications for visitors and permanent residents.
The report, conducted and released this month by Canada’s Auditor General, found several “disturbing weaknesses” in the screening processes undertaken by workers at both the Canada Border Services Agency and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
The most disconcerting aspect of the review was the discovery that many regulations have not changed in years, despite rapid changes in global threats and disease in recent history.
In fact, for over 50 years visa officers have been screening applicants for only two diseases – syphilis and tuberculosis – despite another 54 diseases being under national surveillance.
Though gaps in medical screening are disturbing, perhaps even more alarming are the gaps in security information – such as the lack of information sharing between border officials and the RCMP.
The report recommends further resource-allocation to the swamped visa offices, which process over 1 million visitor visa and 300,000 permanent residency applications each year. More funding would allow implementation of further manpower, which in turn would mean more in-depth investigations on all matters.
Source: Globe and Mail