The Maritime Seafood Coalition of Canada’s Atlantic fishing industry has requested the federal government for an exemption from TFW restrictions. The coalition claims the industry will miss out on economic opportunities as a result of the latest changes, and wants fish plants to be granted the same exemptions as the agricultural industry.
Canada’s Minister of Employment and Social Development Pierre Poilievre has earmarked over $7 million for two projects to help skilled foreign workers get their credentials assessed efficiently in Canada. The initiative is one of the several government schemes that form a part of an economic growth strategy primarily aimed at increasing the employment rates of skilled migrant workers arriving in Canada.
« All levels of government need to adopt more common-sense approaches that help newcomers take on meaningful work more quickly, » said Poilievre in a press release.
The approaches take the form of preparing immigrants for life in Canada prior to their arrival in the country.
Canada started pre-arrival training for immigrants fairly recently, with the launch of the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP) in 2007 as a pilot project providing pre-arrival assistance to immigrants. It became a full-fledged program by 2010, partnering with various other Canadian immigration agencies.
The CIIP, which provides online assistance to future immigrants to Canada, has reached out to about 30,000 clients since 2007. However, this figure is only 3.2% of the total number of immigrants who arrived in Canada during that period, and the government is seeking to increase participation in the program.
Canada has a high demand for skilled economic immigrants like engineers, doctors, nurses, and IT professionals, with the government expecting about 172,000 skilled workers to arrive in Canada this year alone. Research shows that most new immigrants find it difficult to get around the complicated procedures involved in finding jobs that match their skills, or in getting their credentials recognized.
« Part of the problem is that people have been coming on the basis of being awarded points for the education and experience that they have. Then they come here and realize they were considered good to get into the country because they were a doctor, but now that they’re here it’s useless, » says an immigration expert.
The recently released 2015 federal budget includes an allocation of $35 million to make the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans pilot project permanent over a period of five years. And while it is unclear whether there are any funds available for pre-arrival pilot projects, the government has promised to help immigrants reach their maximum potential, and aims to expand the reach of pre-arrival programs like the CIIP to as many future immigrants as possible.
« It’s up and coming and it’s a great value to the professional immigrants. I know from being on panels that people with pre-arrival training seem to have an edge, the same way as if you had any sort of pre-training before you started a job, » says Denise De Long of Connector Program, a newcomer employment service in Halifax.
Despite recent widespread protests and negative public opinion Canada’s ruling Conservative Party has succeeded in passing sweeping anti-terror legislation which a battery of legal scholars, civil liberties groups and opposition politicians say will replace the country’s healthy democracy with a quasi police state. All that remains is an endorsement from Canada’s Senate.
However lingering public anger over the legislation also suggests that Prime Minister Harper’s succeeded in dividing his parliamentary opposition which could work against him when Canadians go to the polls for a national election this fall.
No legislation in memory has united such a diverse array of prominent opponents as the proposed legislation.
The campaign to stop Bill C-51 grew to include virtually every civil-rights group, law professor, retired judge, author, editorialist and public intellectual in Canada.
According to Daniel Therrien, Privacy Commissioner of Canada, “The scale of information sharing being proposed is unprecedented, the scope of the new powers conferred by the act is excessive, particularly as these powers affect ordinary Canadians, and the safeguards protecting against unreasonable loss of privacy are seriously deficient. All Canadians would be caught in this web.”
Defending the bill, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney lashed out against “key misconceptions” promoted by “so-called experts”, especially what he called the “completely false, and frankly ridiculous” claim that legitimate protest could be targeted as terrorism.
Blaney and Justice Minister Peter MacKay have described the bill as a “reasonable and proportionate” response to the threat of “jihadi terrorism.” The prime minister has derided its opponents as being out of touch with Canadian values. The question must be asked: who is out of touch?
Last month, hundreds of thousands of ordinary Canadians signed petitions urging the bill be scrapped and took to the streets in a national day of protest.
Critics of the legislation say the imminent law gives Canadian spies sweeping new powers to investigate and disrupt broadly defined threats to public safety, with language that makes no distinction between terrorist plots and legitimate political protests and demonstrations. The bill also neglects to provide any increased oversight of the country’s vastly empowered chief spy agency, the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service.
Introduced in the wake of two lone-wolf terrorist attack last year, one which killed sentry Nathan Cirillo at the Canadian National War Memorial in Ottawa, the bill gained widespread initial support among ordinary Canadians. But in the weeks of criticism that followed, the polls turned and a majority began to express opposition.
It remains unclear whether their anger will survive to make a difference in the general election this October.
In a bid to stop Canadians from joining terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, the government has introduced measures allowing officials to swiftly revoke passports from suspected extremists.
According to Michel Coulombe, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the number of Canadians who had left for Syria and Iraq had increased 50% this year.
To prevent them from leaving, police have been alerting officials to cancel the passports of “extremist travellers,” but the government source said the current procedure was too time-consuming and that authorities needed to be able to act more speedily.
The killings last October of two Canadian Forces members by suspects espousing Islamist extremist beliefs exposed the country’s “vulnerability” as well as the potential to wage terrorism without conducting mass-casualty attacks, the report said.
In a similar-style attack, two gunmen apparently sympathetic to ISIL opened fire outside a controversial event in Garland, Texas, featuring cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad on Sunday, wounding a guard before being shot dead.
Like Martin Couture-Rouleau, who attacked a soldier in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., one of the Texas suspects had allegedly attempted to travel overseas to join an extremist group but police had arrested him and seized his passport.
The CSIS report mentioned the “threat posed here by frustrated extremists who have been unable to join the fight abroad.” But despite the dangers of grounding would-be foreign fighters, the report said allowing them to leave was not a solution.
“Even if a Canadian extremist does not immediately return, he or she is still a Canadian problem,” Coulombe wrote. “Just as Canada expects other nations to prevent their citizens from harming Canadians and Canadian interests, we too are obliged to deny Canadian extremists the ability to kill and terrorize people of other countries.”
The report states that even though ISIL has dominated the counter-terrorism debate since it seized parts of Syria and Iraq last year, its rival al-Qaida “remains a dangerous terrorist group” and continues to have supporters in Canada. The Iranian-backed Hezbollah is also a threat to Canadians and may attempt to recruit them to carry out attacks, it added.
By contrast, Canada does not appear to be experiencing the far-right violence emerging in Europe. “Right-wing extremist circles appear to be fragmented and primarily pose a threat to public order and not to national security,” the report said.
Source: National Post
A report by the Canadian Department of Citizenship and Immigration reveals that almost half of the applicants who qualified for permanent residency within the first three weeks of the launch of the Express Entry system were already residing in Canada.
According to the report, which was obtained through the Access to Information Act, the first draw of the express-entry pool selected the top 775 candidates, of which 346 (45%) were living in Canada. Among applicants living abroad, 13% were from India, and 4.5% from the United Arab Emirates.
The report also showed that the first batch of skilled workers included « professionals in natural and applied sciences, and industrial, electrical and construction trades.” Under the Express Entry system, more points are awarded to skilled immigrants who have a permanent job offer along with a positive labour market impact assessment (LMIA).
Immigration experts believe that most of the resident applicants may be temporary foreign workers, as the Express Entry system rewards those who are already working in Canada.
« The first three draws for express entry were mostly temporary foreign workers with valid LMIAs, » says Sarah Anson-Cartwright, director of skills policy at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
The report also shows that the highest number of express entry applications came from citizens of India, Philippines, and Pakistan, whereas China (usually the top source of permanent residency applicants) ranked sixth after Ireland and Nigeria.
« If the trend holds, it looks like express entry is going to be a real game-changer for where Canada sources skilled workers, » said one immigration expert.
The Express Entry system was launched by Canada on January 1, 2015 in an attempt to attract foreign workers to apply for jobs for which there are no locally available workers. The second draw on February 7th resulted in the selection of 779 skilled workers, while the third draw on February 20th saw 849 workers being selected.
The Canadian government has so far offered permanent residency to 7,776 skilled immigrants under the express entry system, and says it is happy with the results so far. « The fact that everyone who was invited to apply for permanent residence in this round of invitations already has a valid job offer or provincial nomination shows that Express Entry is working to fill Canada’s existing labour market gaps, » says Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.
The Express Entry system is a point-based system where applicants are put in a pool and ranked based on points they earn in different categories. Skilled immigrants can earn up to 1,200 points under the system, with 600 points being allotted to those who have an existing job offer or a provincial nomination. Applicants can also earn up to 500 points under categories of education, age, language proficiency and Canadian work experience. Another 100 points can be earned for transferable skills like international work experience, education, and a certificate in the trades.
The top scoring candidates in the express entry pool are then selected through a draw, which is held by the government every two weeks. The selected candidates are sent « invitations to apply » for permanent residency in Canada.
Upon receipt of an “invitation to apply”, the candidates have 60 days to accept or decline the invitation. Those who have not received the invitation after 12 months of applying have to re-apply.
Top 10 countries from where express-entry candidates were selected in the first draw:
1. India: 228 candidates (29.4 per cent)
2. Philippines: 122 candidates (15.7 per cent)
3. Pakistan: 46 candidates (5.9 per cent)
4. Ireland: 34 candidates (4.3 per cent)
5. Nigeria: 29 candidates (3.7 per cent)
6. China: 29 candidates (3.7 per cent)
7. Iran: 21 candidates (2.7 per cent)
8. U.K.: 19 candidates (2.4 per cent)
9. Egypt: 18 candidates (2.3 per cent)
10.South Korea: 14 candidates (1.8 per cent)
The Canadian government is set to introduce the Removal of Serious Foreign Criminals Act that will withdraw refugee protection from dangerous foreign criminals and allow the government to deport them back to their countries of origin.
Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney has announced that the government is considering the legislation in order to “close the loopholes” that allow criminals from foreign countries to live in Canada even after they have been convicted of grave crimes and are considered a threat to society.
“What we are seeking to do is close the loopholes in our Canadian law and between our organizations that are being actually exploited by criminals who have been found guilty and who are basically taking those gaps to stay longer and, as we have seen here, constitute a bigger threat to our country,” Blaney said.
The proposed changes are part of the government’s “tough on crime” approach that is aimed at tightening regulations on criminals. In 2013 the government initiated similar changes through the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, which barred foreigners considered a threat to security from seeking humanitarian protection in Canada.
Amendments are also being proposed to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Corrections and Conditional Release Act, International Transfer of Offenders Act, and Criminal Records Act. Blaney says that the government is planning to modify these acts to make sure that deportation of non-Canadian criminals is quicker and easier. This would include foreign criminals who have been granted refugee protection and permanent residency.
According to the government, this step will help Canada negotiate treaties wherein government can send back criminals (even without their consent) to serve their sentences in their home countries.
At present, Canada needs to take an inmate’s consent in order to send him/her back to the home country.
“Our government will not allow Canada to be used as a safe haven for foreign criminals,” Blaney said.
“By introducing the Removal of Serious Foreign Criminals Act, our Government is eliminating barriers to the removal of foreign criminals convicted of committing serious crimes in Canada. Also, by allowing the mandatory transfer of foreign criminals to serve the remainder of their sentence in their home country and with the other measures being brought forward today, our government continues to keep our streets and communities safer for Canadian families.”
The proposed changes will also annul criminal pardons for foreign nationals or permanent residents convicted of serious crimes. In addition, the Correctional Service of Canada will now be allowed to inform the registered victims of crime about the date and destination of criminals who have been released from immigration detention.
The proposed changes come following reports of several cases where criminals of foreign origin have managed to stay on in Canada for numerous years, and have even become citizens after being granted pardons. In most of these cases, the deportation process was delayed and dragged on by rich and resourceful criminals mainly by way of legal challenges and lengthy appeals processes.
The government’s plan has caused concern among refugee groups and their representatives who have been fighting for changes to the country’s strict asylum rules.
The government of Nova Scotia has launched a new immigration stream specifically targeted at international students who have worked in the province for a minimum of one year.
The new stream will be part of the provincial nominee program which selects candidates for the federal express entry system, says Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab. This year the government will be able to nominate up to 1,050 candidates for the provincial nominee program, up from 700 last year.
The new stream has been started as a pilot project mainly because it was felt that highly-qualified candidates, who include many international students, were not being nominated for the express entry system through other provincial streams.
The new stream aims to provide foreign students with a chance to apply for permanent residency in Nova Scotia.
A study by World Education Services (WES) has revealed that prospective immigrants to Canada are better educated and younger as a result of immigration changes in recent years. Prospective immigrants also initiate their credential assessments sooner than before in accordance with the recent changes in immigration rules, the study shows.
WES, an agency that evaluates immigrant credentials, did a survey of 28,851 prospective immigrants who were referred to it by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The survey was designed to analyze the impact recent immigration policy changes had on immigrant profiles.
According to WES, 80% of its work was done for foreign-based candidates last year, a sharp increase from only 16% in 2012.
The survey, which involved a questionnaire completed by 3,200 candidates, also reveals that 95% of the prospective immigrants to Canada belonged to 25-44 age groups, an increase from 84% before 2013. Of those surveyed, 59% had a bachelor’s degree, 42% had a master’s degree and 3% had a doctoral degree. Prior to 2012, only 34% of the immigrants had a bachelor’s degree, 18% had masters and 5% had a doctorate.
The WES study also says that 47% of the respondents expressed intent to settle down in Ontario, while 22% chose Alberta. 12% chose British Columbia and 4% wanted to settle down in Nova Scotia.
Among reasons to immigrate to Canada, “better standard of living” was answered by 90% of the survey respondents, while 70% said they were searching for better career opportunities.
Most respondents of the survey were optimistic about their employment prospects in Canada and one out of five believed that they would find jobs matching their skills in one to three years. Insufficient information about the Canadian job market and lack of work experience in Canada were identified as major hurdles to immigration by most survey respondents. Only 11% felt that language requirements in French or English would be a barrier, which came as a surprise as language skills have generally been identified by several studies as the top hurdle for employing foreign workers.
Following the introduction of the Express Entry system earlier this year, WES reports that between January and April there had been a 66% decline in the number of credential assessment requests it had received from overseas, and a 20% increase in such requests from within Canada.
Canada introduced the new Express Entry immigration system in January this year to meet its skills shortage in the job market. The new program is a points-based system that tends to favor those who have job offers in Canada.
Quebec’s Minister of Finance Carlos Leitao says the economy of Quebec has put years of stagnation behind it and is picking up, thanks in part to the resurgence of the US economy. Mr. Leitao’s latest budget projects a fiscal balance for the current fiscal year after six consecutive years of deficits.
“It’s a reasonable forecast because in Quebec’s case, we are a net energy importer. The drop in oil prices has the reverse effect here versus the rest of Canada. Our assumptions are not out to lunch. We are seeing strength in non-energy manufacturing segments, in machine and equipment, aerospace, and beyond that. We are seeing the elements coming together on the need to expand capacity,” said Mr. Leitao.
As Canada’s second-largest province in terms of population, the mainly French-speaking province of Quebec added 57,800 new full-time jobs in the past year, making for a fairly healthy increase of 1.8%.
“The trend is very robust in the pickup in full-time employment,” says Mr. Leitao. “That’s comforting. The other indicator is proprietary data that follows fiscal revenue. Into the first week of May, revenues are on target. If the economy was bad or disastrous, we wouldn’t be seeing revenue grow in line with our expectations.”
Mr. Leitao, who turned to policymaking following a long career as an economic analyst, says Quebec is still tackling the effects of the 2008 financial crisis in the form of weak private-sector investment.
“We tend to think the last recession wasn’t so severe in Canada, especially in central Canada. But export businesses were hit very hard by the recession, and so either they disappeared or others who survived remained overly cautious.”
The minister also backed Quebec’s plan to allow the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec pension fund to build and manage public transport infrastructure projects.
“The need is there in Quebec to improve our physical infrastructure,” said Mr. Leitao. “This is not in the context of stimulating economic growth. It has to be done. We are doing our part, spending 88 billion Canadian dollars over 10 years, which is the limit of our fiscal capacity. We can’t go beyond that in terms of adding onto our debt. We needed to find other ways to continue to invest in infrastructure, and that’s why we came up with this idea with the Caisse de dépôt.”
Mr. Leitao also emphasised the importance of struggling aerospace and transportation company Bombardier to Quebec’s economy.
Under a new bill, certain offences could send a permanent resident back to their home country without a hearing. These include impaired driving causing bodily harm, theft over $5,000 and cultivation of marijuana.
Under the proposed Removal of Serious Foreign Criminals Act, permanent residents convicted of a serious crime will not be eligible for a record suspension, also known as a pardon. The government will also be allowed to bypass the usual admissibility hearing before issuing a deportation. This means that a convicted person would no longer have an opportunity to have their deportation reviewed.
A representative from Canada Border Services Agency said that removing the admissibility hearing for permanent residents “significantly streamlines the current process which means faster removals and cost savings to taxpayers.”
However, the definition of a serious crime is broad — if a permanent resident has been convicted of a crime carrying a maximum penalty of ten years or more or has been given a sentence greater than six months, they could be sent straight home.
Ten crimes that could send landed immigrants home:
- Impaired driving causing bodily harm
- Impaired driving causing death
- Cultivation of marijuana
- Trafficking of marijuana over 3 kg
- Theft over $5,000
- Robbery without a firearm
- Possession of a restricted weapon with ammunition
- Assault causing bodily harm or with a weapon
- Fleeing police
- Using or possessing a stolen or forged credit card
Even though the federal government has always had the right to strip permanent residents of their landed immigrant status, recent legislation has made it easier. Some immigration advocates say these laws cast too wide a net and could send landed immigrants who have spent their whole life in Canada back to a country they have no ties.