(Employers and Provinces Assume Greater Role)
The Government of Canada will increase immigration levels significantly in 2015. Citizenship and Immigration Canada aims to welcome as many as 285,000 new permanent residents this year. This represents a significant increase in levels from previous years.
Canada’s increased immigration levels, coincides with the implementation of Express Entry a new immigration system which processes immigrants to Canada under Economic Class programs. Applicants seeking permanent residence, who meet minimum criteria, submit an online expression of interest profile to the Express Entry Pool. Candidates without an approved job offer or provincial nomination must also submit an employment profile to the Canada Job Bank. Candidates in the pool will be available for consideration by employers who cannot access Canadians and to provincial governments for nomination under Provincial Nominee Programs PNP’s. The profiles of candidates in the pool are ranked under a Comprehensive Ranking System according to their age, education, language, experience and other factors. The maximum score is 1200. Applicants with an approved job offer from a Canadian employer (positive Labour Market Impact Assessment) or candidates nominated by a province receive an additional 600 points. The highest ranked candidates will be considered by the Federal government for an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence. The government aims to process applications in 6-months.
The government plans to conduct periodic draws throughout the year. An applicant can remain in the pool for up to one year. An applicant who does not receive an ITA during this period will be removed from the pool and will need to re-submit a new profile. Thus an applicant’s ranking in the pool will vary for each draw as new profiles enter and others are removed.
Immigration falls under a shared jurisdiction between the federal, provincial and territorial governments. Provincial Nomination Programs are widely viewed as an alternative option for many foreign nationals to gain Canadian permanent residency. Every province has implemented its own provincial nomination program, each with its own criteria, in order to promote immigration policies best suited to a province’s particular needs. The Province of Quebec promotes its own immigration programs under special status.
Under Express Entry the role of the provinces will become significant. In addition to the existing Provincial Nomination Programs available through Canadian provinces and territories, currently Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia have launched express entry immigration programs that complement the Canada Express Entry Immigration system. A sponsor employer is often not required.
To be selected under a provincial express entry immigration program, prospective applicants must meet the minimum criteria for one of the three federal programs available under the express entry system (the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trade Program and the Canadian Experience Class). They must also complete a federal express entry assessment profile.
From the federal express entry pool a participating province can select between 350 to 1,000 applicants for nomination to their province each year depending on agreements with the federal government. Other provinces are expected to launch express entry programs in 2015.
Like thousands of other wealthy Chinese, Lili Feng and her husband applied for a Canadian permanent residency via the immigration investor scheme, believing that Canada would offer a better future to themselves and their three daughters.
But after four years of waiting, Ms. Feng’s dreams were all but dashed in February when the Canadian government announced it was halting its immigrant investor program and cancelling tens of thousands of outstanding applications.
In an attempt to persuade Canada to reverse its decision, Ms. Feng has joined more than 1,500 mostly Chinese plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Canadian immigration authorities, claiming damages of $5 million Canadian per applicant and their dependents in compensation, on the grounds that their applications were not processed within the promised time frame.
The cancellation of the program was announced in February after a series of reports were published in the South China Morning Post revealing that the program had been overwhelmed with applications by rich investors from China.
According to the newspaper, the Canadian government had stopped accepting new applications in July 2012 due to the enormous backlog of applications – 66,423 as of last July, of which 50,131 had been filed by Chinese applicants.
The cancellation of the program and outstanding visa applications will not take effect until the budget is passed on June 26.
“For decades, it has significantly undervalued Canadian permanent residence,” the proposed budget says of the investor program, with “little evidence that immigrant investors…are making a positive economic contribution to the country”. Immigrant investors tend to under-report employment and income and therefore pay lower taxes than other economic migrants, it adds.
Before its cancellation, Canada’s immigrant investor program was widely considered to be one of the easiest routes to gain permanent residency abroad – investors seeking to immigrate to Canada were required only to make a five-year, interest-free loan to the government of $400,000 or $800,000, depending on the time of application, as well as show a net worth of $1.6 million Canadian.
China is among the three countries with the highest number of millionaire households, of whom the proportion looking to settle abroad is 64 percent. The main reasons cited by wealthy Chinese for emigrating are concerns about quality of education, environmental pollution and food safety.
The Canadian government has said it will announce new plans for a “more focused and effective” pilot program for immigrant investors in the coming months.
“Canada has a proud tradition of welcoming immigrants from all over the world, including China,” Bill Brown, a spokesman for the immigration department, said. China has been among the top source countries for Canadian immigration and it would “continue to rank as such.”
At the time the program was cancelled, the investors represented in the lawsuit were in various stages of the application review process.
For Ms. Feng, who applied with her family in 2010, moving to Canada had been a longstanding dream. In anticipation of the move, Ms. Feng placed her oldest two daughters in an international school in Shenzhen and began making preparations to transfer the management of the company which she runs with her husband. The entire application process, they were told, would take no more than two to three years.
But four years on, the Fengs have been left bitterly disappointed by the turn of events.
Source : Sinosphere Blogs