There are now more than 60,000 people waiting for permanent residency under a program that employs foreign caregivers and nannies in Canada, according to reports.
About half of these people waiting for permanent residency are the children and spouses of the foreign caregivers already living in Canada.
The federal government is currently processing 17,500 of these applications for permanent residency, according to Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.
Foreign caregivers can apply for permanent residency in Canada after two years of working here, although the processing of these applications can take more than three years. Once they acquire residency, they are eligible to apply for residency of their spouses and children.
“The bloated inventory with prolonged processing times is causing harm to children who are being separated from their parents working in Canada as a live-in caregiver,” says a noted immigration policy analyst.
The analyst also believes that there is another reason a reform is urgently needed. “An overwhelming majority of these cases are family members who are giving live-in caregiver jobs to other family members.”
Several reports from immigration officials have demonstrated that family members already in Canada are in turn hiring their relatives abroad as caregivers to bring them to Canada. The majority of such applications are for caregivers from the Philippines.
These reports suggest that the program is not serving Canadians who need live-in caregivers in the same way as it was planned, although it is beneficial for the Filipino families in Canada. According to Employment Minister Jason Kenney, the caregiver program had turned into “a family reunification program”.
However Kenney’s claim is disputed by Teresa Agustin, the chair of Migrante Canada, a national organization which represents Filipino immigrants. Agustin mentions that a national study published earlier this year showed that out of the 631 former and current live-in caregivers studied in the research, the vast majority were recruited to Canada through employment agencies.
In addition, only one in ten caregivers in Canada have been hired by relatives, according to the GATES survey, supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
In countries like Holland and the US, there are agencies who are responsible for matching caregivers with families. Manuela Gruber Hersch, president of the Association of Caregiver and Nanny Agencies Canada, believes that Canada should follow a similar system. “There are no private matches allowed and all placements go through regulated agencies who become semi-responsible for each match, including educating families and ensuring that caregivers are safe and treated fairly. The agencies must do an annual audit,” she says.
Certain internal emails have shown that way back in 2006-07, the government had to hire temporary staff to clear a large backlog of 9,000 applications or more in an initiative termed “the Clearinghouse project”.
Experts believe that the government could have avoided another backlog by putting a cap on the number of work permits issued every year to live-in caregivers.
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander is considering moving the caregiver program to Express Entry, which is a new immigration program aimed at skilled immigrants who are looking to work in Canada permanently.
The new Express Entry program will make available a limited number of jobs under any given occupation and permanent residency will be offered only to the “highest-ranking” applicants.
However on the down side, Express Entry is anything but transparent. There does not appear any indication the government will be able to effectively monitor or provide active oversight.
There are also reports that Alexander is considering the idea of making it optional for caregivers to live with their employers.
In April 2013, when Kenney was the immigration minister, the backlog of foreign caregivers stood at 45,000 with a five-year wait time. This did not include those caregivers who are in Canada but haven’t yet completed their compulsory two years before qualifying for permanent residency. Their numbers stood at 35,000.
The current backlog of 60,000 applications does not include those foreign caregivers in Canada who haven’t yet qualified to apply for permanent residency.
Source: CBC News
Anupam Apu is good enough to be an immigrant but not a doctor. He is one of over 6,000 international medical graduates in Ontario dealing with the daily frustration of knowing their chances of becoming practising doctors are slim to none.
The 36-year Bangladesh native thought that when he ticked the box for general physician as a preferred career on his immigration application, he would have a chance to continue in his field.
Both Apu and his wife, also a medical graduate from Bangladesh, soon found the deck was stacked against them because of the limited number of international medical graduates certified annually for medical residency positions in Ontario. Before leaving for Canada almost four years ago, Apu said he was in the early stages of training in neurosurgery.
Apu’s story resonates for “a lot of folks out there,” said Ontario fairness commissioner Jean Augustine. She has been urging the Liberal government to consider a “practice ready assessment” system similar to the ones in Alberta and Newfoundland, where foreign-trained doctors get a provisional licence and work under supervision to determine their level of competence.
Augustine’s dismay with the current system of certifying foreign-trained doctors follows an announcement earlier in the week in which the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario reported the highest number yet of international medical graduates being certified for full practice or residency. However, Augustine noted the college failed to mention the majority of the 200 provincially funded residency positions are going to Canadian students who trained abroad and returned to launch their careers, which she said was never the program’s intent.
Apu, who graduated with a bachelor of medicine and surgery, said he and his wife made inquiries soon after arriving but quickly learned it would cost $4,000 or more to take four exams before being able to apply to the international medical graduate program. And even then there were no guarantees. Despite Ontario’s seemingly impervious system, Apu said he still feels there is a place for him and will write the eligibility exams if he can find the money.
Foreign-trained doctors coming to Canada often end up with a “sense of betrayal,” said Tanya Chute Molina, a program adviser in the fairness commissioner’s office.
Attorney Colin Singer Commentary:
This reflects the variance in provincial regulation of the professions. Certain provinces such as Newfoundland and Alberta are easier to secure temporary licensing than Ontario. However the cost of becoming Board Certified is becoming a barrier to entry for many applicants.
Source: The Star
Investment Immigration: Belgium Immigrant Investor Programme
Residence by Investment Programme
With a rich global presence, Belgium is the financial capital of Europe. It is a very investor-friendly nation and has favourable tax laws for businesses. Unlike other countries, Belgium doesn’t have the “citizenship by investment” programme, however, it offers “residence by investment” opportunity for business entrepreneurs and investors. It is the only European country where you can become eligible to apply for citizenship just after three years of continued lawful residence. And after seven years of residence, you qualify for “citizenship by right”. Belgium’s residence programme therefore is very suited for investors and businessmen who want to reside in Europe.
Benefits of Belgium Residency:
- The country has a strong European presence
- There is no minimum stay in a year requirement
- One can apply for Belgian citizenship just after three years of residence
- There are no restrictions on dual citizenship
- One can enjoy visa-free travel to other EU countries
- Shorter processing time
Foreigners and non-EU residents can apply for a Belgian residence permit under their investor or business category – this usually requires forming a new Belgium company with an office, providing opportunities for employment. An owner of a company in Belgium can easily get a Belgian residence permit. Investors who start their own companies can get a residence permit in 3-8 months. The investor will initially be issued a temporary permit with validity of one year; after the end of this period, the investor can renew the residence permit annually for three years. Thereafter, the investor qualifies for a “permanent residence permit”.
The most popular company types in Belgium are BVBA and SPRL. The BVBA company in Belgium works like a Limited Liability Company, and requires share capital of at least €18,600. According to Belgian regulations, taxes are around 30% and returns need to be filed annually. Investors can considerably minimize tax liability with proper tax planning.
Investors should have a minimum of €300,000 at their disposal if they want to apply for the investor residency programme in Belgium. The fee for applications varies with each case. A residence application involves the following minimum fees (which excludes VAT, but may apply depending on the client’s case):
For main applicant:
- €95,000 to obtain a residence permit for the first year
- €25,000 for renewal of residence permit in the second year and subsequent years
- €35,000 for making a citizenship application, which the investor resident will qualify for after third year of residence
For family members (spouses and children under 18 years of age):
- €20,000 per member to obtain a residence permit for the first year
- €10,000 for renewal of residence permit in the second year and subsequent years
- €20,000 for making a citizenship application
Company incorporation costs:
- Approximately €10,000 to €20,000 in the first year for establishing a company and paying directors’ fee, and approximately €5,000 per year thereafter
- Approximately €6,000 per year for office rental space
- Approximately €1,000 per month to cover costs of accounting, tax returns and company maintenance, along with private accommodation