The Process for Applying for Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) Consideration (Including for Applicants in Quebec)
Officers would need to send all Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) application forms to the Backlog Reduction Office in Vancouver (BRO-V). In addition, they would also need to send the fee receipts as per regular procedures. Officers would need to ensure that these applications bear a postmark of no later than June 01, 2015.
Individuals would need to submit applications for permanent residence on Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) grounds no later than six months from the first negative decision on their refugee claim from the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). This is applicable even if the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) makes its decisions more than six months after the authorities lifted the Temporary Suspension of Removal (TSR) on December 01, 2014. However, individuals would only do this if:
- They filed a refugee claim on or before December 01, 2014 and,
- They do not receive an Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) decision by that date
The individuals would need to mail their applications and supporting documents to the following address:
Backlog Reduction Office – Vancouver
# 600 – 605 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 5J3
In addition, the individuals would need to specify the country of origin on the envelope. Therefore, they would need label the envelope clearly with “Haiti – TSR” or “Zimbabwe – TSR”. The individuals would also need to note that they would need to pay the applicable processing fees.
Situations could arise where applicants received a negative decision on an application for permanent residence on Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) grounds prior to December 01, 2014. These individuals have the option of re-applying, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. By doing so, these individuals could benefit from the administrative deferral of removal.
Applicants would also need to include all relevant and updated information in their applications. This would enable officers to assess these applications accurately.
Source: Citizenship and Immigration
Vancouver’s real estate has been the top investment choice for rich Chinese investors for many years. However, with property getting pricier, many investors are now considering other options like hotels, wineries, golf courses, and bottled mineral water. Read more
The continuous rise of property prices in Vancouver led Canada to cancel its popular immigrant investor program last year, as it was believed that foreign purchases of property was causing the price rise. However, even ten months after the scrapping of the IIP, the property price rise has not halted, and neither have the rich investor immigrants stopped arriving in Vancouver.
There are number of factors behind the continuing inflow of investor immigrants into Vancouver. For one, under the program the candidates were given up to a year to activate their permanent residency after they had undergone their medical assessments. Moreover there were several approved immigrant investors who had not undergone the medical checks at the time IIP was scrapped on February 11, 2014, implying that their arrivals in Canada could stretch to another year. And finally, there are also a few applicants who were granted residencies on or after February 11, but before June 19, when IIP was legally removed. It is predicted by immigration experts that most of these investor immigrants from the previous program would have arrived in Canada by mid-2015.
However, in addition to this backlog of IIP applicants, several new investor immigrants will also continue to arrive in Vancouver through Quebec’s still functional version of the IIP. It has been reported that many potential investors have in the past used Quebec’s program to get entry into Canada, migrating from Quebec to other provinces upon arrival.
Statistics show that between 2008 and 2012, about 27,490 permanent residencies were granted under the Quebec IIP. However, the majority of these investors did not settle in Quebec as promised and most ended up moving to Ottawa, with 89% of Quebec’s investor immigrants showing non-Quebec residential addresses when they renew their permanent residency cards after five years.
The issue had become quite obvious, leading to Jason Kenney saying in 2013 parliamentary committee that Quebec’s immigration program should not be “about taking money from Chinese millionaires so that they settle in Vancouver”.
“Quebec is taking the money of immigrant investors and using it, but the British Columbia taxpayers must pay the price for the social services provided to immigrants selected by Quebec,” he had said.
It is expected that in 2015 Quebec will accept 1,750 primary investor immigrants, representing a total of 6,200 people, including family members. If 89% of these new arrivals were to relocate in five years, it means that about 5,500 immigrants will move to other provinces. Considering that 68% of applicants wanted to move to British Columbia when IIP was fully functional across all provinces, Vancouver might receive a similar percentage of these 5,500 investors in the coming years.
This indicates that despite the scrapping of IIP at the federal level, Quebec’s running investor program will contribute in a big way to steady arrival of rich immigrants into Vancouver. In fact the total number of arrivals in BC may not even be halved but rather at most be reduced by a third compared to previous levels.
Hong Kong’s recent announcement of special one-year work visas for foreign-born children of permanent residents could potentially accelerate the reverse migration of Vancouver’s Hong Kong-born population, which has already gone down by 14 per cent between 1996 and 2011, falling from 86,215 to 73,770 over that period. Considering that 20,500 people came to Vancouver from Hong Kong in that period, the departure rate is actually higher than the figures indicate.
And with arrivals from Hong Kong now at their lowest level compared to the last few years, with just 383 immigrants arriving in British Columbia from Hong Kong in 2013, the numbers living in Vancouver could get significantly lower yet.
According to Daniel Hiebert, professor at UBC, Hong Kong’s latest visa scheme is not unique. “There are many places that have these kinds of plans now. It’s becoming more common for countries to work through their diaspora populations as a source of newcomers, particularly countries facing demographic issues (such as a low birth rate),” he says.
One such example is Japan, which has tried to attract second or third generation ethnic Japanese living abroad, especially those living in Latin America. However the scheme has not been entirely successful, mainly because the returning migrants found it difficult to adjust in Japanese society, resulting in many returning back to where they came from.
A similar reason may prevent Canadian-born children of Hong Kong migrants returning. Cultural and language factors, as well a preference for Vancouver’s relaxed and outdoor lifestyle may win out over Hong Kong’s compact, fast-paced lifestyle.
Another factor to consider is the cost of housing in Hong Kong, which happens to be the only city in the world which is less affordable than Vancouver.
However, according to Hiebert, most Canadian-born children of Hong Kong immigrants are on the lookout for opportunities available to them, both in Vancouver and in Hong Kong. “Typically, that group of people still has family networks in Hong Kong. Uncles, aunts, second-cousins, whatever. So they have got places to crash for a while, they can look around and survey the scene,” he said.
“Don’t forget that very large numbers of the Hong Kong diaspora in Vancouver travel back and forth regularly, you’ve got non-stop flights that are quite affordable, even on a student budget…and if you have relatives you can stay with, then life is quite easy, to make that jump over there. Either way, people will very quickly decide whether the pace of Hong Kong and the economy of Hong Kong appeals to them.”
Hiebert believes that even if Hong Kong’s scheme is initially successful in getting their diaspora population to go back, the long-term success of the scheme is far from assured. “Maybe the plan works as intended. But with a highly fluid population you’ve got to worry about retention as well as attraction…these kind of policies are never massive, crashing successes.”
A new reality TV show that documents the lifestyle of ultra-rich Asian – mostly Chinese – girls living in Canada has become wildly popular in China and gained a big fan following all across Asia. The series follows a group of girls who are not shy of flaunting their riches onscreen, and very well documents the new wave of rich Chinese migrants in Canada and their growing influence on Canadian culture and society.
Kevin Li, the creator of the reality show, says he is aware of this ‘new culture’ growing in Vancouver. A second-generation Chinese immigrant himself, Li was born and brought up in a more modest and traditional family, which was much the norm till a few years back. Now however, the new rich of China are causing a cultural shift in Canada, and Li wants to document the change.
Li says that while the characters of his show are wealthy and flamboyant, they are also ambitious and want to make a positive contribution in Canada. The burgeoning middle class in China sees these characters as role models to look up to with lifestyles to aspire for.
British Columbia has had a long history of immigration from China and Hong Kong, and Asian investment has played a key role in shaping the B.C. economy. In the past, Asian immigrants would come to Canada looking for work and opening small businesses. Now however, newcomers to B.C. constitute mostly of rich Chinese, who until recently could buy residency through cash investments. According to Statistics Canada, 37,000 high net worth individuals from China got permanent residency in B.C. between 2005 and 2012. Most of them were rich retirees, businessmen, students and family members of affluent people working in mainland China. Arriving under the Investment Immigration Program, they brought much valuable capital to the country which helped create new jobs and support local businesses.
This surge in immigration has inevitably caused a significant change in demographics, with Richmond now having a 41% Chinese speaking population. Certain places in the suburb even have advertisements in the Chinese language exclusively, causing apprehensions among the locals. Richmond counsellor Alexa Loo calls such advertisements ‘ridiculous’ though she maintains her support for inclusivity and diversity.
Another concern among residents of the region is the rising number of Chinese students at the University of British Columbia. At present, the university has 19,100 students from China, which is more than the combined figures of international students from the US, India, Japan and Korea. “It really is a big worry that they’re not going to be fully integrated and they’re going to be separate,” says Anne Kessler, vice president of University of British Columbia Alma Mater Society. And with the university diverting its limited resources to cater to Chinese students, critics are becoming more vocal with their concern.
Rising prices of property in B.C. is yet another consequence of Chinese immigration, though the issue is not openly discussed. According to a survey, the housing prices in relation to income levels in Vancouver are the second-highest in the world, after Hong Kong. Vancouver’s median house price is recorded at $670,000, whereas the corresponding median household income is only $65,000.
It is widely believed that the rising price of real estate in the province is being caused by a stream of wealthy Chinese buyers who have been lining up to buy exclusive properties in the region, making real estate unaffordable for many local residents. Reports indicate that 74% of the 164 houses valued at more than $3 million in the affluent Westside of Vancouver were purchased by Asians.
Some of the Chinese investors who have made Vancouver their home believe that the province is highly attractive to foreign investors because of its economic and political security. Good schools, milder climate and friendly neighborhoods also add to the charm, and has helped the city make it to the world’s ‘top five’ most livable cities list.
Another big attraction is the low investment risk in Vancouver, which implies that capital invested is ‘safe’ and can be withdrawn quickly, as and when needed. “There are now rich people around the word who are looking for places where they can park some of their cash and feel safe about it. …We’re one of the places where people seem to want to park their cash, and there aren’t many of those places,” says Andy Yan, an urban planner based in Vancouver.
“Vancouver lacks the cultural cachet of Paris or Milan. But it does offer comfort and stability — and a place for the world’s super-rich to park sizeable funds in local real estate as a hedge against risk,” states PwC Canada and the Urban Land Institute in a joint report on real estate trends. The report also confirms that Vancouver’s continuing real estate price rise is due to increasing demand from wealthy foreign buyers, most of who are from China.
Property purchases by Chinese investors sometimes has raised questions about the purpose of these investments and their possible impact on the local economy. For instance, it has been found that 25% of the purchased condominiums in a posh Vancouver neighborhood are unoccupied. These homes are very likely “Plan B” investments by Chinese nationals, but contribute to real estate price rises unnecessarily, making it unaffordable for many people to buy houses or even rent them. But these trends help existing property owners (who get richer with the increasing value of their homes) and also the government, which receives taxes irrespective of whether the taxpayers are residents in the country or not.
The stars of Ultra Rich Asian Girls, however, don’t concern themselves with such mundane issues. And with all of China watching, they can well afford to.
Canada is fast becoming known as the Silicon Valley North as labour shortages in the IT industry and unfavourable policies in the USA confirm. The timing could not be better for qualified IT professionals who are seeking entry to Canada under an immigration employer sponsored work permit or permanent residence program. US immigration troubles may be a boon for Vancouver’s tech sector.
Pablo Guana, a software engineer from Argentina, almost refused a job with Facebook when the company redirected him from Silicon Valley to Vancouver since his US visa application was rejected.
“I will not go to Canada,” was the initial reaction of the 25-year-old. “Twenty degrees below zero, are you crazy?”
South African, Jonathan Hitchcock, 34, was also at the receiving end of the American immigration system. He was disappointed at first that his “dream job” would be shunted to Canada.
Guana and Hitchcock’s struggle demonstrates how immigration reforms in the United States, among other factors, are contributing towards making Vancouver the ‘Silicon Valley North’.
Eventually, the two men decided to give Vancouver a chance and their perspective changed. “One of the reasons (Facebook) does well in Silicon Valley is because all the other companies are in Silicon Valley. Apart from that, Silicon Valley is awful. It’s a terrible, terrible place,” said Hitchcock, eight months after relocating to Vancouver. “Vancouver is a wonderful, beautiful place, and all the companies are here. There’s a thriving tech community here.”
In May 2013, Facebook established its downtown base for new engineering hires. It thereby joined a group of legacy and start-up digital and tech companies like Hootsuite, Electronic Arts, Bench and Mobify, and preceded international heavyweights like Sony Pictures Imageworks, Microsoft, and Amazon.
Facebook points out that the employment of up to 150 people in Vancouver was a result of the obstructive US immigration system that “makes it difficult, and sometimes impossible” to bring talented engineers to its Menlo Park headquarters, south of San Francisco.
“This same immigration issue plays an important role in many other companies’ decisions to open international offices,” said a Facebook spokeswoman. “Canada’s approach to immigration enables companies like Facebook to set up small operations such as this, and we plan to do so in a way that has a positive impact in our temporary home.”
This trend is well known to the federal government who says it will “make no bones” about exploiting it to boost the domestic economy. “We’re seeking very deliberately to benefit from the dysfunctional American immigration system,” said Jason Kenney recently, when asked about a campaign that put up large “Pivot to Canada” billboards in the San Francisco Bay-area, advertising directly to foreign nationals who’d been blocked from obtaining H-1B visas.
The American visa obstacle is just one among a range of competitive advantages that can help transform Vancouver into a world-renowned tech hub, said Ian McKay, CEO of the Vancouver Economic Commission.
Vancouver has lower corporate tax rates than the US, along with appealing personal income tax rates. Also the glistening city of glass towers, waterfront and green spaces has been cited amongst the world’s most liveable.
According to Vancouver Economic Commission, B.C. has more than 600 digital media companies, and employs about 16,000 people, generating $2.3 billion in annual sales.
Business incubators such as GrowLab, a range of job fairs and tech-wizard gatherings are now coming to Vancouver as well.
Sony Picture Imageworks, the visual effects and animation unit of its parent company, is relocating from Los Angeles to Vancouver, mainly due to tax rebates. Jason Dowdeswell, Vancouver-based vice-president of production operations of Sony Picture Imageworks, said that the move, which is slated for April 2015, brings with it 500 new job openings. Less that 20% of the company’s current staff, several hundred already in Vancouver, are Canadian, he said.
“When we talk about the potential for Silicon Valley North, a lot of the pieces to that story are already here. We’re messaging out around the world … that if you want some stability in your passionate work environment, Vancouver is a destination,” he said.
Even with all these new developments, the road to Silicon Valley North is not all paved in gold. Hundreds of jobs were lost last year when Disney closed Pixar Canada’s Vancouver studio in favour of California, and video game maker Electronic Arts shifted some offices to Ontario.
In late July, a panel discussion was hosted by Hootsuite to take a hard look at the challenges. Canada is suffering “a desperate and growing shortage” of computer developers and software engineers, said CEO Ryan Holmes. He lamented a “lost generation”, whereby Silicon Valley has claimed an estimated 350,000 Canadians over recent decades, adding that if Facebook closes its Vancouver office, that “doesn’t help our cause”.
Holmes however is optimistic about the local industry’s future. “While Silicon Valley may enjoy a formidable concentration of capital and talent, it hardly has a monopoly on ambitious ideas and capable entrepreneurs,” he said.
“In a few years’ time, Vancouver will be flush with tech capital and brilliant people will be gunning to build the next Facebook, Twitter and Hootsuite.”
At Immigration.ca, since 1994, we have provided a guiding light to many thousands of persons wishing to immigrate to Canada. We share in the optimism and sincere belief that Canada offers excellent settlement options within a stable environment to those who wish to become a part of its landscape. Under the direction of COLIN R. SINGER, one of Canada’s leading immigration lawyers, recognized by the Government of Canada, we provide tailor made simplified solutions to individual immigrant applicants seeking to relocate to Canada as well as personnel resource managers of Canadian employers intending to hire foreign nationals.
Immigration to Canada serves as the foundation for continued economic growth and which brings people, customs and traditions, rituals and culture to the forefront of current Government policy. Each of the provinces in Canada has authority to implement their own provincial immigration programs (PNP).
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The following is a summary of the top immigration questions and answers our visitors are usually interested in reading about or exploring in more detail:
What are the different immigration options available to me?
There are a number of options available for every person wishing to embrace a better life and future in Canada, some of these Canadian Immigration options are as follows:
- Skilled Worker Immigration: Professionals, Engineers, Lawyers, Information Technology Specials, etc.
- Investor Immigration: Investors, Entrepreneurs, High Networth Individuals, etc.
- Trade Worker Immigration: Heavy/Long Haul Drivers, Welders, Electricians, etc.
- Family Sponsorship: Spouse, common law partners, children, etc. of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
- Canadian Experience Immigration: Individuals with previous work experience in Canada.
How can I start my Canadian immigration process?
There are a number of ways to start your Canadian immigration process, the easiest and best way to ensure that your papers and documents are filled properly to increase your chances to immigrate to Canada is to complete the following steps:
- Find out which immigration category you would like to apply for.
- Fill our immigration Free Online Assessment form to ensure you are eligible to immigrate to Canada
- Follow the steps your immigration.ca immigration advisor will send you after completing your assessment form