Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has announced plans for significant reform to Canada’s Citizenship Act.
The changes, which will be tabled at the upcoming session of Parliament, are being touted as the “first comprehensive reform […] in over a generation.” However, they will not, apparently, touch on issues of so-called “birth tourism,” for which the government plans on obtaining more input from the provinces. Birth tourism refers to the phenomenon of expectant mothers coming to Canada to give birth and thus automatically obtaining Canadian citizenship for their babies.
One issue that will be a focus of the latest reforms is the problem of so-called “Lost Canadians,” many of whom have lived in Canada for years and have not been able to qualify for citizenship because of small technicalities.
“Some are children of war brides, some have other complicated circumstances which should never have barred them from citizenship, and we have to fix the legislation,” said Minister Alexander regarding the “Lost Canadians.”
Other expected reforms include longer waiting periods before landed immigrants can gain citizenship status, while also working to reduce waiting times once the application for citizenship has been filed. Current processing times are between two and three years.
The reforms are expected to ease the application process, as well as discourage abuses of citizenship – particularly those applicants who are not living in, nor have any intention of living in Canada.
“[The reform is about] making sure that people who are becoming citizens have really lived here, and have lived here for enough time to really understand what citizenship is about, what the country is about,” said Alexander.
Ottawa-based high-technology corporation Cisco has announced a new deal with the provincial government that will produce about 1,700 new jobs in six years.
The deal, announced last month, is just one more promising news item for Ottawa’s burgeoning technology industry, which also includes the rapidly growing Shopify Inc. and Solantro Semiconductor Corp.
Approximately 90 percent of the country’s telecommunications research is conducted out of the nation’s capital, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the city. Shopify Inc., a popular new e-commerce company, more than doubled its staff last year, with continued projections for growth for this year.
Solantro too, has been boosting prospects in the city. The firm, which manufactures chipsets for small generators, will receive a $4 million investment from the provincial government and nearly double its current staff.
Hundreds of other similar start-ups are undergoing the same type of growth and pushing Ottawa to become one of the top locations for high-tech skilled workers. The new investments from the province will likely spur even more growth.
Cisco and Ontario plan to invest $4 billion over the next ten years or so and expand to 5,000 employees by 2024.
Source: Ottawa Citizen
As Chinese immigrants become one of the most sought out demographics in the world market, private and public stakeholders are upping their efforts to attract them to Canada.
British Columbia remains a top destination for Chinese immigrants, not only because of its proximity to Asia, but also due to its booming economy, quality of life and education opportunities.
Immigration experts, such as Bank of Montreal personal finance advisor Gina Li, are seeing this on a daily basis. Li, who is head of the Chinese portfolio at BMO, is based out of China and sees many high-income clients looking to immigrate to Canada – not only for themselves, but also for their children.
“If you look at the statistics, Forbes said last year that 44.6 per cent of Chinese international students chose North America as a destination,” said Li in a recent interview. “In our experience, Canada and B.C. is a big part of that, and I think B.C. should be very proud of its reputation among our high-end clients in China.”
Li notes that many of the business entrepreneurs interested in Canada, however, may not represent the skilled worker which has been the focus of most of the country’s immigration policies in recent years. Many top businessmen may not be able to speak English, and thus resettlement support and services are crucial in helping them migrate and integrate successfully.
The benefits of Chinese immigration to Canada are plentiful. Not only do they contribute economically, but they also usually bring with them investment dollars and connections to their homeland, one of the fastest growing economies in the world today.
Source: Calgary Herald
Economic experts are predicting good things for the Nova Scotia economy in 2014.
Major offshore projects are just some of the driving economic forces predicted to spur a 13 percent increase in spending within the province. Construction in Halifax will be particularly strong, with $500 million alone being invested in the city’s new convention center.
“Nova Scotia has got good growth next year,” said Patrick Brannon, a research analyst with the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council. “The offshore sector has provided a boost.”
Several large multinationals will continue to invest in provincial projects in the coming years, including oil and gas sector giants BP and Shell, both of which are based out of Europe. Indian firm H-Energy will be another major economic player in the region over the coming year.
The numerous construction projects are expected to bring about $3.4 billion into Nova Scotia, but will also bring numerous jobs to keep up the pace. The energy sector projects are expected to ignite growth in other sectors, particularly the service sector.
Nova Scotia reported strong economic growth in 2013 as well. The continued growth is good news for long-term prospects in the region.
Source: The Chronicle Herald
Canada may soon change visitor requirements for citizens of several closely allied countries.
Citizens of countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and South Korea have for years been free to enter Canada without obtaining permission or visas. However, that could all change in the near future thanks to the 2011 U.S.-Canada border agreement.
The agreement, which was part of a wider U.S. border security initiative in the wake of 9/11, is part of a long-term coordination effort between the two countries that has been slow to get off the ground. Most recently, a proposal to share immigration information between the two nations was tabled, yet little is known about how much is being shared or the effectiveness of the strategy thus far.
The new proposal would require that visitors travelling to Canada by air obtain permission to land before their arrival. American citizens would be exempted. Travellers to the U.S. have already been dealing with similar policies since 2008.
The government description of the policy suggests that it could be effective in identifying and deterring security threats. Officials would pre-screen candidates for links to war crimes, human-rights violations and other rights-related crime.
So far there has been little detail on when or how the new policy might be implemented.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Rejected immigration applicants say that Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker program is confusing and arbitrary when it comes to PhD candidates.
Two years ago Citizenship and Immigration Canada introduced a special PhD candidate stream into Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker immigration program. The stream was intended to attract and retain smart, young, language-proficient immigrants to Canada.
“Doctoral graduates play a unique role in the economy,” said minister of state Gary Goodyear upon announcing the new option. “They drive research, encourage innovation and pass on their knowledge through teaching. And quite simply, Canada needs more of them.”
However, recently rejected PhD candidates say it is unclear to them why their applications were rejected, as they felt they had met all of the necessary requirements to qualify, including having the minimum 67 out of a possible 100 points.
Skilled immigrants are awarded points based on factors such as language, age, education and experience. But applicants must submit acceptable proof of these factors. Sometimes those applying on their own are unable to navigate the complex system.
This was the case for two University of Toronto PhD candidates who believe they submitted the necessary documentation, but were rejected and still do not understand why. Most critically, it appears as though their proof of Canadian education, as well as proof of level of education were the determining factors – despite their current standings in Canada. They also say that they have found inconsistencies among CIC documents stating the requirements.
Though these particular students have said they cannot afford the legal costs of an appeal, they are hoping that raising public awareness will help CIC clarify what, exactly, it expects of PhD stream candidates.
Source: Toronto Star
A new Bank of Canada survey is sparking hope that economic recovery may be on the horizon.
According to the Bank’s fourth quarter survey, released last week, there are “some positive signs” for the economy and projections for future sales growth are “solidly positive.” These positives are related to responses provided by businesses, signalling intent toward more investment and expansion.
However, despite these potentially positive responses, the Bank of Canada has indicated that it has no intention to change interest rates, as many businesses still seem uncertain about the current and future economic environment.
The firms that were surveyed in general anticipated more growth this year than last, and planned to invest in machinery and equipment to address the eventual increase in demand, though competition south of the border has some wary. Over half of the businesses surveyed indicated that they planned to hire new staff, and only 11 percent expected cutbacks.
The Bank of Canada survey was conducted from November to December of 2013 and included 100 respondents from across the country.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Alberta will continue to face labour challenges in the coming year, according to a new report.
The report, compiled and released by Alberta firm Collective Technical Recruitment, predicts that employers in the province will continue to have trouble finding the skilled workers they need, particularly in the oil and gas sector.
The report identifies several key occupations that are expected to see shortages in 2014. They include power engineers, which are the most in-demand occupation in the oilsands, and financial workers.
Alberta is still one of the top growing provinces in Canada, with one of the hottest job markets, despite the recent global recession. The enormous growth has also resulted in a construction worker shortage. With over 800 projects in the works for 2014, construction workers, managers and supervisors will be amongst the most-needed professionals in 2014, according to Collective Technical Recruitment.
Workers have been increasingly migrating to Alberta from both within and outside of Canada, yet employers are still having trouble finding all of the labour the need to keep up with demand.
Source: Huffpost Alberta