The Canadian government this month announced the official launch of the new startup visa program, which is expected to attract more young entrepreneurs to the country.
Starting on April 1, immigrants who are backed by Canadian investors will be able to apply through a special category which, if accepted, grants unconditional permanent residency status. This granting of status is expected to be especially alluring to entrepreneurs who might be attracted to places like Australia or the U.K. where permanent resident status is conditional based upon performance.
“When this thing gets launched, I plan to go down to Silicon Valley with some of the industry associations here and fly the Canadian flag and say to those bright young prospective immigrants, some of whom are going to create massively successful companies in their lifetime, that they can come to Canada through this program and they can get permanent residency here, and have the certainty that this represents and start their businesses in Canada,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney while announcing details of the new stream.
Kenney says that the new program has been met with much enthusiasm amongst Canada’s business community, including support from the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO), Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVC) as well as Canadian Association of Business Incubation (CABI). These organizations are pledging assistance in identifying eligible candidates and investors.
The exact details of the requirements are still not yet public, but the Department of Citizenship and Immigration has shared the basic requirements for language (intermediate proficiency in English or French) and education (at least one year of post-secondary education). More details are expected to become available in the coming months.
Source: Financial Post
The Canadian consulate in Detroit, Michigan has announced this month that it will no longer process temporary resident and work visas.
Though the consulate office is not closing, immigration services will no longer be offered as of this spring. Until now, the office in Detroit was responsible for processing Canadian visas for foreigners who were currently living in the U.S.
“The Harper government is continuing to cut front-line services in communities where they are needed most,” said NDP Member of Parliament Brian Masse, adding that waiting times will be adversely effected by the cuts. “Removing the services offered out of the consulate in this region particularly is short-sighted and ignores the incredible diversity in this region on both sides of the border. Residents and businesses will be negatively impacted.”
Approximately 15 to 16 staff members will be cut from the consulate, as their services will no longer be needed. Some of the affected employees are currently located in Windsor.
The cuts to Detroit’s consulate services come just months after the closure of the visa processing office in Buffalo, New York. Already many applicants have noticed delays and increased waiting times as their files have been transferred to Ottawa.
Those applications that would have gone to Detroit will now also be processed in Ottawa, though they will be submitted and returned electronically, officials say.
Source: Windsor Star
As more Canadian businesses become increasingly reliant upon immigrants to fill their labour needs, they are developing new tools and programs to help newcomers adapt and contribute to the best of their abilities and want to keep doing so for the long term.
Companies like Loblaw, one of the country’s largest grocery store chains, have been implementing tool kits to managers that help them to recruit, hire and train a more diverse group of employees. Hays Canada, a large recruitment firm, recognizes that it is equally important to reach out to newcomers’ families.
“That can be the biggest influencing factor,” says Hays’ president Rowan O’Grady. “If a person comes with a spouse and children, it can be challenging for them. Little things like putting them in touch with other spouses can make a huge difference.”
Ontario-based Brock Solutions, a provider of industrial engineering solutions and services, is considered to be a leader when it comes to integration. The company provides on-site ESL training as well as an international newsletter for its foreign-born staff. Brock Solutions also actively recruits from university and college campuses, many of which are teeming with young, eager and enthusiastic foreign students.
In fact, being foreign even has some advantages in the eyes of many Canadian employers, who see migration as a sign of initiative and adaptability.
“These people come from other places, so we automatically know they’re comfortable sitting on a plane and meeting people,” says Vivienne Ojala, Brock Solutions’ president and CEO. “Also, having people from different cultures can be a plus, since they’re not so hung up about Christmas or other holidays when we need someone out in the field. Having a diverse team can definitely be used to your advantage, as long as everyone is open, shares ideas, and appreciates each other’s differences and values.”
Source: Financial Post
Officials from Canada’s National Association of Career Colleges are concerned over the introduction of new regulations surrounding student visas.
NACC chief executive Serge Buy is uneasy about sending recruitment teams abroad these days because of the lack of clarity on the part of the federal government in terms of new regulations. Buy says that it remains unclear which colleges will and will not be able to bring international students into the country.
The new regulations were announced late last year and are part of a wider government “crackdown” on immigration fraud. Once the changes take effect, which is not expected to occur before January 2014, student visas will only be issued to a pre-designated list of schools and will require verification that the international student is actually registered in a program and attending classes. Furthermore, programs of less than 6 months duration will not qualify.
One major caveat to the new legislation is that it will require cooperation on the part of provincial governments with educational institutions. Provincial governments will be the ones to compile and submit the list of “eligible” schools, but should they drop the ball it will be up to Citizenship and Immigration Canada to decide which schools and programs do and do not qualify.
Furthermore, thus far there has been no mention of career colleges at the federal level says Buy. An official with CIC confirmed that if the provincial governments provide no information, the federal government lacks the access and resources it would need to assess colleges in the private sector, which includes many career colleges.
Officials in Alberta and Saskatchewan say they are already working on compiling their own lists, but Ontario, where about 40 percent of Canada’s career college students are located, is still vague about whether it will be able to produce a list – which could prove difficult particularly in the midst of its struggle to elect a new government.
Approximately 3,000 international students are currently studying at Canadian career colleges, says Buy. Last year Canada issued approximately 98,000 student visas.
Once again in 2012 the province of Alberta boasted the lowest unemployment levels of anywhere across the country. Furthermore, almost a quarter of the jobs created in Canada last year were in Alberta.
Economists are attributing the numbers to Alberta’s strong energy sector, which helped to create 55,000 jobs in 2012 as well as drive the unemployment rate down to 4.5 percent.
“These numbers show Alberta continues to be the best place for employment opportunities in Canada,” said a spokesman for Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education.
Such opportunities have attracted many newcomers to the province and, although the official numbers are not in just yet, most analysts expect Alberta to report record immigration levels for 2012 as well. Over 30,000 people immigrated to the province from another country and another 36,000 moved from elsewhere in Canada.
As a whole, Canada also experienced job growth in 2012, with 201,500 new positions created.
“Canadian employment not only defied expectations in December, it also appears to be defying gravity,” said the Bank of Montreal’s deputy chief economist. “The Canadian labour market finished 2012 in fine fashion, posting solid job gains in four of the last five months, and driving the jobless rate to its lowest ebb in four years.”
Source: Edmonton Journal
The class action lawsuit against the Conservative government over the return of thousands of unprocessed immigration applications is now being argued in Federal Court.
Lawyers are arguing against the government’s decision last year to return approximately 98,000 immigration applications to clear the backlog that had resulted in processing times upwards of eight years. The lawyers, who represent approximately 1,000 of the rejected applicants, say that the move breaches the Charter of Rights.
Government lawyers say that it is within the government’s power to change immigration policy.
“The government is entitled to change the law and control Canada’s immigration program,” said Keith Reimer, an attorney representing the government in the case.
However, lawyers for the applicants say that any policy changes must still uphold the principles of equal and fair treatment for all. They say that the “arbitrary state action” was not applied equally and that changing deadlines only worsened the situation.
Justice Donald Rennie, who is presiding over the case, questioned Reimer as to why the government felt that the new system, which processes applications from a limited number of in-demand occupations much more quickly, is incompatible with the old system.
Applicant lawyers are also saying that the case should be considered under humanitarian grounds.
Source: Toronto Star
Opposition party members are publicly calling on the Conservative government to take action and address the nearly 6 year waiting time for citizenship application processing.
Kevin Lamoureux and Jim Karygiannis, two Liberal Members of Parliament, are asserting that over 300,000 applicants are currently “in limbo,” waiting for a decision on their citizenship application. They are calling for action on the government’s part, calling the situation “dismal.”
However, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration maintains that this is not the case and that most applications, in fact, are processed within 21 months. The Department says that this figure is based on the amount of time taken to process 80 percent of the applications filed between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012.
“The Liberal critics have cherry-picked times from extraordinary cases in which CIC has had to undertake an investigation to determine whether an applicant has satisfied the residency requirements for citizenship,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Citizenship and Immigration. “The current processing times for cases in which residency is not in question are much lower — only a few months higher than those we inherited from the Liberal party — but we are committed to lowering them even further.”
The spokesperson also pointed out that under the previous Liberal government – the party to which the recent critics belong – waiting times for permanent residency and citizenship applications were comparable at 17 months.
Source: Calgary Herald
Officials in B.C. are warning of the economic threat facing the province with not enough workers entering the skilled trades.
Speaking this month at Vancouver Island University the CEO of B.C.’s Industry Training Authority told students that not enough young people are entering the skilled trades and that more should be done by parents and the rest of the community to encourage change. In fact, argues Kevin Evans, for the first time in history the lack of skilled trades workers could be the major factor in deterring B.C.’s economic growth.
“About three-quarters of the jobs in B.C. that will arise between now and 2020 will require some sort of post-secondary education, and about 43 per cent of those jobs will be in the skilled trades,” said Evans. “How we move forward to meet this challenge and that depends on the province’s employers and parents, as well as comprehensive immigration policies and training programs. If we fail, the risks to this province will be severe.”
The ITA is also advocating for more apprenticeship opportunities for young people. The ITA was established in 2004 to help coordinate B.C.’s skilled trades system. The Authority works with employers, employees, and other invested parties to coordinate the recruitment, training and certification of skilled trades in the province.
Evans said that his organization hopes to see skills training begin in elementary school and is working with B.C.’s Ministry of Education to incorporate this element into the curriculum.