Can you guess which country sends Canada the greatest number of foreign workers? Here’s a hint. It’s not the U.S. or Mexico, despite the opportunities for cross-border employment provided by the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The correct answer, according to a recent survey, is the Philippines. In 2009 there were 51,325 Filipinos working in Canada and a good number of them entered the country under the Live-in Caregiver class..
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) recently announced they are consulting with relevant stakeholders about changing various aspects of the Federal Skilled Worker Program. CIC is considering changing the number of points awarded in three of the six selection factors. CIC is also proposing changes to educational requirements and stricter rules for assessing the validity of Canadian job offers. According to CIC, these suggested changes are meant to reflect the current needs of the Canadian economy and enable immigrants to better integrate into the Canadian economy.
Points Changes in Selection Factors
Applicants will still be required to attain at least 67 points out of 100, in addition to meeting eligibility requirements, in order to qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program. CIC is proposing to change the maximum number of points applicants can receive in the following three selection factors: language, age, and work experience. Currently, applicants can receive a maximum of 24 points for their first and second official Canadian language, a maximum of 10 points for age if an applicant is between the ages of 21 and 49, and a maximum of 21 points for paid skilled work experience within the past 10 years.
One proposed change would increase the number of points applicants can receive for a first official Canadian language (English or French) to 20 points, rather than the current 16. CIC is also considering establishing minimum language requirements for certain occupational skill levels. A higher minimum language requirement would be required for applicants with work experience in professional occupations, such as doctors, nurses, and engineers. Applicants with work experience in skilled trades would have a lower minimum language requirement.
CIC is proposing to increase the number of points in the age factor from 10 to a maximum of 12 points. Rather than maximum points being awarded until age 49, the suggested change will only allow applicants to gain maximum age points until the age of 35.
iii. Work Experience
CIC is proposing to lower the maximum points for work experience from 21 to 15 points and increase the years of experience required to obtain maximum points. CIC has noted that foreign work experience is not a strong indicator of success in the Canadian labour market and the additional points would be more beneficial in the language and age factor.
Other proposed changes
In order to make the Federal Skilled Worker Program more accessible to applicants with trade skills, CIC is proposing to reduce the number of years associated with education for those with a trade or non-university certificate. Currently, applicants who have a one year trade diploma must have also completed 13 years of full-time education in order to claim maximum points for that diploma under the education factor. Applicants who have a two year trade diploma must have completed 14 years and those with a three year trade diploma must have completed 15 years of education. If the proposed change is accepted, applicants with trade diplomas would be able to claim maximum points for their education with fewer years of full-time education.
CIC is also considering requiring applicants to prove their credentials are recognized by the appropriate Canadian authorities if their profession is regulated in Canada. For example, engineering is a regulated profession in Canada. Under the proposed change, any applicant who has work experience as an engineer would be required to have their credentials recognized by a Canadian professional licensing body before they submit their application for Canadian permanent residency.
Finally, CIC is proposing to establish clearer regulations for assessing employers and assessing whether a job offer is genuine. The Arranged Employment factor is an important aspect of the Federal Skilled Worker Program and CIC has noted that applicants who have Arranged Employment fare better upon arrival in Canada compared to those who do not have Arranged Employment. There have been numerous cases of fraudulent job offers from employers looking to exploit immigrants for money. With clearer guidelines for assessing job offers and employers, CIC is hoping to deter potential fraud.
Attorney David Cohen warns of a potential challenge with the proposed changes, “CIC will not be giving advanced warning of when these proposed changes will come into effect. If these changes are made to the program, applicants who are over the age of 35 and have lower language proficiency levels could have difficulties qualifying for the Federal Skilled Worker Program. If you qualify now for immigration under the current Federal Skilled Worker Program, you should submit your application as soon as possible as you may not qualify once the changes have been implemented.”
Last month we informed you how to qualify for Canadian permanent residency through the Quebec Skilled Worker Program. This month, we would like to tell you what the province of Quebec has to offer.
Quebec is Canada’s largest province by area and is home to over 7,800,000 people. Its residents account for nearly 25 percent of Canada’s total population. Quebec is the only province whose population is predominately French-speaking, although many Quebec residents can speak multiple languages. Currently, Quebec receives over 45,000 immigrants per year from over 100 countries with the majority of immigrants settling in either Montreal or Quebec City. Despite its large and diverse population, Quebec has some of the lowest crime rates in Canada, making it an ideal destination for families.
The Fundamentals of Living in Quebec
In addition to having some of the most affordable housing costs in Canada, Quebec has one of the most affordable and comprehensive educational systems in North America. Quebec has publicly funded elementary and secondary schools in both French and English. After completing secondary school, Quebec students can attend pre-university or vocational programs through the province’s CEGEP (Collège d’Enseignement Général et Professionel) system, which do not charge tuition fees.
Quebec universities offer world-class education in both English and French. Montreal is home to four sizable universities. In particular, McGill University and L’Université de Montreal are renowned around the world for their scholarship and research programs. Concordia University, Bishop’s University, L’Université de Sherbrooke and L’Université de Laval offer competitive and well-respected educational programs. The average yearly tuition paid by Quebec students is the lowest in Canada, and the province offers a number of generous student aid-programs.
Health care in Quebec, as in the rest of Canada, is universally available to all residents at no cost to the end-user. The Quebec Health Care plan covers the full cost of all necessary medical services for all citizens and permanent residents in Quebec. This coverage includes doctor examinations, medical testing, emergency care, hospital care and emergency dental care.
Quebec also provides assistance for parents with young children. Parents who have children from ages six months to five years can pay only $7.00 a day for day care. In most cases, new mothers are entitled to one year of parental leave from work and new fathers are given five weeks of parental leave from work.
Quebec’s advanced manufacturing sector produces a wide variety of products for export, such as airplanes, air traffic control equipment, software, subway trains, helicopters, and more. Quebec’s agriculture revenue is also considerable, including the production of dairy products, fruits, and vegetables. Montreal is the economic capital of Quebec, home to major international corporations and some of Canada’s most important industries. Montreal and the surrounding area has developed competitive industries in space and aeronautics, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, energy, transportation and finance. While manufacturing remains an important sector for the city’s economy, it is being outpaced by the rapid growth of advanced technology sectors. Montreal has become known for its software and information technology industry, most notably with regards to the entertainment and gaming sectors and Montreal’s advanced industries are quickly becoming world leaders in their fields.
Quebec’s Major Cities
As the political and administrative capital of Quebec, Quebec City welcomes thousands of newcomers each year from all over the world. The Capital Region is home to approximately 670,000 people. Many of the people who work in Quebec City choose to live in one of the many smaller communities that surround the capital, a situation that allows them to experience the best of both worlds.
The majority of the residents of the Quebec City region are employed in the information and service sector. As the provincial capital, government administration is a major employer, as are the region’s universities and colleges. Tourism in Quebec City is a major industry as well, as the area has been recognized by major international organizations for both its history and natural beauty.
As the second largest city in Canada, Montreal attracts a large number of immigrants each year to live and work in the area. Montreal is known as a city of festivals, hosting numerous events each year which attract visitors from all over the world. Among these events, the Just for Laughs comedy festival, Montreal International Jazz Festival and the Canadian Grand Prix are some of those known worldwide.
With extensive parks located throughout the city, Montrealers also enjoy natural beauty and outdoor recreation just a short walk from major business and cultural areas. This combination of qualities makes Montreal one of Canada’s top destinations for immigrants.
Whether you want to study in a world renowned university or want to live in an affordable and culturally vibrant city, the province of Quebec has just what you are looking for.
To learn more about how you can immigrate to Quebec, please see our article on the Quebec Skilled Worker Program.
Last year, Canada accepted 182,322 temporary foreign workers into the country. Nearly 100,000 international students were accepted to study at Canadian schools. International students and temporary foreign workers are ideal candidates for Canadian permanent residency. These individuals have already settled into Canadian society and have established important networks in their communities and their careers. The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) immigration program can help fast-track these students and workers in becoming Canadian permanent residents. >>Read the full article on Canadavisa.com…
The following is a summary of developments concerning Canadian Citizenship and Immigration that took place or were announced over the last few weeks. [Read more…]
Once upon a time, about half a century ago, Canadians felt differently about providing safe haven to people fleeing persecution. I can still remember the excitement that permeated my elementary school classroom as we prepared a mid-year welcome for three new students. They were Hungarian kids, whose parents had fled their homeland in the aftermath of a failed revolution and among them not a word of English was spoken or understood. >>Click here to read the full blog post…
It is quite common for individuals to submit their applications for Canadian permanent residence to the wrong visa office, resulting in the return of the applications without processing. This mistake can be avoided by understanding which visa office is right for your application.
Most applications for Canadian permanent residence are first submitted to an immigration office within Canada and then transferred or submitted to a visa office outside of Canada for final processing and visa issuance. It is usually the responsibility of the applicant to select the correct visa office. Sending an application to an incorrect visa office can cause significant delays, and can also be detrimental to the outcome of your immigration plans as the application will likely be returned without processing.
How do you know which visa office is the correct or appropriate one?
Section 11 of the Immigration Regulations (commonly referred to as R11) specifies which visa office can accept and process an application for permanent residence. According to R11, a visa office can accept a permanent residence application from:
• A citizen of a country that is part of the visa office’s area of responsibility;
• An individual who is currently residing in a country that is part of the visa office’s area of responsibility, as long as that individual was granted legal admission to that country for at least 1 continuous year.
This means that you can always submit a Canadian permanent resident application to the visa office responsible for your country of citizenship, no matter where you are currently living. If you are living in a country that is different from your country of citizenship, the facts relating to how you arrived in that country, whether you had or have a visa or residence permit, and what is your status under that country’s immigration laws will determine whether you can apply to the Canadian visa office responsible for that country. This analysis can be quite complicated.
Here are a few examples that will clarify how the second provision of R11 as noted above is interpreted under Canadian immigration laws:
• You are a Nigerian citizen currently studying at a university in Australia. You arrived just one month ago and your study permit is valid for 3 years. As a citizen of Nigeria, you always have the option of indicating that you want your application processed at the Canadian visa office in Accra, Ghana (which is responsible for processing permanent residence applications from Nigeria). You also have the option of selecting the visa office in Sydney, Australia, because you have been granted legal status in Australia for more than 1 year and you are currently living there. It does not matter that you have not lived in Australia for one year.
• You are a citizen of India who initially entered the United States on an H1-B work permit valid for two years. After your work permit expired, you remained in the US without valid status and never left the country. As usual, you can select the visa office in New Delhi, India for the processing of your application. Given your circumstances, you can also choose the visa office in Buffalo, New York. This is because you were initially granted legal immigration status in the United States for more than 1 year and you never left the country.
• You are Jordanian national who was admitted to the United States on a visitor visa for 6 months. After your visa expired, you left the US for 2 months. You have now come back and again you have been admitted for 6 months on a visitor visa. You cannot have your application for permanent residence processed at the visa office in Buffalo, because you have not been granted 1 year of continuous legal status in the US. You can only choose to have your application processed at the visa office in Damascus, which is responsible for processing applications for Jordanian nationals.
It is important to note that once your file has been accepted by a visa office for processing, it will continue to be processed at that visa office even if you leave the country. This can be a problem if a visa office calls you for an interview and you are not able to return to that country. Failure to attend an interview can result in the refusal of the application. In such a case, visa offices are not obliged to transfer applications. Visa offices will usually only transfer applications to maintain “program integrity.” This usually means that they will only transfer applications when they feel they are unable to effectively evaluate the supporting documents.
R11 can be a complicated issue. Even a small error can result in the return of your application. Sometimes, this can prove fatal to an application, as in the case of an eligible occupation under the Federal Skilled Worker program that reaches its cap limit before you have a chance to resubmit your application. Be sure to verify that you are selecting the correct visa office before submitting your application for Canadian permanent residence!
An aging population combined with a shortage of nurses is a dangerous combination for the Canadian health care sector. The number of practicing nurses is declining worldwide and in Canada, the shortage of nurses is causing longer hospital wait times and a decrease in the quality of service provided.
Canadian nurses themselves are part of the problem. In the province of Quebec alone, over 71,000 nurses are now over the age of 55 and are quickly approaching retirement. Canadian nursing schools are not producing enough graduates to fill the nursing vacancies and because of this shortage, countless nurses are required to work over-time. As Canada is not producing enough nurses, foreign-trained nurses may be the best prescription.
Canadian immigration programs, such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program, target specific occupations that are in high demand in Canada, like Registered and Licensed Practical Nurses. Last June, the Federal Skilled Worker Program was adjusted so that only 1,000 applications would be accepted for each of the 29 eligible occupations. As of December 2010, Registered Nurses had already reached the cap limit.
Attorney David Cohen offers the following advice for nurses, “Although the Registered Nurses occupation has reached its cap limit under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Licensed Practical Nurses still have over 800 spots available. An applicant needs one year of paid work experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse within the past 10 years in order to qualify, even if they are not currently working as a nurse. As well, there are many other immigration programs available for nurses, such as the Quebec Skilled Worker Program and the numerous Provincial Nominee Programs. Nurses can also obtain a work permit for Canada once he/she has a job offer from a Canadian employer.” Many Canadian hospitals are currently in desperate need of nurses. Because of its shortage of nurses, one hospital in Quebec, has recently announced that they respond to any nurse who submits a resumé within 1 hour.
All nurses, including those who are internationally trained, are required to be certified by a provincial regulation body before they are able to practice in Canada. Registered Nurses, except those wishing to practice in Quebec, must also pass the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination. Canada’s Economic Action Plan and the Foreign Credential Recognition Program are working together to assist foreign workers to better integrate into the Canadian workplace. The assessment of foreign credentials and experience is currently being streamlined for 8 priority occupations, including Registered Nurses, meaning their credentials will be evaluated in less time compared to other occupations. The next set of 6 priority occupations will include Licensed Practical Nurses.
If you are a foreign-trained nurse who wants to immigrate to Canada, there has never been a better time to apply.
Quebec is Canada’s largest province in terms of size and is often referred to as “La Belle Province” or the beautiful province in the rest of Canada. Known for its European-style cities, such as Montreal, Quebec is a prime destination for immigrants from all over the world. >>Read the full article on Canadavisa.com…