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…]
There are no two ways about it. As a group, newer Canadians are getting the short end of the stick. In the next Federal election most of their votes will count for only half as much as the votes of other Canadians. This is entirely due to where they happen to reside. >>Click here to read the full blog post…
This year has brought many changes to various Canadian immigration laws, regulations, and policies. While most changes were made in order to allow more people to immigrate to Canada, other changes were made to limit who could apply under a specific program. The following are some of the more notable changes that were made to immigration programs this year.
Changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Program
On June 26, 2010, Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced that the Government of Canada had amended its current immigration procedures in hopes of reducing the Federal Skilled Worker application backlog and to place greater emphasis on Canada’s economic recovery.
Three major changes were made to the Federal Skilled Worker Program:
1) a change in the occupations that were currently ‘open’ under this program reducing the number from 38 to 29 qualifying occupations,
2) a change in the documentation required for an application under this program, and
3) the creation of a limit on the number of applications which would be considered by Visa Offices.
These new changes did not affect applicants who qualified for Arranged Employment with a full-time permanent job offer from a Canadian employer. The most important change made to this program was the creation of a cap system which affected only skilled workers applying under the qualifying occupation list without a job offer from a Canadian employer. Under the new cap system, the Government of Canada limited the number of applications considered for processing to 20,000 total per year. Within the 20,000 limit, a maximum of 1,000 applications per occupation would be considered. As of November 2010, one occupation, Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management, NOC 1122, had already reached the 1,000 cap and the Registered Nurse occupation, NOC 3152, is quickly approaching the cap as well.
As these changes limited the number of applicants able to qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, applicants have had to explore other avenues of immigration, such as Provincial Nominee Programs, Canadian Experience Class, Business/Investor Programs, and more.
Changes to Provincial Nominee Programs
Two streams in the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program were put on hold this year. Prior to August 23rd, people who were working in the United States on temporary work visas and people who had a close family member living in Alberta were able to apply through Alberta PNP. As of August 23rd, Alberta stopped accepting applications submitted through the Family Stream and the U.S. Visa Holder category. Alberta has not yet announced when the two streams will re-open.
This past May, British Columbia announced changes to its category for international graduates. According to the new changes, students who recently obtained a Master’s and/or Doctorate degree in natural, applied, or health sciences from a British Columbia post-secondary school, were no longer required to have a job offer to qualify for nomination under this program. In addition, students who did have a job offer from an employer in British Columbia could qualify for this program with a degree from any province.
Manitoba announced that changes will be made to their programs in early 2011. Currently, international graduates who wish to apply through Manitoba must have at least 6 months of work experience for a Manitoba employer. Starting in 2011, applicants who graduate from a Manitoba post-secondary educational program of at least two academic years will be able to apply immediately to the Provincial Nominee Program in advance of receiving an offer of employment.
In February, the province of New Brunswick announced that family members of current New Brunswick residents were eligible to apply under the Skilled Worker with Family Support stream if they possessed work skills that are in demand in that province. New Brunswick receives several hundred immigrants each year, and the new changes will allow families to reunite.
Changes were made to the International Student Category in Ontario. Previously, only Ph.D. students were allowed to apply for permanent residency without a job offer. In September, Ontario changed its program to allow graduates from Ontario Master’s programs to also apply for permanent residency without requiring a job offer. This was good news for Ontario students as there are currently 4,600 students in Master’s degree programs in the province.
Prince Edward Island
In April, Minister Allan Campbell had announced that the Prince Edward Island Nominee Program was currently under review. New streams are being assessed and changes to the programs are expected to be announced in 2011.
The province of Quebec introduced a fast-track immigration program for students and temporary workers living in Quebec. Under the Quebec Experience Class, students who had graduated from a recognized, participating Quebec education institution and individuals who had worked in the province for at least 12 months out of the last 24 are now able to qualify in this program.
Applicants who wish to reside in Quebec may also qualify for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program. Applicants must meet certain selection factors, such as training, experience, language proficiency, and more. A job offer or study in Quebec is not required for this program, but may add additional points in the various selection factors.
To find out if you qualify for immigration under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Quebec Skilled Worker Program or Provincial Nominee Programs, please complete a free online eligibility assessment.
The province of Nova Scotia recently announced the introduction of a new stream to their Provincial Nominee Program. Immigrants who have farming experience are now able to apply under the Agri-Food Sector stream. The aim of this new program is to create additional jobs and strengthen the economy of Nova Scotia by attracting skilled immigrants to the province. Currently, Nova Scotia has almost 30% of its land dedicated to agricultural purposes. It is estimated that there is over 1.6 million hectare of land available in Nova Scotia for farming and pasture, which is good news for young farmers wishing to immigrate to Canada.
There are certain criteria that an applicant must meet if he/she wishes to apply under the Agri-Food Sector Stream:
i. Education and language
An applicant must demonstrate that he/she has completed the equivalent to a Canadian high school diploma and have at least 12 years of education. An applicant must also provide evidence that he/she has sufficient English or French language proficiency in order to be employable and functional in Nova Scotia.
ii. Agricultural work experience
At least 3 years of experience in farm ownership, farm management or practical farming experience is required for this stream. An applicant must also provide a detailed agri-business plan. The purpose of this plan is to show that an applicant can evaluate various scenarios that may arise while owning and operating a business and that he/she has adequate knowledge and experience in the chosen area of business.
An applicant is required to have a personal net worth of at least $150,000, of which $100,000 needs to be invested in a new or existing farming business. These investments can be in the form of capital assets, such as machinery or land, or in the form of working capital. A farming business that the applicant wishes to purchase or invest in, must make an annual revenue of at least $10,000.
Once it has been determined that an applicant is qualified under the Agri-Food Stream, he/she will be required to visit Nova Scotia for at least one week (5 working days) to meet with Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture representatives. The purpose of this initial visit is to explore farming venues in the area and to allow the applicant to research what farming opportunities are available to him/her. Additional visits may be required. An interview with a nominee officer will then be required to determine if an applicant may qualify for this program.
After the initial visit is complete and if a nominee officer believes an applicant may qualify for the program, the applicant is required to submit an application for nomination, which is decided by the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration. If the application is approved, a nomination by the Province of Nova Scotia is awarded and the applicant may proceed to apply for a permanent resident visa, issued by the Government of Canada.
To learn more about Nova Scotia and other immigration programs available in the province, please visit the Nova Scotia Nominee Program information page.
Having a job offer from a Canadian employer can be a great way to optimize your chances of obtaining Canadian permanent residency. A genuine job offer may entitle you to a work permit or permanent residency under various Federal and Provincial immigration programs. Both levels of government recognize that individuals are more likely to be successful Canadian permanent residents if they are currently living in Canada, contributing to Canadian society and to the economy, or if they have arranged employment upon their arrival.
The following is a summary of developments concerning Canadian Citizenship and Immigration that took place or were announced over the last few weeks.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, Canada now has around 350,000 regulated nurses across the country. Since 2005, approximately 30,000 nurses joined the Canadian work force. About 75% of those nurses are registered nurses, followed closely by licensed practical nurses, who have experienced the highest growth rate in the nursing workforce. >>Read more….
According to a survey of international schools, Canada was found to have some of the highest performing students in the world. Students from countries such as China, Australia, Finland, Japan, Canada and more were tested on mathematical and reading skills and their knowledge of the sciences. >>Read more…
Over 1,000 new immigrants from China are expected to arrive in Calgary, Alberta in the coming year. Today, there are approximately 75,000 people of Chinese origin settled in Calgary. This influx of Chinese immigrants is strengthening political, cultural, and commercial relations between China and Canada. >>Read more…
Since September 2009, salaries for workers in Saskatchewan have increased by almost 5%, making Saskatchewan the third highest paying province in Canada, after only Ontario and Alberta. >>Read more…
Canadian immigration policy will likely come under considerable scrutiny in 2011. Most political pundits predict that Canadians will be going to the polls next spring to elect a national government and if that happens Canada’s approach towards immigration is certain to come up for debate. >>Click here to read the full blog post…
Why is it that 2 million Quebecers lack access to a family doctor when there are hundreds of qualified foreign trained doctors in Quebec who are unable to practice? The Quebec Human Rights Commission just completed a three-year investigation of this apparent mismatch and recently made its findings known.
According to the report, the culprits for this sad state of affairs are the four professional faculties of medicine, which are responsible for handing out residency positions… the final step in becoming licensed to practice. They have systematically refused to allocate vacant residency positions to foreign-trained doctors even after these doctors had passed an equivalency exam given by the Quebec College of Physicians. In 2007, the year the Commission examined, every single graduate from Quebec’s medical schools was offered a residency. However, only one third of foreign-trained certified doctors were accepted. This means 85 residency positions went vacant while 174 foreign-trained Quebec-certified doctors were left to wonder why they had bothered to immigrate.
The Commission found that prejudice and subjectivity played a part in the decision of the medical faculties and has ordered the Quebec Health Department to ensure that medical faculties fill residency positions with foreign-trained doctors, whose qualifications have been approved by the Quebec College of Physicians.
For the good of all Quebecers, it’s about time.
Last month we informed you that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is publishing the number of complete applications it receives for each open occupation under the Federal Skilled Worker category. Between June 26, 2010 and June 30, 2011, CIC will only accept 20,000 total applications for processing under the Federal Skilled Worker category with a cap of 1,000 applications per open occupation.
The original list contained 29 occupations eligible for immigration purposes under the Federal Skilled Worker category. Currently, Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management (National Occupation Code 1122) is closed to new applications. Registered Nurses (NOC 3152) will likely be the next occupation to close for immigration purposes under Federal Skilled Worker category of Canadian immigration because CIC has received 712 complete applications already to date.
Canadavisa.com has adjusted the data provided to you for each occupation to better illustrate any trends. To view the most current data, click here. This data is verified with CIC every day.
It may be possible to make a rough estimation as to how quickly the cap will be reached based on historical data-the number of applications that had been received one month ago, and one week ago. Although, it is impossible to know with any certainty how long it may be before the cap is reached in any one occupation. That said, if you do qualify, you should not delay in submitting your application.
Of course, the cap of 1,000 per occupation does not apply to any applicant with a permanent, full-time job offer from a Canadian employer.
Attorney David Cohen offers the following advice, “If you don’t qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker program as it stands currently, you should not give up hope. There are many other ways to qualify for Canadian Permanent Residency. You may be eligible under the Quebec Skilled Worker category or through provincial nomination programs.” It is important to note that the provinces, especially the province of Quebec, still believe in the human capital model, in which one’s total background is given greater importance than their experience in a particular occupation.
Click here to find out if you qualify for immigration to Canada.