Tag Archive: sponsorship

Strict provincial regulations mean few immigrants to Canada choose Quebec–and more are bidding adieu.

December 15, 2009

Although federal-provincial accords on immigration have proliferated, Quebec was the first Canadian province to set its own immigration policy and is the only one with a non-economic basis for that policy. Yet these advantages do not seem to have served the province well, given that some policy choices appear to have reduced its attractiveness as a destination for migrants.

Immigrant Criteria
The Quebec and Canadian governments share jurisdiction with respect to immigration, but the Quebec government sets its own requirements:

-Selection. Quebec selects immigrants who it deems will adapt well to living in the province.

-Language matters. Crucially, the foundation of Quebec’s immigration regime is language: Quebec wishes to select immigrants who speak French.

-Relative Performance
Over the past decade, approximately 400,000 immigrants have arrived in Quebec. The annual rate has almost doubled during this time and the nature of those immigrating has also changed. Until the 1980s, most immigrants came from Europe, whereas now approximately 40% come from North Africa, particularly Algeria and Morocco.

However, the province’s total represents just 18% of all immigrants to Canada (225,000 immigrants arrive in Canada each year). By contrast, Ontario attracts 52% of all immigrants to Canada, with the majority settling in Toronto.

-Retention Problems
Canada, like the United States, does not require people to officially report changes of address, so it is difficult to measure precisely how many migrants leave Quebec. But distinguished Quebec demographer Jacques Henrinpin has estimated that the province loses 28% of its immigrants within five years, 40% over 10 years and approximately 50% over 20 years.

Quebec also chronically loses non-immigrant residents to other provinces via internal migration. Since 1966, Quebec has lost approximately 30,000 residents annually to English-speaking provinces and welcomed only 16,000 to 17,000 Canadian migrants.

Quebec’s relative attractiveness. Several factors make Quebec less attractive to immigrants than other provinces (particularly Ontario and British Columbia) for immigrants:

-French language schooling. Unless they were educated in English in another province, new immigrants may not send their children to English-speaking state schools. (The relevant law has been struck down by the courts, but the Quebec government has two years to respond.)

-Anti-immigrant rhetoric. Relative to other provinces, political and media commentators are often highly critical of immigrants.

-French returnees. Surprisingly, Quebec also appears to have trouble retaining immigrants from France. According to Quebec’s Ministry of Immigration, every year 3,000 to 4,000 French nationals settle permanently in the province, 7,000 enter on temporary visas and over 5,000 arrive as students. However, there is strong evidence that a substantial number of these migrants leave the province within a relatively brief period of time.

-Credential Recognition
In the public debate on how to improve Quebec’s attractiveness to immigrants, it is often observed that migrants have trouble securing recognition of professional credentials earned overseas. However, this is a chronic problem in all Canadian provinces, so it does not explain relatively low net migration to, or out-migration from, Quebec.

-Key Policy Challenges
Quebec is unlikely ever to overtake Ontario or Western Canada as a favored destination for immigrants. Economic payoffs associated with proficiency in English are higher than French.

However, public policy has not systematically sought to compensate for this drawback by improving the attractiveness of the province in other areas, such as easing restrictions on English school enrolment for new immigrants. Most problematic, Quebec is relatively unattractive to business investors–particularly entrepreneurs, the category of migrants that generate the most wealth for the recipient society. Remedial policy responses are apposite in this latter area.

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Strict provincial regulations mean few immigrants to Canada choose Quebec–and more are bidding adieu.

December 15, 2009

Although federal-provincial accords on immigration have proliferated, Quebec was the first Canadian province to set its own immigration policy and is the only one with a non-economic basis for that policy. Yet these advantages do not seem to have served the province well, given that some policy choices appear to have reduced its attractiveness as a destination for migrants.

Immigrant Criteria
The Quebec and Canadian governments share jurisdiction with respect to immigration, but the Quebec government sets its own requirements:

-Selection. Quebec selects immigrants who it deems will adapt well to living in the province.

-Language matters. Crucially, the foundation of Quebec’s immigration regime is language: Quebec wishes to select immigrants who speak French.

-Relative Performance
Over the past decade, approximately 400,000 immigrants have arrived in Quebec. The annual rate has almost doubled during this time and the nature of those immigrating has also changed. Until the 1980s, most immigrants came from Europe, whereas now approximately 40% come from North Africa, particularly Algeria and Morocco.

However, the province’s total represents just 18% of all immigrants to Canada (225,000 immigrants arrive in Canada each year). By contrast, Ontario attracts 52% of all immigrants to Canada, with the majority settling in Toronto.

-Retention Problems
Canada, like the United States, does not require people to officially report changes of address, so it is difficult to measure precisely how many migrants leave Quebec. But distinguished Quebec demographer Jacques Henrinpin has estimated that the province loses 28% of its immigrants within five years, 40% over 10 years and approximately 50% over 20 years.

Quebec also chronically loses non-immigrant residents to other provinces via internal migration. Since 1966, Quebec has lost approximately 30,000 residents annually to English-speaking provinces and welcomed only 16,000 to 17,000 Canadian migrants.

Quebec’s relative attractiveness. Several factors make Quebec less attractive to immigrants than other provinces (particularly Ontario and British Columbia) for immigrants:

-French language schooling. Unless they were educated in English in another province, new immigrants may not send their children to English-speaking state schools. (The relevant law has been struck down by the courts, but the Quebec government has two years to respond.)

-Anti-immigrant rhetoric. Relative to other provinces, political and media commentators are often highly critical of immigrants.

-French returnees. Surprisingly, Quebec also appears to have trouble retaining immigrants from France. According to Quebec’s Ministry of Immigration, every year 3,000 to 4,000 French nationals settle permanently in the province, 7,000 enter on temporary visas and over 5,000 arrive as students. However, there is strong evidence that a substantial number of these migrants leave the province within a relatively brief period of time.

-Credential Recognition
In the public debate on how to improve Quebec’s attractiveness to immigrants, it is often observed that migrants have trouble securing recognition of professional credentials earned overseas. However, this is a chronic problem in all Canadian provinces, so it does not explain relatively low net migration to, or out-migration from, Quebec.

-Key Policy Challenges
Quebec is unlikely ever to overtake Ontario or Western Canada as a favored destination for immigrants. Economic payoffs associated with proficiency in English are higher than French.

However, public policy has not systematically sought to compensate for this drawback by improving the attractiveness of the province in other areas, such as easing restrictions on English school enrolment for new immigrants. Most problematic, Quebec is relatively unattractive to business investors–particularly entrepreneurs, the category of migrants that generate the most wealth for the recipient society. Remedial policy responses are apposite in this latter area.

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Minister Kenney proposes significant improvements to the Live-in Caregiver Program

December 14, 2009

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today proposed regulations to better protect the rights of live in caregivers and to make it easier for them and their families to obtain permanent residence in Canada. The announcement follows extensive consultations with caregiver groups from across the country, as well as heartfelt testimony before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

The first proposed change to the Live-in Caregiver Program eliminates the requirement for live-in caregivers to undergo a second medical examination when applying to become permanent residents, a change advocated by the late Juana Tejada.

Ms. Tejada developed cancer while working as a live-in caregiver. She was initially denied permanent resident status when she did not pass her second medical examination. It was only through special ministerial intervention that she gained status in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

“Our government fully supports the ‘Juana Tejada Law.’ We propose to implement this change in her honour, to ensure that no one else has to endure this same painful experience,” said Minister Kenney.

Another proposed change will allow live-in caregivers who work overtime to apply for permanent residence sooner. Currently, live-in caregivers must work for two years within the first three years of entry into the program before they can apply for permanent residence in Canada. Unfortunately, events – such as pregnancies or loss of employment – have resulted in some live-in caregivers not meeting the two-year requirement.

Under the new measure, live-in caregivers would be eligible to apply for permanent residence after 3,900 work hours – the equivalent of working a standard work week for two years. Also, a portion of their overtime hours could count toward the work requirement and enable caregivers to apply for permanent residence sooner. Equally important, these changes would also increase the time that live-in caregivers are allowed to complete the work requirement from three to four years.

“These important changes help fulfil Canada’s duty to those who care for our young, our disabled and our elderly,” Minister Kenney said. “The Government of Canada is taking action to protect foreign workers from potential abuse and exploitation.”

The proposed regulations will also require employers of live-in caregivers to pay for:

  • travel costs for live-in caregivers to come to Canada;
  • medical insurance until live-in caregivers become eligible for provincial health coverage; and
  • workplace safety insurance and any recruiting fees owed to third parties.

Under additional administrative changes to the program, employment contracts will have to spell out these employer-paid benefits. They will also have to include clauses clearly outlining job duties, hours of work, overtime and holidays, sick leave, and termination and resignation terms.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will work closely with caregiver groups to improve information packages that live-in caregivers receive before they leave for Canada. CIC will also set up a dedicated live-in caregiver hotline. Emergency processing of work permits and new authorization requests from employers to hire a live-in caregiver will help caregivers when they need to change employers urgently. Live-in caregivers will continue to be able to apply for study permits when they want to take courses longer than six months; they do not need study permits for shorter courses.

Today’s announcement builds on recently proposed regulatory changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Employers found to have provided significantly different wages, working conditions or occupations than they promised may be put on a blacklist making them ineligible to hire a live-in caregiver for two years under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Employers on this blacklist could be identified on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website in order to inform prospective and current temporary foreign workers of ineligible employers.

The Live-in Caregiver Program helps Canadians recruit caregivers to live and work in the homes of those they care for in order to provide child care or support for seniors or people with disabilities. The program facilitates the entry of qualified caregivers into Canada when there is a shortage of Canadians or permanent residents to fill available live-in caregiver positions. Because of Canada’s ageing population, the program is expected to grow in the years ahead. In 2008, Canada admitted 12,878 live-in caregivers.

The proposed changes to the Live-in Caregiver Program will be published in the Canada Gazette on December 19 for a 30-day comment period open to all Canadians. Final regulatory changes will be published after this period.

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Minister Kenney proposes significant improvements to the Live-in Caregiver Program

December 14, 2009

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today proposed regulations to better protect the rights of live in caregivers and to make it easier for them and their families to obtain permanent residence in Canada. The announcement follows extensive consultations with caregiver groups from across the country, as well as heartfelt testimony before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

The first proposed change to the Live-in Caregiver Program eliminates the requirement for live-in caregivers to undergo a second medical examination when applying to become permanent residents, a change advocated by the late Juana Tejada.

Ms. Tejada developed cancer while working as a live-in caregiver. She was initially denied permanent resident status when she did not pass her second medical examination. It was only through special ministerial intervention that she gained status in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

“Our government fully supports the ‘Juana Tejada Law.’ We propose to implement this change in her honour, to ensure that no one else has to endure this same painful experience,” said Minister Kenney.

Another proposed change will allow live-in caregivers who work overtime to apply for permanent residence sooner. Currently, live-in caregivers must work for two years within the first three years of entry into the program before they can apply for permanent residence in Canada. Unfortunately, events – such as pregnancies or loss of employment – have resulted in some live-in caregivers not meeting the two-year requirement.

Under the new measure, live-in caregivers would be eligible to apply for permanent residence after 3,900 work hours – the equivalent of working a standard work week for two years. Also, a portion of their overtime hours could count toward the work requirement and enable caregivers to apply for permanent residence sooner. Equally important, these changes would also increase the time that live-in caregivers are allowed to complete the work requirement from three to four years.

“These important changes help fulfil Canada’s duty to those who care for our young, our disabled and our elderly,” Minister Kenney said. “The Government of Canada is taking action to protect foreign workers from potential abuse and exploitation.”

The proposed regulations will also require employers of live-in caregivers to pay for:

  • travel costs for live-in caregivers to come to Canada;
  • medical insurance until live-in caregivers become eligible for provincial health coverage; and
  • workplace safety insurance and any recruiting fees owed to third parties.

Under additional administrative changes to the program, employment contracts will have to spell out these employer-paid benefits. They will also have to include clauses clearly outlining job duties, hours of work, overtime and holidays, sick leave, and termination and resignation terms.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will work closely with caregiver groups to improve information packages that live-in caregivers receive before they leave for Canada. CIC will also set up a dedicated live-in caregiver hotline. Emergency processing of work permits and new authorization requests from employers to hire a live-in caregiver will help caregivers when they need to change employers urgently. Live-in caregivers will continue to be able to apply for study permits when they want to take courses longer than six months; they do not need study permits for shorter courses.

Today’s announcement builds on recently proposed regulatory changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Employers found to have provided significantly different wages, working conditions or occupations than they promised may be put on a blacklist making them ineligible to hire a live-in caregiver for two years under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Employers on this blacklist could be identified on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website in order to inform prospective and current temporary foreign workers of ineligible employers.

The Live-in Caregiver Program helps Canadians recruit caregivers to live and work in the homes of those they care for in order to provide child care or support for seniors or people with disabilities. The program facilitates the entry of qualified caregivers into Canada when there is a shortage of Canadians or permanent residents to fill available live-in caregiver positions. Because of Canada’s ageing population, the program is expected to grow in the years ahead. In 2008, Canada admitted 12,878 live-in caregivers.

The proposed changes to the Live-in Caregiver Program will be published in the Canada Gazette on December 19 for a 30-day comment period open to all Canadians. Final regulatory changes will be published after this period.

Take our FREE Online Assessment Today!

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Socialize with Abrams & Krochak

Minister Kenney proposes significant improvements to the Live-in Caregiver Program

December 14, 2009

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today proposed regulations to better protect the rights of live in caregivers and to make it easier for them and their families to obtain permanent residence in Canada. The announcement follows extensive consultations with caregiver groups from across the country, as well as heartfelt testimony before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

The first proposed change to the Live-in Caregiver Program eliminates the requirement for live-in caregivers to undergo a second medical examination when applying to become permanent residents, a change advocated by the late Juana Tejada.

Ms. Tejada developed cancer while working as a live-in caregiver. She was initially denied permanent resident status when she did not pass her second medical examination. It was only through special ministerial intervention that she gained status in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

“Our government fully supports the ‘Juana Tejada Law.’ We propose to implement this change in her honour, to ensure that no one else has to endure this same painful experience,” said Minister Kenney.

Another proposed change will allow live-in caregivers who work overtime to apply for permanent residence sooner. Currently, live-in caregivers must work for two years within the first three years of entry into the program before they can apply for permanent residence in Canada. Unfortunately, events – such as pregnancies or loss of employment – have resulted in some live-in caregivers not meeting the two-year requirement.

Under the new measure, live-in caregivers would be eligible to apply for permanent residence after 3,900 work hours – the equivalent of working a standard work week for two years. Also, a portion of their overtime hours could count toward the work requirement and enable caregivers to apply for permanent residence sooner. Equally important, these changes would also increase the time that live-in caregivers are allowed to complete the work requirement from three to four years.

“These important changes help fulfil Canada’s duty to those who care for our young, our disabled and our elderly,” Minister Kenney said. “The Government of Canada is taking action to protect foreign workers from potential abuse and exploitation.”

The proposed regulations will also require employers of live-in caregivers to pay for:

  • travel costs for live-in caregivers to come to Canada;
  • medical insurance until live-in caregivers become eligible for provincial health coverage; and
  • workplace safety insurance and any recruiting fees owed to third parties.

Under additional administrative changes to the program, employment contracts will have to spell out these employer-paid benefits. They will also have to include clauses clearly outlining job duties, hours of work, overtime and holidays, sick leave, and termination and resignation terms.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will work closely with caregiver groups to improve information packages that live-in caregivers receive before they leave for Canada. CIC will also set up a dedicated live-in caregiver hotline. Emergency processing of work permits and new authorization requests from employers to hire a live-in caregiver will help caregivers when they need to change employers urgently. Live-in caregivers will continue to be able to apply for study permits when they want to take courses longer than six months; they do not need study permits for shorter courses.

Today’s announcement builds on recently proposed regulatory changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Employers found to have provided significantly different wages, working conditions or occupations than they promised may be put on a blacklist making them ineligible to hire a live-in caregiver for two years under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Employers on this blacklist could be identified on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website in order to inform prospective and current temporary foreign workers of ineligible employers.

The Live-in Caregiver Program helps Canadians recruit caregivers to live and work in the homes of those they care for in order to provide child care or support for seniors or people with disabilities. The program facilitates the entry of qualified caregivers into Canada when there is a shortage of Canadians or permanent residents to fill available live-in caregiver positions. Because of Canada’s ageing population, the program is expected to grow in the years ahead. In 2008, Canada admitted 12,878 live-in caregivers.

The proposed changes to the Live-in Caregiver Program will be published in the Canada Gazette on December 19 for a 30-day comment period open to all Canadians. Final regulatory changes will be published after this period.

Take our FREE Online Assessment Today!

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Critics press Ottawa for visitor-visa appeals process

November 20, 2009

 

When Panita Chumchantha decided to tie the knot this past September, she wanted her Thai roots represented at her Canadian wedding.

The 31-year-old, who was adopted by a Canadian family years ago, longed to have her biological sister fly over from Thailand for her special day. But the wish went unfulfilled: her sister was denied a visitor visa by Canadian officials in Bangkok.

“They just said she was not a member of my family anymore,” Chumchantha said. “I just wanted her to come for my ceremony, and then they refused it.”

Shocked and frustrated, Chumchantha and her fiance pressed on with the wedding despite the bride’s Thai side being noticeably absent. “I’m really upset about it,” she said. “It’s just one day in my life.”

Such emotional anecdotes are why NDP immigration critic Olivia Chow is pushing Ottawa to put in place an appeals process for those who feel wronged by Canada’s visitor visa system.

“There’s a lot of unfair stories,” said Chow, the MP for the Toronto riding of Trinity-Spadina, who has heard countless tales of family members unable to attend weddings, funerals or births in Canada because a temporary resident visa, or visitor visa, was denied, with no opportunity for recourse.

“For families that cannot come together for those special moments, I think that’s exceedingly cruel.”

Figures from Citizenship and Immigration Canada show about 200,000 applications for temporary resident visas are turned down every year, but there’s no mechanism in place to allow applicants to appeal those decisions – something Chow said she considers an injustice.

She has asked the House of Commons committee on citizenship and immigration to study the issue, and has a private member’s bill in the works which, if passed, would establish an appeals process. She also plans to “continue to apply the pressure on (Citizenship and Immigration Minister) Jason Kenney.”

That push, however, comes at a time when the federal government is aggressively tightening up its refugee system and restricting the number of people seeking asylum in Canada after using temporary visas to enter the country.

“It’s more than just the visitors visa, I think,” said Jeffrey Reitz, a professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in immigration studies.

A proposal like Chow’s, it could be argued, has the potential to open the door to more refugee claims, which may be made once a temporary visa holder lands on Canadian soil, he said.

“It makes sense to me that this should be put forward,” Reitz said. “I don’t know what chance it has of succeeding.”

Would-be refugees whose visa applications are turned down have little recourse beyond resubmitting their application or seeking leave from the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review – a costly and time-consuming process that few have the means to pursue.

In July, Ottawa imposed visa requirements on Mexico in response to a surge in the number of Mexican immigrants claiming refugee status on Canadian soil, which had nearly tripled since 2005. Similar restrictions were also imposed on travellers from the Czech Republic.

At the time, Kenney said more than half the Czech claims were being prematurely abandoned or withdrawn – an indication that many may be making false claims – while only 11 per cent of Mexican claims processed in 2008 were accepted.

The surge in the latter is attributed in part to a bloody drug war that has been raging for years in Mexico.

Canadians wishing to express their support for Chow’s campaign have been doing so by way of Facebook, logging on to the social networking site and urging Ottawa to take action in a group called “Calling for Visitor Visa Fairness.”

Each application is judged on its own merits, said Citizenship and Immigration Canada spokesman Nicolas Fortier. “The onus is really on the applicant to satisfy the visa officer that they’re coming to Canada for temporary purposes.”

Kenney refused to discuss Chow’s proposal for the purposes of this story, but when asked about it during committee hearings last month, he indicated that he’s confident in the ability of those who evaluate visa applications to make accurate assessments.

“People sometimes have a hard time understanding the decisions of visa officers,” he said, “but they often don’t know the particulars of the case in hand.”

Anyone who pays the $75 fee to apply for a visitor visa is entitled to know why they are being turned down, and to appeal the decision, Chow said.

Geography seemed to make a difference, she added. European countries, for instance, have a visitor visa approval rate of about 84 per cent, compared with just 43 per cent for the north Indian city of Chandigarh.

“The refusal rate is very, very uneven.”

Kenney, on the other hand, has insisted repeatedly that no geographic bias exists at Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Instead, he said, high levels of fraud and unscrupulous consultants recommending ways to sneak into the country drive down visa approval rates in certain areas.

Chow’s proposed appeals system would be modelled after systems that exist in the United Kingdom and Australia. In the U.K., applicants can appeal to an independent judicial body at no charge and have their case processed in 28 days.

Chow is also calling for a more transparent process that would require the ministry to provide detailed reasons when visitor visas are rejected.

It all sounds good, but would likely pose some practical challenges to a system that’s already heavily burdened with applications, experts say.

“It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do this, but it would require a significant increase in resources,” said Christopher Worswick, a professor who studies immigration issues at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Worswick recommended an appeal fee that could be refunded if an applicant won their case.

An appeals process would also send the message to officials in embassies overseas that there is an oversight mechanism in place, thus addressing concerns applicants have brought up about biased visa officers operating in certain countries, he added.

“There should be a way to construct a system that’s fair.”

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