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Also available is my new eBook, "How To Immigrate To Canada In The Family Class: The Authoritative Guide Including Qu├ębec And Super Visa Opportunities". Get it at Amazon or the other e-retailers noted above.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kenney proposes two-tier asylum process


Immigration Minister Jason Kenney

In a move to pacify conservative critics of the current asylum process, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced a Tory proposal to speed up asylum claims by fast-tracking those applications that are most likely to be denied, and eliminating the option to appeal a denied application by those who are from so-called "safe countries".

In what smacks of a system built to deny claimants the right to a fair hearing, Kenney is claiming this new process will trim the current cycle down from an average of 19-months to just two. Kenny also claims abuse of the current system is the motivation behind this proposal - but critics say that Kenney is using this unsubstantiated position simply as a convenient excuse to push a right wing immigration agenda.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Skilled immigrants: 7 years for processing

The Star reported today that applicants in the Skilled Worker class have swollen to near 600,000 with 327,843 skilled immigrant applications for the 38 approved occupations since March of 2008 and Immigration Canada's latest data states the average processing time from all visa posts is 7 1/2 years.

CIC continues to work out the pre-2008 backlog and have not added enough staff to cope with applications in skilled worker and other classes.

""More applications mean a longer backlog," (Immigration Canada's international director general Renald Gilbert) said, adding over the last four years the federal government more than doubled resources to process temporary foreign worker permits, but increased resources at visa posts abroad by only 7 per cent. Part of the problem is the mismatch between the number of applications and government targets allotted to individual visa posts, said Phil Mooney, president of the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants.

For example, the number of skilled immigrants waiting for visas in Islamabad, Pakistan, is 40,587 but the total number of visas to be granted there in 2010 is only 1,350, according to Kurland's analysis."


Read the article here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Landed immigrants and the right to vote



Interesting article in the Star's "Your City, My City" column regarding landed immigrants and voting rights. While the article makes it clear that non-citizens make a huge contribution to the city (including paying taxes), they are not recognized in the same way and with the same rights that citizens have.

The author, a landed immigrant since 2004, writes, "In an upcoming election where the same old tired complaints of voter apathy, disconnected wards and the lack of new faces among the political elites are loud and true, I can’t help but wonder if that would be mitigated by allowing the strong and active immigrant population to vote for changes that they deserve in the Toronto that they call home."

I can see his point on one hand - but on the other, "citizenship" with its hard-won commitment to the nation, is a reasonable requirement in my mind to instill voting rights. Yes- it's a long process. You have to spend three out of four years resident in Canada. but if you want to impact the nation, then you need to be part of it. A permanent resident has made one level of commitment to the country. A citizen's commitment is a whole other level.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Exploring the changing faces of Toronto

A recent article in the Globe and Mail describes the changes in Toronto's demographic profile, and shares concerns that some have over immigrants who live in ethnic enclaves, integrate poorly, take jobs away from "real Canadians" and so on. This is an interesting article because it takes time to explore both the pros and perceived cons of immigration as well as the burden visible minorities face regarding racism. It's an informative read, and I highly recommend it.

Read Joe Friesen's article here.

View a graphical breakdown of Toronto's racial mix highlighting data from 1961 and 2006, as well as projecting the mix in 2031 here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Allan Thompson provides common law scenario

Star immigration reporter, Allan Thompson, in response to a reader inquiry outlined a strategy for couples to meet the requirements for a "common law" relationship under the CIC requirements for a permanent residence application in the family class. Let me break it down for you (paraphrased):
  1. Your partner enters Canada on a visitors visa (maximum 6-month period)
  2. Extend your partner's visitor visa (6-month extension)
  3. By the end of that period, you will meet the legal requirements for a common-law couple and you will be able to begin the process of sponsoring your partner under the family class from within Canada.
  4. Near the end of the 12 months, your partner should apply at the same time for an extension of his/her temporary resident permit and for permanent residence through the family class.
  5. As long as your partner continues to renew his/her temporary status while awaiting the processing of the permanent residence application, she will not be required to leave Canada.

Read Allan's article here

Monday, March 08, 2010

90 days - a little insight

To those of you who are in this process of family class immigration like my love and I are, here's a little frustrating reality check: We got a letter in December from CIC noting that they wanted to interview us regarding our application. The letter went on to say they would contact us with an interview date. That was 90 days ago. You and I surely could've done this in one fell swoop, right? Send a letter that says, "we want to interview you and your interview is scheduled for the following date." Not the CIC...

I know they are understaffed. I know they are overworked. I know they are a bureaucracy...It doesn't make it any less frustrating.

Nine soft skills no immigrant should be without

Nick Noorani wrote the following article for CanadaImmigrant.ca

"Skilled immigrants often focus on improving technical skills after coming to Canada, and they are shocked when they are told they have “no Canadian experience.” I’ve realized that this albatross around immigrants’ necks is actually a vague way of saying: “You lack the soft skills I am looking for in an employee.”"

Read about the nine soft skills that Nick believes no immigrant should be without here.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

What a wonderful 17 days

The Olympics are over now. It was quite a wonderful time for Vancouver and for Canada. Not only was there a beautiful, positive spirit to the games; not only was the Vancouver Organizing Committee complimented for the general quality of the operations side of things; not only did the people of the host city make the world welcome; but Canada walked away with a record number of Gold Medals earned by any country in any previous Winter Olympics.

I was so proud of my adopted country. I am an American, but of course when it came to the important events (like hockey!), I was all red and white - not a speck of blue.

17 wonderful days passed far too fast. I am having withdrawals now.

I'll get back to immigration news and issues shortly. But for today, I'm still basking in a golden glow. Congratulations, Canada - you did it right.