My eBook, How To Immigrate To Canada For Skilled Workers: The Authoritative Guide To Federal And Provincial Opportunities is available now on Amazon and other online retailers. Get your copy of the essential guide to Skilled Worker class applications today!

For Kindle
For iPad/iPhone
For Nook
For Kobo
For Sony eReader

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.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Update - Passport requested!

Unbelievable. I have become used to the glacial pace of this immigration process, so I wasn't expecting much when I sent of the final installment of my materials to our lawyer in Toronto: the current medical and police records checks required. You know, everything takes time, right? But I guess when prayers are answered, they are answered and less than two weeks after I sent the materials, Buffalo requested my passport and new photos for my visa. MY VISA!!! I'm stupefied. But happy.

Now I had the issue of finding a place to do Canadian visa photos quickly. Sure enough, I found a resource through Google and I wanted to share it with all of you: This site, created by immigration lawyer Colin R. Singer has a discussion group (which I used) where I found just what I was looking for. In the US, Walgreens can create your visa photos - and they are only $10.

So I'm on cloud nine tonight. God is good. It's almost time to change the header here. "Will I make it home to Toronto?" It looks like I will after over four long years!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Two things every immigrant needs

Now I know the title of this blog entry is a bit deceptive...and it's purposefully so. You may have chosen to read it because you're looking for the inside scoop on Canadian immigration, and you're hoping to find a few hints that will assist you in jumping ahead.

Let's assume you've done your homework and you clearly meet the minimum qualifications to apply for immigrant status. Let's assume you have already, or are in the process of carefully gathering the materials that the CIC requests in order to evaluate your application.

Let's assume that if you have a complicated situation, that you have retained assistance with experience in immigration matters that can help you navigate the challenges of the process.

Assuming all that, what are two things that every potential immigrant needs?

The answer? Patience and persistence.

The one question I get asked all the time, and the question I asked all the time (until very recently, believe me), is "How long?" How long does it take to process this, or get an answer to that, or make a determination, or schedule an interview? How long. I can tell you the honest answer: No one knows. Sure, the CIC publishes average wait times for certain of their procedures, but in reality, your situation, my situation - they are not the same. They are different. And isn't it actually comforting in a way that they are. Because they are unique - they take the time they take. That's the way it is.

How do you cope with that waiting, always it seems, waiting? Patience. Like it or not, if you are committed to the immigration process, you have to have it.

Something else you will probably discover is that there are times where it pays to be the squeaky wheel. You know, the one that gets the grease. I can't tell you when you should call your lawyer, or the CIC office, or contact your MP about your application, but I can tell you from experience, that if it is done with tact and at an appropriate interval, it can help move you forward. It makes sense to be persistent in pursuit of your goals. If you communicate this persistence with care, the impression you give is a positive one: that you sincerely care about your application, because you sincerely want to make Canada your home. That's not a bad message to send.

So let me encourage you from experience - be patient, and be persistent. Developing these qualities will go a long way to making the sometimes difficult and complicated immigration process easier to bear.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Visible minorities still face job discrimination

It shouldn't come as a huge surprise that visible minorities in Canada continue to earn less than their white counterparts. While Canada is a country of many cultures and colors, the business leadership and political structures are still predominantly controlled by white males.

According to a report today in The Star:

"Researchers compared earnings of first-generation immigrants of visible minority and Caucasian backgrounds and found that earnings by male newcomers from visible minorities were just 68.7 per cent of those who were white males.

The colour code persisted for second-generation Canadians with similar education and age, though the gap narrowed slightly — with visible minority women making 56.5 cents, up from 48.7 cents in 2000, for every dollar white men earned, while minority men in the same cohort improved by almost 7 cents, to 75.6 cents."

In business, profit has a lot to do with controlling expense. If a business owner can get a visible minority to work for less, they are going to do it. It's not rocket science.

But then there's this...

"What is most troublesome, Block said, is that visible minorities were so under-represented in public administration, where 92 per cent of workers were white. In 2006, 16.2 per cent of Canadians were part of a visible minority group, and that rate is expected to double by 2031.

“We are not talking about workers in hospital or school, but people making government policy,” said Block. “This is a great concern because an important voice wasn’t at the table.”

Read the full article here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Star Special Section: Immigration and Employment

I know, I know - not a lot of commentary lately...just sharing the news. Here's a great bundle of features from our friends at the Toronto Star (my favourite online Toronto news source) featuring:

"Stories of immigrants who have embarked on new careers in Canada, and firms that benefit from their unique skills and experience."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Monday, March 07, 2011

Immigrants still face wage discrepancy: StatsCan

An article in The Star points out that while immigrants in general are keeping pace with the earnings of native Canadians, immigrants of visible minority groups are fairing far worse - in some cases earning up to 20% less than their peers:

“If you put all groups together on average they’re all doing well,” explained Hou (ed: Feng Hou of Stats Canada). But there are some striking disparities, particularly when it comes to income.

“If their parents came from Europe they’re doing particularly well in the labour market,” said Hou.

But the male children of black immigrant parents face a wage gap with lower earnings — about 20 per cent — when compared to children of Canadian born parents, Hou said.

If you directly compare the difference between second-generation Blacks and the children of Canadian born parents in terms of education, where they live and their jobs the wage gap changes to 14 per cent, Hou said.

Read all about it here

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Immigrant services across Toronto take a hit

Funding for immigrant settlement services are taking a hit this year. Read The Star article on the subject here

Board of health wants end to OHIP wait for immigrants

Megan Ogilvie reports in today's Toronto Star:

"Toronto’s Board of Health is urging the provincial government to eliminate the three-month wait newcomers face for access to OHIP.

A report, presented and passed at Tuesday’s board meeting, presses the government to change the Health Insurance Act to make newly landed immigrants eligible for OHIP from day one.

Scrapping the three-month moratorium would protect public health by helping to ensure newcomers get timely diagnoses and treatments for communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis and measles, said Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown.

This is the second time the board has asked the province to eliminate the wait time."

Read the article here