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!

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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, September 24, 2013

CIC's "Expression of Interest" program - welcome to the dating game


Pick an analogy: The Dating Game, match.com, e-Harmony...The CIC's proposed next step in modifying the economic immigration stream, the "Expression of Interest" program feels like a bad date just waiting to happen.

Here's the CIC explanation:

A major next step in building a fast and flexible immigration system will be the creation of a pool of skilled workers ready to begin employment in Canada, a commitment made in Economic Action Plan 2012.

Inspired by an approach developed by New Zealand – and now also being used in Australia – an Expression of Interest application system is the model the Government of Canada plans to use to create this pool of skilled workers.

Under an Expression of Interest system – or EOI – prospective immigrants fill in an online form indicating their “interest” in coming to a host country as permanent residents. The form can include information that relates to, for example, language proficiency, work experience and assessed education credentials.

Assigned a points score and ranked, these expressions of interest would then be entered into a pool from which candidates that best match a country’s national and regional skills needs can be drawn and invited to submit an immigration application, subject to priority processing.

In effect, the EOI form submitted by a prospective immigrant is not an application itself but only a first stage in the assessment of a potential candidate. Not all candidates who file an expression of interest are invited to apply for a permanent resident visa.

Consultations with provinces, territories and stakeholders on the development of an EOI system for Canada are underway. Of interest to CIC is the potential for a larger role for employers in the immigration program, leveraged through EOI.

As part of ongoing consultations, CIC has held roundtables with employers in a number of cities to discuss how such a system could help meet employer needs. A report on these recent discussions will be available on the consultations section of the CIC website soon.

With the elimination of the Federal Skilled Worker backlog, CIC anticipates being able to move to an EOI system that will: avoid the build-up of inventories and improve processing times; and make the immigration system more responsive to labour market needs and increase the likelihood of skilled immigrants’ success.

So, you're a potential immigrant: you put your name into the program by spending some money on things like proof of language proficiency and credentials (components of the current Skilled Worker program), let the program know your skills, and then? You wait. You wait, passively, until some employer or recruiter spots you out of the thousands of others who will put their names into the pool.

I don't know many economic immigrants who are passive by nature - do you? Was it passive immigrants that settled the prairies? That built the railroads? That mined the coal? That squeezed the tar sands? Will they wait for Canada, or take their skills to a country more willing to accept them?

The government says that they will identify candidates that "best match a country’s national and regional skills needs", but if you think the Tories who are designing this program are going to bring more individuals in who don't have jobs lined up, you haven't been paying attention to the immigration issues in Canada.

So, you're a potential employer: are you going to really shop for a new employee from this pool? Or are you going to use your regular recruitment methods? After the ruthless elimination of the Skilled Worker backlog, the "fast track" will be the standard track for Skilled Worker candidates. As it stands, a job offer in Canada puts you at the head of the queue.

This dating game is stacked in favour of no one. In my opinion, immigrants wont benefit, and employers wont use it. It's a shell game for the uninformed. It gives the impression that economic immigrants will have a better chance at success if they come into the country through it. What do you think the real impact of the program will be?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

UPDATE 2013: Changes to the Skilled Worker program and their relation to my eBook

Since I published my eBook, How To Immigrate To Canada For Skilled Workers: The Authoritative Guide To Federal And Provincial Opportunities in April of 2012, there have been some modest changes to the Federal Skilled Worker program. None of these changes have made the book obsolete - it is as valuable to skilled worker applicants as ever. The adjustments the government has made simply re-balance the program's points system to be more in keeping with studies that show younger applicants, and those with strong language proficiency have the best opportunity to integrate into the Canadian economy. 

There is only ONE new requirement not covered in the book, which is the Educational Credential Assessment. CIC now is requiring applicants to prove  their foreign educational credential is authentic and equivalent to a completed credential in Canada. 

Here's what's changed in the Federal Skilled Worker Program since the publication of my book:

  • There are currently only 24 approved occupation categories  that skilled workers must have experience in, in order to apply (these can change at any time, as the government tries to estimate market demand for these skills).
  • New language proficiency threshold: Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or Niveaux de comp├ętence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) 7 in all four skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) is the new level applicants must achieve.
  • Arranged Employment - Previously, employers have applied for an Arranged Employment Opinion (AEO) from Human Resources Skills Development Canada when they wished to hire a foreign national on a permanent, full-time basis and support their employee’s application for permanent residence through the FSWP. Starting on May 4, 2013, CIC will no longer accept AEOs in support of an FSWP application. Instead, most offers of arranged employment will require a Labour Market Opinion.
  • NEW Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) - Another important change that takes effect on May 4, 2013, is the introduction of the educational credential assessment (ECA). Prospective applicants may start the process of getting an ECA before May 4 if they are planning to submit a foreign educational credential. However, applicants should keep in mind the other program eligibility requirements listed above, i.e. whether they have a qualifying offer of arranged employment or are applying under the PhD stream or eligible occupations stream; and if they meet the minimum language threshold through a designated third-party test. Applicants who have Canadian educational credentials do not need to get an ECA, unless they are also submitting a foreign educational credential in support of their application. You can read more about this new requirement here
Good luck with your Skilled Worker class application!    

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Canada & The United States: Bizarre Borders Part 2 by CGP Grey

This great little video explains the border between Canada and the US in hilarious fashion. Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Preparing for the Canadian citizenship test


In a little over a year, I'll be applying for Canadian citizenship. I'm excited by the possibility of becoming a citizen of my new country, and there is the added benefit that I don't have to give up my US citizenship unless I chose to.

One of the major parts of the application process is the citizenship test. Any individual between 18 and 54 who meets the basic requirements for citizenship has to take this test.

There are lots of ways to prepare for the test, including classes, books, even apps (like in the Google Android Play store). In order to prepare, I have been using two apps that CIC offers. One is the app version of Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. This study guide is offered in many forms, including print and PDF. The app makes the content available, in a primitive way, to smartphones and tablets. I am also using CIC's sample test generator, How Canadian are you , eh? 

Why am I using just the CIC's tools? Simple. It is only the content found in Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship that you will be tested on. Any other material you might learn about will be good for you and your understanding of Canada, but you will only be tested on the content of that study guide.

The guidebook is a challenge. It's poorly written, with fact after fact jammed in one on top of the other. And the test might ask you about any of them, in a number of ways. For instance, here's a fact from the guide:

The Vikings from Iceland who colonized Greenland 1,000 years ago also reached Labrador and the island of Newfoundland. The remains of their settlement, l’Anse aux Meadows, are a World Heritage site.

And that fact could be part of the test in the following ways:
  • What peoples reached Labrador and Newfoundland 1,000 years ago?
  • Which Canadian site is listed as a World Heritage site?
  • Where did the Vikings who reached Labrador and Newfoundland come from?
  •  How many years ago did Vikings first visit Canada?

So, you have to know this material inside and out. That's why I'm only focusing on the CIC materials. If you are taking a class, be sure that they teach from this source as well. It really is the information, the only information, that the test will be based on!

Friday, September 06, 2013

Not being there

You have to understand I love pets. I love dogs and cats. I've raised a few and they are really, as predictable as it sounds, like your own children. My brother's puppy passed away suddenly last night of natural causes. He was almost 14 - and that's a long life for a beautiful, large dog as he was. My last few years in the US, he was like my dog too - a wonderful companion. One of the most difficult things to cope with emotionally when leaving the US was leaving him, and knowing he wouldn't understand why I wasn't there anymore. And now I'm also not there to give my brother the support I wish I could. This too, is part of the immigrant experience, and something that troubles the expatriate mind.