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Canada, Australia ranked best places for expats

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Looking to work overseas? Head to Canada, Australia or Thailand, according to an annual global survey which found recession-hit Britain was one of the worst locations to live for expatriates.

The second annual Expat Experience survey, commissioned by HSBC Bank International, revealed that expats in Canada have the best quality of life and found it among the easiest places in the world to integrate with the local population.

Australia and Thailand also came in the top three in the survey of 3,146 people working in 30 different industries and 50 countries, even though Thailand was one of the countries worst-hit by the recession for expats.

“We have seen that there is a distinct trade-off between income and overall quality of life, as many of the top performers … scored toward the bottom of this report’s league table (of the best places to make and save money),” said Betony Taylor, spokeswoman for HSBC Bank International.

“What is clear is that the locations where salaries may not be as high, such as Canada and Australia, are where expats are really enjoying not only an increased quality of life but are also finding it easy to fit in to their new communities.”

Last year Germany, Canada and Spain were the top three countries deemed to have the best lifestyle for expats.

This year Britain was one of the lowest ranked locations when it came to lifestyle after being named as one of the most expensive places for expats with the recession taking its toll.

About 44 percent of expats in Britain are considering returning home, compared with only 15 percent of expats overall.

About 41 percent of expats in Britain find it difficult to find somewhere to live, most find the quality of their accommodation drops after moving to Britain, and a third claim their health has deteriorated since moving there.

“Despite this, the UK does hold the crown for being expat entertainment capital of the world, with over half (58 percent) of expats in the UK saying that the quality of entertainment had increased,” said Taylor.

She added that 62 percent of expats also said that employment prospects were the main reason keeping them in the region.

Results from a different section of the survey, which was conducted by research company FreshMinds, released earlier found Russia was home to the highest proportion of expats earning more than $250,000 with 30 percent of international workers there banking that amount, followed by Hong Kong and Japan.

The lowest-paid expats live in Australia and Belgium with the majority — 63 percent and 61 percent respectively — earning less than $100,000.

© Thomson Reuters 2009
Source: http://www.working.com

Aging workforce, lack of immigration threaten Atlantic region

Financial PostNovember 26, 2009

OTTAWA — All those years of watching the cream of its youth go west for better opportunities has left Atlantic Canada in a bit of a pickle, according to a report by the C.D. Howe Institute.

In a report titled Stress Test: Demographic Pressures and Policy Options in Atlantic Canada, the think-tank says it will take “courage and imaginative approaches” to ride out the storm that looms if the provinces are not able to attract enough immigration to offset the rising costs of dealing with an aging population.

While the quaint, small-town charm of the Atlantic provinces is attractive to tourists, it is less so to the region’s own educated citizens and migrants from other provinces and abroad, the report suggests.

The region’s population is 8.3 per cent rural, according to authors Colin Busby, William B.P. Robson and Pierre-Marcel Desjardins, compared with 2.6 per cent in most of the rest of the country outside of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. While rural areas tend to have a better hold on the people already living there, cities are far more successful at attracting fresh blood.

“The scarcity of population-attracting large urban centres in the region is a sobering fact for those hoping to address Atlantic Canada’s demographic pressures through large inward flows of migrants,” the report says.

“Without large future increases in output per working-age person in the Atlantic provinces, a shrinking workforce — which may be the case as soon as 2010 — will dampen future economic growth,” the authors conclude. They urge an early start to preparations on many fronts — migration, education and skills training, investment and fiscal programs — to make sure the region continues to prosper.

One way to mitigate the future costs of health care would be to establish a Canada Pension Plan-style of pre-funding for health programs, the report suggests.

Governments will have to enact policies to maintain the area’s standard of living, including rules to allow better labour-market participation incentives and labour-force flexibility; promote training to improve skills and literacy; improve the school system to fuel growth and better match graduates’ skills to employers’ needs; attract and retain new migrants in the workforce; and contain rising program costs.

One way to increase workforce participation, the report says, is to remove the regional application of EI benefits, which it says encourage workers to stay in the Atlantic region when they might have better prospects elsewhere and also leads to skills degradation in workers who are unemployed for extended periods. Another is to keep workers on the job longer, perhaps by increasing the CPP entitlements for people who retire later than 65.

Source: Canada.com

Realising its need to have talented people, Canada keen to accept immigrants

Punjab Newsline Network
Thursday, 26 November 2009

LUDHIANA: With aging population and impending labour problem, this year Canada is accepting the highest- ever number of immigrants from across the globe in the past 15 years, said Lt Col BS Sandhu, chairman and managing director of the World Wide Immigration Consultancy Services (WWICS).

Addressing a press conference here, Sandhu said with the introduction of the fast track immigration, the entire procedure had become simpler for the immigrants, who could seek immigration under different categories of skilled worker category, federal investor category and Quebec investor category.

“Realising its need to have young and talented people, the Canadian government has implemented major changes to ease the influx of talented and hard working immigrants,” he added.

Economy in Canada and Australia depend heavily on immigrants to fill the shortfall in its labour market, therefore, applicants falling under the Canada’s 38 priority occupation list and the Australia’s critical skill list are processed on fast-track system and aspiring candidates gets nod within six to 12 months, he added.

Businessmen can easily make it to their dream destination as permanent residencies under the Canadian Federal Investor Programme and the Quebec Investor Programme, without having to worry about clearing IELTS, he added.

With an investment of just Rs 50 lakh, the wannabe immigrants can immigrate through the fast track system within this period. Banks can readily finance the balance money. With just two years business experience and having net worth equivalent to CDN 800,000, businessmen qualify for this opportunity enabling their entire family to immigrate.

Sandhu added that besides providing opportunity to the business class, Canada is an attractive destination for students pursuing quality education.

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Become a Nurse in Canada – Are you a Registered Nurse in Another Country?

By Beverly Hansen OMalley.

Source:http://rinie.info/2009/11/26/become-a-nurse-in-canada-are-you-a-registered-nurse-in-another-country/

Do you want to become a nurse in Canada? Did you graduate and work as a registered nurse in another country? The Canadian immigration doors are open to professionals particularly nurses who want to work in Canada.

Why would you want to become a nurse in Canada?

Providing that the Canadian immigration rules, policies, and working visa requirements are met you must follow the correct procedure to become a nurse in Canada. With the exception of providing proof of language proficiency this procedure is the same for all applicants even those educated in Canada.

Apply for your registration.

Write and Pass the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam

Once all your documentation is reviewed and accepted as “equivalent” you will be given permission to write the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam or the Canadian Registered Practical Nurse Exam. Which exam you write will depend on what type of nursing license you are seeking and what you qualify for. All provinces have separate nursing regulatory bodies for registered nursing and licensed practical nursing except in Ontario where all nurses are under the same regulatory association.

Substantially Equivalent Competency Assessment

The number of internationally educated nurses who want to become a nurse in Canada is increasing every year and there have been some instances where nurses were entering the system unprepared for the real job of aregistered nurse in Canada. Because of the variations in Education for nurses around the globe reviewing educational preparation and documentation turned out to not be a good predictor of success in the workplace in all cases. As a result a new evaluation has emerged called the Substantially Equivalent Competency assessment or SEC.

This is an evaluation that uses both a written test and an observation of your applied clinical skills using simulated nursing situations for the Canadianhealth care system.

The SEC evaluations are being done mostly in the western provinces. You may be required to undergo an SEC if your paperwork is not sufficient to support an equivalent education or experience as would be required of aregistered nurse in Canada. This often happens when a nurse graduated in another country some time ago and has many years of experience but cannot produce the complete educational documentation to support the application.

When your application to write the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam is complete there may be a waiting period because the exam is only offered every four months. However, you may be allowed to work during that time under a temporary nursing license provided all other requirements have been met. You must however, have an employer willing to hire you under a temporary permit and if you do not pass the CanadianRegistered Nurse Exam your temporary permit will be revoked.

Many internationally educated nurses are successful in obtaining their nursing license in Canada and the number of internationally educated nurses working in the Canadian health care system has gone up dramatically since the 1990’s. Between 2000 and 2007 approximately 20% of the candidates who wrote the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam were not educated in Canada.

Your journey to become a nurse in Canada might be lengthy so don’t give up! Being a registered nurse in the Canada health care system means having a secure well paid job that can provide you with challenge and meaning in your life, so it might just be worth it!

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New tool helps match engineers, jobs

Job-seekers itemize skills and experience to be easily accessed by potential employers
Nicholas Keung

Despite being the largest cohort of skilled immigrants to Canada, internationally trained engineers have been locked out of the profession for years – only 15 per cent find work in their field.

On Wednesday, an organization dedicated to helping this group officially launches an online database and search engine designed to match qualified foreign-trained and Canadian graduate engineers with jobs for which they are trained.

The new tool, dubbed Leveraging Global Engineering Skills and funded by the province, has already won the support of Owais Rafiq, vice-president of a Toronto engineering firm.

His DOERS Inc. has hired a dozen internationally trained engineers for contract jobs through a pilot developed by the Toronto-based non-profit organization Council for Access to the Profession of Engineering (CAPE).

“The tool is based on P.Eng. (professional engineering) descriptions. Employers put in what is needed and get a short list. It certainly can help internationally trained engineers get their foot in the door and be confident that their skills are captured accurately,” Rafiq said.

Roughly 12,000 engineers have arrived each year in the past decade, but most cite a lack of Canadian experience and professional networking as barriers to finding work.

“This (database) means that applicants are no longer customizing their resumes to jobs or making hundreds of job applications,” said CAPE executive director Gurmeet Bambrah. “And employers don’t have to wade through thousands of customized resumes to find employees.”

Bambrah said the new tool focuses on narrowing competency and skills descriptions in a thorough checklist used by both employers and job seekers, so “they are on the same page.”

Peggy Pan, an environmental engineer in waste water and sewage treatment, said the standardized job descriptions helped her better describe her skill sets in Canadian engineering terminology.

“I didn’t know what kind of jobs here would match my background. I didn’t know what my experience was relevant to an employer,” said Tan, who came here from China in 2007 and landed a job in the same field in April after participating in the pilot project.

Rafiq said the search engine is user-friendly and turns up a list of the most fitting candidates, while running a skills-gap analysis that identifies a candidate’s missing skills so employers can decide what additional training is needed.

For information, visit http://www.capeinfo.ca/LGEC.php.

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Expats’ Top 10 Choice Of Countries To Live

An HSBC poll of expatriates lists its top 10 countries with the best quality of life.

1. Canada
2. Australia
3. Thailand
4. Singapore
5. Bahrain
6. South Africa
7. France
8. USA
9. Spain
10. Hong Kong

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Saskatchewan set to pass Ontario in wealth stakes

OTTAWA — Saskatchewan will surpass Ontario this year as Canada’s second-wealthiest province as measured by living standards, the result of a recession that has shown no mercy on the country’s industrial heartland, according to an independent analysis issued Tuesday.

Moreover, the report from Dale Orr Economic Insight said Canada’s overall standard of living — or real GDP per capita — will have dropped by a startling 4.3% as a result of the economic crisis, with the bulk of the drop to be recorded this year. The bigger provinces, most notably Alberta and Ontario, sustained the deepest hits, of 6.2% and 5.8% respectively.

Put in context, Canada’s standard of living grew at an average rate of 2.3% for the 24-year period ended 2008, as expansion in output outstripped population growth. A higher standard of living means a better quality and quantity of goods and services available to households.

The findings from Dale Orr, a leading fiscal and economic forecaster, are based on his own predictions for economic and population growth in each province. In an interview, he said the numbers he’s using are close to the Bay Street consensus, such as a 2.4% economic contraction for the country this year.

The analysis is yet another piece of evidence documenting the economic decay Ontario faces. According to Mr. Orr, the one-time manufacturing hot bed has seen its living standards decrease dramatically this decade, to the point at which Saskatchewan is set to overtake Ontario as the No. 2 province in terms of living standards, trailing only Alberta which remains comfortably in first place.

In the mid-1980s, which is as far back as Mr. Orr examined, Ontario’s living standard was 113% of the national average and solidly in the No. 2 spot behind Alberta. But it has stumbled steadily, to roughly 109% at the start of this decade to a projected 103% once the 2009 data are calculated. Living standards in Saskatchewan, meanwhile, will be the equivalent of 104% of the national average as of the end of this year

Mr. Orr said much of Ontario’s precipitous drop has coincided with the Canadian dollar’s surge from the low-US60¢ level to parity with the U.S. currency.

The currency’s appreciation “was harder on Ontario than any other province,” Mr. Orr said, adding he expects the loonie to trade, on average, at par with its U.S. counterpart for most of next year. “What people don’t know is that Ontario’s standard of living had been declining, relative to the Canadian average, well before the start of the decade. It is just the rate of decline has picked up, and got worse with the problems in the auto sector.”

Mr. Orr said big challenges remain for the Ontario economy even though the recession likely came to an end last quarter.

For starters, some of the manufacturing capacity that was shut down during this downturn is unlikely to return. Manufacturers that opt to continue operating will attempt to do so with possibly fewer workers.

And then there’s Ontario bulging budget deficit, which will limit the provincial government’s ability to influence growth.

For its part, Saskatchewan’s ascent is attributed to its natural resources, from oil and natural gas, to potash and wheat. “They have been riding some really winning horses and they have had a good open-for-business climate as well,” Mr. Orr said.

However, he warned commodity prices remain volatile and a sharp pullback could hit Saskatchewan’s living standards.

By Paul Vieira, Financial Post

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Canada best for immigrants, says UNDP

Toronto, Oct 6 (IANS) Canada has been lauded as a role model for the rest of the world for accepting new immigrants.
A new report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) praises Canada for its liberal and fair immigration policies.

Canada accepts more immigrants per capita than any other nation on earth in proportion to its population. With a population of about 34 million, Canada accepts more than 250,000 immigrants each year. They come from more than 150 countries, with India and China topping as the two main sources for immigration.

More than 30,000 Indians enter Canada as new immigrant each year, though it may take them up to six years to get their applications processed in New Delhi.

The UNDP report, which rates Canada as the fourth best country to live in, says immigration has benefited Canada and other wealthy countries as their populations age.

“All Canadians can be proud of what the report says about Canada,” David Morrison, UNDP executive secretary, said here Monday.

He said: “There are one billion people on the move and that number is going to grow as we look to the future. So the report argues that migration is a process to be managed rather than problem to be solved.

“The report really singles out Canada as a model as a receiving country.”

The UNDP official said: “Canada is historically a very open country. It is a country based on immigration to a very great extent. Today, Canada is one of the most open countries to migration in the world and accepts a large number of migrants each year, both on a permanent basis and as temporary workers.

It also accepts a large number, per capita given Canada’s population size, of asylum seekers.”

Citing how many other countries make it difficult for new immigrants to enter, the 217-page report says the cost of moving from Vietnam to Japan is six times the annual income per capita in that country.

“In one in 10 countries, the costs of a passport are about 10 per cent of the money you could expect to make on an annual basis,” the UNDP executive secretary said.

“So just preparing to become a legal migrant can be burdensome, which is why we have so many people migrating through illegal channels,” he added.

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Canada holds on to second place as world’s top country brand

Canada has held on to the number-two spot as the world’s most respected country brand for the second year in row. The ranking comes from the fifth annual Country Brand Index (CBI) by FutureBrand of New York, NY.

“In a challenging year for the global economy, we’re especially pleased with the recognition that Canada’s tourism brand is holding firm in an intensely competitive international tourism marketplace,” said Greg Klassen, CTC senior vice president, Marketing Strategy. “Our travel marketing focuses on enticing travellers with extra-ordinary experiences against a backdrop of vibrant cities and spectacular natural settings. The strategy has market strength and is paying off. We’ve come a long way from an image of moose and mountains.”

After launching the new tourism brand-”Canada. Keep Exploring”-five years ago, Canada leapfrogged from twelfth place in 2006 to sixth place in 2007, and jumped again to achieve the second-ranked spot for the first time in 2008. This year, the United States received a bounce and has earned the coveted spot as the world’s top country brand for the first time, changing places with Australia, which slipped from the premier ranking to number three. Amidst this jostling, Canada’s tourism brand stands strong, resilient and competitive.

Said Klassen, “A country like the United States has a much bigger global footprint than Canada. As we are less well known, our tourism personality, or brand, has to carry more weight to succeed in getting travellers to choose us. This ranking is one way of validating that we’re on the right track.”

In the 28 different categories that the influential CBI uses to determine the Best Country Brand, Canada also ranked among the top five countries in ten of the categories, and ranked first in the categories of: Country You Would Most Like to Live In; Families; Resort and Lodging Options; Political Freedom; Safety.

Other countries making the Top Ten of the global 2009 CBI study include New Zealand, France, and Italy. CBI also identified the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China and Vietnam, respectively, as the top three “rising stars”-those likely to become even more competitive within the next five years.

CBI is a comprehensive study of around 3,000 international business and leisure travellers from nine countries-the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Australia, Japan, Brazil, UAE, Germany and Russia. The CTC has marketing programs in seven of them.

CBI examines how countries are branded and ranked, and identifies emerging global trends in the world’s fastest-growing economic sector-travel and tourism, which accounted for US$944 billion in international tourism receipts in 2008. This year’s index includes rankings and trends, themes in nation building and marketing issues, as well as in-depth analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the Top 10 country brands.

“This acknowledgement of our competitive edge is particularly satisfying as we head into the 2010 Winter Games,” added Klassen. “While the world is captivated, the CTC is executing a well-thought-out strategy to promote Canada’s tourism brand in its global markets. We’ve crafted the script and produced the movie that will inspire travellers to explore Canada because of the 2010 Winter Games-and long after the Olympic flame is extinguished.”

Stealing talent from Uncle Sam

Canada takes aim at skilled immigrants squeezed out by the U.S.

by Charlie Gillis and Colin Campbell on Tuesday, November 10,
Source: Mclean.ca

America’s best friend and oldest trading partner—that’s Canada. Happy member of the world’s largest free trading zone? Sure. But when it comes to the global competition for talent, well, friendship only goes so far. When immigration managers at Canada’s consulate in Los Angeles were asked last year to provide a snapshot of the immigration situation in their region, their tone sounded downright predatory. “Significant numbers of high quality economic class immigrants are being gleaned from this territory,” they wrote in a report obtained by Maclean’s. Most of the workers have been educated at U.S. universities, the document went on, obtaining degrees in valued fields like biomedical research or software engineering. With such talent in short supply in Canada, the pencil pushers in L.A. boasted, “this office regularly engages in promotion and recruitment efforts to exploit this talent.”

Exploiting? Canada? It would seem so—and at Uncle Sam’s expense. As a political war over immigrant workers rages south of the border, Canada has left a key under its mat for those who have been squeezed out and accused in some quarters of stealing high-paid work from native-born Americans. Each year, a wave of foreign-born employees in the U.S. exhausts the sixth and final year of work visas known as H-1Bs—documents created for companies who can’t find homegrown talent to fill certain jobs. But politicians in Congress have for years fought for a cap on the number of new H-1Bs (it now stands at 85,000), which has left thousands of educated, skilled workers out in the cold.

It is these workers Ottawa has been targeting, and its efforts appear to be paying off. During the period from 1998 to 2008, the number of skilled workers coming into the country from the United States more than doubled, from 1,969 to 4,085.

The trend has raised fears among business and political leaders south of the border, who see skilled immigrants as key drivers of economic growth. “The smartest people want to come here and that’s a huge advantage to us,” Microsoft founder Bill Gates told a congressional committee last month. “In a sense, we’re turning them away.” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been calling for an increase in the number of visas, citing Canada, among other countries, as a destination for talent. He points to a study by the National Foundation for American Policy, which found that every time an American technology company requested an H-1B visa position, it added five additional jobs.

In some cases the restrictions have prompted companies to vote with their feet. Microsoft last year opened a 70,000-sq.-foot “development centre” in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond to house 300 workers hailing from more than 40 different countries. Many have “immigration challenges” preventing them from working in the U.S., explains Dennis Pilarinos, a former H-1B visa holder who returned to his native Vancouver to manage the facility. Now, at the sprawling complex, they work on everything from the XBox to Microsoft Office software. The rules have also been a boon for Canadian firms, says Tom Jenkins, executive chairman of Waterloo, Ont.-based Open Text. “It’s left Canada at a competitive advantage for attracting talent.”

Critics wonder whether offices like Microsoft’s represent a long-term gain for Canada. For some U.S. companies, the goal is to create a temporary home for employees before shifting them stateside as soon as possible; others are taking advantage of NAFTA provisions allowing people holding Canadian work permits to do business in both countries. In a practice known as “parking,” employers will place workers in Canadian branch offices, yet have them spend most of their time doing business south of the border.

But Canada’s innate appeal to immigrants often wins out in the end, says Peter Rekai, a Toronto immigration lawyer who has counselled former H-1B holders. “A lot of these workers end up liking things better here, and stay,” he says. “They find that it’s a better climate for them in Vancouver or Toronto—there are bigger [ethnic] communities, it’s more multicultural than where they were in the States.” Nor should Canadians underestimate the sheer demand for skills in certain parts of the country. Alberta, working in conjunction with Immigration Canada, has been running a special program targeting H-1B holders, offering permanent residency to workers with as little as one year’s experience in the U.S. In the past 18 months, it has received thousands of applications and accepted 393 workers—like Carlos Barrios, a civil engineer who jumped at the chance to move his family to Calgary from Houston. Barrios, who is originally from Venezuela, had spent seven years trying to get a green card in the U.S. before “Canada came in and offered me a chance to be a permament resident in less than six months. We love it here.”

That demand could work even more heavily in Canada’s favour as the U.S. economy languishes. This year was the first in several in which all of the H-1B spots made available in the U.S. weren’t filled on the first day (after six months, about 18,000 remain available). In other words, a shortage of work in the U.S., not a shortage of visas, may be driving these U.S. castaways north. Either way, Canada increasingly looks like a net brain-gainer after years of watching its best talent disappear south. The longer Uncle Sam takes to get his house in order, the better it is for us.

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