Interview: Kenney aims to reshape and rejuvenate workforce through immigration Read it on Global News: Global News | Jason Kenney aims to reshape and rejuvenate workforce through immigration
Read it on Global News: Global News | Jason Kenney aims to reshape and rejuvenate workforce through immigration
double and thickets of shiny condominium towers forever alter the city’s distinctive skyline.
According to Emporis — a Frankfurt-based research company that tracks multi-story buildings — there were 132 high-rises under construction in Toronto in September, far ahead of the next most-active center, Mexico City with 88, and third-place New York with 86.
Among the reasons, say industry analysts and insiders, is that the Canadian economy was left relatively unscathed by the Wall Street collapse of 2008. The housing market in particular proved resilient, quickly shaking off the ripple effects of the crash south of the border.Earlier this month, U.S.-based Forbes magazine ranked Canada as the best place on the planet to do business. The U.S. came in 10th.
BY ROBERT HILTZ, POSTMEDIA NEWS
OTTAWA — The government is set to change the regulations for immigrants marrying a Canadian in an effort to crack down on marriages of convenience.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Wednesday the plan includes a conditional period to ensure marriages are real to prevent citizenships being handed out fraudulently.
“Someone who gets immediate permanent residency and then it turns out they’re a marriage fraudster becomes extremely difficult to take action against them and remove them because it’s hard to prove in court that they lied when they came in,” Kenney told reporters this week.
Kenney also said the new policies would put a stop to the “revolving door of marriage fraud.” He said there are cases where someone will gain citizenship through marriage, get a divorce and then sponsor another individual for citizenship.
“We’re going to shut the revolving door down by saying you can’t sponsor in someone from abroad as a spouse if you yourself came in as a spouse for at least five years,” he said.
An immigration official said there is no time period set for the conditional period yet, but it is expected to be two years or more.
The policy change has the opposition worried that the government is painting all immigrants coming to Canada via marriage with the same brush.
NDP immigration critic Don Davies said the plan is problematic because divorce rates in North America are so high — about 50 per cent — within the first two to five years.
“The mere fact that a marriage doesn’t work out within two years is not by itself that the marriage wasn’t legitimate,” Davies said. “One could argue that people who do enter into a fraudulent marriage could easily get around this rule by simply staying together for two years.”
He also said the new policies may prevent individuals in an abusive relationship from leaving their spouse because they fear their citizenship would be revoked.
However, an immigration official said there would be an out clause for someone trapped in an abusive relationship. If an individual was found in such a situation, whether through police or other credible means, that person would not have his or her citizenship revoked for failing to complete the required period.
Davies said the government should instead be focusing on preventing people in a fake marriage from ever entering the country. He said the focus should be on adding more investigators overseas, instead of focusing only at home.
Kenney, however, pointed to statistics from Hong Kong that showed overall citizenship applications via marriage had dropped significantly because of investigations.
“We’ve found, for example, a criminal ring that was submitting thousands of fake marriage applications out of southern China through our Hong Kong office and . . . as a result of that investigatory work we ended up rejecting about 50 per cent of the spousal sponsorship applications,” he said.
The immigration official said the number of immigrants through the program fell from 4,596 in 2006 to 1,696 last year — a decrease of 63 per cent.
Those numbers, the official said, also include children immigrating to Canada, mostly through adoptions. The official said there is no evidence there are fraudulent adoptions taking place and the new policy would not address that area.
The Government of Canada will soon be announcing conditional visas for those sponsored under Canada’s Family Class Spousal Sponsorship Program in attempt to curb marriage fraud. There was speculation that this change would be considered, but Canadian officials are now confirming that the conditional visa will be introduced later this year.
Naheed Nenshi became the poster boy for diversity and successful immigration/integration in Canada when he was elected the mayor of Calgary a year ago.
Although his ethnicity and Muslim religion triggered international curiosity, that issue hardly came up during the campaign, he told attendees of a Mississauga Board of Trade (MBOT) breakfast event this morning. He said his single status was raised a lot more.
Nenshi did 34 interviews with national and international media the day after his election about his ethnicity and religion, and he did them because he believed it was important to showcase how successful multiculturalism has become in Canada, especially at a time when political leaders in Britain, Germany and France had all gone on record suggesting that multiculturalism was a failure in their countries.
What makes it work in Calgary, he said, is that the city is a meritocracy where the focus is on what you bring to the table and how hard you’re prepared to work — not where you came from or where you worship.
And, it’s not because of the city’s oil wealth either.
“Many people think the success of Calgary and Alberta is because of ‘luck’ — because we have carbon molecules under our feet,” he said. The oil sands, he points out, are two hours away from Calgary.
Nenshi credits immigrants who have brought their work ethic and skills west for its success. To continue to be successful, whether as cities or a country, what’s needed is to spread Canada’s brand around the world to attract the best and brightest immigrants.
Nenshi describes immigration as “one of the greatest bait-and-switch games in human history,” saying it gives points to would-be immigrants for their education and skills, yet makes it difficult for them to get Canadian accreditation once they arrive.
“That’s a waste of human potential,” he said.
However, change is happening in some sectors; Nenshi admits he was surprised that 70 per cent of engineers accredited in Alberta last year were trained abroad.
Still, more changes in government, more and better ESL programs, and the need for professional bodies to be more open to foreign-born and trained professionals are needed. Above all, he believes the key is the private sector.
Those issues were echoed by other speakers at the MBOT event. Ellen Austin, an HR professional with the Business Development Bank of Canada, said the shortage of skilled workers will only getting worse as the country’s population ages.
Laura Artibello, president and founder of the Mailennium Group, said employers shouldn’t worry about how tough it is to pronounce a potential employee’s name — instead, they should focus on hiring for skills and spirit.