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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Many international students still waiting for visas to study in Canada

The Strathcona Music Building, formerly Royal ...
The Strathcona Music Building, formerly Royal Victoria College. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Macdonald-Stewart Library Building houses ...
The Macdonald-Stewart Library Building houses the Schulich Library of Science and Engineering. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: International Students
English: International Students (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Just days before thousands of students around the world are set to leave home to begin earning a Canadian education, some still don’t know whether they will be allowed into Canada in time to start school.
An ongoing strike by the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) has caused a backlog in processing visas of all types, including those required for international students landing at Canadian colleges and universities. The rate of visa approvals has dropped by 15 per cent, and there has been a 5 per cent decline in requests for visas, a PAFSO representative said.
The hold-ups are bad timing for Canadian schools making a co-ordinated push to raise the country’s profile as a destination for top foreign students. A federally commissioned panel has set the goal of doubling Canada’s international enrolments by 2022, but higher education officials fear the headaches over visa delays are doing harm to Canada’s reputation, and that could have lasting consequences. Each international student kept out of Canada represents a dent in a school’s bottom line. Foreign undergraduates bring important revenue to universities, paying an average of $18,641 in tuition and fees annually, and international students spent an estimated $7.7-billion in 2012.
“It is potentially a very serious issue,” said Gail Bowkett, director of international relations for the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “Perception is key, and if a perception starts spreading that Canada’s difficult to get into, then that really could damage our brand.”
After being admitted to McGill University, Sara Awad, 18, put in her visa application in mid-July through an agent in her hometown of Cairo, Egypt. She was stunned to learn it would take six to seven weeks – she was supposed to be on campus by then.
“My friends who are going to the U.S., they got their visa in three days, or even people going to France, they got it in 10 days,” despite the political turmoil that has engulfed Egypt, she said. “It was a bit difficult.”
Ms. Awad worried she might not make it to McGill in time, and considered the American University in Cairo as a backup plan. Luckily, her father had a contact in Cairo’s Canadian embassy whom he pressed for help, securing her a visa just last week. She is relieved, but will still arrive late in Montreal, and “will miss some parts of the orientation week,” she said.
Many higher education officials had predicted the backlog would be much worse. “So far, it’s not as bad as I thought,” said Ysaac Rodriguez, manager of international student services at Saint Mary’s University, where 26 per cent of students come from abroad – the highest proportion of any Canadian university.
Most colleges and universities are hearing from small numbers of students whose visas are yet to be processed, and who are starting to worry. Mr. Rodriguez has had a few such conversations, and wouldn’t be surprised if he winds up 50 students short at the school’s September orientation. At the University of Waterloo, about 15 students have voiced concerns, while about 20 others have told the University of Calgary they are anxiously awaiting visas.
“We think [the number of affected students is] a bit bigger than that 20, but until a little closer to September, when they’re needing to get on the airplane, we’re not entirely sure,” U of C registrar David Johnston said.
The Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) was one of several groups to huddle with government and foreign-service union officials, making their concern known. “As we get closer and closer, if [a student] hasn’t received word from Canada about a visa and they’ve got an acceptance to another country – an Australia or a Germany or so forth – then they may go for that option,” ACCC spokesman Shawn Dearn said.
However, the ACCC was assured student requests have been prioritized where possible. Students fearing they won’t get their visa in time “may also submit a letter from an educational institution indicating that the institution would accept a late arrival, specifying until when,” Citizen and Immigration Canada spokesperson Julie Lafortune said in an e-mail.
In response, most schools have given international students a grace period – often until the first week of classes finishes in mid-September – through which they will hold spaces and residence rooms. “We are expecting late arrivals,” said Virginia Macchiavello, director of international development at Centennial College in Toronto, which had 5,000 international students last year. “We will provide support services to catch them up.”
For those who can’t make it soon enough, schools are recommending deferrals until next semester, or even next fall, and crossing their fingers the students don’t go elsewhere instead.
“The worst thing that could happen is that they arrive [too late] and then fall behind,” Mr. Johnston said.
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Canada welcomes first immigrants under new Federal Skilled Trades Program

Calgary is the largest metropolis in the Calga...
Calgary is the largest metropolis in the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor and in the province of Alberta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Toronto, August 16, 2013 — Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today officially welcomed one of the first permanent residents under the new Federal Skilled Trades Program: Eric Byrne, originally from Ireland.
Our Government remains focused on job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity,” said Alexander. “The new Federal Skilled Trades Program enables us to attract and retain skilled workers—like Eric—so we can address regional labour shortages and strengthen Canada’s economy. It gives me great pleasure to personally welcome one of Canada’s first successful immigrants through our Skilled Trades stream.
Eric Byrne received his Ontario trades certificate of qualification in May 2012 and currently works as a plumber for University Plumbing and Heating. He first arrived in Canada through the International Experience Canada program, which provides opportunities for international youth between the ages of 18 and 35 to travel and work in Canada. 
Canada is a great country and the people here have been exceptionally warm and welcoming,” said Eric Byrne. “I am very pleased that I qualified for the Federal Skilled Trades Program as it recognizes the value of my skill set and has allowed me to stay in Canada and integrate seamlessly into my new status as a permanent resident.
At the same time today in Calgary, Employment and Social Development Minister Jason Kenney welcomed another successful applicant of the Federal Skilled Trades Program. New permanent resident Paul Lyttle has been working as an electrician for Calgary-based Unitech Electrical Contracting Inc. since June 2012.
The new Federal Skilled Trades Program is a significant improvement to Canada’s immigration system which, for too long, had not been open to in-demand skilled workers,” said Minister Kenney. “Immigrants like Paul are set for success and I am pleased that this new Program will enable him, and others like him, to contribute skills to our economy on a permanent basis.
Relocating to Canada was the right decision for me, both personally and professionally,” said Paul Lyttle. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to stay here in Canada permanently and can now start making long-term plans.
To date, successful applicants under the Federal Skilled Trades Program have originated from different countries including India, Lithuania, Latvia and Germany, in addition to Ireland.
The Government of Canada launched the Federal Skilled Trades Program in January 2013 to facilitate the immigration of skilled tradespeople who meet Canada’s current and evolving economic needs. Skilled tradespeople are assessed on relevant criteria, such as language ability, practical training and work experience rather than formal academic education. The Program was also created in response to requests from Canadian employers for skilled workers to fill labour shortages, particularly in the natural resources and construction sectors. In order to attract and retain qualified, in-demand candidates, the goal is to process applications as quickly as possible. Eric Byrne’s application was processed in only three months, while Paul Lyttle’s was finalized in four months.
From an industry perspective, we are elated that the first ones of what we hope will be many new skilled trade professionals have been admitted to Canada under the Federal Skilled Trades Program,” said Mr. Michael Atkinson, President of the Canadian Construction Association. “This new Program responds directly to industry requests for a faster and more effective immigration program focused specifically on skilled trade professionals who are in short supply across Canada.
The Federal Skilled Trades Program, along with other recent transformational changes to economic immigration programs, supports Economic Action Plan 2013 by building a fast and flexible immigration system focused on Canada’s economic and labour market needs.
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Employment and Social Development Canada announces further changes to the LMO process –

Happy Canada Day!
Happy Canada Day! (Photo credit: Ian Muttoo)
As previously discussed, on April 29, 2013, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (“HRSDC”) and the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism announced that they would be introducing numerous changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP”). Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”), formerly known as HRSDC, has now announced changes to the Labour Market Opinion (“LMO”) application process, which are effective as of July 31, 2013. Each of these changes is described below.
LMO application fee
Effective July 31, 2013, employers who submit LMO applications on behalf of Temporary Foreign Workers (“TFWs”) will be required to pay a processing fee of $275.00CAD for each position requested; prior to this date, no fee applied to the filing of an LMO application. However, this LMO processing fee will not apply to positions under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (“SAWP”), the Agriculture Stream, or on-farm primary agricultural positions listed under National Occupational Classification (“NOC”) Codes 8251, 8252, 8253, 8254, 8256, 8431, 8432 and 8611.
Employers must now complete the LMO application and the processing fee payment form, and submit both items along with the required processing fee payment. The total payment must reflect the number of TFW positions requested on the LMO application. The processing fee payment (in Canadian dollars) can be made by:
  • Certified cheque (payable to the Receiver General for Canada);
  • Money order (postal or bank)
  • Visa;
  • MasterCard; or
  • American Express.
Employers and third-party representatives may not attempt to recover the LMO processing fees from the TFWs who are the beneficiaries of the LMO application.
ESDC must receive the entire processing fee along with the required documents before it will assess the employer’s LMO application. LMO applications received prior to July 31, 2013 will not be subject to the new processing fee. However, applications received with a postmark dated July 31, 2013 (or later) without the processing fee will not be assessed.
There will be no refund in the event of a negative LMO or if the application is withdrawn or cancelled since the fee covers the process to assess an application and not the outcome. Refunds will only be available if a fee was collected in error (i.e. an incorrect fee amount was processed).
Language restrictions
Effective July 31, 2013, amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (SOR/2002-227) came into force. As a result of these amendments, English and French are now the only languages that can be identified as a job requirement, both in LMO requests and in advertisements by employers applying to hire TFWs, unless employers can demonstrate that another language is essential for the job. However, the language restriction does not apply to positions under the SAWP, the Agriculture Stream, or on-farm primary agricultural positions listed under NOC Codes 8251, 8252, 8253, 8254, 8256, 8431, 8432 and 8611.
Advertising requirements are the primary mechanism used to ensure that Canadians are aware of employment opportunities and the language restriction will help ensure that Canadians are given every opportunity to apply for available jobs. The onus will be on employers to demonstrate that a language other than French or English is an essential requirement of the job.
Employers advertising a job for a position that legitimately requires a language other than English or French must clearly demonstrate, in writing, that the language requested is consistent with the regular activities of the job (i.e. a translation company hiring a translator to work in a language other than English or French, or a tour company catering to foreign tourists only in a non-official language).
ESDC staff will assess the employer’s rationale for requesting a language other than English or French in relation to the occupation and information included in the LMO application. It will issue a negative LMO if the rationale does not demonstrate that the requested non-official language is an essential requirement of the job.
New advertising requirements
As of July 31, 2013, ESDC has increased the minimum recruitment requirements that employers will need to follow when submitting an LMO application. However, the new advertising requirements will not apply to:
  • The Live-in Caregiver Program;
  • Positions related to on-farm primary agriculture (specifically under NOC Codes 8251, 8252, 8253, 8254, 8256, 8431, 8432 and 8611);
  • The SAWP; or
  • The Agricultural Stream.
Employers must advertise available positions in Canada for at least four weeks before applying for an LMO; this requirement applies to all advertising methods. Previously, employers were only required to advertise for two weeks during the three months prior to the filing of the LMO application. In addition, for NOC 0 and A occupations, employers were permitted to conduct similar recruitment activities consistent with the practice within the occupation (with no minimum period specified), instead of advertising the position in the national Job Bank; the two week advertising period only applied if the employer chose to advertise in the national Job Bank.
Higher-skilled occupations
Under the new requirements, employers seeking to hire a TFW in a higher-skilled occupation (NOC 0, A, or B) must advertise:
  • On the national Job Bank or its provincial/territorial counterpart in British ColumbiaSaskatchewan, the Northwest TerritoriesQuebec or Newfoundland and Labrador:
    1. The advertisement must be posted for a minimum of four weeks starting from the first day the ad appears and is accessible to the general public.
    2. The advertisement must remain posted to actively seek qualified Canadians and permanent residents until the date that an LMO is issued.
  • Using two or more additional methods of recruitment consistent with the normal practice for the occupation:
    1. As a minimum, employers must choose one method that is national in scope, since people in higher-skilled positions are often mobile and willing to re-locate for work; and
    2. Employers can choose one or more recruitment methods among these: (i) print media (national or provincial/territorial newspapers, national journals, magazines with national coverage, specialized journals, professional associations magazines, newsletters, etc.); (ii) general employment websites (i.e. canadastop100.com, vault.com, workopolis.com, monster.ca, etc.); and (iii) specialized websites dedicated to specific occupation profiles (i.e. accounting, marketing, biotechnology, education, engineering, etc.).
    3. The advertisement must be posted for a minimum of four weeks starting from the first day the ad appears and is accessible to the general public.
Lower-skilled occupations
Under the new requirements, employers seeking to hire a TFW in a lower-skilled occupation (NOC C or D) must advertise:
  • On the national Job Bank or its provincial/territorial counterpart in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, Quebec or Newfoundland and Labrador:
    1. The advertisement must be posted for a minimum of four weeks starting from the first day the ad appears and is accessible to the general public.
    2. The advertisement must remain posted to actively seek qualified Canadians and permanent residents until the date that an LMO is issued.
  • Using two or more additional methods of recruitment consistent with the normal practice for the occupation:
    1. Employers can choose 1 or more recruitment methods among these: (i) print media (local newspapers, job boards, youth magazines etc.); and (ii) general employment websites (jobboom.com, workopolis.com, monster.ca, etc.).
    2. The advertisement must be posted for a minimum of four weeks starting from the first day the ad appears and is accessible to the general public.
  • Targeting underrepresented groups:
    1. Employers can: (i) try to recruit workers from local or provincial/territorial employment centres, service centres for Aboriginal youth, new immigrants and people with disabilities; (ii) offer bursaries to attract students or youth, pursue online recruitment strategies, or undertake ongoing advertising and interviews in order to maintain a pre-screened applicant pool.
Content of advertisement
The advertisement must include the following information:
  • Company operating name;
  • Business address;
  • Title of position;
  • Job duties (for each position, if advertising more than one vacancy);
  • Terms of employment (e.g. project based, permanent position);
  • Wage (refer to Wages, Working Conditions and Occupations tab to determine the established rate for the specific occupation and geographic area);
  • Benefits package being offered (if applicable);
  • Location of work (local area, city or town);
  • Contact information (telephone number, cell phone number, email address, fax number, or mailing address); and
  • Skills requirements:
    1. Education; and
    2. Work experience
Third-party representatives or recruiters can be the main contact for any job advertisements posted on behalf of the employer. However, the ad must be listed under the employer’s Canada Revenue Agency Business Number.
Proof of advertisement
Employers will be required to demonstrate that they meet the advertising requirements by providing proof of advertisement and the results of their efforts to recruit Canadian citizens and permanent residents (i.e. a copy of advertisement and information to support where, when and for how long the position was advertised). Records of the employers’ efforts should be kept for a minimum of 6 years. ESDC may request these documents in connection with future assessments.
New LMO application form
As of July 31, 2013, the new LMO application form includes additional questions that must be answered by the employer. These questions were added to help ensure that the TFWP is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs.
Henry J. Chang
Blaney McMurtry LLP

– See more at: http://blog.firstreference.com/2013/08/14/employment-and-social-development-canada-announces-further-changes-to-the-lmo-process/#sthash.gEpOcPC0.dpuf

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Nurses in High Demand throughout Canada

English: Two nurses with baby in nursery at To...
English: Two nurses with baby in nursery at Toronto East General and Orthopaedic Hospital, Toronto, ON (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There is currently a high demand for nurses throughout Canada. A recent immigration change has again made it possible for nurses to immigrate to Canada without a job offer. On August 1st 2013 Canada’s Province of Quebec announced important changes to its popular Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) program, which results in a Canadian Permanent Residency Visa. Under the revised QSW program, nurses will receive even more points than previously for their education/area of training.
“If you are a nurse, now is the time to seize the opportunity and apply for immigration to Canada,” said Attorney David Cohen. “Nurses in Canada have a bright future with a welcoming job market, high salaries and of course an exceptional quality of life.”
Nursing in Quebec
Quebec is home to rapidly expanding healthcare services. This includes the construction of two large hospital complexes in Montreal, which are expected to be completed in 2015 and 2016.
The province has taken measures to ensure that it continues to grow its nurse population. The QSW program, which is the main source of economic immigration to Quebec, recently reworked its points system in a way that favours nurses. Nursing professionals may now earn 16 points towards their overall QSW point requirement, up from 12 points before. This represents the highest possible amount of points that can be awarded for any area of training/field of study.
This increase in points is significant. Quebec usually places a high emphasis on French language skills for individuals looking to immigrate. However, many nursing applicants will not necessarily need to learn French in order to receive enough points to immigrate under the QSW program, thanks to the amount of points they will receive for their professional background.
Nurses in Quebec can receive an average salary ranging between $50,000 and $60,000 a year. Due to nursing shortages throughout the province, there are many opportunities to earn even more than this. One article from April 2013 described a nurse earning an impressive $315,000 through overtime work and benefits.
Successful applicants to the QSW program receive Canadian Permanent Residency. Applicants immigrating as Quebec Skilled Workers should have a genuine intention of settling in the Province of Quebec. Once a Permanent Resident arrives in Canada, the Canadian Constitution grants all permanent residents and citizens the right and freedom to live and work in any of Canada’s provinces or territories.
The Canadian Nurses Associations predicts that a staggering 60,000 nurses will be needed by 2022 in order to fill labour shortages. Nurses are highly sought after throughout the country, in both urban and rural areas.
Registered nurses may work in a wide range of capacities, all of which are needed in Canada. These include:
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nurse researchers
  • Specialized nurses (burn patient, dialysis, cardiology, neurology)
  • Nurse instructors
  • Psychiatric nurses
  • Nurse technicians
  • And more
According to the government, nurses make on average $51,000/year. However, according to the Ontario Nurse’s Association, a career nurse in the province can make over $80,000. Nurses who go on to management positions in their field may top even this, with payscale.com showing clinical nursing manager salaries in Canada at over $105,000.
“Nurses are critical to ensuring the health of Canada’s population,” said Attorney Cohen. “There is no question that for their work, Canadians are willing to pay top dollar.”
In addition to the QSW, nurses may be eligible for immigration through a number of Provincial Nomination Programs. If you are a nurse and interested in immigrating to Canada, please fill out a free online assessment today to learn about your options.
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Canada bans adoption of Pakistani children

Map of Pakistan
Map of Pakistan (Photo credit: Omer Wazir)

Canada has stopped adoptions from Pakistan citing incompatibilities with the Islamic law over adoption and guardianship. 

A Greater Toronto Area resident Shafiq Rehman said he was “shocked and depressed” over the new policy to restrict adoptions from Pakistan, saying he and his wife, Rehmat Jahan were hoping to adopt a Pakistani child Shafiq and his wife started the adoption process in 2011. They received an approval letter in June 2013 from the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services confirming them as suitable candidates.

.However, on July 2 Ottawa announced that it had to stop accepting adoptions from Pakistan. The issue, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, is the Islamic practice of ‘kafala’ or guardianship which is common in most of the world’s 49 Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan. Many other countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States have raised no issue about ‘kafala’ and are still open to adoptions from Pakistan.

 Canada has, in some or all provinces, suspended adoptions from Cambodia, Georgia, Guatemala, Liberia, Nepal and Haiti for various reasons. However, Pakistan is the only country banned on the basis of ‘kafala’. Immigration spokesman Glenn Johnson said Canadian families seeking to adopt Pakistani children are required to obtain guardianship certificates from a Pakistani court and subsequently formalise an adoption in Canadian courts.

 “However, legal and procedural requirements to obtain a guardianship certificate under Pakistan’s Guardians and Wards Act do not allow for subsequent adoption in the guardian’s country of residence,” Johnson said. “Pakistan applies the Islamic system of ‘kafala’ which neither terminates the birth parent-child relationship nor grants full parental rights to the guardian. This means that there are further legal incompatibilities in accepting Canadian applications for adoption,” he said. 

Michael Blugerman, one of the three licensed adoption agents in Ontario specialising in Pakistani adoptions, said the sudden move has caught prospective adoptive parents off guard, some of whom were already halfway through the long process.

 “All kinds of families are trapped along the path,” he said. “The Immigration’s explanation is inaccurate and misleading,” said Blugerman, who has been an adoption agent for 33 years and handles about eight Pakistani cases a year. “Some of the parents have given up their jobs, or taken leave of absence to start the process abroad.

 It’s not the money but their emotional investment into the process,” he said. To qualify to adopt, a prospective parent must undergo a minimum 10-week home study during which the applicant is assessed by a Registered Adoption Practitioner for being a suitable candidate. The parent must complete a training course called PRIDE (Parental Resources for Information Development and Education) before the provincial children and youth services can issue an approval letter to a foreign adoption authority. – 

See more at: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/08/07/news/national/canada-bans-adoption-of-pakistani-children/#sthash.uPVizhQP.dpuf

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Government imposes $275 fee on temporary foreign worker applications

The Centre Block on Parliament Hill, containin...
The Centre Block on Parliament Hill, containing the houses of the Canadian parliament (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The federal government expects Canadian employers to request 30 per cent fewer temporary foreign worker positions this year as a result of a new $275 user fee that came into effect Wednesday. However, it’s not clear the fee will do anything to stem the rising tide of foreign workers entering Canada.The federal government expects Canadian employers to request 30 per cent fewer temporary foreign worker positions this year as a result of a new $275 user fee that came into effect Wednesday.
However, since employers applied for 60 per cent more positions in 2012-13 than they actually required, it’s not clear the fee will do anything to stem the rising tide of foreign workers entering Canada.
The new fee, which employers have to pay for every temporary foreign worker they apply to hire, is among a number of amendments and regulatory changes announced earlier this year in response to concerns that temporary foreign workers are taking jobs from Canadians.
Until now, employers have paid nothing when they asked Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) to evaluate whether temporary foreign workers they wished to hire were likely to have a positive, neutral or negative impact on the Canadian labour market.
That means taxpayers are footing the bill for the cost of processing those HRSDC labour market opinions, the government says in a regulatory impact analysis statement published Wednesday in the Canada Gazette.
Those costs should instead be borne by employers, the government says, since they benefit directly from the service provided. The $275 fee represents full cost recovery, based on anticipated costs and volumes of application.
Employers who want to hire temporary foreign workers in the primary agriculture sector or through the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program are exempt from the new fee. “There are proven acute labour shortages in this sector and the jobs are truly temporary,” the government’s analysis statement says.
Christopher Warswick, an economics professor at Carleton University, said introducing a fee makes sense. “There’s not too many things a government does that it doesn’t charge some sort of fee for,” he said in an interview.
Warswick said the fee should not deter employers who would benefit from the temporary workers program, but could give some employers an incentive to hire Canadians or landed immigrants instead.
The number of temporary foreign workers in Canada has exploded in recent years and reached almost 340,000 in December 2012. Excluding the primary agriculture sector, the number of temporary foreign worker positions requested through HRSDC more than doubled between 2006 and 2012.
In a recent report, the Conference Board of Canada asked why Canada is still bringing in so many temporary foreign workers when unemployment, especially among young Canadians, remains relatively high.
In the analysis published in the Canada Gazette, the government says HRSDC processed 182,714 requested temporary foreign worker positions in 2012-13, excluding occupations in primary agriculture.
It expects that to fall to 127,900 in 2013-14 because the new fee. “Employers are expected to minimize costs by only applying for the (temporary foreign worker) positions that they intend to fill,” the government document says.
The new fee is significantly lower than some other countries charge employers who apply to hire temporary foreign workers. Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, for example, charge fees ranging from $508 to $853.
HRSDC estimates the fee will generate $231 million in new revenue from employers over the next decade. There will be a one-time cost of $890,000 to build a system to accept the fees plus ongoing annual administrative costs of about $1 million.
Jenna Hennebry, director of the International Migration Research Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University, said the new fee is unlikely to reduce the number of temporary foreign workers Canadian employers hire, in part because the agricultural sector is exempt.
“Agriculture is the largest area, and one of the biggest growth areas,” she said, arguing that the fee should apply to those employers as well.
Hennebry said money raised by the new fee, which will go into general government revenues, should be used to improve regulations, compliance evaluation and monitoring of the temporary foreign workers program.
“If we’re going to do this, let’s do it right and use the money to improve conditions (for workers) and make sure that rights are protected.”
New regulations also came into force Wednesday restricting the ability of employers to require foreign workers to speak languages other than English or French.
The regulations aim to reduce the risk that Canadians and permanent residents might be excluded from job opportunities, the government says in an impact analysis statement.
The new provision says the employment of a foreign national “is unlikely to have a positive or neutral effect” on Canada’s labour market if the job offer requires the ability to communicate in a language other than English or French.
The regulations allow exceptions for employers seeking to hire temporary foreign workers in the agricultural sector in order to “protect Canada’s food security,” as there are proven labour shortages and unfilled jobs are seasonal in nature, the government statement says.
As well, employers who can clearly demonstrate that the ability to speak a language other than English or French is essential for the job will still get approval from HRSDC.
Until now, employers who applied to HRSDC for a labour market opinion on the hire of temporary foreign workers have not been required to provide a rationale as to why a job may require proficiency in a language other than English or French.

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Getting Admission to a Canadian School

English: KIS International School Students
English: KIS International School Students (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
With an international reputation for top-quality education, it is no wonder that tens of thousands of students come from abroad each year to study in Canada.
The path to studying in Canada begins with admission to a Canadian educational institution. The admission application process can sometimes take over a year. Therefore, it is important to set clear educational goals and deadlines. If you are interested in coming to Canada to pursue any type of study, follow our steps below for admission success.
Choose Your Program and School
There is a wide range of educational opportunities throughout Canada. Generally speaking, schools fall into one of four categories:
  • University/College
  • Trade/Vocational
  • Language Schools
  • Primary/Secondary
Firstly, you should decide what sort of program you would like to enroll in. You should ask yourself questions like:
  • Do I want to obtain a degree?
  • How will my studies enhance or change my career?
  • Do I want to use my education as a stepping stone for Canadian Permanent Residency?
  • How much time and money can I commit to my education?
It is important to choose a program that connects your short- and long-term goals. You may wish to speak with school representatives, current students or alumni to get a better idea of the pros and cons of a program or school. You may also wish to attend school informational sessions online or at a location near you.
Once you have decided on your course of study, you will want to make a list of schools that teach your program and appeal to you. Some factors to take into account are:
  • Tuition costs
  • Location
  • Cost of living while at school
  • Teacher-student ratio
  • Student organizations
  • School support for international students
Some prospective students choose to apply to several schools, while others focus on just one institution. Decide where you want to go, and move on to beginning the application process.
Review Admissions Requirements
Once you have chosen the schools you wish to apply to, you should research each school’s admissions requirements to find out if you are a good candidate for the school and program. Some institutions accept all students, while others are highly competitive. Application procedures can vary greatly, even amongst similar institutions.
Prepare Your Admission Application
School applications vary as much as schools themselves. Some institutions require only the bare essentials in terms of personal and financial information. Others, especially colleges and universities, may have in-depth applications that require submission of transcripts, essays, and standardized test scores.
It is important to keep track of deadlines. The Canadian school year generally runs from September to April for universities, and to June for primary and secondary school. Many schools require that applications be submitted up to a year prior to the date of intended enrollment.
Even if your chosen school does not have a strict application deadline, you will want to take into account the time it will take you to apply for any necessary visas and/or permits and prepare yourself for an extended stay in Canada.
NOTE: International applicants may be required to gather additional documentation such as proof of English or French language ability, proof of independent health insurance, proof of financial ability or educational equivalency results. It may take you longer to prepare an application than a Canadian applicant.
Submit Your Application and Receive Acceptance Letter
Once you have prepared your application, you must submit it in a timely manner, preferably well before the application deadline. This can often be done online.
If you are accepted to a Canadian school, congratulations! You are closer than ever to coming to Canada. You will have to accept the offer of admission extended to you by your school of choice, and may be asked to make a financial deposit at that time.
Your next step will be acquiring a Canadian study permit and/or temporary resident visa, if applicable. Stay tuned to the next edition of CIC News, where we will explore this process in-depth.
To find out if you are eligible for a study permit, please fill out a free online assessment today.
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Skilled Work Experience for Immigration

English: A Canadian Customs and Immigration se...
English: A Canadian Customs and Immigration service sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Skilled Work Experience for Immigration

JULY, 2013
Skilled work experience lies at the heart of many of Canada’s immigration programs. Some, like the Federal and Quebec Skilled Worker programs, even have ‘skilled work’ right in their name.
Many potential immigrants may be unclear as to what constitutes ‘skilled work’ for the purposes of immigration. Moreover, some may not know if their own experience is considered ‘skilled’ by immigration authorities. This article provides a background on skilled work experience and the importance it plays in many immigration processes.
What is ‘Skilled Work’?
The Government of Canada maintains a database of every field of work conducted in the country. It is known as the National Occupation Classification (NOC) database. Within the NOC database, jobs are broken down into the following levels:
  • 0 level – Managerial jobs
  • A level – Professional jobs (usually requiring a university degree)
  • B level – Technical jobs (usually requiring post-secondary education, apprenticeship or 2+ years of on-the-job training)
  • C level – Semi-skilled jobs (usually requiring completion of secondary school and limited training)
  • D level – Unskilled jobs (no formal educational requirements, possible limited training)
When immigration officials refer to skilled workers, they are usually speaking of individuals with experience in an NOC 0, A or B level job. To browse the NOC database, please click here.
Who needs to be Skilled?
Many immigration programs were created to specifically target skilled workers. Immigrants arriving through a skilled worker program make up the largest percentage of new Canadian Permanent Residents each year. The following programs have skilled worker streams:
Federal Skilled Worker Program: This program includes three streams (Skilled Worker, Arranged Employment, PhD). Applicants to the Skilled Worker program must, at this time, have work experience in one of 24 eligible professions, all of which fall under NOC 0, A or B levels.
Quebec Skilled Worker ProgramApplicants to this program must have education and experience in one of 146 areas of training/fields of study. These fields mostly fall into NOCs 0, A and B.
Canadian and Quebec Experience Class Programs: These programs require 1 year of skilled (0, A, or B level) work experience in Canada.
Provincial Nomination Programs (PNPs)PNPs vary from province to province. However, all programs have a stream that was designed to facilitate immigration for skilled workers living in the respective province. In addition, many PNPs have streams dedicated to bringing in targeted workers in certain professions, including those considered semi-skilled.
How to Prove Skills?
It is not enough to simply claim experience in a skilled profession; immigration authorities ask that applicants provide proof of their education and work experience. While programs vary slightly, applicants should expect to provide some or all of the following information:
  • Resume/CV
  • Educational diplomas (with Canadian equivalency documents)
  • Reference letters from current and former employers
  • Any professional certifications
  • Pay stubs and other proof of employment
Of course, the documents required to prove skilled work experience will vary depending on the applicant and their profession.
“Skilled worker immigration has for years been at the core of Canada’s immigration system,” said Attorney David Cohen. “It is part of what makes Canada the successful economy it is today. Recent changes, such as requiring applicants to provide Canadian educational equivalency results, help newcomers arrive prepared than ever before to quickly find a good job and transition to life in Canada.”
For individuals whose jobs are considered semi- or unskilled, there are still many ways to come to Canada. One is by finding a job as a temporary foreign worker. Another is to come to Canada as a student, building skills and preparing for a possible permanent residency application. Regardless of the path taken to Canadian Permanent Residency, successful applicants are able to become members of one of the most diverse, open, and economically prosperous societies on earth.
To find out if you are eligible for one of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, please fill out our free online assessment today.
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Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program Now in Effect

Earlier today, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) announced important changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. These changes are effective beginning July 31, 2013.
In general, when a Canadian employer wants to hire a foreign worker, they must first apply for and receive a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from Service Canada. The following changes that were announced today will affect how Canadian employers apply for an LMO:
Processing Fee
 Prior to today, Canadian employers were able to apply for an LMO without having to pay a processing fee. Beginning today, employers will be required to submit a $275 processing fee for each position requested for the LMO. For example, if a Canadian employer wants to hire three foreign workers to work as chefs at their restaurant, they will be required to pay a total of $875 in processing fees. It is important to note that the processing fees are not refundable in the event that the LMO is refused.
 Language Restriction
When applying for an LMO, Canadian employers can only require that an applicant be proficient in English and/or French. If they indicate that another language is required, the employer must be able to demonstrate that the foreign language is essential for the position. If a Service Canada officer determines that the foreign language is not essential for the position, they can refuse the LMO application.
One of the essential parts of an LMO application is the advertising process. In general, Canadian employers are required to conduct advertising withinCanadabefore they are able to hire a foreign worker. The employer must demonstrate to a Service Canada officer that they have actively tried to hire Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents before offering the position to a foreign worker.
In the past, employers were required to advertise the position inCanadafor a period of 2 weeks. Starting August 28, 2013, employers will be required to advertise the position for 4 weeks.  The advertising must be done in the three months preceding the LMO application. Employers will also be required to use more methods when advertising for the position.
 Employers who want to hire a worker for a high-skilled position (NOC Skill Level A or B) will be required to advertise on the National Job Bank website or an equivalent provincial website, such as Emploi Quebec. They will also be required to use two or more additional sources for advertising; one that is national in scope and one that is consistent within the practice (eg. Workopolis.com, Monster.ca). Advertisements for high-skilled positions must now include the salary being offered, whereas employers were previously exempt from advertising the salary for high-skilled positions.
Employers looking to hire a worker for a low-skilled position (NOC Skill Level C or D) will be required to advertise on the National Job Bank website or an equivalent provincial website and use two or more additional sources for advertising. Unlike the high-skilled positions, employers looking to hire for a low-skilled position must also target underrepresented groups, such as Aboriginals, people with disabilities, and new immigrants.
Questions regarding the impact on Canadian job market
New questions have been added to the LMO application form. Employers will now be required to explain whether hiring a foreign worker for a position will positively or negatively impact the labour market. For example, certain questions are focused on whether hiring a foreign worker will lead to job losses for Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents through outsourcing or offshoring practices.
As part of the new form, employers will also have to explain what efforts were made in the past two years to hire and/or train Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents for the position.
 The above changes in processing fees, language restrictions, and advertising requirements do not impact employers hiring foreign workers in certain agricultural positions under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program or the Agricultural Stream.
“These new changes mean it’s becoming more difficult for Canadian employers to hire foreign workers,” says Attorney David Cohen. “Especially considering the addition of processing fees, it’s important for employers to get the LMO application right the first time.”
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Quebec Completes Picture of Revised Skilled Worker Program

Château Frontenac, Quebec City, Canada
Château Frontenac, Quebec City, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Flag of . Color converted to RGB from...
English: Flag of . Color converted to RGB from the EPS file from the Government of Quebec which you’d have to assume is as authoritative as you can get. Français : Drapeau du Québec. Couleurs converties en RGB à partir du fichier EPS du Gouvernement du Québec. Русский: Флаг Квебека (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Following up on last month’s news article, the Quebec Government has released the 2013 list of Areas of Training (domaines de formation) for the Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) Program. This list is in effect as of August 1st and includes many significant changes. These new details, in addition to the updated language rules announced last month, now provide a complete picture of the revised Skilled Worker Program for the province of Quebec.
The New Area of Training List
The revised QSW Program continues to use a points-based system. The 2013 Area of Training list, which awards extra points for 146 Areas of Training, is one of the significant revisions to the program. Some of the more notable differences between the previous (2009) and current (2013) lists are outlined in the chart below. Please note that the points indicated are conferred for degrees or diplomas obtained outside of Canada; degrees or diplomas obtained within Canada may receive a different number of points.
Area of Training Points received
prior to August 1, 2013
Points received
as of August 1, 2013
Nursing 12 16
Civil, Construction or Transportation Engineering 6 12
Computer Engineering 6 12
Computer Support 6 12
Dental Hygiene Techniques 0 6
Industrial Engineering Technology 0 6
The list also includes several new Areas of Training which did not previously receive extra points, such as Mineral Technology (6 points) and Banking and Financial Operations (6 points), to name a few.
What this means for Applicants
“This is fantastic news for nurses,” says Attorney David Cohen. “They were left off the occupation list for the Federal Skilled Worker Program this year, but the increase in points for this Area of Training demonstrates that the province of Quebec still has its doors open for nurses. However,” he added, “there is still a cap on the intake of applications, so interested applicants should apply as soon as possible.”
Computer engineers and civil engineers also benefit from a more accessible QSW program. While computer and civil engineers are also on the Federal list of occupations, the overall cap accepted by Quebec is much higher than the Federal cap, and the caps for the latter program are filling fast. As these two professions now receive 12 points for their Area of Training, many more applicants may be eligible for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program without needing to submit the results of a French test with their application.
The new Area of Training list continues to demonstrate that the province is targeting foreign skilled workers whose academic qualifications will help them find work in the occupations which are in greatest demand in Quebec.
The Quebec Skilled Worker Program Moving Forward
The much anticipated Quebec announcement has provided many skilled workers with a way to come to Canada and become permanent residents. The QSW Program revisions are great news for nurses, computer engineers, civil engineers, and the other 143 professions on the Area of Training list. The QSW Program is also now an option for applicants from many other backgrounds, even those who do not get extra points for their Area of Training.
To find out if you are eligible for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program or any of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, fill out a free online assessment today. 
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