By: Janice Dickson in Ottawa, ON
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is urging Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen to help Iranians who have reported painfully long wait times to become permanent residents.
“I am writing about public reports of systemic discrimination by Canada against Iranians, both residents here and overseas,” said Michael Bryant, the CCLA’s executive director in the letter to Hussen on April 6.
“We will work with the Iranian community to marshal the legal effort to investigate and remedy any discrimination. We urge your Ministry to announce immediate remedial steps to assure Iranians that Canada takes these allegations very seriously,” said Bryant.
According to the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC), more than 200 Iranian nationals, who are students or recent graduates in Canada, have reported long waits to become permanent residents.
The Iranians believe they are being treated unfairly and have taken to Twitter using the #DelayedIranianApplications hashtag to share their stories.
Bryant wrote that the ICC told him Hussen has not agreed to meet personally with their organization, but that a meeting with officials has been scheduled.
Hursh Jaswal, a spokesman for Hussen said security checks have no set processing time and they will vary as they are done case by case.
“The CBSA performs background checks on all visitors, immigrants and refugee claimants of 18 years of age or over to ensure that inadmissible person — such as criminals or persons considered security risks — are not allowed to enter or remain in Canada,” he said in an email.
Jaswal said the department understands the “frustration” of applicants and their loved ones, but thorough security screening of all applicants is important to ensure the safety and security of Canadians.
“BSA and the Government of Canada are committed to a fair and non-discriminatory application of immigration procedures while protecting the safety and security of Canadians,” he said.
The processing time currently listed for Quebec skilled workers, for example, is 15 months, said Jaswal, that figure represents the time it takes IRCC to process 80 per cent of applications, which means that 20 per cent of applications have taken longer than that.
Republished under arrangement with iPolitics.
By: Janice Dickson in Ottawa, ON
Iranian nationals say they’re enduring painfully long wait times to become permanent residents and citizens in Canada and believe they are being treated unfairly.
Iranians who have lived and studied in Canada for years have taken to Twitter using the #DelayedIranianApplications hashtag to share their stories.
In Canada 6 yrs, got MSc here, contributed to cancer research & use of AI for cancer recognition, finance & and use of AI to spot fraud/money laundering, a performer in cultural events, Yet on #DelayedIranianApplications by @CitImmCanada. Same for other 100s of skilled Iranians.— Koosha (@Koosha_tp) March 25, 2018
Graduated from a Canadian university 3 years ago, now having a Canadian boy and expecting a new baby I'm suffering from anxiety and stress caused by the delay in my permanent residency application.— Elham Mirshekari (@e_mirshekari) March 24, 2018
We have problems in health coverage, job finding,..
I am an Assistant professor at the university of Manitoba, being here for 7 years, established a family, with Canadian born baby and have been waiting for PR for almost 3 years now. #DelayedIranianApplications— Soodeh Saberian (@SoodehSaberian) March 23, 2018
“I, along with many other Iranians are victims of systemic discrimination by the Canadian government and security apparatuses,” said Naeim Karimi, a senior business analyst with Moneris.
Karimi said that he applied for permanent residency in 2012 and obtained it in 2014. Now he’s applied for his citizenship but he said his application is “stuck” at the security screening stage, which is similar to those waiting for permanent residency.
“I first thought this was isolated to me, but then when I found many many others online who were in a similar situation, I realized that this is the result of systemic discrimination against Iranians,” he said.
Hursh Jaswal, a spokesman for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, said security checks have no set processing time and they will vary as they are done on a case-by-case basis.
“The CBSA performs background checks on all visitors, immigrants and refugee claimants of 18 years of age or over to ensure that inadmissible person — such as criminals or persons considered security risks — are not allowed to enter or remain in Canada,” he said.
Jaswal said the department understands the “frustration” felt by applicants and their loved ones, but that the thorough security screening of all applicants is important to ensure the safety and security of Canadians.
“BSA and the Government of Canada are committed to a fair and non-discriminatory application of immigration procedures while protecting the safety and security of Canadians,” said Jaswal.
Karimi said he’s submitted a complaint to the Human Rights Commission and advised others to do the same.
“In the case of the PR applicants, who are all highly educated individuals and have graduated from or are currently enrolled in Canadian universities, we are seeing delays of up to two years from the regular six-month processing time,” he said.
Karimi called the “processing time” Jaswal had mentioned “a self-declared time” by the department of immigration.
“This alone is an indication of the systemic discrimination.”
“We are all professionals, masters or PhD [students] and pay very high taxes, contributing to the economy. Many of us are scientists or entrepreneurs and contribute to Canada’s scientific advancement. Canada is getting all the benefits and we are kept in a limbo. Unable to vote and uncertain if we can even continue to stay,” said Karimi, who is an Ontario resident.
Iranian nationals in Quebec spoke out recently about the delays for permanent residency. CBC News reported that dozens of Iranians in Quebec have been waiting more than two years to become permanent residents.
Jaswal said the total processing time for currently listed for Quebec skilled workers is 15 months. That figure represents the time it has taken IRCC to process 80 per cent of applications, which means that 20 per cent of the applications received have taken longer than that.
Jaswal said the department cannot comment on the details of any specific case due to privacy laws.
Republished under arrangement with iPolitics.
by Priya Ramanujam in Scarborough
Members of visible-minority groups have a stronger sense of loyalty to federal government than provincial government, reports a new study from the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP).
This is particularly true of first-generation Canadians, say researchers Antoine Bilodeau, Luc Turgeon, Stephen E. White and Ailsa Henderson in Seeing the Same Canada? Visible Minorities’ Views of the Federation.
The study focuses on both first- and second-generation visible minorities living in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, posing two questions:
a) Do visible minorities hold similar views to other Canadians with regard to Canada, its institutions and its national policies?
b) Are there differences between visible minorities who immigrated to Canada and those born in Canada?
The answer: across all four provinces, visible minorities – especially those born abroad – express a higher level of confidence in the House of Commons. The level of engagement seen in this fall’s federal election from new immigrant communities as voters, candidates and elected members of Parliament is evidence of this.
In B.C. and Alberta, second-generation visible minorities tend to become more involved provincially with time, while in Ontario – where the study states political views tend to be more federally oriented – visible minorities regardless of generation are engaged at both the national and regional level.
However, in Quebec, where there is no provincial policy on multiculturalism, both first and successive generations of visible-minority groups face difficulty integrating into regional politics.
The authors suggest this points to the possibility of growing tensions between majority and minority groups in Quebec, as they “do not appear to be marching in sync when it comes to their understanding of the federation and identification with Quebec and Canada.”
Somali parents of children with autism experience barriers to support
Somali parents raising a child living with autism in Toronto face significant barriers accessing support systems, particularly as a result of language barriers.
This was one of the main findings of a qualitative, cross-national analysis recently released by Pathways to Prosperity looking at the experiences of Somali parents raising children with and without autism in Toronto and Minneapolis.
“I know over 100 parents myself who have a child with autism,” said one father in the study. “Most of them do not get support from anywhere. Many are single mothers who don’t drive or speak English.”
For Faduma Mohamed, a 22-year-old Toronto-based spoken-word artist of Somali heritage, this experience is all too familiar. Her 18-year-old brother Bilal lives with autism.
“There was no treatment offered, no therapies, no extracurricular activities because of a classist system,” Mohamed shares. “The people who know English, the people who have the money, the people who know how to get the resources will get the resources.”
Researchers Melissa Fellin, Victoria Esses and Gillian King also indicate in the study a stigma associated with autism within the Somali community that often prevents parents from speaking about their challenges.
“It’s scary for some parents because we’re all caught up in the definition of normal; when our child falls out of the realm of normal in our culture, we immediately ‘other’ that person,” explains Mohamed.
Despite this stigma, the Pathways study found that there are Somali parents coming together in both cities to advocate for their children and policy changes at their local school boards and in health care.
It’s the type of change Mohamed is hoping for.
Through a 132-day autism awareness campaign (paired with the hashtag #OughtTheBox) she is carrying a large plastic bin – one of the props from her upcoming stage play Oughtism – everywhere she goes.
Why? The first time she brought the box on a bus, people were surprisingly kind – offering her a seat or to help carry it – despite how much room it took up.
The experience was vastly different from people “staring, cutting their eye or grumbling under their breath” when her brother has meltdowns in public.
“I thought it was funny,” she says. “People could help me more with a box than they could with a human being.”
Complex issues for migrant workers seeking permanent residency
Migrant workers pursuing permanent resident (PR) status in Canada should be considered “transitional” as opposed to “temporary,” according to recommendations put forth in a recent study released by the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP).
“We need policies that facilitate [migrant workers’] transition, rather than complicate it, as is now the case,” state authors Delphine Nakache and Leanne Dixon-Perera in Temporary or Transitional? Migrant Workers’ Experiences with Permanent Residence in Canada.
The study gathered qualitative evidence from 99 participants ranging from migrant workers who became permanent residents to nongovernmental organizations, and focused on factors leading to migrant workers seeking permanent residency, challenges faced during this transition and implications of the two-step migration (temporary to permanent) for settlement.
Based on the experiences put forth by respondents, the study makes several policy recommendations, including eliminating the 4-in, 4-out rule – which allows employers to constantly replace workers – implementing the right for migrants working in low-skilled positions to have their family accompany them to Canada, and offering free language training and more settlement services to transitional migrant workers.
Aimee Bebosa, chair of the Ottawa-based Philippine Migrants Society of Canada, says that while these recommendations are a good start, more must be considered when implementing.
“For example, how can you properly pay for a family if you’re being paid low wage?” she asks. “They have to consider also properly remunerating workers so they can support their families.”
The IRPP study also recommends reconsidering both employer-driven immigration contingent on full-time permanent job offers and employer-specific or “tied” work permits to reduce barriers to transitional workers successfully receiving PR status.
Authors Nakache and Dixon-Perera make note that the study’s findings confirm the complexity of navigating multiple ever-changing immigration programs and policies at both the federal and provincial level.
“We are not suggesting that there is an easy fix,” they write.
Research Watch is a regular column on NewCanadianMedia.ca that looks at recently released and emerging research relating to immigration, settlement, immigrant/ethno-cultural communities and multiculturalism. Researchers or organizations releasing studies we should consider are encouraged to write to email@example.com.
This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
B.C.’s PNP nominations’ allocation is 5,500 for 2015 SHIRLEY Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, on Tuesday introduced legislation as a foundation for the Province’s role in selecting newcomers to B.C. The Provincial Immigration Programs Act will help B.C. meet its economic development priorities by providing […]
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by Danica Samuel (@DanicaSamuel) in Toronto
Over half the population of international students in Ontario are deciding to stay put after graduating, and it’s for a good reason.
A recent study titled International Students in the Ontario Postsecondary System and Beyond, which was funded by Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario and presented at the National Metropolis Conference in Vancouver, shows a significant increase of international students living in the province between 2000 and 2012.
International Migration Research Centre (IMRC) researchers found an increase in students coming from Asia, Africa and the USA to study in Ontario, but more importantly found that over 50 per cent are opting to remain in Canada after completing their studies.
One of the IMRC researchers, Dr. Margaret Walton-Roberts, says it’s important to evaluate the students’ experiences, and how they are impacting Canadian immigration, when looking at the study’s findings.
“We need to understand what is happening to these students in terms of their transition into the labour market and transition into permanent residency,” says Walton-Roberts.
“International students are becoming more a part of the immigrant demand and that is a deliberate policy and pathway that the government has engaged in.”
An Economic Boost
According to the study, from 2002 to 2011, 190,000 international students came to Ontario and over 60,000 made a transition to another visa.
Walton-Roberts claims there are several factors to the growth, but most recognized is the Student Partners Program (SPP), which originated in 2009 as an assisting program for Indian students looking to study at Canadian college institutions. India is also the leading country in international student migration.
In addition to SPP boosting college registration, international students in general represent more of an economical boost in terms of immigration.
International students are now considered the fourth largest import in Canada and Walton-Roberts says the focus should be on making sure everyone benefits from this.
“We could look at it as a privatization of immigrant settlement processes,” she explains.
“Tuition fees are a transmission of funds to Canada’s post secondary sector. It is also an investment in an individual’s education. As long as that person can reap the benefits of their investments, that’s okay. Can they enter the labour market, or if they go back to their country, will their credentials offer them the opportunity to have a wage premium?”
For some international students, like 27-year-old Humber College journalism student, Mahnoor Yawar, from Dubai, it’s hard to see the benefits of the transmission of funds Walton-Roberts speaks of.
“I’m frankly tired of having to pay twice the tuition as local students and getting half the opportunities available to them,” Yawar says.
“I can’t shake the sense that we as international students are keeping the whole system afloat, but being chased away right after it’s done with us.”
For 22-year-old Achint Arora, who is studying accounting at George Brown College (GBC), his transition to Canada from India was relatively smooth, but costly.
He applied online, as well as successfully passing his International English Language Test with a score above average.
“I always wanted to study across seas, so I did my research, applied and they accepted me,” explains Arora.
When it comes to the fees, he agrees with Yawar. “For international students the fees are too high, and paying fees at universities are next to impossible. University is about $26,000 a year, and a college is $18,000. So I did some research, read reviews and decided to attend GBC.”
International students pay anywhere from $11,000 to $13,000 more than their domestic counterparts.
Although many foreign students are entering into Ontario, there has been a significant decrease in female international students.
According to IMRC, from 2008 to 2012 there was a decrease of eight per cent of females coming to Ontario for education.
Walton-Roberts says it’s a reflection of the countries most international students migrate from.
“When we look at the major countries international students come from, you have to consider the gender politics in those countries and how comfortable families might be sending their daughters overseas.”
Yawar says she was one of the fortunate females that was able to study abroad.
“There’s also a certain conservatism in the South Asian/Middle Eastern cultures that suggests women shouldn’t move out of their family homes, and especially so far away from it before they’re married,” says Yawar.
“I was lucky enough to have very supportive parents who want their girls to be able to support themselves before making major life decisions, so we ended up here.”
For some, Walton-Roberts says it boils down to money.
“It is a huge investment, and it may be that the family decides not to make that investment in their daughter.”
Life After Graduation
IMRC statistics show that 75 per cent of students transitioned from temporary to Permanent Residence (PR) in Ontario.
Plus, according to economic reports, they are making $3,000 more than the average permanent resident who did not study in Canada.
“We were only able to access certain data, and those transitioning, we did an estimate based on their characteristics and the pathways they took,” clarifies Walton-Roberts.
Despite the promising numbers, though, Arora says the hardest part of being an international student is actually obtaining a stable job after completing school. With only four years given to find and maintain a job after he graduates, the pressure is on, he adds.
“[Citizenship and Immigration Canada] is becoming tougher, especially with their new Express Entry,” explains Arora. “If there is a person in India practicing accounting for 15 years, how can I compete with him? People who are applying outside of Canada, and [those] who are sitting in Canada, are now in the same boat, and it’s a competition.”
Arora says another problem lies with companies not willing to go the extra mile to help recently graduated international students.
“[We’re] a headache for companies. They have to write a letter for my citizenship, a LMO, and more, just to apply for the Express Entry. I was told it will be a long process for both the company and international students to apply for PR, so it’s more convenient for them to hire a Canadian.”
But Roberts says that the colleges have effectively set up their programs for the labour market and in the next few years the process will be much more profitable.
“I suspect there is a focus on the college programs because there is in an interest in getting entry into the labour market,” she explains.
“The fees are already less and many colleges have oriented themselves to the international market. Recruiters are a part of that story as well and colleges have had a very active relationship with them through marketing their programs effectively overseas.”
For now, Yawar isn’t entering the labour market, but says when she does, getting a job in her field will be challenging for reasons centred on diversity, or a lack thereof.
“I know Toronto gets a lot of praise for being diverse and having the most opportunities for a career in media, but at the end of the day, it’s a claim based in statistics rather than action. The lack of diversity – in race, in gender, in class – in media careers is a genuine problem that few are ready to acknowledge, because the existing culture of privilege is too comfortable.”
Yawar continues, “Nevertheless, I have hope that there’s a position out there I’m uniquely suited for, and will keep seeking out every opportunity that comes my way.”
On January 1, 2015 Canada's immigration program was dramatically and fundamentally changed. Overnight our immigration program morphed from an applicant-driven model, to a government selection-driven model.
Up until December 31, 2014 an applicant could apply to immigrate to Canada, knowing that as long as they met the selection criteria for a specific category of permanent residence, their application would be processed.
That all changed with the arrival of 2015 and Express Entry. Now an applicant can only apply for permanent residence to Canada if, upon submitting a preliminary profile, they are given an “Invitation To Apply” (ITA) from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Without an ITA, you cannot apply for permanent residence in this new process.
Express Entry is the new economic immigration selection model which applies to several categories for immigration to Canada including: the Federal Skilled Worker program (FSW); the Federal Skilled Trades program (FSTP); the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
Express Entry is designed to connect applicants who qualify under one or more of these program criteria, to be matched with employers requiring their skills and experience. For an applicant, the first step is to make sure that you actually meet the criteria of one of these programs. The second step is to have the proof that you meet the requirements of these programs. In order to ensure that you meet the first step which are the program criteria to be eligible to apply, you actually need to have the proof that you meet the second step first.
What does this mean? From the outset, in order to determine that you meet the program criteria for Express Entry, you need to have your language test result scores, your educational credential evaluations, and your reference letters from your previous employers confirming your past work experience. Once you determine that you will qualify, you need to submit your "profile" to CIC. Based upon the information you provide in your profile, you will be rated on CIC's "Comprehensive Ranking System" (CRS). You will need to be able to score enough CRS points at the outset of the process based upon your education, work experience, language proficiency, work or educational history in Canada, the work or educational history or language proficiency of your spouse or whether you have close relatives in Canada.
Submitting your profile is crucial to this process! It is not a mere preliminary application process where you can scratch your head and decide what you plan to do in the future. The "profile" is the basis upon which CIC determines whether to offer you an ITA or not.
Tougher Rules for Faster Results
Assuming that you are given an ITA, you have 60 days to provide an electronic application for permanent residence. You must provide all information electronically and you must do so within 60 days. If you don't meet these requirements, you must start all over again. Given that there is only a 60-day window to provide the necessary proof to support your application, it is recommended that you obtain this proof at the very outset of this process - to determine whether you actually meet the program criteria at the beginning!
The dangling carrot to attract you to enter this new immigration application exercise is that applications will be finalized within six months of submission. So upon being provided with an ITA and submitting your permanent residence application online with all the necessary supporting documentation, CIC is saying that they will finalize the processing of your application within six months!
This sounds great so long as you can manage to fulfill all of their requirements and you can also deliver this information within the 60-day time frame. Based upon the applications that CIC receives, they will draw from the pool of Express Entry applicants. The first draw was made on January 31, 2015 when CIC issued ITAs to 779 applicants who had scored 886 CRS points. The second draw was made on February 7, 2015 when a further 779 applicants who had scored 818 CRS points were issued ITAs.
Future draws will be made based upon the applicants who have completed profiles and have the highest CRS scores.
The new Express Entry immigration process is not easy. You need to have all of your documentation in order at the outset to prove that you meet the necessary requirements of the program. You need to ensure that the profile that you submit is completely accurate and you need to have all the supporting documentation to complete your application within 60 days of receiving an ITA.
This is CIC's new world order for economic immigration - Express Entry is not easy entry!
Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Partner in the Immigration group. With over 20 years of experience, she provides a full range of immigration services and is a leading immigration practitioner (Lexpert, Who’s Who Legal, Best Lawyers in Canada).
Re-published with permission from Asian Pacific Post.
By Our Correspondent
As of April 1, entrepreneurs from around the world with ideas for new business ventures and financial backing from Canadian investors can apply to the brand new Start-Up Visa Program.
Making the announcement, Jason Kenney, Canada’s citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism minister, said Canada is open to do business with the world’s start-up entrepreneurs. “Innovation and entrepreneurship are essential drivers of the Canadian economy. That is why we are actively recruiting foreign entrepreneurs -- those who can build companies here in Canada that will create new jobs, spur economic growth and compete on a global scale -- with our new start-up visa.”
Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program is said to be the first of its kind in the world. By providing sought-after entrepreneurs with permanent residency and access to a wide range of business partners, Canada hopes to become a destination of choice for start-up innovators which will help Canada remain competitive in the global economy.
“My dream Canada is someone who has maybe studied at the Indian Institute of Technology and they have a brilliant start-up concept, they’ve attracted Canadian investment,” Kenney was quoted in the Globe and Mail as saying.
“Rather than starting that business in Bangalore, we are saying, ‘Come to Canada and come quickly. Start the business here, create the jobs in this country and you’ll have the venture capitalists here not just providing you with capital but mentorship, which is also important.’”
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has worked with two umbrella organizations, Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) and the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO), to identify and designate the venture capital funds and angel investor groups that are keen to participate in the program. A full list of designated venture capital funds and angel investor groups is now available on the CIC website.
"The CVCA and our individual members look forward to the launch of the Start-Up Visa Program,” said Peter van der Velden, President of the CVCA. “Our participating funds welcome the opportunity to take part in this first-of-its-kind program, which has the potential to help them attract best-in-class entrepreneurial talent to their Canadian-based investee companies.”
Michelle Scarborough, Chair of NACO, said, "There has been significant interest from both angels and entrepreneurs since the announcement of this program … Our angel group members across Canada are eager to participate, and we look forward to supporting the growth of new businesses and helping them to make their mark in Canada, further expanding our economy."
According to Kenney, “This is part of our government’s transformational changes to Canada’s immigration system that will make it fast, flexible, and focused on Canada’s economic needs.”
The Start-Up Visa Program is a pilot program that will run for five years. It is expected that due to the narrow focus of the program, initially, the number of applications will be limited. -- New Canadian Media
-- Canada's economic development minister Navdeep Bains at a Public Policy Forum economic summit