Thursday, May 1, 2008

they won’t need a visa to visit Canada anymore.

This week, it’s all good news! Have you got any friends or relatives in Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania or Hungary (ဒီီေနရာမွာMyanmarဆိုတဲ့စာလးံုေလးပါလာရင္ရဲရင့္တို႕လက္မေထာင္တဲ့ေန႕ပဲ)that you haven’t seen in a while?
If so, you might want to give them a call and invite them here for a visit because they won’t need a visa to visit Canada anymore.
On March 1, our immigration minister, Diane Finley, finally heeded the increasingly louder calls to lift the visa requirements on nationals from these countries. The European Union extended membership to them in May 2004 and has been waiting ever since for Canada to extend to the nationals of these countries the same treatment offered to other European travellers. CIC announced that it would continue to work on the cases of Bulgaria and Romania, which only joined the EU in January 2007, and whose nationals still need visas to visit here.
The 2008 Budget, which was tabled last week by the federal Conservatives, included $22 million to be spent over the next two years to “modernize” the immigration system and to speed up the processing of permanent resident applications.
Although this investment is expected to eventually grow to $37 million per year it pales in comparison to the ever-growing budget for “border security” which will increase, yet again, by another $145 million during the same period. Nonetheless, this plan should definitely be viewed as good news because, since 9/11, many governments have been loath to even think out loud about spending new money on speeding up their immigration programs. In Canada, that taboo finally appears to be behind us.
On Feb. 11, Ontario and the Atlantic provinces were the last regions to receive their own Temporary Foreign Worker Units. Employers in Ontario can now formally request an opinion from CIC as to whether or a not they need to obtain a positive Labour Market Opinion from HRSDC prior to offering a particular position to a foreign national. Such opinions will be recorded in CIC’s computer system for consideration by border officials at Canadian ports-of-entry, but will not be binding on them. This service applies only to positions being offered to foreigners from countries whose nationals do not need a visa to visit Canada.
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Who’s dependent, who’s not

Four categories
Immigration by Guidy Mamann
March 30, 2008 10:37
QI was reading the sponsorship guide and found the following statement: “Dependent children must meet the above requirements both on the day the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga (CPC-M) receives a complete application for a permanent resident visa and, without taking into account whe­ther they have attained 22 years of age, on the day a visa is issued to them.”Does this mean that a dependent child must still be under 22 when the visa is issued? I find this confusing. Please clarify.A In the real world it is pretty easy to figure out if someone is “over aged.” Not so in the immigration world, where there are four types of “dependent children.”>> Children under 22 years and not married or in a common law relationship: The child must meet both these conditions at the time the sponsorship application is received at CPC — Mississauga or, in the case of refugee and economic class cases, when the visa post accepts your documents as “an application.” If the visa post feels that the application is not submitted properly, it will send it back to you and the child will only qualify if they meet these conditions when the application is properly re-submitted. The child still qualifies if they are over 22 when the visa is issued but won’t qualify if they are married or in a common law relationship when their visa is issued or when they arrive in Canada. A dependent child who is divorced, widowed, or who is no longer in a common law relationship at the time of visa issuance can still qualify.>> Children over 22 and studying: The child in this situation must, since prior to turning 22, be continuously enrolled and in attendance as a full-time student in a government-accredited post-secondary institution and must depend substantially on the financial support of a parent right up until the time a visa is issued to them. >> Children married or in a common law relationship before the age of 22: The child in this situation must, since the time they were a spouse, be continuously enrolled and in attendance as a full-time student in a government-accredited post-secondary institution and must depend substantially on the financial support of a parent right up until the time a visa is issued to them. It is OK if at that time they are over 22.>> Children over 22 with a medical condition: Children in this situation must be unable to provide for themselves due to a medical condition since prior to turning 22 and must depend substantially on the financial support of a parent right up until visa issuance.
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Highly educated immigrants still lagging in earnings: latest census

May 01, 2008 09:00
TORONTO - Piloting his cab through the congested streets of Toronto, Ifzal Ahmad is looking forward to the day when he can come up with $35,000 for a course that should allow him to again become a mechanical engineer.Despite 15 years in his profession in India, the 47-year-old married father of three - like so many other new arrivals to Canada - has found himself in a relatively low-skilled job because his qualifications aren't recognized here.The latest data on income and earnings from the 2006 census released Thursday by Statistics Canada shows that highly skilled immigrants - the country's preferred newcomer - have a long row to hoe once they arrive, and it shows in the amount of money they earn.The past quarter century has seen the earnings gap between recent immigrant workers and Canadian-born ones widen dramatically.In 1980, recent immigrant men earned 85 cents for every dollar of their Canadian-born counterparts. In 2005, that number plummeted to 63 cents. The drop was even more pronounced for immigrant women, who went from earning 85 cents by comparison in 1980 to only 56 cents in 2005.Having a university degree didn't help either.Recent immigrant men holding a degree earned only 48 cents for each dollar their university educated, Canadian-born counterparts did. Some 30 per cent of male immigrants with a university degree worked in jobs that required no more than a high-school education - more than twice the rate of those born in Canada.The gap was actually less for non-university educated immigrants, who earned 61 cents to every dollar earned by their Canadian-born counterparts."That's not right because when you apply for immigration, they check all your degrees and send all your degrees to Canada for verification," Ahmad said after dropping off his latest fare.The lack of recognition of his qualifications or experience in a textiles factory managing 2,000 people, he said, came as a huge blow, as did the dilemma of trying to get Canadian experience when no one will give him work."Wherever you apply for a job, they say, 'Do you have Canadian education? Do you have Canadian experience?"'The reason for the dramatic divide, Statistics Canada reported Thursday, was the decline in the information and communication technologies sector between 2000 and 2004. A disproportionately high share of those workers were trained in computer sciences and engineering, the agency said.Rene Morissette, lead analyst with Statistics Canada, said it is well documented that foreign experience has been increasingly undervalued.The trend started in 1980, when immigrants began to see their earnings level fall even though their educational levels "grew remarkably" compared to those of Canadian-born workers."The group of people that were hit the most were the older recent immigrants," Morissette said."This amount of experience in your (home) country is no longer rewarded the way it used to be, if it has any rewards at all."Analysts have put forward several explanations for the disparity. Employers may simply not appreciate or trust the quality of higher education in a country with which they are unfamiliar.It can also be challenging for employers faced with the usual issue of orienting new employees to deal with the added problem of taking on someone with different language skills or cultural values. Others wonder if there aren't simply too many newcomers for the labour market to absorb.Then, there is perhaps the most sensitive issue."There might also simply be discrimination," said Morissette. "But this is awfully hard to test empirically."The new census data do show the earnings gap for recent arrivals aged between 25 and 34 who completed the final phase of their higher education in Canada also fare worse than their Canadian-born counterparts, suggesting something beyond credential recognition is an issue.Ernie Lightman, an economist at the University Toronto, is convinced employer discrimination is the real reason many immigrants struggle.Lightman did a study in 2006 of former welfare recipients in Toronto that found the foreign-born, despite having relatively superior education levels, fared worse than their Canadian-born cohort, even when moving onto a second post-welfare job.The study also found immigrants were actually worse off financially after leaving welfare."Clearly, their education was not useful or usable in Canada," Lightman said."The only explanation I can come up with is discrimination or racism or barriers in the workforce."Lightman does concede that other issues, such as language skills may explain at least some of the discrepancy, but notes the earnings gap widened at the same time as immigrants became increasingly non-white."I cannot prove racism or discrimination, but I have no problem believing that's what's going on here for lack of a better explanation," Lightman said.Politicians across the country have recognized the significant barriers skilled foreigners face in landing on their feet in the workplace once they arrive in Canada.Ontario, for example, legislated an independent agency a year ago to ensure skilled newcomers have fair access to 34 self-regulating professions with penalties of up to $100,000 for mistreatment.Across the country, some self-regulating bodies have made a concerted effort to streamline their recognition procedures. For others, the process remains slow and painful."This is a Goliath and we're nibbling at its toes," Timothy Welsh, of the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance, said from Vancouver."What we're seeing is a lot more collective will (but) whether that's making a difference for everybody right now is less clear because it's such a complex issue."Part of the problem relates to Canada's devolved federal system itself in which rules differ from province to province and, within that system, self-regulating bodies set their own rules for qualifications and standards of practice.In all, there are about 400 licensing bodies in Canada - just for the various professions.Last year, the federal government committed $30 million over five years to the new Foreign Credentials Referral Office, which is designed to help those trained abroad get their credentials assessed and recognized more quickly."Too many newcomers can't get jobs they have been trained for," Immigration Minister Diane Finley said at the time. "That's a terrible waste, for them - and for the country."But Welsh, whose organization represents 450 immigrant and refugee service agencies across Canada, said while the office can provide information and general leadership, its scope remains limited as a federal body dealing with various provincial governments and provincially mandated agencies.One area that needs to be looked at, he said, is whether Ottawa's focus on recruiting skilled professionals abroad even makes sense given, for example, the need for trades and unskilled labour in provinces such as B.C.In the interim, Ahmad plans to apply soon for a provincial loan that will help him pay for a course he hopes will lead him back to the kind of career he believes he should be pursuing."If we get the opportunities, we can prove our worth," Ahmad said.
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Ontario moving ahead with legislation to ban smoking in cars with kids..

April 30, 2008 03:13
TORONTO - Ontario drivers caught lighting up in a car with children in the backseat will soon face a fine of up to $250 once a widely supported government-backed ban on the practice is passed.Ontario has already banned smoking in workplaces and public areas, such as bars and restaurants. But under the long-awaited legislation being introduced Wednesday, Ontario will join other provinces by banning smoking in cars where children under the age of 16 are present - a practice critics liken to child abuse.Adults who don't butt out in a car with kids would be fined no more than $250, instead of between $200 to $1,000 as originally proposed by Liberal backbencher David Orazietti who lobbied hard for the ban.Premier Dalton McGuinty once dismissed a province-wide ban as a slippery slope which infringed too much on people's rights, but said Wednesday that the ban is about protecting children from the dangers of second-hand smoke."We've got to take a side," he said. "And we're taking the side here of children who are defenceless and who count on us to make responsible decisions that serve their health interests."In March, McGuinty announced he'd changed his mind about the ban, which Orazietti introduced last year as a private member's bill. Nova Scotia already bans the practice and British Columbia's Liberal government introduced a ban in its legislature earlier this week.Police will be expected to enforce the ban once it takes effect, but the province is counting on a "high percentage of voluntary compliance," said Health Promotion Minister Margarett Best."The police will be out there doing their usual business and I'm certain that when they see the violation, then they will issue a ticket as required," she said.The ban won't make the job more onerous for police officers patrolling the province's highways, who are already inspect things like child car seats, said OPP Const. David Woodford."If we happen to see someone in their car smoking and there's kids in the backseat, it's quite obvious," he said."We're not going to be out there just looking for that. We do all enforcement any time. But it wouldn't be hard to detect someone smoking in a car while there's kids in the car."But Woodford said he doesn't see many people smoking in cars carrying children, unlike Best, who said she sees it "all the time."Opposition leaders threw their support behind the legislation, but say more must be done to educate people about the dangers of exposing kids to high concentrations of second-hand smoke.The law won't have much of an effect if people aren't made aware of what smoking does to their children's health, said Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory."We frankly have better things for the police and other people like that to be doing with their time," he said. "I think the way we're going to get change in behaviour here is by educating and informing and persuading people."Best said the province will "probably spend some money" on educating the public, but will wait for the bill to be passed before moving ahead with any plans.Two weeks ago, the Ontario Medical Association and the Heart and Stroke Foundation rolled out a series of radio and print ads encouraging parents to butt out while driving with kids.Doctors say kids are exposed to up to 23 times the toxins when they're in enclosed spaces like a car, which can worsen asthma and lead to other respiratory illnesses.
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