Tag Archives: immigration

Looking for Brits’ opinions on expat and new immigrant meetup/support groups

expat-groups

“Come and join our Punching The Air While Celebrating On-Cue Expat Group … it’s really fun!”

Been a busy week for people wanting to pick our readers’ brains!

Next up is Ryerson student Lauren who wants your opinion on expat and similar groups. We featured the Toronto Brit Meetup Group a while back, but there must be more out there that Lauren can chat to.

“I’m a journalism student at Ryerson University and for an assignment I am writing about expat and new immigrant meetup/support groups and how they help or hinder newcomers to Canada in integrating into Canadian society. I was wondering if you have been involved in any such groups and if you’d be willing to talk with me about your experience, or if you know other people who have done so and might be helpful.”

Some example questions …

  • How did expat groups help you settle in? Do you feel like they helped you join in with wider Canadian society (beyond other expats)?
  • Do you feel “just” British, “just” Canadian or both? Why/what makes you feel that way?
  • Do you think you’ve become “Canadianized”? Which country do you think you fit in with better now?
  • Is your social group now mainly made up of Canadians, other expats (either British or not), or a mix of both? How does that compare to when you first moved here? (if here for longer)
  • Do you see yourself staying in Canada, returning to Britain or moving somewhere else long-term?
  • If you have lived as an expat in another country, how does your experience there compare with your experience in Canada? What made it easier/harder to establish a life there?

“I would be interested in talking to both recent newcomers, people who have been in Canada for years and everything in between. I would start with a fairly quick (10-15 minute) phone conversation and if people would be willing to meet in person for a more in-depth discussion than is easy to do over the phone, that would be great. If anyone is part of an expat meetup group that has an event/gathering coming up, that I could join in with, I’d love to do that too.

“The assignment is due in mid-April, but I’d like to hear from people as soon as possible, not to rush you!”

So, if you’d like to help Lauren out and tell her about your experiences, please e-mail her at lauren DOT lydia DOT der AT ryerson DOT CA — and thanks in advance!

Free webinar about improvements to the Express Entry immigration system

express-entry-webinar

Just click and you’re in

Bit tired of the UK and feel like you need a change of scenery? How aboot Canada?!

On November 19, 2016, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada introduced several improvements to the Express Entry immigration system.

In the wake of these changes, Attorney David Cohen is holding an exclusive FREE webinar (November 29-30) on the topic of the revised system, and how potential immigrants to Canada can take advantage of the improvements that have been made.

Might be worth a butcher’s, right?

Here’s all the deets.

Immigration rules tweaked to make it easier for Americans. Er, hello? What about Brits too?

canada-america

Hey Canada, Brits can be your BFF too

So, let’s just get it of the way. Since we last posted, Donald Trump will become President of the United States and it’s horrible.

So horrible that the Canadian immigration website crashed, probably due to Americans desperately looking to move north. Not probably … 50% of IP addresses logged were Americans.

Fine. It’s a free country, check to see if you want.

But then this story from The Walrus caught our beady eye:

“Two days after Donald Trump was elected forty-fifth president of the United States, the Canadian government quietly tweaked our immigration system to make it easier for many Americans to move to Canada.

“The changes first surfaced in the Canada Gazette — the dull digital publication of record for the federal government — on Thursday afternoon. The notice was sandwiched between a list of meritorious service decorations awarded by the Governor General and changes to chemical classifications in the Environmental Protection Act. There was no press release, no backgrounder, no ministerial statement. The new rules, according to the notice, would take effect Saturday, November 19.

“Those rules mean that thousands of Americans currently working in Canada — and thousands more who want to move here — may be able to stay forever and eventually become citizens.”

Er, hello? What about the Brits that might want to come because of Brexit? We didn’t see a quick change in the immigration system to make it easier for them too.

If we’re missing something obvs then please correct us. Cheers!

Discuss.

p.s. “Canada’s immigration system is sometimes described as a labyrinth. That’s generous. Navigating the regulations can feel more like stumbling through dark caves without a flashlight while juggling kittens. Getting permission to come into the country to work or study temporarily is one thing. Getting the right to stay is another. There are dozens of different programs that lead to coveted permanent residence status; many of them rely on a complicated point system.”

Brits look to Canada after Brexit

Nigel Farage

If you don’t like this future, try Toronto!

CIC News carries a nice article today on how many Brits are looking towards Canada as the immigration destination of choice after the UK voted to leave the EU last week.

Some highlights of the article …

“As the results began to come in last week, and as it became clear that the ‘Leave’ option was edging out ‘Remain,’ Google reported an enormous spike in the UK for the search ‘move to Canada.'”

“Most new immigrants to Canada arrive under one of its many economic immigration programs. … There are programs for skilled workers at the federal level and in each of the provinces. A major advantage for English-speaking candidates is that English proficiency is deemed to be a highly desirable commodity for these programs, many of which are points-based, requiring candidates to reach a point threshold in order to become eligible.”

“Other options for working in Canada include being hired by a Canadian employer and obtaining a temporary work permit, or coming to Canada as an intra-company transferee. Many people who eventually settle in Canada permanently initially arrived with temporary work status.”

They even link to a handy free online assessment to find out if you are eligible for any of over 60 Canadian immigration programs.

The full article is here, highly recommended.

Proposed changes in the Canadian Citizenship Act would make it easier to meet requirements

John McCallum citizenship

John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship welcomes new Canadian citizens

As New Canadians is reporting, proposed changes in the Canadian Citizenship Act would make it easier to meet requirements for those who want to become a Canadian citizen.

Brits in Toronto gets a lot of e-mails concerning finding jobs and the process of becoming a Canadian citizen. We can’t offer legal advice, but we can highlight the news, issues and organizations that can assist in some way. Check back often.

The two important parts for us in the proposed changes are, “the time required for permanent residents to be physically present in Canada before applying for citizenship will be reduced by a full year,” and “the Bill also proposes to repeal provisions that allow citizenship to be revoked from dual citizens if they engage in acts against the national interests.”

In effect, if you want to make a new life in Canada then you won’t have to wait as long. And if you do a crime, then prepare to do the time!

Pretty much common sense.

Immigration Minister: Significant changes to the Citizenship Act in the coming days

Come to Canada

There’s a better life to be had as an office worker, doctor, contractor and backpacking student hoping for an internship with a four-year $80,000 philosophy degree

The Globe and Mail is reporting that, “The Liberals will soon follow through on their election pledge to repeal the Conservatives’ controversial Bill C-24, which gave the government the power to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens convicted of terrorism, treason or espionage.”

This caused an uproar when it was introduced as a lot of people with citizenship felt like second-class Canadians. Especially relevant to new immigrants that had come to Canada for a new life and gained citizenship.

Snip:

“Immigration Minister John McCallum said the government will also remove barriers to citizenship posed by Bill C-24.

“‘We believe that it’s better to make it easier rather than harder for people to become citizens.'”

Full story here and worth a read.

Brit in Toronto frustrated with immigration backlog

Caption

Free stock photo depicting a bloke in a snazzy hat who is a little bit frustrated about something

We spotted this story in yesterday’s Toronto Star about a British endocrinologist called Satya Dash living in Toronto for four years who is very frustrated with the current backlog in the immigration system.

Snip:

“In July, Dash was supposed to start as a staff physician at the University Health Network and teaching at the University of Toronto, but a backlog has put his new job on indefinite hold.

“Across Canada, the backlog — said to be the result of Ottawa’s deployment of much needed resources on the new Express Entry system — has wreaked havoc on the lives of thousands of Canadian Experience Class applicants.”

Worth a read.

New Canadians TV program launched

Caption

Gerard Keledjian and Rachel Lee chat about all things related to new Canadians

Brits coming to Toronto may decide to end up staying, thus becoming an immigrant, or even taking citizenship at some point.

A TV program launched by New Canadians focuses entirely on resources for newcomers and information to help succeed in Canada. It was launched on October 23, 2015 on the Rogers TV community channel in the GTA. It is telecast on Fridays at 7:00 p.m. and repeats several times during the week.

The first episode features resources for HR professionals, UP Express, an immigrant success story and the Newcomer Day celebrations.

Five quick tips from an immigration lawyer

Caption here

You already owe Lorne Waldman $500 in fees just by glancing at his photo

So you come over from Old Blighty, check out Toronto and think, “Hmmm, think I could make a go of this.”

Next steps? Probably legal advice.

Lorne Waldman, Founder, Waldman & Associates, graciously pencilled us in for five minutes to give a few tips on hiring an immigration lawyer.

What are the pros of using an immigration lawyer?

Not as simple as it seems. If you hire a good immigration lawyer he or she can help you through the labyrinth and find ways to qualify for permanent residence status. But I have seen cases where lawyers or consultants have given bad advice and made things worse.

It also depends on the complexity of the person’s situation. If the person has a good job in Canada and can easily qualify he or she may not need a lawyer. The major con of hiring a lawyer is the expense.

Realistically, what are the costs involved and are there programs or subsidies to help with this?

The cost depends on the lawyer and the work being done. I have seen lawyers charge thousands to do a permanent resident application. Some lawyers charge by the hour and the hourly fee will usually be in the hundreds of dollars.

In immigration matters many charge a block fee which will often be in the thousands for a permanent resident application.

Legal aid will cover some types of applications — applications for refugee status and some humanitarian applications … but most services are not covered by legal aid.

What are the top mistakes immigrants make in their application process that they should avoid?

The number one mistake is that they provide inaccurate information. This can lead to the person being rejected for misrepresentation.

The second biggest mistake is filing an incomplete application. If they do then the application will be returned.

Do you have any tips to speed up the immigration process?

Make sure you qualify under whatever program you are applying. File a complete application and make sure all the information is accurate. Do not file anything that is misleading or wrong.

Are immigrants to Toronto getting a fair chance to improve their life, for example, job opportunities?

No. There are many obstacles for immigrants, especially those in the professions who often find it difficult to get licensed in their professions.

Thank you, Lorne, some honest answers there. As always, Brits in Toronto recommends getting good legal advice in whatever course of action you may decide to take.

Citizenship rules change June 11, 2015

Chris Alexander, Citizenship and Immigration Minister

Chris Alexander, Citizenship and Immigration Minister

“A final suite of reforms to strengthen and modernize Canada’s citizenship laws will be fully in force as of June 11, 2015. The changes — part of a package of measures approved by Parliament last year — ensure new citizens can fully and quickly participate in Canada’s economy and Canadian society.

“The first set of provisions that came into force last summer to strengthen Canadian citizenship and speed up application processing times are already paying off. New citizenship applications are being finalized in a year or less, and it is expected that the backlog of older files will have been eliminated by the end of this fiscal year. Individuals who submitted a citizenship application before April 1, 2015 will have a decision by March 31, 2016.

“Among the many benefits of the government’s citizenship reforms, the new provisions will deter citizens of convenience — those who become citizens for the sake of having a Canadian passport to return to Canada to access taxpayer-funded benefits that come with citizenship status, without having any attachment to Canada, or contributing to the economy.”

Full story.

Canada slips to 6th place when it comes to integrating immigrants

Flying the flag

Flying the flag in 6th place

Hmmm, little bit of worrying news in the Toronto Star today:

“Canada has dropped out of the top five nations when it comes to integrating immigrants, due to policy changes by Ottawa that restrict family reunification and citizenship.

“According to the latest world ranking by a Brussels-based think tank, Canada has slipped from third to sixth place among 38 developed countries in providing migrants access to equal rights, support and opportunity.”

Full story. (Some of the comments are very telling.)

Thoughts, anyone?

Guest article: Some tips on Canadian immigration

The Twitter account of Dignitas Immigration

The Twitter account of Dignitas Immigration

Disclaimer: This is a guest article written by an immigration consulting firm. No payment changed hands and it’s the responsibility of the reader to do their due diligence and get the necessary legal advice before pursuing any business relationship, contract or payment of fees for any service related to this content or organization.

Dear Brits,

I understand that you truly love your adopted country of Canada! Nevertheless, as a Regulated Immigration Consultant, I have personally heard your calls to stay:

“I’m thinking of immigrating to Canada and have been in Canada for a year or two on a working holiday visa” … “I’ve fallen in love with a Canadian and want to stay here with my partner” … “I’ve studied here and now that chapter in my life is over, and I’d like to continue my stay in Canada.”

Don’t fret because you have many options.

You and your dependant children may be sponsored by a spouse or common law partner or conjugal partner by a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident. Your partner (husband or wife) can be either of the opposite sex or same sex. Note: You are a spouse if you are married to your sponsor and your marriage is legally valid. You are a common law partner – either of the opposite sex or same sex – if you have been living together in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. This category is for partners — either of the opposite sex or same sex — in exceptional circumstances beyond their control that prevent them from qualifying as common law partners or spouses by living together.

Perhaps, you qualify for the Express Entry immigration points system which recently launched on January 1 whereby “in demand” immigrants will be in Canada within six months. With this program, skilled immigrants will be matched with vacant jobs where there are no available Canadian workers. After applying online and registering with the government’s job bank, applicants will be entered into a pool. Only the candidates with the most points will be offered permanent residency.

Another viable option for you to obtain permanent residence if you already have experience working in Canada is through the Canadian Experience Class.

With all of these options and room for error in your application, some of you might acquire the help of an Immigration Consultant. Please choose your immigration representative carefully and make sure that s/he is in good standing with the immigration consultants regulating body, ICCRC.

At Dignitas Immigration (which is where I work as an Immigration Consultant), we care for our clients and their financial situations. For our clients who provide details of their financial hardships, we are ready to reduce our fees up to 60 per cent.

So if you have any questions regarding Immigration to Canada, you can visit us at www.DignitasImmigration.ca or call us at 416-551-7008 or 647-783-0013.

Sincerely,

Mila Vrdoljak
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant with Dignitas Immigration (consultant identification #R511335)

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Canada unveils new Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander calls a press conference to lay out the details of how he plans to achieve the longest photo caption on the Brits in Toronto website so far

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander calls a well-attended and interesting press conference to lay out the details of how he plans to achieve the longest photo caption on the Brits in Toronto website so far

Some news from the informative Prepare For Canada website …

Snip:

“Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced that Canada will unveil a pilot program in January 2015 to attract experienced business immigrants who can actively invest in the Canadian economy, stimulating innovation, economic growth and job creation.

“The new Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program is part of a series of transformational changes that build on the Government’s commitment to build a fast and flexible economic immigration system.

“In addition to making an investment of $2 million for a period of 15 years and having a net worth of $10 million, immigrant investors will be required to meet certain program eligibility criteria related to language and education, and have proven business or investment experience.

“This will ensure that immigrant investors will have a strong impact on the Canadian economy, and that those admitted for permanent residence will be well prepared to integrate into the Canadian business landscape and society.”

Full story here.

Canada gets ready to launch Express Entry

"OK, here we go. Two words. First word: fast. Yes! Second word: to go in. Yes! Well done, Peter!"

“OK, here we go. Two words. First word: fast. Yes! Second word: to go in. Yes! Well done, Peter!”

Important press release today …

Snip:

“Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today confirmed it’s one month and counting until Express Entry launches a new phase of active immigration recruitment to meet economic and labour market needs. Potential candidates can create their profile on January 1, 2015, with the first Invitations to Apply issued within weeks.

“Express Entry will help select skilled immigrants based on their skills and experience. Those with valid job offers or provincial/territorial nominations will be picked first. Details published today in the Canada Gazette explain how candidates will be ranked and selected, based on these factors that research shows are linked to success in the Canadian economy.

“Research shows these criteria will help ensure newcomers participate more fully in the Canada’s economy and integrate more quickly into Canadian society.

“In-demand immigrants’ applications will be processed in six months or less.”

Full press release here.

Ontario introduces legislation to maximize benefits of immigration

Disembodied hands making connections far above a map of the Earth

Disembodied hands making connections far above a map of the Earth

A little snippet of news the Brits in Toronto crew stumbled upon today …

“Ontario is reintroducing its first-ever Immigration Act that would, if passed, assist the province in working with Ottawa to maximize the economic benefits of immigration.

“Immigrants help grow a stronger economy by leveraging their networks and forging new global connections that will keep Ontario competitive in international markets.

“The province will also redesign the Provincial Nominee Program to respond to expected increases in the federal government’s allocation of economic immigrants.

“Maximizing Ontario’s immigration programs is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people’s talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.”

Full article here.

If Bill C-24 passes, Canadian citizenship will be harder to get and easier to lose

What a little bugger you are, Grumpy Cat

What a little bugger you are, Grumpy Cat

Our roving Brits across the fair City of Toronto send us leads all the time and we are very grateful.

Here’s two that crossed our desk this morning …

If Bill C-24 passes, Canadian citizenship will be harder to get and easier to lose

“On February 6, 2014 the federal government introduced Bill C-24, a law that changes the Citizenship Act of Canada. This new law changes core aspects of Canadian citizenship as we know it.

“If passed, Bill C-24 will make it more difficult for new immigrants to get Canadian citizenship and easier for many Canadians to lose it, especially if they have dual citizenship. Most Canadians do not understand the ways in which Bill C-24 will undermine their fundamental right to be a citizen of Canada.”

Full story.

Canadian government debating stringent new rules for citizenship

“The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, now in consideration, states that applicants for citizenship must spend at least 1.460 [might mean 1,460?] days in the country for six years before submitting their applications.

“It continues that, during at least four of those years, applicants must have spent 183 days physically present in Canada. Stays in the country under a temporary residency visa will not count towards the upgraded citizenship requirements.

“The bill is already controversial, with the Canadian Bar Association warning that its passing into immigration law will likely discourage immigrants and also have an effect on Canadians working abroad.

“Furthermore, the bill will allow revocation of citizenship held by dual nationals if it’s found that they’ve been convicted of and served more than five years’ imprisonment for offences outside Canada’s borders which would be construed as terrorism within the country.”

Full story.

After 40 years, Immigrant Settlement Program needs an overhaul

Time to change the system?

Time to change the system?

Interesting article in today’s Globe and Mail:

“Would-be immigrants to Canada continue to face a series of bureaucratic impediments that either delay their status or reduce the effectiveness of integration once they arrive here. Fixing these problems is long overdue.

“Last November, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander met with more than 400 people in Ottawa, mostly representatives of non-governmental organizations. These Service Provider Organizations contract with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to deliver settlement services to immigrants. He told them, ‘You tell us what we need to get it right.’

“In this spirit, there are several significant weaknesses in the system that need to be addressed.”

Full story.

New Canadian Media — The Pulse Of Immigrant Canada

Just a tiny part of the whole website

Just a tiny part of the whole website. There’s more

Just a quick note that New Canadian Media launched its website this week. From its press release:

“Targeted at all Canadians, NewCanadianMedia.ca delivers news and views about the one-fifth of Canadians who are newcomers, covering issues and themes that are of particular relevance to this growing segment of the population. The site also features aggregated content produced by Canada’s multicultural media, to represent more fully ‘the pulse of immigrant Canada.'”

The publisher is George Abraham and you can read more of his thoughts here. Or connect via LinkedIn.

Brits in Toronto wishes them all the best in reporting what matters to new Canadian immigrants!

Is immigration turning away best, brightest?

Brits in Toronto really hopes not

Brits in Toronto really hopes not … would be bad

Travelling to the Brits in Toronto office yesterday during the polar vortex, my eye chanced upon a copy of Metro, the local free daily newspaper.

I opened it and was extremely concerned at what I read. “Pisceans should expect disappointing news from a tall, dark stranger.” (I always read my horoscope first.)

Then I noticed the headline story on the front page: “Is immigration turning away best, brightest?” I read with interest …

According to hopeful permanent residency applicants and an immigration lawyer, very skilled people are being rejected for no obvious reason that they can discern.

The article even goes so far as to report, “They say there are conflicting instructions for applicants and that immigration officers aren’t following the rules and are ignoring parts of their applications.”

Pretty worrying. But how can immigrants prove that? I’m not sure if there’s an appeals process or not. The kind of talented individuals that the Federal Skilled Worker Program was set up to attract are apparently not making it through.

Brits in Toronto are going to put out a few feelers to see if we can get some more information and post an update.

You can read the full article as a PDF here (right click/save as): Is immigration turning away best, brightest?

What you should know before moving to Canada

Get used to seeing this flag a LOT

Get used to seeing this flag a LOT

Just a quick link to an interesting article the Brits in Toronto crew were chatting about at our afternoon tea.

A group of mothers were asked, for an Atkinson Foundation project, to write imaginary letters home to a friend telling them what to expect if they’re thinking about emigrating to Canada. In the end, six women and two men participated.

Here are a few observations from those letters.

Mayday! Mayday! Curb idiotic radio presenters. Stop people from Ann Arbor, Michigan immigrating. Or it’s the end of the Canada we know!

Mayday! Mayday! Curb Idiotic Radio Presenters. Stop People From Ann Arbor, Michigan Immigrating. Or it's the end of the Canada we know!

Come on, give me a smile you granola-crunching, tree-hugging thug hugger

Until this morning, I thought Lowell Green was the name of a nice little British town in the middle of the countryside where residents washed their cars on Sunday, enjoyed a lunchtime pint and always said “Good morning, Bert, how’s the wife?” to the milkman.

How wrong I was. Thanks to the Globe and Mail’s media reporter Steve Ladurantaye who tweeted these quotes from Mr. Green, I was roundly educated.

“To summarize: CFRA’s Lowell Green believes there are forced marriages in Ontario because immigrants can watch satellite TV from homeland.”

“Lowell Green’s deep reflection on immigrants: ‘They can’t read Canadian books, and watch native television from their homeland everyday.'”

Where do I start?

First off, Mr. Green is an IMMIGRANT. According to Wikipedia — which is never wrong, and totally accurate, always — he was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and IMMIGRATED to Canada as an IMMIGRANT via the IMMIGRATION process. There’s a theme there somewhere. Stick with me.

So, having enjoyed a successful career as an IMMIGRANT to Canada, Mr. Green then goes on to write a book with the subtle, yet gentle, almost whimsical title of Mayday! Mayday! Curb Immigration. Stop Multiculturalism. Or it’s the end of the Canada we know!

Hard to tell from the title which way Mr. Green is leaning on the subject, and as I haven’t had time yet from my daily life of being a successful and contributory IMMIGRANT citizen to Canadian life, have not read the book.

But then again, according to Mr. Green, I “can’t read Canadian books.” Oh well. That’s that, I suppose.

And as for the satellite TV comment? I literally choked on my cucumber sandwich when I read that! As Steve Ladurantaye asked me, “Do you insist on watching Coronation Street?”

Oh yeah. All the bloody time. I can’t function in Toronto society without knowing who’s shagging who at the Rovers.

Ridiculous.

/Rant. I’m off to enjoy a lukewarm cup of tea and read about my fellow IMMIGRANTS to this welcoming country who are doing great things.