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Also available is my new eBook, "How To Immigrate To Canada In The Family Class: The Authoritative Guide Including Québec And Super Visa Opportunities". Get it at Amazon or the other e-retailers noted above.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

G&M - Ottawa looks to ease international students’ path to permanent residency

Michelle Zilio and Simona Chiose report:

The Liberal government is moving to make it easier for international students to become permanent residents once they have graduated from Canadian postsecondary institutions.

Immigration Minister John McCallum said he intends to launch federal-provincial talks to reform the current Express Entry program, a computerized system that serves as a matchmaking service between employers and foreign skilled workers. Thousands of international students have been rejected for permanent residency because the program favours prospective skilled workers from abroad.

“We must do more to attract students to this country as permanent residents,” Mr. McCallum told reporters after meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts Monday. “International students have been shortchanged by the Express Entry system. They are the cream of the crop in terms of potential future Canadians and so I certainly would like to work with my provincial and territorial colleagues to improve that.”

Mr. McCallum said international students are ideal immigrants and should be recruited by Canada.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

G&M - Canada on track to welcome more than 300,000 newcomers this year


The good news just doesn't stop on the immigration front. Sunny days, indeed. If you've been thinking about immigrating to Canada, this may be your time to get in line. Skilled workers, Family class immigrants, Student visas - it's all looking up compared to the dark Harper years. Here's the latest from Minister John McCallum:

For the first time in decades, Canada is on track to welcome more than 300,000 new permanent residents to Canada in one year, according to the Liberal government’s 2016 immigration targets tabled Tuesday.

Immigration Minister John McCallum says Canada plans to accept between 280,000 and 305,000 new permanent residents this year, an increase from the updated target of 279,200 for 2015. If the government reaches its target, it will mark the first time Canada has resettled more than 300,000 new permanent residents in one year since 1913.

As promised during last year’s election campaign, the Liberals will increase the number of spaces available for refugees and family reunification arrivals this year.

Canada will see a dramatic boost in the number of refugees it plans to resettle this year to 55,800, up from a target of 24,800 in 2015. The majority of new refugees will be Syrian, in accordance with the government’s commitment to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February and thousands more throughout the year. It also plans to triple the number of privately sponsored refugees to 18,000 in 2016.

Read the rest at The Globe and Mail

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Better news! Liberals introduce bill to repeal many Conservative citizenship changes (G&M)

Read the entire article here

The Liberal government has introduced a bill that would repeal many parts of the former Conservative government’s citizenship legislation, including a provision that revoked citizenship from dual Canadian citizens convicted of terrorism, treason or espionage.

The proposed changes would automatically reinstate citizenship for one individual whose citizenship was revoked last fall before the election under the Conservatives’ Bill C-24, according to department officials speaking on background Thursday. That individual was charged with terrorism and is currently serving their sentence in a Canadian prison, said the officials.

In last year’s election, the Liberals promised to repeal the controversial legislation, which gave the government the power to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens convicted of terrorism, treason or espionage, and dual citizens who were members of an armed force of a country or members of an organized armed group that was engaged in a conflict with Canada.

“I am very pleased to announce these changes which are entirely consistent with the promises we made during the election campaign and on which we as a government were elected,” Immigration Minister John McCallum said Thursday.

The proposed changes are in line with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments in a heated election debate about citizenship last September, where he said “a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.”

When this bill passes, which it will, I will be immediately eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship!

Now if they would be thoughtful enough to reduce the current $530 application fee back to the $100 it was before the Tories got their hands on it. To put this fee in context, for a Canadian permanent resident earning a minimum wage, this is nearly 2/3 of an entire month's pay. It's hard enough to make ends meet on a minimum wage, so let's lower this barrier to entry. It was another Tory mechanism to reduce applications and another example of Harper's evil intent to control the complexion (literally) of this nation. We are better than that.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Great news! Liberals to repeal Bill C-24 on citizenship: Immigration Minister (G&M)

The Globe and Mail reports (entire article):

Immigration Minister John McCallum says the government will announce significant changes to the Citizenship Act in the coming days.

Mr. McCallum said Tuesday 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.

Asked when the changes will be unveiled, Mr. McCallum told The Globe and Mail to expect an announcement “in coming days, but not very many days.”

During last year’s election campaign, the Liberal platform committed to “repeal the unfair elements of Bill C-24 that create second-class citizens and the elements that make it more difficult for hard-working immigrants to become Canadian citizens.”

Mr. McCallum said the government’s announcement will make it impossible to revoke citizenship.

“A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian,” Mr. McCallum said, repeating a line used by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a heated election debate last September. “We would not revoke people’s citizenship. … That will certainly be a part of it [the announcement],” the Immigration Minister added.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Uncle Sam is a greedy leech

I have lived in Canada for over four years. I do not collect any benefits from my former country, The United States. The only things in my life that have meaning in association with it are I pay taxes and vote.

The US must tie these two acts together - taxes and the right to vote - because the country was founded on the concept that taxation without representation was evil. That's why they split from Great Britain. But I would argue that I have no voice in American politics. My issues do not matter to politicians. My home state of Washington is not busy insuring that expats from their state are treated fairly.

But the US wants to tax whatever they consider revenue that I make here in Canada, even if Canada doesn't consider it revenue. That means tax-free savings, retirement paid into Canadian retirement plans and any gains made on property. And what the US may tax in the future from expats is not fixed. It can change in an instant. As of this year, they are forcing Canadian banks to report on US citizen accounts so they can be sure they are getting everything they want.

I am taxed, but I am NOT represented. The US, unlike any other "free" nation in the world taxes you for life as long as you are a citizen. And they also make renouncing that citizenship expensive, time consuming and perilous.

The basic fee to apply to get rid of the burden of citizenship in the US is over $2,000. The wait time can be over 10-months. The exit fees include paying estimated taxes on future earnings. And they will estimate that those are, by the way.

They threaten that it may be harder to enter the country once you give up your citizenship. Like, who would do that kind of thing? Give up US citizenship? It makes them suspicious. You must be a threat now. We have to think twice about letting you in.

Frankly, it's nothing but a cash grab by those powerless to fight against it. When I become a Canadian citizen, I will have to revisit whether it makes sense to retain my citizenship. The only long term benefit will be social security. But I'm sure they'll tax that to the point of uselessness too.

The greedy leech keeps sucking.  

Read the Globe and Mail article about the issue here 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Expat.com - 1.5 million members can't be wrong

Our friends and supporters at Expat.com have made some great changes that I encourage you to check out.

Dedicated to life abroad, Expat.com helps you throughout your adventure, whether you are about to relocate or already living in Canada.

Created as expat-blog 10 years ago, the website now offers a brand-new version with a new name: Expat.com. It offers expats and soon-to-be expats a wide range of features to help them in organizing their expat project and in their daily expat life in Toronto and Canada: forum, jobs, interviews, guides, events, business directory… You will find information on all expat related subjects.

Expat.com is a participative website: expats can share their experience, ask questions, find answers, get advice from the other members… and make their expat project a smash!

Visit Expat.com today and become a member. It's easy.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Should I stay or should I go?

I'm in the doldrums. There are months to go before I apply for citizenship and all I can do is wait and study for the exam. I have been careful not to travel out of the country because that will delay the date when I have reached my four-years, but it's hard. I have family in the States and they want to see me and it's hard for them to understand. I'm thinking maybe I'll push my application date back a few more weeks and see them in the springtime instead of making them wait until May.

These are the decisions you have to make as an immigrant awaiting citizenship. The government has its requirements. You have to meet them. The first litmus test is have four-years worth of days in Canada. It was only three years a short time ago, but I have Harper to thank for pushing me and many others back. He was big on talk, then big on delaying tactics for immigration and citizenship opportunities.

I'll continue to get things in order for the application date and try not to sweat a few extra weeks delay. It will mean a lot to my family to see me. That's actually more important.

   

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Not skating yet - thanks El Niño

12C this coming weekend, with rain. 12C! It's the middle of December and I haven't been skating yet this year. Climate change? Probably has something to do with it. The weather pattern for eastern Canada this late fall has the cold air we normally experience (highs should be around -4C this time of year) pushed far to the north. Instead of the cold, we are getting warm air masses from the U.S. deep south, which are mild, though not necessarily wet.

I am holding out hope that once the winter season is here in another couple of weeks, temperatures will at least have dropped to near seasonable. I don't actually like to sweat when I'm on ice. I'm not playing hockey after all! I just want to enjoy a skate in the cold.   

Friday, December 04, 2015

Citizenship - take those sample tests!


You may not be aware, but you can prepare for your Canadian citizenship test online by taking sample tests directly from the CIC. While other sources of citizenship preparation are available, it's important that you ensure your preparation comes from the CIC citizenship guide, Discover Canada, and that any tests you practise with are also based on that material.

Here's an official list of study questions you can use for your own preparation.

For those of you with an Android device, the app, How Canadian Are You, Eh? is the CIC's official test preparation tool, and the one I personally use.

The actual test is comprised of 20 multiple choice questions, and most of these tools simulate the real test.

Luck favors the prepared! Get studying!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Canada, Syrian and other refugees

While a much larger country to the south struggles with every aspect of immigration policy, in Canada, the foundations that have been laid of the years are far clearer. We are a country that embraces immigration (though the implementation may be slower than many would wish, and the Harper years were actually an anti-immigration period for the country in terms of policy).

There is a crisis in Syria and Europe and the world is being asked to play a role in helping those desperately in need of a new home.

The Government of Canada has made the following commitments related to refugees from Syria and all refugees in general:

  • expand Canada’s intake of refugees from Syria by 25,000 through immediate government sponsorship, and also work with private sponsors to accept even more;
  • fully restore the Interim Federal Health Program that provides limited and temporary health benefits to refugees and refugee claimants;
  • invest at least an additional $100 million this fiscal year to increase – without reducing standards – refugee processing as well as sponsorship and settlement services capacity in Canada; and,
  • provide an immediate, new $100 million contribution to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support the critical relief activities in Syria and the surrounding area.
I am looking forward to seeing how well they implement these lofty goals. I am pleased to say we have ended the Harper era of anti-immigration policy.