Atlantic premiers and federal ministers announce immigration boost

 



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WATCH ABOVE: The Atlantic premiers along with the federal Liberals have announced details of a pilot project designed to spur the region’s lacklustre economy. Global’s Marieke Walsh has the details on a program that could bring 2,000 more immigrants and their families to the East Coast.
The Atlantic premiers have announced details of a first-in-Canada pilot project designed to boost the region’s flagging economy through immigration, with a particular focus on ensuring that newcomers don’t join the steady stream of outmigration to other parts of the country.

Under the plan, the government will accept up to 2,000 immigrant applications in 2017, with increased numbers in the following years depending on performance.
“So it could be something like 4,000 people, and that number is scheduled to rise in coming years, depending on how well we do,” said John McCallum, the federal minister of immigration.
He said the immigration component will be largely driven by the provincial governments and their specific needs.

“We will be open to a variety of skill classes, and we, in my office, will work with each government to develop a plan specific to their own province with a focus on particular occupations, particular regions and with a focus on engaging companies to not only recruit the immigrants but to undertake measures to keep them here,” he said.

The details were announced Monday at a meeting in Prince Edward Island of the premiers and a number of federal cabinet ministers.

Program to pilot in Atlantic Canada

McCallum said the two levels of government will look for ways to ensure that once immigrants arrive, they’ll stay in a particular region. He said that could include efforts to expedite credentials for different jobs.

He said while the program will be a pilot project in Atlantic Canada, it could be the model for the rest of the country in years to come.

When asked what’s being done to entice people who have left their provinces to return, New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said attracting new people and repatriating residents is all part of the same effort.

Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan agreed.

“I truly believe by succeeding on immigration we will make Prince Edward Island a more attractive place in terms of repatriation,” MacLauchlan said.
He said the workforce in his province must grow in order to create sustained prosperity.

Existing unemployed residents won’t be overlooked

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball said while increased immigration is necessary, it doesn’t mean that existing residents that are unemployed will be overlooked.

“Newfoundland and Labrador will always continue to invest in our residents who are ready and looking for employment. We will continue to train those that are under-skilled and looking for work,” he said.

Ball also stressed that the immigration plan is only one of the five pillars in the new Atlantic Growth Strategy.

Details will later be announced dealing with innovation, clean growth and climate change, trade and investment, and infrastructure.

“Our fundamental goal is to increase the number of good paying jobs and opportunities here in Atlantic Canada,” said Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development.

He said the growth strategy won’t be just another report that gathers dust.

“It’s legitimately about us focusing on areas of action and we can really move the agenda forward in a collaborative manner where we align our priorities and resources and we are outcome driven,” he said.
© 2016 The Canadian Press

Canada’s new passport requirements come into effect this month


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WATCH: Here’s what you need to know about Canada’s new passport requirements coming into effect
Canada’s new passport requirements come into effect in late September, forcing Canadians with dual citizenship to carry a valid Canadian passport to enter the country when travelling by air.

Starting September 30, all air travellers must have the appropriate documents to travel to Canada before boarding their departing flight.
“A valid Canadian passport is the only reliable and universally accepted travel document that provides proof that you are a citizen and have the right to enter Canada without being subjected to immigration screening,” reads a statement posted on the Canadian government website.

READ MORE: Travelling to Europe? Canadians and Americans may require visas soon

The new requirement, known as an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), was introduced earlier this year but hasn’t been strictly enforced. However, the government had been encouraging dual citizens to obtain a valid Canadian passport.

“Leniency will be shown to travellers who are caught unaware until September 29, 2016,” reads a notice on the Government of Canada website.

Prior to the change, Canadians who hold dual citizenship were able to enter Canada with their foreign passports and use a driver’s licence or citizenship card to prove Canadian citizenship. Now, air travellers must have either a valid Canadian passport; a Canadian temporary passport; or a Canadian emergency travel document for proof of citizenship.

READ MORE: How easy is it to travel with a Canadian passport?

The new requirements only currently apply to air travel.

American citizens and American-Canadian citizens can still fly into Canada on a valid U.S. passport.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

An overview of proposed changes to the Citizenship Act – Canada News Centre

An overview of proposed changes to the Citizenship Act

An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act was introduced today. The changes in the proposed legislation would provide greater flexibility for applicants trying to meet the requirements for citizenship, and help immigrants obtain citizenship faster. They would also repeal provisions of the Citizenship Act that allow citizenship to be revoked from dual citizens who engage in certain acts against the national interest. Additional changes are also proposed to further enhance program integrity.

Repealing the national interest grounds for citizenship revocation

Legislative changes that came into effect in May 2015 created a new ground for citizenship revocation that allowed citizenship to be taken away from dual citizens for certain acts against the national interest of Canada. These grounds include convictions of terrorism, high treason, treason or spying offences, depending on the sentence received, or for membership in an armed force or organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada.  The Bill repeals these new grounds. All Canadians who commit crimes should face the consequences of their actions through the Canadian justice system.

The ability to revoke citizenship where it was obtained by false representation, by fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances will remain in place. The Minister would continue to have authority to revoke citizenship in basic fraud cases, such as identity and residence fraud (which constitute the majority of cases), and the Federal Court would continue to have authority to revoke citizenship in cases where the fraud is in relation to concealing serious inadmissibilities concerning security, human or international rights violations, war crimes, and organized criminality.

Repealing the intent to reside provision

Since June 2015, adult applicants must declare on their citizenship applications that they intend to continue to reside in Canada if granted citizenship. The provision created concern among some new Canadians, who feared their citizenship could be revoked in the future if they moved outside of Canada. The Government is proposing to repeal this provision. All Canadians are free to move outside Canada. This is a right guaranteed in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Reducing the length of time someone must be physically present in Canada to qualify for Citizenship

To help immigrants achieve citizenship more quickly, the Government is proposing to reduce the time required to be spent in Canada for citizenship for adults to three years (1095 days) within the five years before applying for citizenship. This will mean applicants can apply one year sooner than they can now. This offers greater flexibility for immigrants who may need to travel outside of Canada for various personal or work reasons.

Currently, the Citizenship Act requires applicants to be physically present in Canada for four years (1,460 days) within the six years immediately before applying for citizenship.

Allowing time in Canada before Permanent Residency to count toward the physical presence requirement

Under the Citizenship Act, people cannot count time they spent in Canada before becoming a permanent resident towards meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship.

The changes in the new Bill would let non-permanent resident time count toward the new three year physical presence requirement for citizenship, for up to one year. Under this change, each day that a person is authorized to be in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident could be counted as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship.

These changes support the Government’s goal of making it easier for immigrants to build successful lives in Canada, reuniting their families and contributing to the economic success of all Canadians. The time credit will also encourage skilled individuals to come to Canada to study or work, and benefits groups like protected persons and parents and grandparents on visitors’ visas.

Eliminating the 183 days of physical presence requirement

The Bill proposes to remove the supplemental physical presence requirement, as keeping it would not allow applicants to benefit from the new non-permanent resident time credit. Applicants would no longer need to be physically present for 183 days in Canada during each of four calendar years that are within the six years immediately before applying for citizenship.

Amending the age range for language and knowledge requirements

Since the first Canadian Citizenship Act in 1947, citizenship applicants have had to have an adequate knowledge of English or French, as well as knowledge of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. Previous changes to the Citizenship Act expanded the age range of applicants who must meet the language and knowledge requirements from those aged 18-54 to those aged 14-64.

The Government is proposing to return to the previous 18-54 age requirement, removing a potential barrier to citizenship for applicants in both the younger and older age groups. For younger applicants, learning English or French and having an adequate knowledge of Canada is already achieved through schooling. For the older age group, language skills and knowledge of Canada are offered through a wide range of integration services.

Adult applicants aged 18-54 would still be required to provide evidence that they understand English or French and are able to hold a short conversation about common topics, understand simple instructions, and use basic grammar. They are also required to pass a knowledge test on Canada and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

Program Integrity Enhancements

A number of changes to further enhance program integrity are also proposed.

  • Conditional Sentences: Currently, the Citizenship Act prohibits a person under a probation order, on parole or incarcerated in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison from being granted citizenship or from counting that time towards meeting the physical presence requirements for citizenship.  However, the provisions do not include conditional sentences (i.e. sentences served in the community with certain conditions) served in Canada.  So currently, an applicant who is sentenced to a conditional sentence order could be granted citizenship or count that time towards meeting the physical presence requirements for citizenship. These amendments would change that.  This change would apply to both new applications and those still being processed.
  • Maintaining requirements for citizenship until Oath takingThe Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act introduced a rule that would not allow applicants to take the oath of citizenship if they no longer met the requirements for citizenship after the decision was made. Before this change, there was no authority to prevent an applicant in that situation from taking the oath. The time between the decision and taking of the oath is typically two to three months. However, the rule only applies to applications received after June 11, 2015, when the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act came into force, and not to applications received before that date.

The proposed change would require all applicants to continue to meet the requirements of citizenship until they take the Oath, regardless of when their application was received.

  • Ability to Seize DocumentsUnlike existing authorities under the Immigration and Refugees Protection Act, citizenship officers did not have the authority to seize fraudulent documents.  This Bill would change that, giving citizenship officers authority under the Citizenship Act to seize fraudulent documents provided during the administration of the Act, including during in-person interviews and hearings. This improves the ability for Citizenship officers to carry out investigations and prevent further use of fraudulent or suspected fraudulent documents.

Major changes to Canada’s immigration system expected in fall, says Minister John McCallum

Mississauga News

By Nouman Khalil

NX-BM-SAF-Immigration_2___GalleryThe Trudeau government is ready to introduce changes to the current
immigration system, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship John McCallum announced Wednesday while visiting Peel region.
McCallum’s visit to Peel was part of the government’s nationwide consultation process to bring essential changes to the immigration policy that was promised by the Liberal Party during the 2015 election campaign.
In Brampton and Mississauga, the minister met local members of parliament and stakeholders and discussed issues related to immigration. Top of the agenda is speeding up the process of family class immigration.
 “We’re working to meet our single most important commitment to reduce the processing time for family class,” said McCallum. “Right now, it takes approximately two years for a husband and wife to be reunited… it is unacceptable.”
McCallum said the Liberal government inherited a system that is presently creating concerns within the community and his team is working to streamline it by introducing a new and improved policy.
The new system – with changes to family and skilled class, economic category as well as visitors’ visa policy – is expected to be introduced in the coming fall season.
“We want to streamline the admission of economic immigrants as well as refugees and family class. We are going to make it much easier for international students to become permanent residents,” said the Markham-Thornhill MP.
In competition with other countries like Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, he said the government currently working to give international students more points and make it easier for them to come to Canada.
“International students are at the top of the government’s list to become permanent residents because they are young, educated, and fluent in English or French,” said McCallum, adding the government is also working to improve visitors’ visa procedures, which are creating problems, especially in Chandigarh, India.
“Chandigarh is not the only place facing problems. We are determined to make it easier for people – particularly for visitor visas, weddings and funerals. We are determined to find a timely solution for it. Soon we will have a much quicker entry process,” said McCallum.
The minister said it’s a great achievement that the Trudeau government recently brought in 25,000 Syrian refugees in just four months on humanitarian grounds.
“The project has gone very well. It really makes me proud to be a Canadian because so many Canadians have come out to support this project. We stand out as a country that has truly welcomed refugees,” said McCallum.