Canadian Government to Clamp Down on "Birth Tourism"

A Hong Kong newspaper’s investigation into the practice of immigration consultants there coaching pregnant Chinese women on how to enter Canada without having their pregnancy detected, in order for their children to be born in Canada and receive Canadian citizenship, has prompted action by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to try to put a stop to the practice.

On Sunday, Citizenship and Immigration spokeswoman Candice Malcolm told Postmedia News, “we are aware of crooked consultants who encourage pregnant women to illegally travel to Canada to give birth and gain access to Canada’s considerable benefits”.

One option being considered by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is to end automatic birthright citizenship, known as Jus Soli, so that being born on Canadian soil alone does not grant citizenship.

Canada and the United States are the only developed nations with Jus Soli and there have been many calls in both to abolish the legal right.

Canadian Government to Provide Microloans to Immigrants in Saskatchewan

In an effort to help newly arrived immigrants update their education credentials to Canadian standards, the Canadian government, in partnership with the provincial government of Saskatchewan, will be offering microloans to new immigrants who live in Saskatchewan for education and training programs, through the ‘Immigrant Access Fund’.

Saskatchewan will be the first province to launch a government lending initiative supported by the Canadian government’s foreign credential recognition loans pilot.

The goal of the federal program is to help immigrants overcome obstacles they face in getting the Canadian credentials that would allow them to qualify for jobs in their field of study. It is hoped the program will help immigrants better integrate into the Canadian economy.

A microloan is a small loan that does not require the recipient to have credit history or collateral.

Can. Immigration Minister Proposes New Bill to Toughen Canadian Refugee Admittance

Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has proposed a new bill “Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act”, that would toughen rules for asylum seekers coming to Canada.

The new bill would reduce the time taken to assess a standard refugee application from 1000 to 45 days. This would reduce the incidence of immigration authorities being unsuccessful in deporting asylum seekers applying under false pretences, due to the long duration of their time in Canada.

As the National Post writes, the longer the application process for an asylum seeker to Canada is, the less likelihood there is they will be deported:

Reducing the time it takes federal officials to examine claims for asylum is critical. The longer an applicant gets to remain in Canada before a decision is made, the less likely bogus applicants are to be expelled. People who stay here three or more years waiting for their cases to be adjudicated put down roots. They establish homes, have children, develop friendships and forge connections in the community. Then, if their applications are rejected, they plead that it is unfair to expel such a well-established new Canadian.

The new bill would also make biometric readings for foreigners getting Canadian visas mandatory, and introduce more powers to deal with human smuggling.

Hundreds of Canadian Immigration Consultants will meet in Mississauga

Six hundred immigration consultants are registered to gather at the First General Meeting (FGM) for members of the Canada Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) in Mississauga on Friday. This will be the largest gathering of Canadian immigration consultants in history.

The ICCRC is Canada’s immigration consulting regulatory body, and replaced the previous self-regulatory body of the immigration industry, the CSIC, last year.

The regulatory body has new investigative powers granted to it by Bill C-35, an Act to Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which came into law on June 30, 2011. This legislation gives the federal government new abilities to crack down on unlicensed immigration consultants and otherwise illegal immigration consulting activities.

The ICCRC, unlike the old regulatory body, is also directly answerable to the Immigration Minister of Canada, Jason Kenney.

The keynote address for Friday’s FGM will be given by Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Deputy Minister, Neil Yeates.

Jonathan Kay of National Post says Immigrants turning Canada into Nation of ‘Tiger Moms’

An editorial by Jonathan Kay in the National Post, published on Friday, argues that immigrants are turning Canada into a nation of ‘Tiger Moms’, a term that refers to demanding Chinese mothers who push her children to excel academically, due to the competition that immigrant students from Asian countries are giving to native born Canadian students:

But the issue is more fundamental than that: Competition from Asian students is coming to shape the parenting practices and scholastic expectations of millions of native-born Canadian parents.

It used to be that upwardly mobile native-born parents could count on getting any reasonably bright child into a good private school and university. Now, those children are in competition with Asian immigrants who spend their weekends drilling math and spelling-bee lists.

Kay describes how the phenomenon of status-focused immigrant students and their parents had affected his own wife and the parenting of their children:

For native-born Canadian parents, that’s a scary thing. Last year, my wife read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, and laughed at the author’s insanely Type-A mothering techniques. But when she put the book down, the first words out of her mouth were “Should we put our kids in piano lessons?”

And so we did. We also sent our youngest child to after-school reading lessons, even though I’m not sure she needed them. The competition from highly motivated immigrants is making stressed out Tiger Mothers of us all.

The article explains how this recent trend has a historical precedent in the increase in Jewish immigration and academic excellence in the early 20th century, as the Jewish proportion of the student bodies of prestigious American universities shot up, reaching 28% in Harvard and 40% in Columbia by 1925, alarming the WASP establishment which instituted quotas in reaction.

Quotas in this day and age wouldn’t be politically palatable, and in any case wouldn’t be ethical, writes Kay, as they would be racist and deny the children of immigrants, who were promised a better life in Canada, the opportunities available to other Canadians.

We can expect to see continued change in Canadian culture and in particular educational institutions, as the population of immigrants, a high percentage of whom are highly educated and expect their children to follow in their footsteps, increases by millions over the next few decades.

Canadian-Gov Backed Website to Help Immigrants Find Jobs in Toronto Launched

The Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) has launched a new online network,, to help Canadian immigrants find jobs.

The website will make pre-existing networks of professional Canadian immigrants easily accessible to employers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) through a search feature and a directory.

The website is part of an initiative, called PINs (Professional Immigrant Networks), that started in 2009, to help immigrants, whose unemployment rate of 8.4% is above that of native born Canadians of  5.4%, connect to employers.

The initiative has received $100,000 in funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and from Scotiabank through a sponsorship agreement.

TRIEC hopes to expand its website to other regions of Canada to make it a national job network for immigrants.

TD Economists urge Canada to expand Provincial Immigrant Nominee Program

A report by the Toronto Dominion bank argues that Canada could reduce the wage gap between immigrant and native-born Canadians by expanding the provincial nominee program.

The provincial nominee program requires immigrants to live a certain number of years in the sponsoring province, and allows provinces to create their own criteria for an applicant being accepted as a permanent resident.

As reported by the Vancouver Sun:

One way to improve this outcome would be to expand the provincial nominee program, Alexander said, as the provincial programs result in better employment numbers.
“At the end of the day, I think the provinces know what their labour markets need best.”

The TD report also says that Canada should make its immigration criteria more flexible, and give more priority to language proficiency. Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney declared last month that the Canadian government is making these very changes to the immigration admission process.

New Immigration Rules will be more Flexible, says Citizenship and Immigration Minister

Changes to be made to Canada’s immigration process will make it more flexible, says Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

Kenney said new rules will give more weight to those in-demand skilled trade experience when assessing the eligibility of a candidate, to fill the shortage for this type of skill-set in Canada’s job market

As the National Post reported:

“People who are skilled tradespeople have an almost impossible job of coming to Canada under our current system because the skilled worker program basically selects people with advanced university degrees,” Kenney told CTV.

Kenney also reported that the changes would include new rules to make deportations faster, to prevent, what he described, as an overdrawn process whereby those facing deportation hold the process up with years of appeals.