Global Migration Digest

November 2013 (Vol. 2, No. 1)

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Canadian Immigration Update by Jacqueline Bart Toronto, Canada Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Applicants (and Their Lawyers) Relieved As Foreign Service Workers To Return To Full Time Work At Canadian Visa Offices C anada's Foreign Service has reached a deal on a new contract with the federal government, ending a lengthy dispute and rotating strikes that have created an extensive backlog to visa processing and other consular services abroad. The government agreed to increase base pay for senior ranks of the Foreign Service, bringing it more in line with what the union had argued were comparable positions elsewhere in government. The government had previously resisted salary increases by taking the position that the jobs were already well-paid. The Federal Skilled Trades Program—Expedited Immigration Processing   The Government of Canada launched the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) in January 2013 to facilitate the immigration of skilled tradespeople who meet Canada's current and evolving trade needs. Applicants are assessed on relevant criteria such as language ability, practical training and work experience, rather than on formal academic education.   The FSTP was also created in response to requests from Canadian employers for skilled workers to fill labor shortages, particularly in the natural resources and construction sectors. Eligible applicants include contractors and supervisors of electrical trades, carpenters, plumbers, installers, repairers, and servicers within the construction trades; supervisors and logging machinery operators within the logging and forestry industries; supervisors within the mining and quarrying industries; and contractors and supervisors within the oil and gas drilling industry as well as various other trades.  In order to attract and retain qualified, in-demand candidates, CIC's goal is to process applications in this category as quickly as possible; current processing time for FSTP applications is three to four months.  Whilst this outcome is excellent for Canada's trade industry, it is unfortunate that business owners and skilled, top-tier management employees essential to some of the largest companies in Canada continue to await receipt of permanent residence in queues of up to three years.   Parent and Grandparent Super Visas—How Super is this Visa?   Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, whether visa exempt or not, can apply for a Parent and Grandparent Super Visa to visit their children and grandchildren in Canada.   The benefit of applying for this visa is that it is valid for up to 10 years and allows an applicant to remain in Canada for up to 24 months at a time FOR MORE INFORMATION: NAFTA, Revisited (Audio Seminar) FREE! > without the need for renewal of their status. The process for getting a Super Visa is not simple, however; applicants must provide proof that the host child or grandchild meets a minimum income level, demonstrate that they have purchased comprehensive Canadian medical insurance (which can involve a cost of $20,000) and undergo immigration medical examinations.  Moreover, extensive background, residence, travel and security information is required.    Although the government is issuing more than 1,000 Super Visas monthly, this new application process has created an extraordinarily expensive mandatory medical insurance requirement for parents and grandparents who are not visa exempt or, if visa exempt, for parents or grandparents wishing to remain in Canada for more than six months. It has created a lucrative new insurance market for Canadian insurance companies. The new Super Visa has also resulted in high refusal levels for traditional visa applications as well as visitor record renewals. 6

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