Tag Archives: Canada immigration

The Dragon’s Den Canadian Visa

11 Apr

Toronto Canada immmigration expat

I’ve written an article for Telegraph.co.uk on Canada’s Start-Up Visa, likened by one lawyer to “the Dragon’s Den of immigration”.

The visa’s aimed at enticing entrepreneurs looking for venture capital, or angel investor, funds. The government believes the promise of investment – and a permanent visa – will encourage foreigners to move here to build their tech start-ups.

I’m not so sure. Take the Conference Board of Canada report, which placed the country 13th of 16 peer nations for innovation. Canadian firms were “rarely at the leading edge of new technology,” it said. Canada also ranked poorly on barriers to competition, which won’t surprise anyone who’s tried to buy a phone contract, broadband package or bottle of wine here.

The UK, meanwhile, was deemed to have the lowest barriers to competition and received the top score for “ease of entrepreneurship”.

In Canada’s favour is its comparatively strong economy and the UK’s decreasing levels of venture capital investment. This report provides an optimistic view of entrepreneurship in maple leaf land.

Interested in finding out more? The government’s giving away up to 2,750 of the new visas annually for the next five years. Time will tell whether they turn out to be the Reggae Reggae sauce, or the DriveSafe glove of the immigration world.

Desperately Seeking Sparkies

11 Dec

Thinking about moving to Canada? As the most reticent reader of this blog could surmise, I’d recommend it.

However, as less reticent readers will know, the immigration system over here’s being drastically overhauled and it’s increasingly difficult to get in unless you tick some tightly defined boxes.

But there’s a new box in town; step forward the sexily-titled Federal Skilled Trades Program.

As my story in telegraph.co.uk today sets out, the Canadian government’s making it easier for skilled tradespeople to move here with permanent residency. They’re being tight-lipped about the full list of registered trades due to benefit from the fast-tracking, but immigration minister Jason Kenney’s name-checked electricians, welders, pipe-fitters and heavy duty mechanics.

For the article, I spoke to Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada CEO Cheryl Knight, who said the oil and gas industries also particularly needed millwrights, machinists, steamfitters and crane operators.

But she urged anyone thinking of making the move to do their research, warning: “They need an understanding of what trades are in demand and where the trades are in demand.”

She makes a moot point. Because, while lots of aspirant migrants think of Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto as potential destinations, the in-demand jobs are often many, many miles away in remote corners of Canada.

Take Fort McMurray, home to the Athabasca oil sands in northern Alberta. It’s 450km from the nearest city, Edmonton. And Edmonton, with a population of 812,201, is hardly a giant metropolis. Fancy it?

Canadian Construction Association president Michael Atkinson said project managers and supervisors were also in high demand. But again, the jobs were primarily in less populated parts of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and the North (take your furs).

Newfoundland Canada Immigration

Some jobs are based in Newfoundland, in Eastern Canada. Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/dibytes/7723411064

If this sounds like your cup of tea, take heart: Benjamin Tal, CIBC World Markets deputy chief economist, said those with sought-after skills could expect competitive salaries, as Canada battles with Australia, the USA and the UK for the cream of the labour crop. In Mr Tal’s words: “They’re not lining up to be picked. They’re selecting us.”

The official list of occupations in the scheme is due to be announced before the program kicks in on 2 January.

Pick n Mix Canadian News

10 Dec

In the past couple of weeks I’ve had several articles published on Canadian news issues, covering a range of topics. They’re summarised below in small, bitesized chunks for easy digestion (with all the rich food around this time of year, not to mention the woozy post-party heads, it seemed best):


Briton Fights Canadian Government for Residency

pr scr

The story’s about a legal battle being fought by a group of business owners who applied to emigrate to Canada through a scheme for people worth $1.6m, with $400,000 to invest locally.

The action was sparked by the would-be investors’ fears that their visa applications could be torn up due to immigration policy changes. This is what happened to 280,000 people who applied through the federal skilled worker scheme.

The story’s been followed up by CBC News today.


sunday telegraph

Mark Carney Attacked Bankers’ Windfall Pay Agreements

I wrote about the new Bank of England governor Mark Carney, and the approach he’s taken to bankers’ bonuses in his role as the Bank of Canada’s governor and chairman of the G20’s Financial Stability Board.

Mark Carney Telegraph Canada


British Medical Journal Santry Canada

Critics Attack Decision to Allow Federally Funded Researchers More Time to Publish Trial Results

The body that channels most of the $1billion of public funds given to medical researchers has relaxed the rules on how quickly they need to publish their results.

The decision’s being seen by critics as another sign that Canada is less transparent than it should be regarding health research, which many argue is leading to problems such as serious adverse events in clinical trials being glossed over or excluded from published studies.

Trudo Lemmens, chair in health law and policy at the University of Toronto, argues that Canada is behind Europe and the USA regarding transparency in medical research. Interestingly, he suggests that the well publicised problems with the health system south of the border lead to a complacency in Canada about the state of its own healthcare system and the need for tougher regulations.

What’s been your experience of Canadian healthcare?

New rules ‘make it harder’ for older Britons to settle in Canada – my story in the Telegraph

17 Sep

Today the Telegraph has published a story I wrote on the plans to change Canada’s immigration rules.

It was a really interesting piece to research, and one of the most striking comments I came across was straight out of the government’s regulatory impact assessment (always the best place for juice – news hacks will know I’m not actually being sarcastic).

The bit that caught my eye was: “Foreign work experience is largely discounted by Canadian employers when the immigrant first enters the Canadian labour market, and it is a weak predictor of economic success.” This was based on detailed research, but feels like a slightly weird message at a time when workers are more internationally mobile than ever and busineses are increasingly globalised.

Talking to immigration consultants and lawyers, it doesn’t seem to be that the foreign work experience is seen as intrinsically invaluable or irrelevant, but that Canadian employers just like to stick to what they know. Rather than tackling this rather inward-looking culture, the government’s opted to simply reflect the status quo in its regulations.

Experts I spoke to also said Canadian authorities often struggled to verify foreign credentials, leading to doubts over professionals’ qualifications and delays in securing work, including for UK-trained doctors.

But there’s good news for the would-be skilled migrant. The same studies also suggested that, once an employer takes a chance on a foreigner, all that experience built up in lands far, far, away starts to be taken seriously.  And, as the article highlights, the emphasis on English language skills is growing under the new rules, making it easier for (most) Brits to settle here – as long as they’re under 35 and/or well-educated, working in a recognised profession.

The advice from the lawyers? Apply as soon as the federal skilled workers scheme re-opens (expected to be in January 2013); the current freeze means Canada could be inundated with applications. One source said applications were unlikely to be processed until 2014 unless they were submitted in the first three months.

John Howson

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