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    • November 12, 2011
    • New PhD Eligibility Stream

       

      On November 5, 2011, the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program started a new eligibility stream for international students pursuing PhD studies at Canadian educational institutions.
       

      This streams includes:
       

      1.   International students who are currently enrolled in a PhD program in a recognized private or public post-secondary educational institution in Canada who have completed at least two years of their PhD program.
       

      2.   Foreign nationals who have completed a PhD program from a recognized private or public post-secondary educational institution in Canada in the last 12 months prior to the date of their application for permanent residence.
       

      A maximum of 1000 applications will be admitted in the new PhD Eligibility Stream every year (until October 31, 2012).
       

      Such applications are Federal Skilled Worker applications still assessed under the other requirements of the FSW Program (age, education, work experience, English/French language ability, and adaptability. Applicants must obtain the minimum pass mark (67) at the time they submit their application.
       

    • November 5, 2011
    • Faster processing for family sponsorship

       

      On November 4, 2011, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism of Canada announced that the Government of Canada is taking immediate action to cut the backlog and the seven-year wait times for sponsored parents and grandparents. For some this was pretty good news and for some not a very pleasant one.
       

      According to the statistics of CIC, currently, more than 165,000 parents and grandparents who have applied to become permanent residents of Canada are still waiting for a final decision. 

      To deal with the large backlog and lengthy wait times, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is announcing Phase I of the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification.
       

      1.  The Government of Canada will increase by over 60 percent the number of sponsored parents and grandparents Canada will admit next year, from nearly 15,500 in 2010 to 25,000 in 2012 – the highest level in nearly two decades.
       

      2.  The government is introducing the new “Parent and Grandparent Super Visa,”which will be valid for up to 10 years. The multiple-entry visa will allow an applicant to remain in Canada for up to 24 months at a time without the need for renewal of their status. The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa will come into effect on December 1, 2011, and CIC will be able to issue the visas, on average, within eight weeks of the application. This means that instead of waiting for eight years, a parent or a grandparent can come to Canada within eight weeks. Parent and Grandparent Super Visa applicants will be required to obtain private Canadian health-care insurance for their stay in Canada.
       

      3.  The government will consult Canadians on how to redesign the parents and grandparents program to ensure that it is sustainable in the future. The redesigned program must avoid future large backlogs and be sensitive to fiscal constraints.
       

      4.  To prevent the build-up of an unmanageable number of new applications during these consultations and to further reduce the 165,000-strong backlog of parent and grandparent applicants, CIC is putting in place a temporary pause of up to 24 months on the acceptance of new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents. The pause comes into effect on November 5, 2011.
       

      For those who already have an application submitted before November 2011, this resonates with promising news but for those who were in the middle of preparing a sponsorship application for submission or had in mind to do so in near future, this is not very promising; they have to wait for another 24 months before they can submit their application. However, if this Action Plan really works, at the end of the day the processing for sponsorship applications will remarkably decrease and new applicants can hope that their applications be processed faster than before.
       

    • October 22, 2011
    • Delays and priorities


      Delays in the processing of the immigration applications, especially in the Federal Skilled Worker class, are not something new. There were days when it took over seven years for an application to come to fruition. However, in the last three years, Citizenship and Immigration Canada have tried their best to minimize the processing times, at least for the newly submitted applications. The selected group are applications submitted after February 2008 up to the present time. The rationale for expediting the newer applications is understandable; they better reflect the current Canadian labor market needs. However, older files, prior to 2008, have not fallen into oblivion or a Black Hole, they are live and are being processed, although not as fast as everyone wishes.

       

      What causes the delays:

       

      What can actually be blamed for the elongated processing times remains a mystery. However, one thing that is undeniable is the fact that Canada has a ubiquitous man-power shortage that extends to Citizenship and Immigration Canada; the number of applications received per year far exceeds the personnel available for processing them. This causes a backlog that piles up everyday. In fact, the Ministerial Instructions issued since 2008, had targeted at clearing the backlog. Although this can be considered a successful plan, many are still unhappy with the results. It cannot be denied that Canada remains the most desirable international destination for immigrants. This popularity attracts hundreds of thousands of applicants each year while CIC offices and visa posts can only process a fraction of them.

       

      At times, unpredictable incidents and events also impact the processing times negatively at some visa offices that may result in the processing times being unfavorably elongated. The most recent of such incidents is the political unrest in Syria that has resulted in the Canadian Embassy in Damascus being closed and files transferred to other visa offices in the region, for instance to Warsaw, Poland.

       

      What can be done:

       

      What can be done to reduce the processing times is even more enigmatic. Obviously, when faced to challenge the time, patience is our only weapon. Oftentimes, immigrants land in Canada with no preparation at all while many of them had had to wait in the processing queue for a long time already. No-one can shorten the processing time for themselves or for others. It is a first-come-first-serve system and we need to bear with it. If there is something we cannot change, we should learn how to adapt ourselves with it. However, in the course of adaptation, there are a number of very necessary things we need to do before arriving in Canada that make our landing and initial settlement in Canada less stressful and can pave the grounds for a successful beginning in the new country. Why waste the time counting days when we need that time to prepare ourselves and our family members for the ordeal of immigrating to a new country. Which way is wiser; to go to Canada more prepared or much faster; when success and failure depends solely on our readiness for entering the challenging environment of another country.

       

      Here are some of the things that every prospective immigrant to Canada is advised  to do while waiting for the processing of their applications:

       

      1.     Study about Canada.

      Knowledge is power and the more you know about the country you have chosen as your second home, the easier you will settle and the less is the chance that you experience a traumatic landing.

       

      2.     Improve your language ability.

      Many immigrants and their family members find out, right after landing in Canada, that their English language is not adequate to propel them ahead in the new society. Language learning in Canada is expensive and slow.

       

      3.     Improve your computer skills.

      Keyboarding skills along with advanced computer skills is an indispensable component of success in the world of today. Obviously, browsing the Internet and chat skills are not what we are talking about here.

       

      4.     Conduct a labour market search.

      No doubt, labour market in Canada is very different from the job market in the applicants' homeland. Conducting an extensive job search is the beginning of your most challenging effort in Canada, i.e. finding a job. This job search can start while you are still in your own country of origin.

      As can be seen above, it takes a lot of time and effort to prepare for a new life in a new country. Maybe there is an ulterior reason behind the long processing times so that applicants can prepare themselves for a more smooth landing in Canada.
       

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