Residents urged to apply for Canadian citizenship to avoid hurdles on horizon

| Toronto Star

When Ottawa enacted the new law in June, many, including frontline immigrant settlement workers, assumed it would take effect immediately and that little could be done to beat its more restrictive criteria.

In fact, some of the most controversial changes — requiring citizenship applicantsto be present in Canada for four years out of six (rather than three years out of four), and raising the age of exemption from language and citizenship tests to 65, from 55 — won’t come into force until next June, immigration officials confirmed to the Star.

“We want to tell people it’s not too late, and they should take advantage of the old rules,” said Ann McRae, executive director of the Rexdale legal clinic, a member of the Inter-Clinic Immigration Working Group. Residents urged to apply for Canadian citizenship to avoid hurdles on horizon | Toronto Star.

Refugee claims hit ‘historic low’ as Ottawa’s policy faces fresh criticism

The Globe and Mail

The number of people claiming refugee status in Canada reached what Ottawa calls a “historic low” in 2013 after it brought in changes to speed up the program by deterring applicants from safer countries.

The changes remain unpopular with refugee advocates who say valid claims are being brushed aside. Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has also lashed out at Ontario, one of many provinces continuing to provide health care for claimants who Ottawa says want to “game the system.”

Refugee claims hit ‘historic low’ as Ottawa’s policy faces fresh criticism – The Globe and Mail.

Don’t bring parents here for welfare, Jason Kenney

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced new criteria for sponsoring parents and grandparents to come to Canada today that are aimed at ensuring elderly immigrants don’t end up on welfare or in social housing.

The changes are part of “phase 2” of the government’s overhaul of the family reunification category of immigration. New applications for the program have been on hold since 2011 in order to cut down on a massive backlog that resulted in wait times of eight years.

Kenney said applications will resume Jan. 1, 2014, and will be limited to 5,000 per year. The applications will still take years to process because of the ongoing backlog. By the end of the year, the backlog is estimated to be around 80,000 applications.

Don’t bring parents here for welfare, Kenney says – Politics – CBC News.

Immigrant underclass in GTA fuels simmering frustrations

Immigrant underclass in GTA fuels simmering frustrations | Metro.

Many highly educated immigrants are working in low-paying, low-level jobs and increasingly feel frustrated. Others, who represent a burgeoning undocumented class, are forced to work in precarious jobs due to their lack of status.

On the surface, all seems calm.There have been no race riots here as in France, no formation of anti-immigration parties as in Britain and the Netherlands.

But some experts worry the increasing creation of an immigrant underclass will brew trouble — sadly ironic in a region that for decades has taken pride in and built a reputation on its multiculturalism and acceptance of immigrants from around the world. By 2017, the GTA is forecast to become home to a predominantly non-European population.

A recent backlash over the Royal Bank of Canada’s move to replace Canadian workers with foreign workers, and a battle in Brampton over a townhouse development that erupted along cultural lines with accusations of shady “Indian politics,” reveal simmering tensions. And the Conservative Party’s recent attempt to crack down on abuses to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program has done little to appease critics.

“While immigrants and immigration is the heart and soul of the country, if you look at the main basis of inequality in Canada, along with gender, it’s based on race and immigrant status,” said Yogendra Shakya, senior research scientist at Access Alliance.

One in five Canadian residents were born elsewhere: National survey

One in five Canadian residents were born elsewhere: national survey | Daily Brew – Yahoo! News Canada.

1,162,900 foreign-born residents moved to Canada between 2006 and 2011, more than half of which came from Asian nations, including the Middle East. The three most common sources of Canadian newcomers were Philippines (13.1 per cent), China (10.5 percent) and India (10.4 per cent). Ninety per cent of all newcomers settled in Ontario, Quebec, B.C. and Alberta.

More on the Census:

Of those who came to Canada between 2006 and 2011, 62.5 per cent settled in Canada’s three largest cities: Montreal,Vancouver or Toronto. Those cities are home to about 35 per cent of the country’s entire population.

Location of Canada’s 1,162,900 newcomers between 2006 and 2011:

  • Ontario: 43.1 per cent
  • Quebec: 19.2 per cent
  • British Columbia: 15.9 per cent
  • Alberta: 12.4 per cent