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Blog > 2011 > Canada Loves These Immigrants

Canada Loves These Immigrants

August 31st, 2011

A recent article in the Globe and Mail caught my eye. The piece was about young, unemployed Irish tradespeople who, of late, have been flocking to Toronto in record numbers.

It’s been said that Ireland’s chief export is people and there is a tradition of Irish immigration to Toronto that dates back some 200 years. So it’s no surprise that an ailing Irish economy has given rise to an inpouring of work-hungry young men to Canada’s Queen City in search of better opportunities.

Make no mistake, this is all legal and above-board thanks to Canada’s generous International Experience visa program, which allows recipients to travel, work and live temporarily in Canada. And although this particular visa cannot be extended beyond one year it can, under the right circumstances, morph into Canadian permanent residency. If you are interested in learning more about the International Experience Canada visa program you can check out the latest edition of CICNews.

By all accounts this is a “win-win” situation. The newspaper reports that virtually all of the Irish visa holders find work within days of their arrival in Canada. And as far as Citizenship and Immigration Canada is concerned, this must all be good because since 2008 Ottawa has doubled the number of these visas offered to Irish citizens. About 5,000 will be issued this year.

Two observations come to mind. The first has to do with the commentary section that followed the Globe and Mail story. What readers had to say was overwhelmingly positive. A few examples follow:

“Welcome to the Irish!!! Come one, come all!!!”

“Welcome to Canada. May you have a wonderful life in our great country.”

“Canada needs immigration. It is only smart to try and bring in immigrants that need less costly support to get them started.”

Usually, newspaper articles that focus on immigration get a somewhat mixed response from those who bother to post their opinions. A common theme centers on new arrivals taking jobs that would otherwise go to Canadians. And that’s one of the milder complaints. Yes, it’s probably true that the majority of Canadians don’t harbour such negative feelings, but as a rule they don’t bother to contradict the naysayers. In this particular situation there was very little griping and lots of cheers to the idea of Irish immigration. I wonder what the comments would have looked like had the story been about a similar bunch of unemployed tradespeople from India.

The second point I want to make concerns the International Experience visa program, itself. Canada grants privileged entry to the young, and in some cases I’m sure, shiftless citizens of select countries. Noticeably absent from the list of the lucky are all of the countries that make up South Asia. Keep in mind that it’s no small number of these visas that are issued each year. Last year, more than 35,000 individuals were able to come live and work in Canada within weeks of applying. More than that, as I mentioned above, these “temporary workers” were put on a path in Canada that can lead to permanent status. Is that fair to the thousands of qualified South Asian Skilled Worker applicants, who have been waiting for years just to have their applications assessed? Here’s a suggestion for our policymakers. Put a moratorium on the International Experience visa initiative and give those 35,000 slots to the people who remain patiently in line to start new lives in Canada.



 
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21 Responses to “Canada Loves These Immigrants”

  • On August 31st, 2011, Jonathon Driscoll said ...

    Interesting idea except that it is not so much a question of ’slots’ as that the International experience visas are reciprocal with other countries. Canadian youth also flocked to Ireland and landed jobs in its boom and so Canadians benefit from expanded options. When Canadian young people line up to go work in South East Asia then there will be an argument. Also, you are comparing temporary work visa’s with PR applicants which is a poor ground for making policy advice.

  • On August 31st, 2011, David Cohen said ...

    I don’t normally respond to comments on my blogs but I feel compelled to answer the preceding comment.

    Yes, I understand that Canada negotiates reciprocal agreements with the countries that participate in the International Experience Canada initiative. These countries include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia and I’m guessing that there are not huge lines of young Canadians wanting to work in those countries. I’d wager that more young Canadians travel in India each year than all of the foregoing countries combined.

    I am fully aware that the International Experience Canada visa is temporary in nature. My point is that this temporary visa allows the recipient to come into Canada, without a job offer, and then to work for any employer(s) in Canada for up to one year. Certain provincial nomination programs allow applications after 6 months of local work. Quebec requires one year of work. So, although technically you are correct about the visa being temporary, the reality is that it is a pathway to permanent residency from within Canada for those who want it. And each one who wants it takes the place of one South Asian waiting in line year after year after year.

  • On September 1st, 2011, Irfan Yousaf said ...

    Thanks for your blog and information. Thanks.
    You talk almost skilled people. But people who worked from last 15 years in computer with their only high school finish studies. What they do if they have no good education and not good diploma? But work experience in some area (Data Entry in specific software).
    I can’t understand how I can get visa or job offer. I had been submitting CV in many sites and also apply but no response. Now you tell me what to do for getting good life in Canada.
    No one can perfect, you have to some little option for people like us. Why we listen that 35000 people every year came Canada and live and work, if we can’t get any little option.
    Please think

  • On September 1st, 2011, Nana Frimpong said ...

    Mr. Cohen, I agree with you fully. My application for a Permanent Resident Visa was filed at the Canadian Embassy in Accra, Ghana on 15 May, 2006. Inquiries about when the visa will be issued gets a response that : “The Application is in a queue until it gets to your turn.” I am therefore reading your article with shock that it is an easy going for some people. This should have simply been done on a first come first served basis. We are grateful for fighting for a just course on our behalf. Also, it simply does not make sense for the for the people who applied after February 2008 to be attended to first whilst there is a long queue of applicants on the waiting list with the reason that they are the old regime.

  • On September 1st, 2011, orhan said ...

    Hi there i’m Orhan Tenezhdolli 32 years old from Kosovo,Prishtina,im married i have a doughter 3 years old,we have worked as a kitchen assistant with British Forces in Kosovo for 10 years,for two years nos we have conditions very difficult not see any future in Kosovo, i hope from the heart that one day to live work and give the best for my self for CANADIAN state,i tryed a lot of times over the internet to do everything that my dreams become reality,but until now,i’mwriting this letter there has been any positive things,in the future i hope i trust God to be living in Canada.Thanks for giving me the chance Tenezhdolli Orhan

  • On September 1st, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    Thanks to David for proposing a shift of the moratorium (?) on the other side now. ‘Delaying is denying’ may now be consoled even if it is now late than never … It is natural that even in the bed you can not remain in one side for the whole night … you need to change side .. May god kindly wish them to wake up a bit so that change their side …life is only for once on this earth…you need to look at all your majesty …

  • On September 1st, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    Great idea!

  • On September 1st, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    South Africa is getting less safe by the day. I have saved up a good amount of capital for our retirement. Is there any way we could be accepted into Canada as investors or for retirement?

  • On September 1st, 2011, M Golder said ...

    This is a great article to know about the experience category visa system for one year. I have applied 6 years back and waiting impatiently that when I will get a call from Canadian high commission. As I am now planning to try this option to go there.

  • On September 1st, 2011, Frank the Immigrant said ...

    I see the need for immigration to Canada and absolutely support that, but I also must say, that your comment about south asian waiting lists is not shared by many canadians and non-canadian/non-asian immigrants. Especially looking around here in the western part of the country it seems that the only part of the world sending immigration applications to canada is south asia.
    Immigration is important, but more important is diversity when opening the doors to immigrants. In Vancouver one can find neighborhoods in which the majority population is asian. In the Mount Pleasant area it’s as big as 75%. Do you really think that this is a good immigration policy for Canada when immigration leads to a face of a city changing so drastically??? I don’t think so. Being born in Germany, i’ve experienced the problems arising with immigration being not diverse. That leads to hot spots of tension between ethnicy groups and sooner or later can escalate to extreme outcomes like riots, huge streetfights and death. This can’t be what the government wants with it’s immigration policy.
    So keep it diverse and grow slowly but sustainable before you ruin your entire country as some of the Canadians already see Vancouver as a lost area (lost language, lost traditions, lost lands etc.) It’s not funny to walk to a shoppingmall in a CANADIAN CITY and you can’t buy a bottle of water, because the person behind the counter doesn’t speak either of the two offical languages of the country (or doesn’t want to).
    I’m looking forward to the day, when government implements tighter rules for the immigrants and divides the cream from the crop (the ones really wanting to immigrate and learn the language and contribute to the system and society – the ones you are being let in, because they have money but don’t do anything else but driving up the prices)
    If you don’t believe me, please join me here in Vancouver, and let me show you the real problems of the immigration policy of former governments…

  • On September 2nd, 2011, need to know the secret said ...

    I wonder if a young trained Jamaican could be offered the same visa opportunity as the irish(or similar)or the forever long line of “RED TAPE” immighration from jamiaca to canada trend still exists. By the way how can that be dealt with, any ideas? We speak english and we tend to learn other languages-its a part of our educational system-many of us here apply for immigration status but, never seem to get through. Is there a magic word that we here dont have, or its magical times and we’re third world so we’re not there yet? Please respond.

  • On September 2nd, 2011, David Cohen said ...

    If you look through the list of countries that benefit from the International Experience Canada initiative (http://www.international.gc.ca/iyp-pij/country_menu%20_in-menu_pays_entrant.aspx?lang=eng&view=d) it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out which type of countries are excluded. I’m sure you get the picture. Here’s some good news. If you like languages, then study French and try to qualify for a Canadian permanent resident visa under the Quebec Skilled Worker program…Evry Ting Irie Mon

  • On September 2nd, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    yes ,we all talk how thousind people are coming with visas and having a path to pr ..whay no body consider familys who are here as denied refugee cases and have a born Canadian children ,have a stablish jobs ,and have no criminal records whatsoever ,living in Canada for a ten years .

  • On September 2nd, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    maybe there is many considerable good causes the govenment has you should go behind the policy and read these causes carefully

  • On September 4th, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    @ Frank the immigrant,
    I’m not surprised you are from Germany ’cause you wrote like a typical European. Has it ever occurred to you that all the complaints you outlined about immigrants from Asian applies to all the Europeans who took the land from the First Nations when they first invaded the country you and others like you now claim as yours now? Has the First Nations’ culture and language not all but disappeared? Do you and others like you even care about how THEY feel? So why should should what went around not come around now?! So what if the demography of Canada changes due to immigration from Asia, at least they sought and obtained permission before moving in unlike the first European “immigrants”? The demographics changed when these “immigrants” moved in centuries ago so why shouldn’t it change now?!!And what did you mean by implying immigration must be balanced in terms of the kind of people being allowed in? Is the process not open to people from all corners of the globe including Europe?
    With regards to the temporary work visa through which a lot of Irish workers are now trooping into Canada and the reaction of the local populace to the phenomenon; this serves as proof that a good number of Canadians are not as open-minded as they would have us believe as this shows they would rather have people from a certain part of the world than others. And if it’s true that these Irish temporary workers get jobs within days of landing in Canada that’s even more shocking as it appears the Canadian experience these employers always use as an excuse for not hiring new immigrants is obviously not a requirement for Irish work seekers! Lastly, I personally have no doubt that the processing of economic migrants esp FSW applicants who applied pre- & post Feb 2008 slowed down to create space for these Irish temporary workers.It is also most probably the reason why the FSW quota has been drastically reduced.

  • On September 7th, 2011, mext60 said ...

    A nice thought by David. Infact considering the apprehensions about the language abilities, if this program is ever extended to non-english speaking regions, then some features of FSW can be included in the program like language abilities, education/ work requirements etc. Finally a well educated lot coming to Canada or migrating to Canada is in the prime benefit of Canada, otherwise they would not have so many immigration options.

    Infact if this program is extended with some features of FSW to south asia or other non-english speaking regions, Canada in some time will develop a pool of candidates who can be preferred for PR, as they will have Canadian experience and knowhow.

  • On September 20th, 2011, Jack Blue Water said ...

    I second comment from “Anonymous” about Frank. I lived in Germany and in Ireland and met some nice people. But the fact that you have highly educated people from these south Asian countries waiting in queue for as long as 7 years, where on the other hand you allow people without any educational restrictions in the country, that’s what we call systematic discrimination. Those temporary work visa holders should not be allowed to jump the queue while others wait in anguish for such a long period. On a different note, I know Europeans have a prejudice towards foreigners (been racially assaulted myself) but when you are in a country which is not even your by right (not indigenous), you should respect everyone and allow others to follow their culture rather than imposing your European values on them . That is why we call it in Canada “The cultural mosaic”. So for a harmonious society grow some tolerance and have equity for everyone not only for Europeans.

  • On January 4th, 2012, Anonymous said ...

    Regarding queues. Every country has a process. Just because you apply or you visit doesn’t mean it’s your right to get in. First off all your from another country and paid taxes and are loyal to that country (or at least you should be). If you are lucky enough you may get a chance to prove yourself and pay (high) taxes like the rest of us Canadians but respect the process and only the best will be taken. Good luck!

  • On January 30th, 2012, dr nabari talabדר נבארי טלב said ...

    Immigration is important, but more important is diversity when opening the doors to immigrants,YES!

  • On May 15th, 2012, Anonymous said ...

    It’s a refreshing change to have a soft rebuke on racism. My native country is an oil producing state which under good governance should have per capita income of $30,000 for each of it’s citizens instead of $2 monthly feeding. Guess what? Europeans, Canadians, even white Africaans, so long as you are caucasian or eurasian, all live a lot better than we do. Yet we are not good enough to be given the preferential treatment the Irish are getting. Obviously the issue of diversity comes secondarily to preference for Europeans/Caucasian. We have foreigners living large here, they never want to live yet to obtain visas to their countries is an uphill task. Anyhow Canada is great country and I and routing for it to get it right.

  • On July 7th, 2012, Anonymous said ...

    Canada has made alot of money off of immigration. society has defiantly changed and i think that is something that we all have a hard time adapting to. It is difficutl to fatham the future of Canada. Its really hard to adjust to. I have a cleaning business and I am a white Canadian women. I work with all different cultures, ages etc but when I walk into a seniors house they are quite relived that I am white… many have a difficult time and often refer to coloured people in a negitive way. I dont think they are cruel, i just think that shows you how much Canada has changed.

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