Men Outnumber Women 2-1 Among Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada

Many temporary foreign workers are employed by immigrant-run businesses like the above, and data from Citizenship and Immigration Canada shows that the majority are men (CICS News)

The gender makeup of Canada’s foreign worker population is like that of foreign workers around the world, with men outnumbering women by a large margin.

The data, collected by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), shows that over 143,000 men entered the country in 2012 as temporary foreign workers (TFWs), over double the approximately 70,000 TFWs who were women.

Men, who are the primary breadwinner in most households around the world, are often driven to work abroad by pressure to provide for their families, when wages in their own country are inadequate.

A recent MacLean’s story on outgoing foreign remittance from individuals in Canada reports that the country has the highest foreign remittance rate in the world, at $667.57 per capita, suggesting that many of these TFWs are in fact sending the money they earn in Canada to family living in their country of origin.

Differences between genders in temporary foreign worker occupations

The CIC data also points to male and female TFWs tending to work in different types of occupations. While 75 percent of male TFWs worked in occupations that have well defined skill levels (e.g. managerial, professional, skilled and technical), only 40 percent of female TFWs did the same.

Six out of ten female TFWs were categorized as working in occupations where the skill level was not stated, which usually either means an individual is a family member of a foreign worker, or they are working in an unskilled occupation.

More women becoming permanent residents than men

Despite men outnumbering women in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), slightly more women become permanent residents in Canada than men every year.

TFWs with skilled work experience in Canada can qualify for permanent residence through economic class immigration programs like the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC), however the number of men who become permanent residents through economic class programs is only slightly higher than the number of women.

This could suggest that more women apply for permanent residency from outside the country than men, making up for the larger number of men whose path to permanent residency was through the TFWP.

What puts women over the top in the total permanent residency numbers is the family class immigration programs, which grant 37 percent more women permanent residency than men, mostly as a result of more foreign women being sponsored for immigration by their Canadian spouse than foreign men.

Parent and Grandparent Immigration Program to Re-Open in 2014

Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced on Friday that it is re-opening the Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program in January 2014, with new financial requirements and responsibilities for sponsoring children and grandchildren

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced on Friday that it will lift the moratorium on new Parent and Grandparent (PGP) permanent resident applications on January 2, 2014.

The program has been closed to new applications since November 2011 to give CIC time to work down the mounting backlog of parent and grandparent sponsorship applications.

Commenting on the program re-opening, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said:

“The Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification is on track to meet the goals of cutting in half the backlog and wait times in the Parent and Grandparent program. It is very important that we continue to make progress and not return to the old broken system with wait times as long as a decade—that would be unfair to families.”

CIC also said that the total number of parents and grandparents admitted as permanent residents through 2012 and 2013 will be 50,000 which is the highest level in 20 years, and it intends on maintaining these levels in 2014.

Another change announced on Friday is the Super Visa program, while allows foreign parents and grandparents of Canadians to visit Canada for up to ten years, for two years at a time, becoming permanent. Over 15,000 Super Visas have been granted since the program started in December 2011.

With regard to the Parent and Grandparent sponsorship program, CIC says they plan on accepting 5,000 new applications in 2014, and continue to reduce the backlog by processing applications faster than receiving them.

New financial requirements for Parent and Grandparent sponsorships

When the Parent and Grandparent sponsorship program re-opens next year, it will be with new qualifying criteria which will increase the financial responsibility of sponsors to ensure their parents and grandparents can be supported for the remainder of their life in Canada and to reduce the likelihood they will increase expenses for Canada’s social welfare programs.

Minimum income for sponsors will increase from the current Minimum Necessary Income (MNI), an income threshold used by the federal government to establish eligibility in many programs, to Minimum Necessary Income + 30 percent, to account for the greater costs of supporting an elderly person.

The type of proof of income that CIC will accept will be limited to documents from the Canada Revenue Agency, and the length of time that a person applying to be a sponsor has to demonstrate that they met the minimum income requirements will be increased from the current one year to three years.

Kenney said these changes are necessary to protect Canadians from being burdened by higher taxes as a result of sponsors having inadequate financial resources to support their sponsored parents and grandparents:

“These new criteria ensure sponsored family members are well supported by their sponsors throughout their time in Canada. The redesigned Parent and Grandparent program reunites families faster while respecting Canadian taxpayers and the limited resources for health and social programs.”

CIC says that Canada is one of the few developed countries to allow grandparent sponsorship, with this option either not existing or being extremely limited in United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, and measures like those announced Friday are needed to prevent this generosity from being abused.

Age limit on Dependent Children sponsorship

The Dependent Children sponsorship program is also going to see maximum age limit of 19 years imposed, disqualifying those older than 19 years old from being considered dependent children even if they are full time students or financially dependent on their parents.

The change was made after research by CIC found that many of those qualifying as dependent children were in their late 20s or 30s, and that those who immigrate at an older age have a lower likelihood of successfully integrating into the Canadian labour market and have poorer socioeconomic outcomes than those who immigrate at a younger age.

Family Class Immigration Increases by 15% in 2012

Family class permanent residence applications increased by 15 percent in 2012 over the year before according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced on Tuesday a 15 percent increase in the number of individuals admitted under the family class immigration program in 2012 over the year before.

In the announcement, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney promoted CIC’s faster processing of family class applications:

“By reducing the backlog through increased admissions, we have dramatically reduced wait times so that parents and grandparents no longer have to wait close to a decade to be reunited with their loved ones.”

The increase in admissions occurred despite CIC having stopped accepting new applications under the Parent and Grandparent stream of the family class program in November 2011. The moratorium on new Parent and Grandparent sponsorship applications likely contributed to the reduction in the program backlog.

CIC is targeting a 50 percent reduction in the family class application backlog and in the processing time of applications in 2013.

The department has been moving away from sponsorship of Parent and Grandparents for permanent residence, and moving toward extended temporary stays, with the creation of a new ‘Parent and Grandparent Super Visa’ in December 2011 that allows unlimited re-entries for parents and grandparents of Canadians for up to ten years, and allows them to stay in Canada for two years on each visit.

Immigrant Income Levels Depend on Canadian Immigration Program

Data from the Statistics Canada report on the income of immigrants, released in December, shows large differences in the economic performance of immigrants depending on which immigration program they were admitted through (Moxy)

In the second part of our series on the recently released Statistics Canada report on the income of immigrants, we delve deeper into the data and look at how various economic class immigration programs compare for immigrants who arrived between 1986 and 2010. The first part can be found here.

Among the most important immigration-related issues for the federal government every year is picking the right mix of immigration programs to make up the annual quota that it sets aside for new permanent residents.

The major priorities that the federal government seeks to meet in selecting the allocation are:

  • meeting the humanitarian commitments it has set for itself to re-settle a certain portion of the world’s refugees
  • accommodating Canadians whose family members live abroad and who they would like to re-unite with through family class immigration sponsorship
  • admitting immigrants that will contribute to Canada’s economy and meet its investment and labour needs

To meet the last objective, the federal government currently allocates 60 percent of the permanent residence quota to economic class immigration programs, which consist of the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the business class programs, and the provincial nominee class programs.

Historically, the skilled worker program (FSWC) has contributed the largest portion of Canada’s economic class immigrants, but there have been calls to increase the proportion admitted through programs in the business and provincial nominee classes.

The provincial governments in particular have frequently called on the federal government to allow them to pick a greater share of Canada’s immigrants through their respective provincial nominee programs (PNPs), which has resulted in their quotas being increased from 2,500 in 1999, to over 30,000 in 2009.

Whether the FSWC should remain the mainstay of Canadian economic-class immigration or whether the PNPs, or perhaps business class programs, should continue to see their role expanded, is a question that the StatCan report can help answer.

The 30 year longitudinal study (we have only reproduced 24 years of it, as we assessed the data from 1980-1986 to be too limited to be useful) has a few surprising findings.

Income of immigrants by immigration program. Skilled worker class immigrants see the most wage growth over the 24 year period.

Early success for PNP immigrants, long-term success of the skilled worker class immigrants

Immigrants admitted through the FSWC earn significantly more than those admitted through the business classes, and after seven years in Canada, more than PNP class immigrants.

Average income in 2010 for skilled worker class immigrants. The graph shows rapid income gains in the first few years following immigration, followed by more gradual income growth

PNP-class immigrants earn nearly double what other immigrants earn in the first year of their permanent residence. This is most likely due to the fact that a person needs to already be in Canada and working to qualify for most provincial nominee programs, whereas immigrants who become permanent residents through the FSWC or business class programs arrive in Canada for the first time on the day they receive their permanent residency.

The data shows that the PNPs’ lead in income quickly closes, as FSWC immigrants see rapid income gains in their first few years in Canada.

Average income in 2010 for provincial nominee (PNP) class immigrants. PNP-class immigrants start out with much higher incomes than other economic-class immigrants

It should be taken into account however that the data on PNP-class immigrants that arrived in the early 2000s is quite limited, given the provincial nominee programs admitted fewer than 10,000 immigrants for most of the first of half of the 2000s, so the long term income growth statistics for the PNP class could change over-time.

Poor performance of business class immigrants

The business class immigrants, despite having met demanding minimum net worth requirements to qualify for immigration to Canada, have lower income levels than skilled worker and provincial nominee class immigrants, especially in the first few years after they arrive.

Over the long run, their income gradually converges with the skilled worker class, but this takes nearly 24 years and it never meets the level of their skilled worker counterparts.

One partial exception to this is immigrants from the Africa and Middle East region. Business class immigrants in this group see their income surpass skilled worker class-immigrants from the same region after 24 years.

Average income in 2010 for business class immigrants. Business class immigrants from the Africa and Middle East region see significant income growth over a 24 year period

Cause of business class under-performance

Ideally, business class immigrants, with their substantial capital and business experience, would be the biggest contributors to the Canadian economy among the country’s immigrant population.

One possible explanation for their lower than expected incomes is that they keep their investments abroad.

Canada, which has relatively high average personal income tax rates, is out-matched in investment opportunities by many regions in the world, like the rapidly developing Asian country of South Korea, which has average personal income tax rates and government expenditure levels that are one third lower than Canada.

While business-class immigrants could choose to remain invested abroad, skilled worker class immigrants likely benefit from working in Canada, since it is a high-income country that provides better wages than the vast majority of the world, and in any case they have few options other than working and earning their salary in Canada, since labour is not mobile like capital.

If investment opportunities in Canada being comparatively poor is in fact the cause of lower than expected income performance of business class immigrants, this is not a problem that the federal government can fix by changing immigration selection rules.

Guinean Deported In Spousal Sponsorship Case Marries New Canadian Woman

Soumah, who was deported back to the West African country of Guinea this year, is appealing the deportation order based on the results of a new paternity test that his lawyer says shows he did not lie about not having a dependent (CIA)

A Guinean man who was deported from Canada after his Canadian wife and sponsor for permanent residence alleged that he lied to her about a child he had fathered and walked out on her three weeks after arriving in Canada has married another Canadian woman, it has emerged.

Lainie Towell married Fode Mohamed Soumah, a native of Guinea and ten years her junior, and sponsored him for immigration to Canada in 2007. Soon afterward, Towell learned in a phone call from a mutual friend in Guinea that Soumah had fathered a child with a 15 year old girl in his home country. She also discovered emails that Soumah had sent to his friends that led her to believe that Soumah was the baby’s father.

The Immigration and Refugee Board agreed with Towell and ordered Soumah deported in 2009 for not having declared his dependent to Towell during his application for permanent residence. In February 2012, after three years of appeals, Soumah was deported from Canada.

The new development in this story is Soumah’s marriage to another Canadian woman, Cassandre Blier, who he met 16 months after his marriage with Towell ended.

Blier and Soumah filed a lawsuit on July 23rd seeking to ban the publication of Towell’s book about the events, How to Catch an African Chicken: A Canadian Woman’s Outrageous but True Story of Marriage Fraud. A Superior Court of Québec justice ordered the sale and marketing of the book halted for 30 days to prevent potential damage to Soumah’s reputation.

The lawyer representing the married couple in the suit, Denis Roumestan, says that a paternity test proves with 100 percent certainty that Soumah is not the father of the child. He also said that Soumah is appealing the deportation order in light of the paternity test.

Towell is not backing down, insisting her book is an accurate account of events, and says she feels sorry for Soumah’s new wife and believes she is a victim.

Regina Chamber and Federal Immigration Minister Back Stricter Saskatchewan Immigration Laws

The Leader Post, Saskatchewan’s largest newspaper, reports that the influential Regina Chamber of Commerce has backed tighter rules recently introduced for the family sponsorship category of the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP):

The Regina & District Chamber of Commerce said it “empathizes” with individuals and families affected by changes in the program, but added that federal immigration rule changes permitting SINP were intended not as a family reunification vehicle, but as “an economic program that allowed provinces, including Saskatchewan, to access skilled workers”.

Chamber CEO John Hopkins said there’s another factor at work: with the number of people allowed sponsorship into Saskatchewan capped at only 4,000 per year, employers “need each and every nomination they can get”.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan's largest city. Changes to the province's nominee program have been widely criticized by those who had pinned their hopes of bringing family members to Canada on it. The Regina Chamber said the new rules were necessary to leave space in Saskatchewan's immigration quota for skilled workers. (Government of Saskatchewan)

Earlier this month, Saskatchewan’s Immigration Minister, Rob Norris, announced that new rules for SINP would limit the number of family members a household could nominate at a time to one, and require that the nominee have a job offer to be eligible under the program.

Mr. Norris said at the time that the federal government had urged the Saskatchewan government to tighten rules for SINP, which had been considered one of the easiest provincial nominee programs for those looking to get sponsored for immigration by a family member living in Canada.

Federal Immigration Minister Defends Changes to Province’s Family Sponsorship Rules

The changes to SINP have been criticized by many of those who had been planning to nominate their family members to immigrate to Canada under the program, with several protests being held in Saskatchewan against the changes in May.

Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney defended the new provincial rules, arguing that immigrants who want to live with their extended families can do so in their own country, and that the changes aren’t unfair to immigrants as those who have immigrated to Canada didn’t do so expecting to be able to nominate other family members later on.

Saskatchewan Proposes Stricter Immigration Laws

Saskatchewan Immigration Minister Rob Norris proposed new legislation that would tighten SINP rules for family sponsorship

Saskatchewan’s Immigration Minister Rob Norris announced that the province will be tightening rules for the family sponsorship category of its Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program. Saskatchewan’s family nominee program is considered to be easier for immigrants than those of other provinces, but it has also had problems with abuse.

The new rules include a cap of one application for the family nominee program per household. Mr. Norris described the current situation as one where “we’ve even heard stories of up to 20 applications” per household.

The Saskatchewan government is also requesting that the federal government increase the number of immigrants the province can nominate every year through its Immigrant Nominee Program from 4,000 to 6,000. Government officials say the province needs immigrants to fill its jobs.

Norris’ proposed legislation also includes a requirement for recruiters and immigration consultants to be in good standing in Saskatchewan to represent SINP applicants.

Foreign Sponsored Spouses of Canadians to Face Tougher Rules

A proposed new federal rule aims to clamp down on immigration fraud committed by foreign spouses of Canadians. This type of fraud involves a foreigner marrying a Canadian and getting their Canadian spouse to sponsor them for Canadian permanent resident status, then getting a divorce once they have gotten their permanent residency.

The new rule would allow Immigration Canada to deport a foreign spouse if the marriage does not last two years. The proposal for a two year probationary period will be open to public input until early April. The Canadian government is planning to enact it in late summer.

The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration has already started tightening spousal visa rules. On March 2nd it ruled that a foreign spouse who divorced her husband had to wait five years before sponsoring a new partner.

Marriage fraud has become the focus of much attention recently with a series of high profile cases involving Canadians being defrauded by their foreign spouses. The most notable of these is the one of Lainie Towell, who married Fode Mohamed Soumahm, a native of Guinea, and sponsored him for Canadian permanent resident status, only to have him walk out on her three weeks after he had arrived in Canada. Mr. Soumahm was eventually deported, three years after arriving in Canada.