Amidst the Canadian law firms and regulated Canadian immigration consultants who understand and can advise you on Canadian immigration matters, there are also endless travel agencies and foreign companies offering immigration services, including faceless, nameless websites offering their services in Canadian immigration without revealing who is going to prepare the application.

Foreign lawyers can be legitimately practicing law in their native country, but they are not permitted to practice Canadian immigration law as per the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA); the same applies to travel agencies or any other entity or individual who has no official authorization to represent you regarding Canadian immigration law.

Risks of being represented by unlicensed professionals

Being represented by unlicensed professionals comes with many risks.  One of the most problematic is misrepresentation; these unprofessional companies like to take shortcuts and distort or conceal the facts, which may lead to misrepresentation, and thus a 5-year bar for you, the applicant, as the applicant is the one responsible for mistakes on his or her application.

Rules aren’t the only thing they have limited regard for, either. They just fill out the forms, but they do not advocate for your benefit; they submit your application on your behalf as if it is you who is submitting. Their lack of a proper understanding of Canadian immigration laws and guidelines also means that any advice or assistance they do give you may not be trustworthy. They don’t know enough to tell you what you should do. Do these travel agencies and nameless companies really advocate on your behalf?

Who makes the misrepresentation and when?

The applicant is, of course, ultimately responsible for his or her own misrepresentations.   If a procedural fairness letter was sent to what is allegedly your email address (but is actually an email created by your unlicensed representative — let’s say your travel agency), and that letter never reaches you, thereby making you unable to rebut the concerns that an immigration officer may have, it would not be legally defensible that you didn’t know that a travel agency is not permitted to represent you.  As a result, you would be barred for 5 years.

Also, you must disclose if you have received assistance in preparing your application from a person who is compensated or receives a benefit as a result of such assistance. Failure to declare such assistance may result in the refusal of the application or you may be found inadmissible to Canada, as you have not disclosed this fact. If you pay someone to act as your representative, they must meet the requirements for authorized representatives, as listed below.  “Ghost consultants” have no knowledge on how to address the issues that immigration officers might have raised.  The result? Refusal of your application, or worse — a 5-year bar.  Is it worth risking your future?

So who can represent you?

Only Canadian lawyers in good standing with their respectful law society, regulated Canadian immigration consultants (RCICs), and Quebec notaries are eligible to assist in immigrating to Canada for payment (direct or indirect).

Because of the issues with unauthorized representatives, Bill C-35, An Act to Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), came into force on June 30, 2011. The bill created a new offence by extending the prohibition against representing or advising (or offering to represent or advise) immigration applicants or potential applicants to include all stages connected to an application or proceeding, including those prior to the official application being made, and puts penalties in place for those who violate this ruling.  And by using the services of someone who isn’t authorized, you, the applicant, might be found to have misrepresented yourself on your application, as you did not disclose that you retained and paid for the services of an organization or an individual that does not fall under one of the three categories permitted to represent for a fee.

The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (“ICCRC”) is responsible for regulating the activities of the immigration consultants who are its members and who provide immigration advice and representation. ICCRC operates at arm’s length from the Government of Canada. Membership is granted only to those individuals who have demonstrated their knowledge and ability to advise and represent people who seek to immigrate to Canada.

Always check if your representative is a licenced Canadian immigration consultant. The risks to your future are too great otherwise. The representatives at Milmantas Immigration are all members of ICCRC, and we are here to help if you need assistance with a Canadian immigration matter.  If you need help handling an immigration application, contact us

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Immigration Canada

“Best foot forward” – temporary resident applications

Temporary Resident Applicants – Make Sure You Put Your Best Foot Forward

You’ve answered all the questions, and your temporary resident application includes all the required documents. You’ve done everything you need to before applying, right? Not always.

Although the application package for a visa includes a list of documents, this list only includes the minimum required documents, not all of those which may be invaluable to support a particular case. And if there’s a document that a visa officer would need to be convinced to accept a case, they aren’t under any obligation to point this out to the applicant.

Rather, as the Federal Court has explained, “In general, the onus is on a visa applicant to put his best foot forward by providing all relevant supporting documentation and sufficient credible evidence in support of his application. The onus does not shift to the visa officer and there is no entitlement to a personal interview if the application is ambiguous or supporting material is not included [citations omitted].”

There are only a few cases in which duty of fairness requires an officer to let an applicant know about their concerns prior to a decision, one of them is when the officer is basing a decision on regional stereotypes.

Sometimes, despite a refusal, applicants will continue submitting applications, unaware of what they may be omitting that is causing their problems. But a little help can go a long way. We know the challenges of putting together a truly complete application and the problems that applicants may run into given their unfamiliarity with the immigration system. We build our cases based on merit and can help you put your best foot forward to maximize your cases of success.

*See e.g. Dhillon v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2009 FC 614 (CanLII) at para 30.

“[29] Mr. Dhillon claims that the Visa Officer should have conducted an interview in order to confront him with his concerns and give him a chance to provide explanations.

[30] It is trite law that a Visa Officer has no obligation to interview an applicant and that said applicant has no legitimate expectation of having an interview:

[16] It seems to me the visa officer went beyond what was expected. The officer was under no obligation to alert Mr. Liu of these concerns since they were about matters that arose directly from Mr. Liu’s own evidence and from the requirements of the Act and of the Regulations. An applicant’s failure to provide adequate, sufficient or credible proof with respect to his visa application does not trigger a duty to inform the applicant in order for him to submit further proof to address the finding of the officer with respect to the inadequacy, deficiency or lack of credibility…”

It is not worth the risk, please call us for assistance, we are here to help you!

For Citizens of Brazil, Bulgaria and Romania

For Citizens of Brazil, Bulgaria and Romania

From May 1, 2017, citizens of BRAZIL, BULGARIA AND ROMANIA are no longer required to apply for a visitor visa, instead needing only an Electronic Travel Authorization for travel to Canada by air if they meet any of the following conditions: they have held a Canadian temporary resident visa at any time during the last 10 years or, at the time of application, hold a valid U.S. nonimmigrant visa.

Two-Year Residency Rule Has Been Eliminated

On April 28, 2017, conditional permanent residence requirements for spouses and partners were eliminated.  Sponsored spouses or partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents are no longer required to live with their sponsor for two years in order to keep their permanent resident status, as the government does not wish a sponsored spouse or partner who is in an abusive situation to remain in it for fear of losing their status in Canada.

This change applies to anyone who was subject to the requirement, as well as to new spouses and partners who are sponsored as permanent residents. By eliminating the conditions, the government demonstrates its commitment to reunification of families and gender equality.  As a result of this regulatory change, defenseless sponsored spouses will no longer need to stay in abusive relationships for fear of losing their permanent resident status.

Effective May 3, 2017, the age of a dependent child, which means the age at which a child will be able to accompany his or her parents to Canada on a permanent resident application, has been raised again, back to under 22.  Under the new regulation, dependent children under 22 years of age can be included in spousal sponsorship applications.

The previous government of Canada had changed the definition, so that dependent children over 19 could no longer be sponsored as part of a spousal sponsorship application. The current government of Canada has reverted to the previous definition of “dependent child” for sponsorship purposes.

Please contact us, should you require any assistance with your immigration needs, we will be delighted to assist you. 

A 3-year Atlantic Pilot Project

What you Need to Know About the Atlantic Immigration Pilot

As announced on July 4, 2016, the Atlantic provinces will start an exciting initiative in March 2017 to attract and retain skilled immigrants in Atlantic Canada: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. This one pilot project will cover the entire region known as “the Maritimes.”

Beginning in March 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will be accepting permanent resident applications under the pilot program. In 2017, a total of up to 2000 applications, including skilled workers and accompanying family members, will be accepted for these programs.

It is anticipated that this project will help the provinces to increase the shrinking labour force—due to an aging population—and will ensure long-term economic growth for the Atlantic region. It is anticipated that the project will also sustain the population growth, aid in developing a skilled workforce, and, as a result, increase employment rates in the provinces. The program is set to last three years.

The government of Canada and the Atlantic provinces are building a vibrant economic future for Atlantic Canada as they are directing their efforts and resources to stimulate the economy, support the middle class and address longstanding and evolving regional challenges.

This one interprovincial team is focussed on increasing Atlantic growth, as they share a common vision to bring continued and long-term economic prosperity to the four provinces.  The areas involved comprise:

  • skilled workforce/immigration
  • innovation
  • clean growth and climate change
  • trade and investment, and
  • infrastructure.

The difference from other pilot projects is that principal applicants arriving under this program will have a job offer from an employer and a customized settlement plan for assisting the family to integrate and become economically established in the province. Employers will also take part in the long-term integration of the newcomers in order to meet the goals of their settlement plan upon arrival in Canada.

Employers wishing to participate in the program need to meet certain requirements and must be screened by their respective province prior to hiring a foreign worker through this program.

This new Atlantic pilot project consists of three categories (2 employer-based streams and international students). Please contact us for assistance in pursuing your dreams of becoming established in the Maritimes.


URGENT: Be the first to know – reopening of OINP

The Province of Ontario announces an increased provincial nominee quota for its 2017 Immigrant Nominee Program for a total of 6,000 applications.

These include skilled workers, foreign students, successful entrepreneurs and key personnel of foreign corporations aiming to expand into the province.

The proprietary online platform developed by the OINP IT department (which we reported about with respect to the OINP French-speaking Stream in January) is ready to open intake for the International Masters/PhD Graduate streams and the Ontario Express Entry Human Capital Priority stream next week. These are the most popular and highest volume streams, which last year were filled by May 9 and have been suspended till now. Attending the “dry run” demonstration of the new online paperless system next week will allow us to better serve our clients willing to settle in Ontario.

The announcement was made jointly by Laura Albanese, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration of Ontario, and Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier and Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, recognizing both the success and importance of OINP for the economy of the province.

Attention — immigration scam! A number of African, Caribbean and South-East Asian countries are targets.

   We have been receiving phone calls and e-mails asking about a so-called “Canadian Visa Lottery” — a fake news story apparently spreading through an online grapevine and gaining momentum on certain social media platforms. It appears that an article has been published online listing a number of countries, citizens of which would be allowed to participate in the new Canadian visa lottery, similar to the U.S. DV lottery. A certain geographical area appears to be being targeted by scammers: the list of “eligible” countries includes the Philippines, Thailand, Fiji, Guyana, Jamaica, Pakistan, Oman, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Gambia, Cameroon, Kenya, Lesotho, Uganda and Zambia.

   Beware: the story is clearly a scam designed to bilk thousands of citizens from poor countries who desperately seek better fortunes elsewhere, trusting that when it seems to be too good to be true, it may still be true. Professionally speaking, the rules of the so-called lottery listed in the article look randomly thrown together and have absolutely no relation to any existing immigration program in Canada. But since not everybody is well-versed in the intricacies of the Canadian immigration system, below are three main points for every Jane and Joe seeking to leave for greener pastures.

   First of all, any record of action taken or sanctioned by the government of Canada should be publicly available. However, no public announcement has been made by IRCC or any other branch of the Canadian government that would indicate that such a lottery could take place. The only lottery that IRCC will be holding — today, as a matter of fact — is the selection of applicants willing to sponsor their parents to Canada, a move announced by IRCC on December 14, 2016. And while one can easily find an announcement about parental sponsorship selection by way of lottery, there is none about any other lottery. No link in the story is provided to the official source for a very apparent reason — it does not exist.

   Secondly, a clear indication of fraud is a very conspicuous error in names: instead of using the correct title, “Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada,” the story quotes “Canadian Immigration and Citizenship” as the name of the Canadian government department in charge of immigration. Our rule is when in doubt, always search the official sources, and we urge everybody to protect themselves from immigration fraud and check the official IRCC publication at

   Last but not least, we checked the registration of the website where the article was published; do not be fooled by the name — it has nothing to do with U.S. TV. No surprise here — there is absolutely no clarity regarding who is behind the website, which is filled with online ads and pop-ups. It was registered on October 25, 2016, the names of the owners are hidden and it is a proxy domain — with the true identities of the site owners/domain, etc. disguised behind a string of glossy facades rented by anyone who pays for it. See for yourself:

   It looks like immigration fraud was in the original design of this “masterpiece”; on the verge of the confusion that has erupted about who is being denied entry to the US and the ensuing border frenzy borne by the US President’s executive order signed on January 28, 2017, it has also managed to publish fake U.S. visa news alleging that citizens of African countries now have a 30-day free passage to the U.S., which is not true. We feel truly sorry for gullible folks who read it and may show up at the U.S. border with no visa…

   Our advice: avoid at all costs. Avoid anyone — whether a person or an organization — offering assistance with these two programs; the programs are fake and the only “assistance” you will get is your money being assisted out of your pocket into the pockets of the scammers. Always check the source — with the relevant authorities — Canadian or U.S.

How U.S. Travel Ban to the States Affects Canadians and Permanent Residents

   Despite the fact that the Trudeau government has received assurances that Canadian passport holders will not be caught up in an American travel ban temporarily banning citizens of seven countries from entering the United States, the issues are not quite clear for many Canadians and permanent residents travelling and working in the U.S.

Due to the recent travel legislation changes in the United States, individuals with passports issued by Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, and Somalia are not permitted to travel to the United States at this time.

Persons with permanent resident status in Canada who have a passport from any of the countries listed above, including individuals with valid U.S. travel visas, cannot travel into the U.S. at present.  Those visas will be cancelled.

Canadian citizens from the listed countries should take caution and limit travel into the U.S. at this time as well as use the means of travel suggested below.

   If a Canadian citizen MUST fly into the U.S., they should travel via airports that have U.S. customs pre-flight inspection and avoid small airports.   The review would occur on Canadian soil, and a person may exit the airport without an issue.

If a Canadian citizen MUST drive to the U.S., via regular border crossing, if the entry is denied, it is expected that the individual  will be allowed to return directly to Canada.

It might be wise for individuals associated with these seven countries to avoid flying directly into the U.S., as doing so would put  an individual at the greatest risk of potential detention in the U.S.,  keeping in mind that  the interpretation of the U.S. executive order is determined by the individual U.S. officer. It is also possible that if entry is denied, the examining officer may have difficulty determining whether the person should be removed back to Canada or the country of birth/dual nationality of the traveller.

The Canadian government has been advised by the U.S. government that Canadians born in and/or with dual citizenship with one of these seven nations will be permitted to enter the U.S.  However, we need to be cautious as the executive order continues to take form.  We trust that these suggested means of travel will minimize your risks.

BREAKING NEWS: OINP goes online — a peek at the new online portal.

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) Goes Live

The new online portal developed by the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) goes live within the next couple of days, and its smooth functionality was demonstrated this past Friday, January 20, 2017, at the OINP headquarters at 400 University Avenue in Toronto. For the time being, only submissions of applications in the French-speaking stream will be allowed online; however, other streams are now in the beta-testing phase and will follow shortly. While there has been no formal date announced, it has been implied that March is the next milestone, when, it is hinted, the program will resume application intake for its 2017-allocated quota; unless, of course, a major development or production issue occurs, something that happens regularly in the IT industry — we all know how frustrating an Error 404 displayed on your monitor can be when you are trying to do something online!

Once re-opened, the program will no longer accept paper applications — everything will be done through the online portal, much like the Federal MyCIC (for the general public) or AR (for authorized representatives) system.

As much as it resembles and serves the same purpose as the MyCIC/AR portal in the IRCC system, it appears the OINP system has better functionality and is more user-friendly.

The main positive feature is that it offers applicants who retain immigration representatives two ways to review their application before it is submitted — by way of additional access with their own PIN and via the “Print” button, which generates all the input information in one form that is easy to print or save in PDF format. It also allows representatives to see a list of all the applicants and the status of each application on the same page. Each page, once completed, saves automatically, with no need to hit a “Save” button — also prominently displayed at the bottom of the page. It functions in real time — Ontario is in the EST time zone. A designated e-mail address will be provided for queries, and a reference base in the FAQ section that will follow shortly will be constantly updated with repeated questions.

The system, at its back end, automates some otherwise manpower-consuming tasks and consequently should significantly decrease overall OINP processing times, which lately have ballooned to ~9 months (EE stream). The servers are located in Ontario, ensuring security and fast access; all development and production is done by in-house IT professionals.

Overall, from what was seen during the demo session, the system has all the necessary features, should work smoothly and should have fewer malfunctions than the EE portals.  The challenge, however, remains in the necessity to manually re-enter most of the information that has already been inputted into the IRCC EE system due to the peculiarities of intergovernmental information-sharing agreements, different system designs and jurisdiction. This means that one has to know what they are doing online, take utmost care and pay greatly increased attention throughout the process, since the slightest discrepancy in the information provided through both systems could potentially lead to a misrepresentation charge that would effectively mean a 5-year bar from Canada. And faster processing in this case provides no consolation.

Please contact us, if you need some assistance.

parents and grandparents sponsorship to canada

Parental Sponsorship Frustrations Abound

   Overhaul of the Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship (PGP) Intake System

    With the very same M.O. with which it does everything else — with a lack of transparency and likely without much research — more like a kneejerk reaction — the Canadian government announced an overhaul of the Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship (PGP) intake system at the eleventh hour on December 14, 2016, turning it into a lottery, while thousands of Canadian children and grandchildren were getting ready to submit complete, perfected applications.parents and grandparents sponsorship to canada

   Between January 3 and February 2, Canadian citizens and permanent residents willing to sponsor their parent or grandparent have to fill out a simple online declaration of intent to sponsor form, where only their name, date and country of birth, residential address and e-mail address are entered. After February 2 IRCC will “randomly” draw 10,000 individuals who will be asked to submit the full application within 90 days.

   It is true that under the old “first come, first served” system, the first 10,000 sponsorship applications arriving at the Mississauga, Ontario IRCC processing centre were accepted before noon on the very first day it opened. And the public lamented that some couriers could not deliver within this time frame to guarantee acceptance for further processing. Reportedly, some paid hundreds of dollars for alternative courier services to ensure that their application would be among the first to arrive. Not sure where the media got accounts of people camping there overnight because Mississauga CPC does not accept walk-ins — commercial couriers only.

   However, this only demonstrates that the number of people who want to come into the country surpasses by far the quota of 10,000 applications per year allocated by the IRCC. At least the system was transparent and rewarded advanced planning in terms of preparing all the documentation in advance and picking a local courier — and yes, it did give preference to “shopping locally”; local couriers who knew how to structure their businesses had their field day on the opening date. Some couriers advertised advanced pickup to ensure delivery on time. Some couriers charged by the hour, like a taxicab, waiting until the package was signed off, but mostly it cost in the vicinity of $60 to $120 for a local delivery, which beats the monsters — DHL, Fedex, UPS and the like — both in price and in delivery time guarantee. Of all our files submitted with a local courier last year, every one of them was delivered within an hour or so after the CPC opened. Of course, this meant that the application package had to be completed by Christmas and already received by the local courier — no matter where the sponsor lived in Canada — which assumed a great degree of responsibility, advanced planning and, obviously, that all instructions are followed..

     Politically, turning the old system into a lottery may seem like a neutral decision, especially when the government is touting “savings” for the general public in courier fees and making the change under the guise of convenience and equality. However, there are many ways in which this decision is, indeed, wrong, the main one being lack of transparency and accountability, followed by discounting the responsibility of those who practice immigration, and generously wasting, in fact, the time and financial resources of those Canadians who already took care of everything by December 14 and now will have to spend more time and money redoing something that they have already done. Obviously, small Canadian businesses (read: couriers) will not be happy either, as they will lose all the business for that fruitful day after having budgeted their resources (what happened to “shop locally” slogans?…).

    The pretext of saving the money of “poor” Canadians being forced to pay couriers is absolutely ridiculous. Really, IRCC? Does the general public know that those considered “poor” cannot sponsor their parents — i.e., their level of income has to be guaranteed at 30% more than the LICO (low income cut-off), which itself is much higher than a minimum salary? A family of 4 in a small town earning $80,000 a year is not poor by any standard and can well afford not only a courier fee but also to pay representation in order to make sure that the application is not rejected based on a technicality when it is already in process (official stats show that most applications in the pipeline are represented, i.e. filed by professional immigration consultants and lawyers, which, given how the government works, might not be such a bad idea if an applicant wishes to avoid disappointment).

    Could it have been done better? Yes, by doing only one thing — announcing the change early, when it was still in the works. It is irresponsible, plain and simple, to wait till the last minute; there is no rationale for NOT having announced it while it was being planned: we all know that the government works slowly, so everyone concerned would have had time to react in their own way to alleviate their own concerns. A spokesperson for IRCC said that the Department “had been looking at how best to manage intake and were working to build the tools to implement this process” before announcing the change. So what took them so long? It is not like they did not know exactly what they have been implementing. Thus, I really do not see a single valid reason why they could not have announced the plans earlier. Say, during the Immigration Law Summit in November, or during an industry/stakeholders roundtable. Even those IRCC officers invited to constituents meetings by Liberal MPs did not bat an eye. Could it be for fear of open protests and filing injunctions? If so, stealth served nothing, since there is already a petition in Parliament requesting that the system be returned to its old ways for this year’s intake:

    Would some people still be unhappy if IRCC announced the change much earlier? Of course, but unhappiness in general would not have resulted in the additional injuries of wasted time, ruined expectations and financial losses: stories of now-deceived sponsors and applicants abound in many publications, including City TV News and the pro-liberal Toronto Star.

Is this way fairer, as we have been led to believe?

In general terms, probably, yes; however, despite assurances, some questions are still burning, because there is no process description or detailed explanation, let alone an algorithm on how the initial selection will be made:

1. Why does the initial form have a country of birth? Aren’t name, DOB and address enough? Does this mean the system has a built-in ability to restrict access by the country of birth?

2. How will the quota be calculated after 90 days? Will those who randomly put their names in but aren’t in fact qualified be replaced by new candidates? Will those additional candidates be selected in a new draw? Does this mean that there will be two draws? More draws? It only seems fair to do so, but the government remains mum on this.

3. The operation bulletin says duplicates will be eliminated. All of them, or just “duplicates” — i.e. will those who put their names in several times be disqualified or not?

4. What if a Canadian wants and can afford to sponsor both their mother and father but their parents are divorced? If the sponsor’s name is drawn, does this mean they could file two applications for both parents, or only one?

5. How come “family reunification,” as “an immigration priority for the Government of Canada,” got relegated to a lottery, which is tantamount to gambling and considered to be a social vice?

6. What is going to happen when one of the parents dies and the other remains all alone, and the sponsor remains unlucky for several years in a row?

Stay tuned: we have sent these questions to the IRCC policy officials and we will keep you posted.

   Was the old system so bad? For sure it was not simple, and it encouraged creative thinking, because of intense competition. But then again, most of the federal and provincial immigration programs are first come, first served. Many PNPs open and close their intake for some streams the same day. Low IEC quotas for some countries mean that the whole online submission process takes less than half an hour. And who complains? No matter how you manage intake, there will still be far more interest than capacity. Canada is popular — and is well worth an extra effort; better get used to it. And because free enterprise is always more flexible than bureaucracy, we will always be offering more than one way to get in for those who understand the system and are well motivated to make Canada their new permanent home. Fasten your seatbelts and make yourselves comfortable: we are in for a long haul.

Please call us, should you wish us to assist with your applications.

Julia Brodyansky, RCIC

EXCLUSIVE | Immigrants are more educated but unemployed

Martine Turenne | Money | Published on December 5, 2016 at 17:20 – Updated on December 5, 2016 at 17:30

Montréal is where immigrants are the least well integrated into the labor market. Quebec’s metropolis has the worst North American performance in the gap between the unemployment rate of its citizens who were born there and that of immigrants: it is 10%, compared with 6% in Toronto and 5% in Vancouver.

Paradoxically, it is worse for the more educated: the unemployment rate of immigrants holding a foreign diploma is nearly 12.5%, while it is about 7% for those with a Canadian diploma.

“What a waste of talent! You bring people in, but there are blockages everywhere!” exclaims Raymond Bachand, president of the Quebec Institute (IdQ).

IdQ, in collaboration with the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montréal (MCC) and Montréal International (MI), has just published a study on the issue.

According to their analysis, university graduation among Montréal immigrants (33%) is higher than among those she calls “natives” (24%), whereas it is rather the opposite in 13 of the 16 other cities studied.

According to the Institute, this gap is mainly explained by the low level of education of the native population compared to the corresponding education level of “natives” and immigrants in other cities, which is above average.


The lack of recognition of skills and qualifications as well as work experience obtained abroad is being blamed as the main cause of the problem.

According to Raymond Bachand, professional orders in Quebec are particularly rigid. “It’s scandalous!” he said. “The nurses have commented that agreements with France seem to work well. But otherwise, you have to start all over again as if you were 25 years old … Yet it is the same human body everywhere. And a plumber is a plumber.”

Immigrants, said Mr. Bachand, are required to retrain in their qualifications 25 years after leaving university, without taking into account their real experience. “We should require an internship or training, up to a few months.”

The language question was not addressed in the study. For many jobs, especially university positions, mastery of French and English is required, which is not the case elsewhere in the country. “Of course, this issue is more important here than in the rest of Canada,” says Raymond Bachand. “It makes things more complicated.”

The countries where immigrants received their qualifications also have not been identified, so it is not possible to know whether the prejudice of Quebec employers is greater towards those from certain countries than others.

Urgent need to get mobilized

Yet every employee counts. As a result of the aging of its population, the need for labor in the Montréal metropolitan area has begun to be felt, notes the IdQ: with immigrants having been excluded since 2006, the number of 25- to 54-year-olds has decreased by 10%.

“It’s 115,000 fewer people!” says Raymond Bachand. “This is a recipe for a decay. This is a societal issue. We need to integrate the new workforce.”

What to do?

The director of the IdQ, Mia HomsyIl, believes that the situation is “intolerable” and calls for the mobilization and rapid implementation of eight proposals put forward in the study. “We need aggressive solutions, because of an abnormally high rate of unemployed people,” she says.

Although the study did not measure the link between the origin of the diplomas and the unemployment rate, the IdQ suggests adjusting the score in the selection grid to favour immigrants who have degrees awarded by institutions “whose reputation and quality standards are similar to those of Canadian institutions.”

The Institute also proposes to “change the paradigm of professional orders,” notably by setting up short-term training courses within a year of receiving the application.

The retention of international students (whose degrees are Canadian, which is an asset) is one of the proposals: IdQ suggests increasing the number of foreign students staying in Montréal each year from 4,000 to over 10,000.

Like Ontario, the Institute wants to prohibit discrimination in hiring based on where the work experience took place. “Employers in Ontario no longer have the right to prioritize Canadian work experience,” says Raymond Bachand.–les-immigrants-sont-plus-instruits-mais-chomeurs?campaign_id=A100


Francophone immigration: if it is a failure in Quebec, what to do in a minority setting?

We have fewer children and only one out of two goes to French school. With early childhood abandonment of the language, we bet on immigration. So what are the results?

Ottawa committed to bringing in 4.4% of French-speaking arrivals outside Quebec. But for the past ten years, the rate has stagnated at 1.5%. And two-thirds of immigrants disappear into three major English-speaking cities: Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

Even Quebec is stalling. A number of immigrants refuse to learn French and circumvent Bill 101 if they do not cross the Ontario border promptly to escape identity tensions. They do not go to New Brunswick where the retention rate would be 11%.

Only 72% of immigrants who arrived between 2005 and 2014 are still in Quebec in 2016, according to the provincial data. The pressure is mounting to reduce the targets, while waiting to find the means to instill French into the arrivals and keep them.

In a minority setting, Ottawa will have spent $60 million on two roadmaps to promote francophone immigration. Numbers climbed from 38,000 in 1991 to 74,000 in 2011, but not the percentage.

One can understand the difficulties facing the new arrivals. They are treated as a commodity and often hosted by institutions and agencies, not by families or groups.

They find themselves in circles charged with the identity of ethnic Canadians, but they do not share the same relationship with French, often their second language. In some homogeneous environments, they are seen as a threat.

They are among us. But there is no welcome registry, no data on the journey of the families nor on the flow of the migrations following the initial reception. We are simply losing track of what we heard in the Senate Committee on Official Languages in recent weeks.

Of the 1.5% welcomed, 70% of whom are in Ontario, a number of newcomers leave the rural setting in search of urban anonymity. We are not going to tell immigrants what to do or where to go; they are free. How many are integrated into the French-speaking community? We do not know.

 We are facing similar challenges living with exogamous couples. Isn’t a non-francophone parent somehow a newcomer of sorts as well?

Our communities are like sieves, let’s admit it. Immigration is not a panacea. Should it remain a priority in the next action plan?

Success stories, however, are numerous and sometimes moving. Economic immigration has been successful in some areas, thanks to a $120-million infusion from Ottawa. Ontario wins the most, due to, in particular, the ability of francophone school boards to seduce parents with unique opportunities for their children.

School management would be the greatest success story of francophone communities, with governance, quality of infrastructure, appropriate pedagogy and the opening of admission policies. Schools have become the ideal tool for integration.

 It is to this success that immigration strategies should first be grafted, starting with young children. Everything happens before going to school, as the Commissioner of Official Languages, Graham Fraser, reminded us recently.

If Ontario succeeded in strengthening its institutional network with an early childhood development system, a model would be in place to revitalize the Canadian francophone community.

 Jean-Pierre Dubé


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