4.26.2009

advice, part 8: new ways to emigrate to canada

I've been derelict of my duty. There are some gaping holes in the how-to-move-to-Canada function of this blog, but as Citizenship and Immigration Canada has become the nemesis of the War Resisters Support Campaign - and many other smart, right-thinking people - I've been loathe to post anything that emanates from that Ministry.

But Jason Kenney won't be the face of the CIC forever... and there are some important updates to the How To Move To Canada file.

First, a major, long-anticipated change to the Citizenship Act has gone into effect, changing who is automatically a Canadian citizen. The changes repatriate the so-called "lost Canadians" - people who lost their citizenship through some weird loopholes and rules.

Beginning on April 17 of this year, people living outside Canada whose parents are Canadian are automatically Canadian. If this applies to you and you want to live in Canada, you still have to go through an application process, but you are considered a returning citizen.

However, the changed law (in CIC-speak) "also protects the value of citizenship by limiting citizenship by descent to one generation outside Canada". That is, it denies citizenship to people in other countries whose grandparents were Canadians living in Canada, but whose parents were Canadians living abroad, who then inherited citizenship from their parents.

[Update: I originally posted incorrect information about this. Please see the first comment on this post for clarification.]

The new rules are here, but the piece that's getting the most play is this video.



Some perspectives from The Toronto Star and CBC.

* * * *

Next - and perhaps of more interest to some wmtc readers - there is a new class of immigration to Canada. (Many thanks to Erin for alerting me to this, oh so long ago.) The category is called Canadian Experience.
If you are a temporary foreign worker or a foreign student who graduated in Canada, you often have the qualities to make a successful transition from temporary to permanent residence. You are familiar with Canadian society and can contribute to the Canadian economy. You should have knowledge of English or French and qualifying work experience.

Applying to stay in Canada permanently in your case is simple. You can do this under the Canadian Experience Class. All the guides, information and forms you need to apply are included here.

This is likely a good option for many people who would have once applied as Skilled Workers, as long as you're in a field where you can arrange employment or school before moving.

Here are the FAQs for the Canadian Experience Class. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, it contains this:
I had a refugee claim denied. Does the work experience I gained in Canada while waiting for a decision on my application as a refugee make me eligible to apply for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class?

No.

It is, after all, Jason Kenney's CIC.

21 comments:

impudent strumpet said...

That is, it denies citizenship to people in other countries whose grandparents, but not parents, were Canadians. The parents are Canadian citizens. It goes like this:

1. Grandparents are Canadian citizens.
2. Grandparents give birth to parents while in another country.
3. Parents automatically inherit grandparents' Canadian citizenship.
4. Parents give birth to children while in another country.
5. Before April 17, children would have inherited the parents' Canadian citizenship. Now they do not.


If there's something important I'm not considering, please feel free to fill me in.The main problem is they're assuming that these multiple generations born abroad have been staying abroad in the interim, living in the same country the whole time and probably holding citizenship there. Not everyone is doing it like that.

Example: a friend of mine is a Canadian citizen who was born in the UK to two Canadian citizens. She was born there because her father's employer, a major Canadian corporation, had sent him there for a year and he took his family with. They then came back home and she grew up in Canada.

A year ago, she went to the US to do postdoc work because that's the only place where she could get a position in her particular academic field. If she sprogs while in the US, her kid won't have Canadian citizenship. (And to make matters worse, they gave less than 9 months' notice on this change.)

I also haven't heard about anything in place to address the situation of border communities where their babies tend to be born in the US because that's where the nearest hospital is.

L-girl said...

Thank you, Imp Strump. I updated the post.

ErinOrtlund said...

The US does this too. My kids were both born to US citizen parents on non-US soil. They are US citizens because of us. But they cannot pass it on to their kids unless they meet the physical presence test (5 years in the US, 3 after the age of 14), have children with an American, or have their children on American soil. Kind of disconcerting to me, actually. But there is a way they can get naturalized through US citizen grandparents who meet the physical presence test.

L-girl said...

"Kind of disconcerting to me, actually."

Why is that? Maybe because I don't have kids, or maybe because I don't particularly want my US citizenship, it's hard for me to guess why this would be an issue for you. I'm interested, if you are comfortable sharing that here.

ErinOrtlund said...

Sure. My US citizenship is valuable to me. I hope to gain Canadian citizenship too, but I cannot imagine ever giving up my US citizenship. If I had to choose between them, I'd keep my US citizenship. So given that's my feeling on it, I don't like the idea of my grandchildren not being US citizens. Too much history there, family and friends there, and opportunities I want to stay open for them. I very much value Canada too, though, and especially want my daughter to become a citizen here (my son already is due to his birth here). To have US/Canada dual citizenship will give them lots of options through their lives.

L-girl said...

Is it more of an emotional, psychological attachment? (Which is perfectly fine and understandable - I'm not putting down, although I don't share it.) Or do you also feel that there is a practical advantage to your kids and grandkids being US citizens?

I ask because a lot of USians say there are big advantages to being a US citizen, but I don't know what they would be, compared to being a Canadian citizen.

I wonder if your children and grandchildren grow up in Canada if they will feel that they need or want US citizenship, too.

ErinOrtlund said...

It probably is mostly emotional, L-girl. Practically, I don't think there are big advantages to being a US citizen over a Canadian one. In fact, I tend to think the opposite, as I really value universal healthcare, paid maternity leave, and many of the programs that Canada prioritizes. I really want my children to be able to come back to Canada at anytime during their lives, even if they have moved away.

But there is much to love about the US too (I'm thinking of people and places at the moment). I wouldn't like to think about my grandchildren having to undergo a US immigration process should they choose to live, study, or work in the US someday.

Of course, we're talking about my grandchildren here, and who knows how they and their parents will feel about it. I am a descendant of Dutch immigrants, and yet, have very little connection to the Netherlands. At some point, I will have little say in the matter, but as of now, I think I am raising my kids to appreciate both countries.

Scott M. said...

One thing intriguing about the second-generation non-resident rule is that children born overseas can, by this rule, be stateless. Not all countries have a rule that children born in their country get that country's citizenship.

Of course you can always apply (and instantly get) permanent residency for your kids, then apply right away for citizenship once they're in the country (no 3-year wait), but if you were out of the country on a 5-year contract and had a child on year two, you've got a stateless three-year-old before you come back to Canada.

ErinOrtlund said...

Scott, that's possible, but probably unlikely, don't you think? I wonder how many people live for years and years in another country without going for citizenship at some point?

L-girl said...

"I wonder how many people live for years and years in another country without going for citizenship at some point?"

Lots! In the US and Canada at least, lots do.

L-girl said...

And all the USians and Candians who work in our other countries for years and don't apply for citizenship. All through Asia, Europe, the Middle East.

L-girl said...

"It probably is mostly emotional, L-girl. Practically, I don't think there are big advantages to being a US citizen over a Canadian one. In fact, I tend to think the opposite,"

Thanks for your reply. I thought that was probably the case.

It will be interesting to see how your children, and if you have any, grandchildren, feel about that heritage.

Like you, I have little interest in the countries of my grandparents' births, but that is also a function of being Jewish. That's my cultural identity, whereas for many other people, the nationality of their parents and grandparents is important to them.

ErinOrtlund said...

Oh, I'm sure it could be an issue. But if it's anything like the US, there is no danger that my children would not be US citizens, if I am a US citizen and have lived there most of my life. It only becomes an issue for grandchildren, right? Or maybe Canada's rules are not quite like the US. And if a person knows this is the case, it may motivate them to seek citizenship so that there is no danger a child or grandchild will be stateless.

As for my feelings about US citizenship for my grandchildren, I also speak as someone who suspects it's likely we will retire in the US someday. I could be wrong, of course! I think of worst-case scenarios that would mean my grandchildren need to come live with us--how much easier if they are US citizens. Or in the case of Canadian citizenship, I think of situations where we need to return to Canada and help out with our grandkids--how much better if we have Canadian citizenship. I never want to go through the PR process again, LOL! I just like the idea of all of us having the same citizenship and not having immigration barriers between us. Who knows what the future holds?

L-girl said...

"As for my feelings about US citizenship for my grandchildren, I also speak as someone who suspects it's likely we will retire in the US someday. I could be wrong, of course! I think of worst-case scenarios that would mean my grandchildren need to come live with us--how much easier if they are US citizens."

Absolutely. That's a very practical reason, an important one.

* * * *

On a total off-topic tangent, do most parents assume they'll have grandchildren? That's not directed at you specifically, Erin - nor can anyone answer a question for "most parents". Just musing.

ErinOrtlund said...

I think most parents do assume that. Maybe out of wishful thinking. Or because most people do have children, although I'm sure that percentage has declined. Honestly, if my children did not want to have children, I would do my best to be understanding, but I imagine I would grieve the loss of future grandchildren. Maybe not, I don't know---some people want to have children but can't.

L-girl said...

Most parents probably assume their kids will be like them, and since they had kids... Maybe that's how it goes.

More and more people are childfree now. Since it's become more socially acceptable to make the choice, more people are choosing it.

Anyway, just thinking out loud, after seeing you write "my grandchildren" as if it's a given.

ErinOrtlund said...

Yeah, you're right, it's not a given. I think it's good that people who don't want to have children feel less pressure to do so nowadays.

As a matter of fact, my daughter does say she doesn't want to have children. Or she'll say she wants to adopt. But she's 4, and I guess I assume she will want children someday, since that's what I wanted. Thanks for the reminder not to assume she'll be just like me! :)

L-girl said...

Erin, I truly didn't mean it as a criticism. I'm sure it's a natural assumption.

Interesting that your daughter says that!

Since you have more than one child, chances are better that you'll have grandkids. Good thing my mom has a bunch from my siblings. :)

ErinOrtlund said...

No worries--I didn't take it as a criticism. :)

impudent strumpet said...

do most parents assume they'll have grandchildren?I don't know anything about parents, but reading this it occurred to me that until my sister came to the realization that she's childfree, I always assumed I'd have nieces or nephews one day. Not that I'm mourning their loss or anything, but I had given thought to how I'm going to be an aunt the same way I'd assume non-CF people think about how they're going to parent.

L-girl said...

"I don't know anything about parents, but reading this it occurred to me that until my sister came to the realization that she's childfree, I always assumed I'd have nieces or nephews one day. Not that I'm mourning their loss or anything, but I had given thought to how I'm going to be an aunt the same way I'd assume non-CF people think about how they're going to parent."

I think that's a good comparison.

Although I love being an aunt, I never imagined I would be one or not. But because of the age differences in my family, and my siblings reproducing at relatively young ages, I became an aunt at a young age. So I probably didn't have time to develop expectations along those lines.