Revealed: how Canada border agency tried to conceal Chinese immigration mega-fraud files from tax collectors

More good reporting from Ian Young of SCMP:

Last year, Canadian tax collectors and border officers were hailing their cooperation on the biggest immigration fraud case in Canadian history – that of unlicensed consultant Xun “Sunny” Wang, who helped Chinese millionaires fabricate evidence needed to maintain residency and obtain citizenship in Canada.

“The CRA [Canada Revenue Agency] works closely with other law enforcement agencies and departments, including the CBSA [Canada Border Services Agency], to help maintain the integrity of the tax system,” said Elvis Dutra, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigations for the CRA, in a press release about the sentencing of Wang’s staff for their role in the scam. “Tax evasion costs all of us,” Dutra added.

But in contrast to that depiction, a 2013 court ruling reveals how the CBSA resisted the CRA, and tried to conceal the vast haul of evidence about Wang and his wealthy clients, hundreds of whom have since been blacklisted from the country for fraudulent behaviour.

The failed effort to impede the tax collectors is described in a judgment by Associate Chief Justice Austin Cullen; listed as the applicant in pursuit of the files in the Supreme Court of British Columbia is the CRA, while the CBSA is listed as a respondent alongside Wang himself and his firm, New Can Consultants.

Cullen’s April 8, 2013, ruling describes the respondents attempting to withhold from the CRA 90 boxes of files and 18 computers that were seized from Wang by the CBSA in 2012 raids. The CRA’s demand for the material was an invasion of privacy, the respondents said, and the tax agents should be required to demonstrate probable grounds for suspicion of an offence – but not based on the contents of the actual documents being sought.

The respondents also offered an alternative argument – that handing over the files would amount to a breach of a sealing order imposed on “records pertaining to [the] search warrant”.

Cullen was dismissive.

“I conclude that the CRA is not obliged to demonstrate the existence of reasonable and probable grounds to be permitted to examine the materials seized by the CBSA pursuant to a valid warrant. Nor do I find that the provision of information from CBSA to CRA implicates a reasonable expectation of privacy on the part of the respondents in the circumstances.”

Cullen also said the sealing order on the search warrant did not cover the actual material seized in the searches, which were conducted on Wang’s home and offices on April 17, 2012. “It is apparent from reading the sealing order that what it refers to is ‘the records’ comprising the basis for obtaining the search warrant and the search warrant itself, not the fruits of the search,” he said, as he ordered the CBSA and Wang to relinquish the files to the CRA within 14 days.


‘Protecting taxpayer information’

In response to questions lodged separately with the CRA and CBSA, the agencies issued a joint statement to the SCMP, saying that “the opposition of an action does not reflect on the level of cooperation between the two agencies.”

“Federal partners must exercise due diligence when exchanging information with each other, and ensure they do so in accordance with the legislation and policies in place,” the response said. “At times, requests for information exchanges will not be covered by these policies and as such, could be subject to specific rules or require that requests be made to the courts to support transparency and to protect taxpayer information.”

It added: “In cases in which another Government Department or entity are seeking access to evidence seized through a warrant execution it must apply for a court order to obtain copies.”

In a response to a follow-up question, the CRA refused to describe what actions it was taking against Wang’s clients, saying “the CRA does not comment on other compliance actions related to this case that it may or may not be undertaking”.

However, a large number of possible tax offences are outlined in court cases and immigration hearings resulting from the demise of Wang’s scam (Wang was sentenced to seven years’ jail in 2015 but was freed late last year after serving a third of his time).

“In fact, 146 [of Wang’s] clients received a total of almost C$188,000 in Working Income Tax Benefits meant for working taxpayers with low incomes,” wrote immigration tribunal panellist Susy Kim in a November 2017 ruling, that imposed an exclusion order against Wang’s client Rui Zhang, husband Zhe Li and their minor son.

Other cases involving Wang’s clients feature immigration tribunalists loudly flagging a core problem – the clients’ failure to properly declare worldwide income.

One such client was Ying Wang, who was deemed “vague and evasive” about her millionaire husband Pi Long Sun’s business activities and earnings in China.

Sun’s “nominal income tax returns in Canada” did not represent his global income” and “he was evasive about his actual income,” wrote tribunalist Craig Costantino in a 2017 ruling that the couple be excluded from Canada for five years. “On a balance of probabilities, Mr Sun was not reporting his worldwide income to the Canada Revenue Agency,” Costantino added.

Another Wang client – whose exclusion order was overturned last year, and who the SCMP has therefore decided not to name – lived in a C$10million Vancouver mansion, on which he was paying a C$2 million mortgage on his son’s behalf. But he too was deemed to have filed “only nominal” tax returns in Canada.

“[These] I find do not represent his global income. I find that he was evasive about his actual income,” wrote the tribunalist. “I find that it is clear that his business activities in China generate significant income as nothing he or his family have done in Canada can account for the value of their properties in Canada, let alone the C$6 million worth of assets that the appellant stated he currently holds in China.”

Current and former CRA auditors have previously complained to the SCMP about a historical lack of cooperation from immigration officials. CBSA was carved off from the immigration department and other agencies in 2003.

In 2016, one former veteran auditor, who acted as a go-between for the SCMP and a current auditor, said “there was/is no cooperation between CRA and Citizenship and Immigration Canada [the former name of Immigration and Refugees Canada] that we are aware of.

“If there is, then a memorandum of understanding would have to exist. There may in fact be one – but no one I talked to knows of it,” the ex-auditor said. “And even if there is then you have to go through an intergovernmental affairs officer to get anything – red tape and time. There is no bulk data that we ever knew of, no database easily accessible by an auditor.”

Both the current and former auditor requested anonymity to discuss CRA matters without authorisation.

This month, the SCMP reported that 860 of Wang’s clients had already either lost immigration status – resulting in expulsion and five-year bans from entering the country – or been reported for inadmissibility. The CBC has separately reported that more than 200 others face the potential loss of their Canadian citizenship.

Source: Revealed: how Canada border agency tried to conceal Chinese immigration mega-fraud files from tax collectors

The part of Brexit everyone’s been avoiding is finally here: immigration

Some good commentary regarding Brexit and immigration:

Brexit was never really about immigration.

Or so liberal leavers fall over themselves to claim, at least. They can’t bear the idea of being associated with a racist backlash and so they insist it was really all about sovereignty; that all those inflammatory posters of dark-skinned migrants queuing at European borders and the cynical scaremongering about Turkey didn’t really have any bearing on the result, and that all they really wanted was just a fairer and more open system in which people could come to Britain more easily from Commonwealth countries.

Even Nigel Farage sounded as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth on the radio this morning, insisting all he ever wanted was control of our borders and equal opportunities for Indians to come here just as Romanians once did.

So it will be interesting to see what happens now the migration advisory committee has taken leavers at their word. Its long-awaited report on immigration after Brexit concludes, as expected, that once we leave the EU free movement should end, although it notes drily that that may leave us in the position of scrapping it “just as public concern falls about the migration flows that result from it”, and that both the benefits and the supposed negative impacts of it have been over-egged.

You can’t help wondering where its chart coolly summing up the facts – no evidence that EU migration has reduced wages or job opportunities for Britons on average, although some possible impact on the young and lower-skilled; some evidence that migration has pushed up house prices but also confirmation that migrants pay more in taxes than they take in benefits – was during the hysteria of the referendum debate.

But what’s done is done, so the committee recommends a Canadian-style system favouring higher-skilled workers over lower-skilled ones, focusing on what individuals contribute to the country rather than where they come from. It doesn’t put numbers on the table, or answer the potentially explosive question of whether Theresa May will now ditch her mythical and so far entirely unachievable target of reducing net immigration below 100,000.

But in suggesting that Britain could use work visas essentially as a bribe in trade talks, offering preferential access to countries prepared to strike free-trade deals with us, it certainly doesn’t suggest the goal is to keep numbers down at all costs. The question is whether that’s quite what angry voters who responded to Leave EU’s ugly rhetoric really had in mind, or whether this divides the leave movement between those for whom it genuinely wasn’t about keeping foreigners out and those for whom, to be blunt, it was.

Immigration has been oddly sidelined as an issue so far in the Brexit negotiations, partly because the EU didn’t make it an early priority for talks and partly because it suited much of Westminster to keep it that way. Downing Street is caught between two awkwardly irreconcilable opposites – the desire of many leave voters to pull up the drawbridge, versus employers’ fears that doing so will decimate the economy – and has been more than content to put the whole thing off for a bit.

Immigration has been a profoundly touchy issue for the prime minister personally ever since the “hostile environment” she herself created as home secretary returned to haunt her in the shape of the Windrush scandal. And Labour was no more eager for a showdown with voters in some of its heartlands who don’t see eye to eye with Jeremy Corbyn’s liberal views on immigration.

But like every other impossible question thrown up about Brexit, it can’t be dodged for ever. If nothing else, today brings us one step closer to the moment when everyone has to show their hand.

Source: The part of Brexit everyone’s been avoiding is finally here: immigration

And, in a related story, business leaders have been speaking out more:

UK employers condemn ‘ignorant, elitist’ Brexit immigration reportBusiness leaders have lined up to criticise the government’s migration advisory committee (MAC) after it proposed an “ignorant and elitist” ban on foreign workers earning less than £30,000 a year from obtaining visas to work in the UK after Brexit.

Organisations representing hauliers, housebuilders and the hospitality sector were among those to sound the alarm after the committee said only “higher skilled” workers should be allowed visas, with no preferential access given to European Union citizens.

Richard Burnett, the chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, which represents 7,000 hauliers, said: “We need an immigration policy across all skill levels. It is about what our businesses need. The idea that only high-skilled immigration should be allowed is both ignorant and elitist.”

Brian Berry, the chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, warned that his industry would be crippled: “It’s not at all clear that EU workers with important skills already in short supply, like bricklaying and carpentry, will not fall foul of a crude and limited definition of ‘high-skilled’ worker.”

Des Gunewardena, the chairman and CEO of D&D London, the owner of 40 upmarket restaurants, warned that businesses like his could be affected if the recommendations were taken up. “I’ve got no doubt that if movement of staff becomes difficult, we will need to scale back sharply,” he said.

Source: UK employers condemn ‘ignorant, elitist’ Brexit immigration report

Federal stats show slight increase in irregular migrant claims in August

Numbers may be stabilizing but will need to see full year numbers to assess. But government must be relieved with significant drop in numbers from summer 2017:

The number of irregular border crossers seeking asylum in Canada increased slightly in August, but were far below the record spikes seen last summer.

Statistics published Tuesday by the federal government shows the Mounties apprehended 1,747 irregular migrants between official border crossings in August, a jump of 113 from July, marking the second consecutive month of increases following a downward trend that began in May.

Overall, this summer saw less than half of the just over 8,800 irregular migrants who crossed into Canada during July and August last year.

Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel suggested the issue of irregular migrants has not gotten better, noting that the total number of asylum seekers so far for this year — 14,125, federal data shows — is higher than during the same period in 2017 when 13,221 irregular migrants were counted.

“The problem is getting worse,” Rempel said.

Rempel has repeatedly called on the Liberals to close a loophole in the Safe Third Country agreement between Canada and the United States, which has been cited as a major factor in the ongoing stream of asylum seekers crossing the Canada-U.S. border through non-official entry points.

The agreement prevents asylum seekers from asking for refugee protection when they present themselves at an official port-of-entry, which is why thousands have crossed the border on foot so they can get into the country and claim what they would likely be denied at an official entry point.

Border Security Minister Bill Blair said he has asked to meet with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to discuss ways to modernize the agreement and continued to defend the government’s handling of the border during the daily question period.

The issue of irregular border crossers has been an ongoing topic of heated debate and one that has become divisive among federal and provincial parties.

The federal and Ontario Tories have labelled the situation at the border a “crisis” and called irregular border crossers “illegal” — two terms the federal Liberals reject. The Trudeau Liberals insist the border is being managed in an orderly way and that Canada is accommodating asylum seekers as required under human rights obligations.

Ontario has also demanded millions in federal funding to cover unanticipated costs from the influx of refugee claimants and is refusing to co-operate in Ottawa’s plan to identify individuals or families willing to relocate to areas outside Toronto while awaiting the outcome of their refugee claims.

The government said a pilot project for this triage program started last week in the southwestern Ontario municipality of Chatham-Kent that will see five families relocated to the town just east of the border with Michigan, instead of Toronto. Blair’s office said the families chosen for the pilot were willing to go to Chatham-Kent, where temporary housing may be easier to find.

Speaking to reporters, Blair said the number of asylum seekers involved in this project is small, but it will allow the community the opportunity to see how families settle there and give the federal government a chance to learn from any successes — or failures.

Blair said he would have “very much preferred” to work with Ontario’s government on the triage program, rather than with individual municipalities, but he is hopeful about resolving the tension between the two governments.

Source: Federal stats show slight increase in irregular migrant claims in August

L’Institut du Québec remet les pendules à l’heure en immigration

Good initiative in presenting the data:

Parce que plusieurs données sur l’immigrationsont semées à tort et à travers en cette campagne électorale, l’Institut du Québec (IdQ) a cru bon de remettre les pendules à l’heure en publiant une « mise à jour » pour clarifier certaines informations. Car si certains politiciens confondent encore des statistiques, d’autres ne prennent pas le soin de les mettre en contexte.

L’IdQ travaille sur les thèmes de l’intégration des immigrants au marché du travail depuis un certain temps, mais a senti une certaine urgence à préciser certaines données. « En voyant à quel point c’est devenu important dans les élections, surtout la question des seuils migratoires et la rétention, […] on a senti que notre mission était de sortir rapidement », a dit Mia Homsy, directrice de l’IdQ, auquel s’associent le Conference Board du Canada et HEC Montréal. « Je ne suis pas certaine des chiffres que [les chefs de partis] utilisent. Je vois aussi qu’ils essaient d’en éviter certains… ce n’est pas toujours clair. »

Le taux de rétention

Mme Homsy invite à ne pas confondre « solde migratoire net », qui est la somme de la migration internationale (entrées et sorties) et de la migration interprovinciale (entrées et sorties) qu’on soit immigrant ou natif, et taux de rétention, qui mesure le nombre d’immigrants encore au Québec plusieurs années après leur arrivée. Ce que pourrait avoir fait le chef de la Coalition avenir Québec, François Legault, qui se plaît à répéter que, des 50 000 immigrants qu’il accueille, le Québec en perd 13 000. Parle-t-il du solde migratoire net, qui est de 12 600 ?

M. Legault pourrait avoir plutôt fait allusion aux 26 % d’immigrants qui ont quitté le Québec, mais, dans ce cas, il omet de préciser que c’est entre 2006 et 2015 (soit sur 9 ans). Ce qu’il ne dit pas non plus, c’est que ces chiffres sont du ministère de l’Immigration et se basent sur les renouvellements de la carte d’assurance maladie, qui ne tiennent pas compte des décès et des non-renouvellements volontaires.

Les chiffres publiés par l’Institut du Québec, qui se basent sur les déclarations de revenus, ont une connotation beaucoup plus positive : seulement 18 % des immigrants arrivés entre 2005 et 2015 auraient quitté la province. Et le Québec se classe 4e au Canada pour son taux de rétention. « J’avais en tête que c’était catastrophique, mais on n’est quand même pas si loin de l’Ontario », a déclaré Mme Homsy. Selon le rapport, le taux de rétention sur cinq ans est encore plus encourageant, soit 84,3 %, et il constituerait une nette amélioration par rapport à il y a 15 ans.

Peu de francophones

Le chef de la CAQ et celui du Parti québécois, Jean-François Lisée, ont aussi répété que trop peu d’immigrants (42 %) parlent français à leur arrivée au Québec. Or, ils omettent souvent de préciser que cette donnée est pour 2017 seulement, année où le Québec a reçu beaucoup de réfugiés. En 2016, 48 % des personnes qui arrivaient ici parlaient le français, et en 2015, 56 %.

Brahim Boudarbat, professeur à l’École des relations industrielles de l’Université de Montréal, fait remarquer que, pour avoir l’heure juste, il faudrait uniquement s’intéresser à la catégorie des immigrants économiques, car ce sont eux qui sont sélectionnés avec, notamment, le critère de la langue française. Et là, toutefois, les politiciens n’auraient pas tort de s’alarmer sur la proportion d’immigrants francophones, qui sont en diminution constante depuis ces dernières années, passant de 67 % en 2012 à 53 % en 2016. « Ça, c’est un problème, puisqu’on voit que ça baisse », dit-il. Le ministère de l’Immigration a reconnu qu’elle avait admis un plus grand nombre de personnes déclarant uniquement connaître l’anglais, notamment parce que l’adéquation entre les besoins du Québec dans certains secteurs d’emploi et les compétences des travailleurs migrants était devenue plus importante que le seul critère de la langue.

Seuils et chômage

M. Boudarbat fait remarquer que les partis parlent peu de régionalisation, mais débattent beaucoup des seuils d’immigration. « On s’attendrait à ce que les libéraux, qui ont un discours de pénurie de main-d’oeuvre, parlent d’augmenter les seuils, mais ils ne le font pas. Moi, j’interprète ça comme une réduction », indique le professeur. « Dans sa tête, [le chef Philippe Couillard] pense sans doute à 60 000-65 000, mais il ne le dit pas, parce qu’il serait obligé de le justifier, comme le font les autres partis. »

Pour sa part, le chef de la CAQ justifie son intention d’accueillir moins d’immigrants en répétant que le taux de chômage parmi cette population est de 15 % dans les cinq premières années. Or, s’il est effectivement de 14,1 %, comparativement à 9,1 % en Ontario, ce taux a tendance à diminuer, étant donné la conjoncture économique favorable. Après avoir oscillé entre 10 % et 13 % depuis 2007, le taux de chômage des immigrants âgés de 25 à 54 ans atteignait 8,7 % l’an dernier. « Les employeurs vont désormais considérer un CV d’immigrant qu’ils auraient peut-être mis sous la pile il y a 15 ans, voyant que leur production est compromise », avance Mia Homsy.

Pour un portrait plus juste de la situation, les politiciens devraient toutefois s’intéresser de plus près à certaines données qui ne ressortent pas souvent, soit le taux de surqualification et la provenance des immigrants. « Les gens des pays musulmans ont un taux de chômage plus élevé », rappelle M. Boudarbat.

Source: L’Institut du Québec remet les pendules à l’heure en immigration

Douglas Todd: Popular Canadian student visas leading to exploitation

More from Douglas Todd on Indian student visa holders:

Senior Indian politicians are warning tens of thousands of young Punjabis about the dangers of trying to take advantage of student visas to try to become Canadian citizens.

Indian nationals — some of whom are using student visas primarily to work rather than study in Canada — are being exploited in both countries for their money and cheap labour, say South Asian media outlets and officials in both India and Canada.

The Punjab’s education minister, Charanjit Singh Channi, says he recently travelled to Canada and “saw the plight of students there,” with many working 16 hours a day to make ends meet and attending fly-by-night colleges with just five students enrolled.

Channi, who is concerned about a growing brain drain of young Punjabis to Canada, told the Indian media he is cautioning students against “falling into the emigration trap.” He is one of many officials raising alarms about fraudulent immigration agents who are financially bleeding low-income families in India with false promises their offspring will easily obtain immigrant status in Canada.

Many Indo-Canadians in Metro Vancouver and Toronto are in an uproar over the surge in students from India, with their presence feeding community tensions, allegations of financial exploitation by colleges and universities, employer abuse and fears some young newcomers are “buying jobs” in Canada while working for less than minimum wage, undercutting local South Asians.

The number of Indian students in Canada, mostly from the Punjab, has increased about five-fold in the past few years, since the federal government began to favour international students as future permanent residents.

Canada has 130,000 students from India now, compared to 20,000 in Britain, 70,000 in Australia and 186,000 in the U.S., which has almost 10 times Canada’s population.

“Most international students, especially from China and India, see being an international student as an opportunity to migrate to Canada for greener pastures, to pave way for their families to eventually join them,” says Barj Dhahan, a major B.C. employer and philanthropist.

“They end up paying large sums of money to ‘immigration consultants’ … to help them obtain admissions to Canadian institutions and get visas to Canada. Many of these students are enrolled in short-term degree programs” And, he said, many end up working more than the 20 hours a week are allowed under student study permits.”

Dhahan, owner of the Sandhurst Group of companies that specializes in B.C. restaurants, gas stations and commercial real estate, said some of the 500,000 international students in Canada “work illegally under the table to make ends meet, and are usually paid in cash.” In the process, he said, many are exploited by dubious employers and so-called consultants.

The Tribune is one of several Indian media outlets reporting that young Punjabis and their often-rural families are being gouged by educational institutions, landlords and employers in Canada, as well as by so-called “immigration consultants” in India.

The Punjab newspaper says it typically costs Indian students more than $15,000 Cdn for their first year in Canada, but that consultants don’t tell families that educational fees and housing costs will mushroom to $100,000 to $150,000 for a multi-year program. Last month, Indian headlines trumpeted a police raid on the office of a prominent Punjab immigration consultancy headed by Vinay Hari, who had sponsored large ads celebrating the visit of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Immigration lawyers in Metro Vancouver, such as George Lee and Richard Kurland, say international students from India and China, the two biggest source countries for Canada, are among those who end up trying to extend their chances of gaining immigrant status in Canada by “buying jobs,” some of which don’t exist.

Burnaby immigration lawyer George Lee says some international students from India and China are among those who try to extend their chances of gaining immigrant status in Canada by “buying jobs.”

Shinder Purewal, a Kwantlen Polytechnic University political scientist and a former citizenship court judge, said “Immigration is the main motive of most international students coming to Canada,” particularly those who sign up with low-tier public and private educational institutions with little intention of obtaining a serious diploma and a much stronger inclination to find work.

One of the most lucrative money-making schemes for fraudulent immigration agents in India and Canada, Purewal said, is arranging often-fake Canadian labour-market impact assessments for international students who seek a long-term work permit to cement their chance of being approved for permanent resident status, the precursor to becoming a Canadian citizen.

Some Indo-Canadian business owners, Purewal said, collude with the agents to charge Indian students $20,000 to $50,000 for a false labour-market assessment, which claims a foreign national is needed for a job because Canadians cannot be found.

Although newcomers on student visas are limited to working 20 hours a week, Purewal said most end up “working more than full time to cover costs, simply because Canadian employers don’t even pay them minimum wage. The system allows ‘immigration consultants’ and businesses to cheat, commit fraud and brutally exploit young people.”

Vancouver immigration lawyer Sam Hyman says there is a “rampant” underground economy devoted to creating false labour-market assessments for international students in Canada, regardless of their nationality. If the students who buy such fraudulent job offers are caught, Hyman warned, “they are likely to bear the enforcement consequences — including deportation — more readily than the fraudsters who victimize them and reap the profits of such illegal activity.”

Source: Douglas Todd: Popular Canadian student visas leading to exploitation

Legault s’emmêle à nouveau – On immigration and particularly citizenship

While the first part points out his lack of knowledge, it is the latter part where he is effectively promoting a separate Quebec version of citizenship with longer residency requirements (3 years to become a Permanent Residents, then the 3 year citizenship residency requirement) along with yet again, a Quebec Values Charter that is more revealing.

He also needs to consider the demographic and financial implications of reduced immigration that Chantal Hébert recently pointed out (By campaigning to cut immigration, Quebec’s opposition parties are playing politics with their province’s future):

François Legault reconnaît ne pas connaître sur le bout des doigts les étapes à franchir par un immigrant pour obtenir sa citoyenneté canadienne.

« Ce bout-là, je n’aurais pas gagné Génies en herbe », a-t-il laissé tomber lors d’une conférence de presse dimanche.

Le chef de la Coalition avenir Québec faisait allusion aux « bonnes questions » posées la veille par un reporter sur le système d’immigrationcanadien. À l’une d’elles, il avait répondu qu’un résident permanent n’a qu’à passer « quelques mois » au pays avant de devenir citoyen canadien. Or, c’est au moins trois ans.

« J’ai lu pas mal toute la nuit là-dessus », a mentionné le chef caquiste, tout en disant maîtriser les ressorts de l’immigration ― ou à tout le moins « l’essentiel, oui ».

Pourtant, le favori des sondages a encore confondu, dimanche, les conditions d’obtention de la résidence permanente et celles de la citoyenneté. En effet, M. Legault a dit qu’un résident permanent doit faire l’objet d’une enquête de sécurité et d’un examen médical avant de demander la citoyenneté, oubliant de dire qu’il doit aussi réussir l’examen de citoyenneté, qui porte notamment sur la géographie, l’histoire sociale, culturelle et politique du Canada, et démontrer qu’il a une « connaissance suffisante » de la langue française ou anglaise. « On va prendre votre question en délibéré », a lâché M. Legault, au terme d’un échange de quelques minutes sur le sujet.

Le chef de la CAQ a dit ne pas croire que les réponses erronées ou incomplètes qu’il a données sur le sujet aux médias nuisent à sa crédibilité. « Les Québécois, ce qu’ils veulent savoir, c’est : “Est-ce qu’on veut 40 000 ou 50 000 immigrants par année ?” La CAQ, c’est 40 000. Les libéraux, c’est 50 000. Les Québécois, ce qu’ils veulent savoir, c’est : “Est-ce que les immigrants, à l’avenir, vont devoir réussir un test de valeurs et un test de français ?” Ils savent qu’avec la CAQ, la réponse, c’est oui. Avec le Parti libéral, c’est non. C’est ça que les Québécois veulent savoir. C’est ça la crédibilité d’un chef de parti. Puis, quand je suis concret et pragmatique, je pense que les Québécois comprennent très bien ce que je dis », a-t-il affirmé à la presse.

Dans cet esprit, M. Legault a réitéré dimanche sa promesse de soumettre les nouveaux arrivants à un test de connaissance de français et des valeurs québécoises, dont la réussite serait une condition à l’obtention d’un certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ).

D’ailleurs, selon lui, l’examen de citoyenneté préparé par le gouvernement fédéral ― qui constitue un « bon test », à ses yeux ― « vient comme montrer que ce n’est pas si effrayant que ça ce [que la CAQ] demande ». « Pourquoi ce test, au fédéral, serait acceptable et le nôtre pas acceptable ? » a-t-il demandé.

Citoyen canadien en 6 ans ?
Selon l’engagement de la CAQ, il faudrait environ six ans à un immigrant pour obtenir un passeport canadien au Québec ― trois ans pour obtenir un CSQ et la résidence permanente, plus trois ans pour la citoyenneté canadienne ―, comparativement à trois ans dans le reste du Canada. « Le français sera toujours vulnérable au Québec, en Amérique du Nord. Donc, oui, il y aura des exigences plus grandes au Québec que dans le reste du Canada », a soutenu François Legault.

Source: Legault s’emmêle à nouveau

Parrainage de réfugiés syriens: des citoyens passent la nuit dehors

A good news story that Quebec is far from monolithic in its views on immigration and refugees:

Des Québécois ont passé la nuit d’hier à aujourd’hui devant les locaux du ministère de l’Immigration afin de s’assurer que leur demande de parrainage de réfugiés syriens soit parmi les 750 qui seront acceptées pour étude dès la réouverture du programme aujourd’hui.

La file d’attente devant les bureaux du ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion du Québec (MIDI) a commencé vers 16h, hier. Le premier sur place est arrivé avec une chaise et de quoi passer la nuit dans la rue. «On n’a pas le choix d’être ici si on veut être sûr que notre demande passe», a-t-il confié, vers 21h.

Derrière lui, à cette heure-là, neuf autres personnes attendaient rue Notre-Dame, certains sur de petites chaises, d’autres munis de leur sac de couchage.

Depuis janvier 2017, le volume important de demandes de parrainage de réfugiés syriens a forcé le MIDI à arrêter momentanément le programme. Dès aujourd’hui, les demandeurs pourront de nouveau soumettre leur dossier.

Les portes ouvrent ce matin à 8h30. En tout, 750 dossiers de parrainage seront étudiés par le Ministère. Seulement 100 pourront être déposés par des particuliers qui souhaitent parrainer un groupe de deux à cinq personnes. C’est surtout les parrains pour cette catégorie de dossier qui étaient en file hier. «On imagine qu’il va y avoir bien plus que 100 personnes, donc je m’assure de ma place pour que le messager prenne ma place demain», explique une dame, cinquième en ligne, installée dans une chaise pliante.

Stratégie commune

Tous ont la même stratégie : attendre leur messager, qui prendra la relève pour déposer leur dossier. Car aucun dossier remis en mains propres ne sera accepté, les documents devront obligatoirement être déposés par service de messagerie.

«Moi, il est là avec moi déjà», a lancé une femme, pointant l’homme à ses côtés. Elle a payé le messager pour la nuit, afin d’être certaine que sa demande soit parmi les premières déposées.

«Le fait de devoir venir faire la ligne comme ça démontre qu’il n’y a pas assez de place pour les demandes de parrainage», a observé une jeune femme, assise sur son sac de couchage, à côté d’une amie. «Ceux qui n’auront pas notre chance vont devoir attendre une autre année, a-t-elle ajouté. Mais on parle de réfugiés, et beaucoup d’entre eux ne peuvent pas attendre un an.»

«Chacun pour soi»

«Je ne suis vraiment pas confiante, j’ai peur qu’administrativement, ce soit le chaos demain», a avoué une des personnes en ligne. Autour d’elle, plusieurs ont hoché la tête, en signe d’approbation.

Elle a également indiqué craindre un grand désordre à l’ouverture des portes du ministère. «On ne sait pas ce qui va arriver quand la file va s’étendre et qu’il y aura plus de demandes que ce qu’ils vont accepter.»

«Ce que je trouve dommage, c’est que ça nous oblige à être chacun pour soi, pour s’assurer sa place, alors qu’on veut tous aider des gens», ajoute une autre dame, à ses côtés.

Hier soir, les quelques personnes en file ont inscrit leur nom, en ordre sur une feuille, pour avoir une liste de leur ordre d’arrivée. «C’est très informel, on ne sait même pas si ça va être respecté», s’est-elle inquiétée.

«Je pense que le Ministère fait de son mieux, a quant à lui affirmé le premier citoyen dans la file. Mais ça pourrait être mieux organisé, c’est certain, car la demande est vraiment très haute par rapport au nombre de places. Beaucoup de dossiers se sont accumulés depuis l’arrêt du programme.»

Home Office ‘breaking law’ to expel highly skilled migrants

One story after another about policy and operational failures:

A judge has accused the Home Office of breaking the law and acting in a “nonsensical” way in trying to force two highly skilled migrants out of the UK by triggering a terrorism-related part of immigration law.

The two substantial judgments will boost those campaigning to halt the use of paragraph 322(5) of the immigration rules against people who have made legal amendments to their tax returns.

The judge quashed the Home Office’s decisions to trigger the power, saying the department had made errors in public law.

At least 1,000 highly skilled migrants seeking indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK are wrongly facing expulsion from the UK under paragraph 322(5) for making legal amendments to their tax records, according to the support group Highly Skilled Migrants.

The judgments of the upper tribunal judge, Melissa Canavan, in the cases of Oluwatosin Bankole Williams and Farooq Shaik will strengthen the hand of the 20 MPs and a member of the House of Lords who are to establish separate pressure groups to persuade the Home Office to stop misusing the power.

In the Commons on Thursday, one of those MPs, Alison Thewliss, demanded a debate on what she said was “the incompetence of the Home Office” concerning 322(5).

“We were promised on 21 June that there would be a review in the next few weeks. This has not emerged,” she said. “Too many highly skilled migrants are waiting for this government to make a decision, living in poverty and racking up huge debts.”

The leader of the house, Andrea Leadsom, agreed to take up the issue directly with Home Office ministers on Thewliss’s behalf.

While at least 50% of immigration appeals against Home Office decisions succeed in the courts – a rate the Law Society said suggested the system was “seriously flawed” – the support group for those fighting paragraph 322(5) say their success rate is far higher, at 75.3%.

The figure is so high that it has caused legal experts to question whether the Home Office is cynically pursuing cases without merit.

In one of the recent rulings, Canavan cited a third upper tribunal judgment in which the Home Office was criticised for maintaining that migrants were responsible for the mistakes of their accountants, even when accountants later wrote to the government to admit culpability.

Canavan agreed that “the mere fact that an applicant is responsible for his own tax affairs does not lead to the inexorable conclusion that an applicant has been dishonest”.

Her judgment is at odds with a letter sent to the Lib Dem peer Dick Taverne last week by Susan Williams, a Home Office minister, defending the government’s use of the 322(5) power. “The courts have agreed that our conclusions were reasonable in such cases,” Lady Williams wrote.

Canavan said: “Where an applicant has presented evidence to show that he was not dishonest but only careless, the secretary of state is presented with a fact-finding task … The evidence must be cogent and strong.”

Source: Home Office ‘breaking law’ to expel highly skilled migrants

Prime Minister Scott Morrison exposes Australia’s big immigration myth

Despite his anti-immigration reputation, many of the points he makes in this interview are sensible:

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has taken aim at Australia’s obsession with population growth, saying it is a “fairly irrelevant statistic” and immigration policy is far more nuanced than many of us realise.

Population growth surged to the top of the political agenda in August as the number of people living in Australia passed 25 million, with prominent figures such as entrepreneur Dick Smith warning our “way of life” would be under threat unless immigration was drastically reduced.

In an exclusive interview with news.com.au, Mr Morrison struck a very different tone.

He identified a pervasive myth at the heart of the immigration debate — that permanent migrants from overseas are the biggest strain on Australia’s infrastructure.

He said temporary migration and natural population growth, caused by the people who already live here having children, were far more significant factors.

“I’ve never bought this idea that the permanent immigration intake is the thing fuelling population growth. Because it’s not borne out in the actual maths,” Mr Morrison said.

“When it comes to population growth at the moment, there are 10 extra people that have got on the bus. Just over four of them are temporary migrants. Just under four of them were born here, a natural increase. And only two of them are permanent migrants.”

A huge chunk of that — 38 per cent — came from the natural increase category. Among the rest, temporary migrants easily outnumbered permanent migrants.

Importantly, growth varied wildly in different parts of the country — a point Mr Morrison felt had often been lost in the national population debate.

“You have got to understand what the population impacts are, not just in terms of how much the national population is growing by. That’s a fairly irrelevant statistic,” Mr Morrison said.

“What matters is what is it growing at in Melbourne; in the western suburbs; in the eastern suburbs. What is it doing in southeast Queensland? What is it doing in Townsville? What is it doing in Perth?”

In some areas, he said, the combination of natural population growth and interstate migration “eclipses international migration a couple of times over”.

“I mean, what are they going to do — stop the Victorians, or stop the New South Welshmen?”

Meanwhile, smaller cities such as Adelaide were simply “crying out” for more immigration, not less.

“The idea of average population growth is about as helpful as average rainfall. It has the same practical meaning,” he said.

“You can have very low levels of population growth that are actually being quite unhelpful in terms of what’s happening in the economy, or social cohesion.

“You can have high levels of it, which if it’s all pretty much skills based and everybody’s in a job and it’s focused on regional areas, it can be quite suitably absorbed.”

The fundamental problem for the government is that most immigrants want to live in our biggest cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne, and far fewer are interested in staying in regional areas.

The ABS statistics we cited earlier showed 165,000 migrants, or about two-thirds of last year’s net migration figure, went to those two cities.

There is only so much the government can do about it, beyond placing conditions on some temporary visas, or rewarding temporary migrants who move to regional areas. Mr Morrison signalled he was open to expanding on those initiatives.

But he certainly can’t dictate where permanent migrants get to live.

Source: Prime Minister Scott Morrison exposes Australia’s big immigration myth

Machines Will Handle More Than Half of Workplace Tasks by 2025, WEF Report Says

Question is: what kind of jobs and will it truly be a “positive impact:”

Organizers of the Davos forum say in a new report that machines are increasingly moving in on jobs done by people, projecting that more than half of all workplace tasks will be carried out by machines by 2025.

The World Economic Forum also predicts the loss of some 75 million jobs worldwide by 2022, but also says 133 million new jobs will be created.

The WEF said Monday: “Despite bringing widespread disruption, the advent of machine, robots and algorithm could actually have a positive impact on human employment.”

The “Future of Jobs 2018” report, the second of its kind, is based on a survey of executives representing 15 million employees in 20 economies.

The WEF said challenges for employers include reskilling workers, enabling remote employment and building safety nets for workers.

Source: Machines Will Handle More Than Half of Workplace Tasks by 2025, a Report Says