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BC Pilot Project to Attract Working Families

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One of the new pilot projects in BC allows spouses, common-law partners and working-age dependents (18-22 yrs. of age) of most temporary foreign workers (TFWs) to work while they are here with the principal applicant who has been issued a valid job-specific work permit of at least six (6) months duration in a BC work location.

In the past, only spouses and common-law partners of TFWs employed in a managerial, professional or skilled occupation are eligible to apply for an open work permit in BC. Now, this unique first of a kind pilot project allows more family members of workers, including those in the lower-skilled occupations, to be eligible for an open work permit which allows the holder to accept any job with any employer in BC.

Up to 1800 open work permits will be available under the pilot project which will end on February 15, 2013.

Family members of live-in caregivers, certain seasonal agricultural workers and international experience Canada participants are ineligible for this pilot project.

Temporary foreign workers from Mexico increase in Canada due to the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program

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Under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program foreign workers can come to Canada on a temporary basis.

Founded in 1966 the program brings more than 20,000 workers a year to Canada, mostly from Mexico, to work in orchards, greenhouses and vineyard.

Expanded to British Columbia in 2004, the program brought more than 3,000 Mexican workers to the province, with almost half of them headed to the Okanagan and the rest to the Fraser Valley.

The Mexican Consulate in Vancouver informed that of the Mexican workers employed in the Okanagan, about 40% work in the wine industry, 40% in orchards and 20% in vegetables.

Terms of the 2011 contract for Mexican workers in B.C. include:
• Minimum employment of 240 hours for terms of 6 weeks or less and a maximum term of 8 months
• Average minimum work week of 40 hours
• Pay of at least $9.28 per hour for every hour worked harvesting. For work other than harvesting, workers must be paid no less than B.C. minimum wage, currently $8,75
• Employers are to cover roundtrip flights from Mexico City to Canada
• Employers are to provide accommodation
• Employees are to return to Mexico on completion of their authorized work period

Let us know if you have any questions or send us your comments!

Canadian Immigration, language assessment of citizenship applicants

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Did you know that The Department of Citizenship and Immigration has issued a Notice of Intent to amend the Citizenship Regulations?

The amendment relates to the language assessment of citizenship applications. This notice was published in the Canada Gazette on October 15, 2011.

The Department is requesting comments on a proposal to require applicants who apply for Canadian citizenship to provide up-front evidence of language ability showing achievement of at least Canadian Language Benchmarklevel 4 in speaking and listening with their citizenship application. Such evidence could include third-party language tests or alternative evidence.

Any person (including citizenship lawyers, stakeholders, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, interested groups, and the general public) may, within 30 days of the publication of this notice, provide their comments on this Notice of Intent, in writing, to the person named in the Government Notice.
For further information please visit:

Canada accepts more immigrants per capita than any other country (save Australia) and more than three-quarters of all newcomers become citizens.
In our opinion the proposed amendment is a positive step that will improve the Canadian approach. Canadians should be able to communicate in English or French in order to participate in the Canadian culture and society.