By Honoré Gbedze, The Afro News, Vancouver : At a round table meeting with Minister Jason Kenny on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 which took place in Vancouver, Minister Kenny started the meeting by introducing some of his guests that were from various government bodies around the Province. He then went on to speak about the last election and his recent appointment and the various votes that were gained for diversity and added a voice for certain ethnic groups around the country. The Aboriginal people will be better represented as well as Asia Pacific is still the strongest group that is gaining attention.
The main focus for the Ministers appointment is on the economy of our country and how new immigrants will have an impact towards this endeavour.
Questions were asked about the plan that is being instituted to ensure that only legal immigration consultants are in place, not only in our country but in other countries as well. It was answered that anybody that is aware of illegal immigration consultants around the world to report these businesses or people to the Canada Border Agencies.
Honore Gbedze, represented the The Afro News and posed these questions: how well are we preparing to have our immigrants and refugees benefit from being in this country and is a community development and good structured integration plan in place to help all levels of government to communicate and serve the people better?
Minister Kenny replied and said that the number one objective is to ensure that immigrants are succeeding- when they succeed Canada succeeds. Doing whatever we can to find new barriers to having immigrants getting good jobs. In Western Europe the immigrants have not received the best quality of opportunity. In Canada the country needs to provide that and the immigrants are to receive that. Credential recognition is a big issue and needs to be reviewed in each province to help new immigrants get information and training; millions of dollars have been allocated to this project. Language is also a key component in helping immigrants integrate; millions of dollars have also been allocated to this as well. An initiative is being put into place to have skilled trades people to be allowed to immigrate through a point system. Local integration in partnership, been tested in Ontario, where the federal and provincial government work along with the municipality to work together to offer newcomers services for language training, job search skills, advice on health information, tax information and much more.
In 2011 Canada is going to add 254,000 more permanent residents to our countries population. Admissions are based on the amount of qualified applicants that are received from each country. More applications mean more admissions. 850,000 applications have been received since 2006, out of that only 254,000 have been qualified to date. It’s taken 5-6 years to process these applications.
In 2008 the immigration act was changed to limit the amount of applications so that it was controlled based on the amount of seats that were available for new immigrants. This year there will only be 10,000 new immigrant applications accepted so that the back log of the applications can be processed. By 2015 it is expected that this backlog will be cleared. Younger workers are needed so that taxes can be paid and our healthcare system can be sustained and that will benefit the economy and also gain their right to vote when they become citizens.
What can new immigrants do to give back to this country after the opportunity they received to come here and have a better life was another question that was asked, it was mentioned that they can participate in democracy by expressing their voice, helping in the community, working in a voluntary basis in a non-profit organization.