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Opinion: Don Curry, The newcomers are coming! The newcomers are coming!

We are a secret no longer. The big players have found us out.

Watch out North Bay. Immigration consultants and immigration lawyers in Canada’s largest cities are sending prospective permanent residents our way.

We are a secret no longer. The big players have found us out.

I learned this on a four-hour professional development webinar last week that featured four well-known and experienced immigration practitioners, two from Calgary and two from Vancouver.

I had to laugh when Tiffany Chi, a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in Vancouver, suggested sending clients as far away as Chilliwack, where chances of getting PR were greater than staying in Vancouver.

I used to live in Chilliwack, and my brother and sister-in-law are still there. It’s a whopping one-hour drive from Vancouver. The big city folk tend to think the sun rises and sets only in cities with populations of a million or more.

Other panelists, which included the renowned immigration lawyer Richard Kurland of Vancouver, talked about places a little further into the hinterland, such as Flin Flon, Manitoba, population of about 5,000.

No one mentioned North Bay, but I caught their theme quite easily. With many of the provincial nominee programs for permanent residence, you receive more points if you move outside the main centres of population because the provinces want to spread the wealth of newcomers.

No one mentioned RNIP, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, which is the prime driver of permanent resident applications in North Bay. But, I can assure you they all know about it, and they are recommending clients move to RNIP cities, among others.

It explains why I am getting so many calls from the Greater Toronto Area asking about RNIP that I now don’t answer my phone unless I recognize the caller.

I realize this news website is called Bay Today, not Canada Today, and I try to maintain a local focus on immigration. There are times, however, when we need to look at the broader picture.

The theme of the panel presentation was Is Canada Still a Dream Destination? It was organized by our professional association, the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants, or CAPIC.

Tiffany Chi listed the positives and negatives. On the positive side, she ticked off our high quality of life, excellent healthcare system, excellent education system, economic opportunities, political and social stability, diverse culture, and facilitative immigration programs.

On the negative side, she cited the high cost of living in metropolitan areas, the cold winters and hot summers, major healthcare system issues, an aging population, healthcare bureaucracy, no national standard of education, insufficient education in applied sciences, and insufficient investments in trades training.

She said our reputation as an inclusive multicultural nation is at risk, citing the Toronto police saying there has been more than a 130 per cent increase in hate-related calls since the Israel-Hamas war.

Her negatives continued with the observation that pilot programs (such as RNIP) are capped and based on employer support, processing times are too long, provincial nominations are capped, and it is difficult for newcomers to receive validation for their work experience or certifications.

Finally, she noted that temporary resident applications are being processed by AI and reasons for refusals are generic.

Richard Kurland’s advice for immigration practitioners was to motivate their clients to move out of the larger cities, where chances of obtaining permanent residence are greater. He cited the huge increase in temporary residents over the past couple of years and said most will want to become permanent residents and that will strain the already over-subscribed Express Entry system.

So, hello RNIP. North Bay’s cap this year is 250 community recommendations, which will mean about 500 people. Many applicants are single, but many are married, and many are married with children.

The program is scheduled to end in February but, as I have written before, I feel that is highly unlikely. It is too good for cities and towns in the hinterland. Wait for an announcement to see it extended, or become a permanent program.

Despite the negatives, Canada is a wonderful place to live and newcomers recognize that. The national immigration targets for 2024 will be announced Wednesday.

Editor’s Note:  Don Curry is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant living in North Bay. He is a member of Bay Today’s community advisory committee.

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Don Curry

About the Author: Don Curry

Don Curry is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant and president of Curry Immigration Consulting and a former journalism instructor
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