What’s Life Really Like in Saskatchewan?

Posted by: on Mar 25, 2014 in News, The Immigration Business | No Comments

I work with people from around the world, each who have given up their old lives, to start a new life here in Saskatchewan.  It is to these and others that I ask the question…What’s life really like in Saskatchewan?

Below you will find a short survey (only 10 questions) that I would love you to fill out, to let me know your thoughts on what it’s been like to move here.  Fill out as much or as little as you would like.  If you don’t have the answer to a questions, or it does not apply to you – simply skip it and answers those that you want to have input on.

I’ll be compiling the answers and sharing them with other newcomers in order to help them with their own settlement, so by sharing your experience, you’re helping someone else!

Thanks for taking the time to take the survey!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Reuniting Families – I Have The Best Job Ever

Posted by: on Mar 19, 2014 in News, The Immigration Business | No Comments

I recently had the pleasure of helping a Saskatchewan family as they tried to bring their parents over for a visit from Africa.  It was a short turnaround time and lots of emails and phone calls back and forth – but you can see by the looks on their faces…all the effort was worth it.  Did I mention I have the best job ever?

Our family was able to celebrate graduations and birthdays together with my mom and dad who flew from Africa and got to Saskatchewan just in time. All the happiness and joy would not have been possible without the help and commitment of Anika Henderson the most dedicated and hardworking immigration agent.  Anika worked so hard and ensure all visa paper work was done appropriately and no important information was missing. The complete application package was submitted, and because it was done appropriately, the process took less than a week and the visitor visas for my parents were approved!!! Anika is very professional, caring, and flexible and made the whole process of visa application stress free, Thank you Anika!!!

Here’s a few photos that show the fun they had during their visit.  Glad to have played a part, however small, in their joy!

This Saskatchewan family was able to reunite for some incredible family celebrations.
My Canada includes both immigrants AND their families

My Letter to the Editor on the Recent Changes to the CIC Act – Making it More Difficult for New Immigrants to Keep Their Families Intact

Posted by: on Mar 6, 2014 in News, The Immigration Business | No Comments

My Canada Includes All Families

Dear Editor,

In my capacity as an immigration consultant I work with employers who struggle to find qualified workers to fill positions in their growing companies. Many of these employers have turned to immigration as a solution to fill their growing number of vacant jobs. New policies introduced by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) could mean that over time the number of new qualified immigrants interested in coming to Canada could possibly dwindle in response to Canada’s new stance on family reunification.  A stance that is the opposite of everything that Canada once stood for in its Immigration policies.

As a country we have signed and ratified international conventions which affirm the importance of the family unit and the principle that families are entitled to protection by society and the state.  Yet this year, changes will be introduced that will mean that immigrants can no longer include dependent children older than 18 years old.  Instead they propose to reduce the maximum age of dependents from under 22 years of age to under 19 years of age, regardless of whether those dependents are fulltime students or for other reasons are dependent on their parents.

The introduction of this new restriction not only means that families will be separated, it will also limit Canada’s potential to attract skilled workers – some of whom will refuse to immigrate if they are unable to include their 18+ dependent children in their applications. Currently, I am working with a number of skilled worker clients, who would be negatively affected by this rule change. I am confident that had this rule been in effect at the time of each of their applications, those affected would have declined their offers of employment in Canada as it would mean permanent separation from their 19 and 20 year old dependents. This rule change has the potential to severely hinder Saskatchewan’s ability to attract the workers it so badly needs to meet its growth objectives.

Until recently there was also a two year moratorium on the parent/grandparent sponsorship program. This program re-opened in January 2014 but with a strict 5000 cap on applications, which was filled in less than a month. Some of the new requirements for this category made it very difficult for people to qualify to sponsor parents or grandparents. CIC significantly increased the financial requirements that a sponsor must meet in order to qualify by 30%. This requirement has most severely affected members of racialized communities, refugees, women, and others who are disadvantaged economically. In other words, the very people who have historically come to Canada in order to better their lives and those who first helped to build this country.

These changes and the current policies will and have ultimately made it increasingly more difficult for new immigrants to keep their families intact. Children will be left behind and for many, the dream of having their parents and grandparents join them here in Canada, will remain out of reach. Ultimately these changes and current policies serve to keep new Canadian families apart. While some might agree on the basis that overage dependent children, parents and grandparents are a ‘drain’ on our systems and do not contribute economically a large body of evidence points to how extended families including parents and grandparents are important to the social and economic wellbeing of families and to their economic productivity.

In the system currently set-up by CIC, the only family members that can be sponsored at this time are dependent children and spouses of Canadians or Permanent Residents.NO other family members can be sponsored.  This means that making the decision to come to Canada is ultimately a decision that means abandoning your family and leaving them behind forever.  Would you be able to do it?

Canada used to be seen as a country that prioritized family reunification and humanitarianism.  It has long been a part of how the outside world views us as Canadians. We can be that country again – and at the same time benefit not only as a country but as a province by attracting new immigrants to help fill our current labour shortages.

Let’s make a return to this identity by rebalancing immigration levels so that families make up a larger percentage of the total immigration; by expanding the definition of families to reflect the realities of diverse cultural communities & by removing barriers to reunification by allocating the resources needed to process applications in a timely manner.

If you agree, and if your Canada includes families of the people that come here to help our economy I urge you to discuss the matter with your local member of parliament and/or write a letter to Chris Alexander, the Minister for Immigration.

Sincerely,
Anika Henderson
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Imagine Immigration & Consulting

Geronimo! Learning to Leap

Posted by: on Dec 10, 2013 in News, The Immigration Business | No Comments
My mother, Mary Henderson, showing our newest employee Leny Geronimo the ropes.

My mother, Mary Henderson, showing our newest employee Leny Geronimo the ropes.

In the past two years since beginning my business as a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, aiming to help meet the needs of both newcomers and employers, I have been fortunate to see my business grow at an amazing rate. New clients, new opportunities and new partnerships are just some of the exciting prospects I have been privileged with. But with new growth, comes the paperwork and added administrative duties that go with. As the paper and daily tasks mounted I knew I had turned a corner, and while my Mother (a great administrator in her own right) had happily stepped in to fill in where she could, the time had come – I needed to hire my very first employee.

Even though I knew my business would only benefit from this logical next step, it was a scary proposition for me, because I pride myself on being hands-on and being someone that clients know will go that extra mile for them. Ultimately I know that the calibre of your business relies on the calibre of the people who help you build it.  I knew I could source out new employees for my clients, but could I source out one for myself?  Living in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, while never a barrier when it comes to working on immigration applications or for employers from anywhere in the country thanks to modern technology, as the only immigration consultant in the city not too many others would have the particular skill set I was looking for.

Introducing Imagine Immigration's first  employee Leny Geronimo

Introducing Imagine Immigration’s first employee Leny Geronimo

Enter in Leny Geronimo, who had no idea how significant her surname is here in Canada!  Born in the Philippines, Leny had come to Canada in September of this year with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a wealth of experience working in Human Resources.

Back home in the Philippines, the company she had worked for often sent teams of people into other countries to offer tech support for the products they sold.  As a result she had a lot of experience working on visa applications!

A further perusal of her resume let me know that here finally was the ideal candidate for my company.  Not only did she have the specific experience processing visa applications that I was looking for, but arising from that experience was the knowledge of just how meticulous you need to be when filling out such forms.  I had found my first employee.

The added bonus, now that I’ve hired Leny and installed her into my office, is that it turns out she compliments my personality perfectly.

While I had focused much of my energies into clients needs, I hadn’t spent the time I possibly should have in ensuring my own processes and organizational work flow was set up to work as efficiently as possible. That aspect of my business now, thanks to Leny, is well underway!

Leny and I compliment each other's personalities perfectly.

Leny and I compliment each other’s personalities perfectly.

In the beginning I approached the prospect of letting someone into my office and my business with fear and trepidation, but now that I have finally taken the leap, it’s turning out even better than I ever could have expected.

Now, I can stop being so “busy” trying to juggle every aspect of my business at once, and instead focus on and invest the time that’s needed into actual client relations, and to building on my expertise and experience as a consultant rather than an administrator; something that will only benefit my clients both present and future.

Just as Saskatchewan, my home province, is experiencing growth, a growth that has translated into a need for many new skilled workers, so too has my business. Now, with Leny by my side doing what she does best.  I’m ready to face that growth head on and take even more leaps!  Geronimo!

 

It's great to work with such amazing women! (l to r Anika Henderson, Mary Henderson, Leny Geronimo)

It’s great to work with such amazing women! (l to r Anika Henderson, Mary Henderson, Leny Geronimo)