Conference call: Migration and the global city, Toronto

It looks like Ryerson University is working to launch a research institute devoted to immigration and settlement issues. Good luck to them. As part of this initiative, they are calling for proposals for a conference entitled “Migration and the Global City”. The conference, a launch to the proposed research centre, tentatively called the Ryerson Institute on Immigration and Settlement (RISS), will be held on the Ryerson campus from October 29-31, 2010.

A call for papers has been released here. Of particular interest to immigrantchildren.ca, conference themes include; Children and Youth; Citizenship, Migration and Identity; Precarious and Temporary Status; and Settlement Services.

The conference will feature a range of activities, including day-trips to local immigrant/settlement locations, a film-documentary screening and art-show, and a possible “CIHR-funded pre-conference on immigrant and refugee children and youth” (Source: Ryerson website). Ryerson – do let us know at immigrantchildren.ca how we can support this important inclusion!

Deadline for abstract submission is June 15, 2010.

Metropolis conference: Immigration and diversity. Crossroads of culture, engine of economic development

The 12th annual Metropolis conference will be held March 18-20, 2010 in Montreal. The theme this year is Immigration and Diversity: Crossroads of Culture, Engine of Economic Development. immigrantchildren.ca is pleased to see so many workshops and roundtables addressing issues related to newcomer families and young children, including:

Transnational Families: Where race, culture and adoption intersect, by Susan Crawford, lead for the Halton Multicultural Council project “Transracial Parenting Initiative”. From the abstract: “This workshop presents research on transracial and transnational families created through adoption across Canada. Presentations examine cultural enrichment through adoption, gaps in delivering pre- and post-adoption services and the needsof transracial familites; and adult adoptees’ complex experiences and understandings of ethno-racial identity”.

Conflict and Violence in Immigrant Families, by Madine VanderPlaat, St. Mary’s University. From the abstract: “This workshop will examine issues related to gender, conflict and violence within immigrant families. Participants will discuss the factors that contribute to stressors as well as the challenges and opportunities for culturally competent social responses”.

Health and Access to it for Migrants after Birth, by Anita Gagnon, Denise Bradshaw, Marlo Turner-Ritchie. From the abstract: “Tri-city (Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal) data on the health and service needs of refugee, asylum-seeking, non-refugee immigrant and Canadian-born women and their infants during pregnancy, at birth and during the first four months after birth will be presented in conjunction with potential policy responses to these date”.

School, Community and Collaborative Practice: Fostering the Integration of Immigrant and Refguee Youth in the Canadian School Context, by Sophie Yohani, N. Ernest Khalema. From the abstract: “Creating welcoming communities in educational settings is vital for newcomer students who may have a history that hinders adaptation. This workshop brings together academic researchers, non-profit practitioners, a government program officer, and a graduate student who share expertise in community-based collaborative practice to address the adaptation of refugee and immigrant students in the Canadian school context”.

Taking Care into Consideration: Local and Transnational Implications for Families, Children and Youth, by Alexandra Dobrowolsky and Evangelia Tastsoglou. From the abstract: “Familial networks, local and transnational, are critical to immigrants’ decision-making processes. The accommodation of care concerns (care of children, elderly parents, etc). also becomes a key consideration for migrants, especially for women. This workshop explores the repercussions of familial networks, and the complex negotiation of care concerns vis-a-vis attraction and retention”.

For more details on the above, see the conference program page.

Family immigration

US based Immigration Policy Center, the research and policy arm of the American Immigration Council, has released a paper today on family immigration. Family Immigration: Repairing Our Broken Immigration System addresses the challenges, gaps and lays out what they see as “the key principles for family immigration within the context of  comprehensive immigration reform”. Some useful information for Canada to also consider. An excerpt from the introduction follows.

Principles for reform of the family immigration system:

  • Family unification must remain a fundamental pillar of U.S. immigration policy. Proposals that sacrifice family immigration for the sake of employment-based immigration create an unfair and erroneous dichotomy. Family immigrants work and contribute to the U.S. in many ways. Both the family-based and employment-based immigration systems can be fixed without sacrificing one for the other.
  • The current backlog of family-based immigrants must be cleared, and law-abiding families must be reunited in a humane and reasonable timeline. There are several possible options to clear the backlogs and promote family unification, including moving spouses and minor children into the “immediate relatives” category.
  • The spouses and minor children of legalized immigrants must be issued visas at the time of the primary applicant’s legalization. Including spouses and children in the legalization provisions will help to prevent future backlogs.
  • Unused and unclaimed family-based visas must be recaptured, and a mechanism to ensure that future unused visas are not wasted must be created. Congress authorizes a set number of visas to be made available annually. When these visas go unused, the problems with backlogs only worsen. Recapturing visas would not overstep the numerical limits set by Congress, but it would alleviate some of the consequences of visa oversubscription.
  • The numerical caps on family-based immigration must be revisited and brought in line with current realities. The last adjustments to the numerical caps were made in 1990.  These numbers must be reconsidered and brought up to 21st century requirements.
  • USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) must receive the resources necessary to resolve backlogged family immigration cases and ensure that processing backlogs do not reoccur. True reform means eliminating the circumstances that led to the problems in the first place.

No right to dream: New research on undocumented migrants, UK

Commissioned by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the research project “No Right to Dream: Young Undocumented Migrants” will be conducted in three regions (London, North West and the Midlands).

From the brief: “The research will therefore focus on the voices of young undocumented migrants about which little is known and will explore and develop the key themes around lives and livelihoods including: experiences of employment; social networks; community involvement; links and obligations with friends and family in their country of origin; how being undocumented impacts on their lives and the longer term goals and aspirations of young undocumented migrants”.

For more information, including PDF briefs in English, Portuguese, Chinese, Kurdish, Turkish, Ukranian, Sbona, Ndeble at the Young Undocumented Migrants website.

Canadian Council for Refugees winter working group meetings

The Canadian Council for Refugees Winter Working Group meetings will be held in Toronto February 26-27/10. On Fri Feb 26/10, 2 working groups will address Overseas Protection and Sponsorship and Immigration and Settlement. On Sat Feb 27/10, the working group will be meeting on Inland Protection. All working group meetings will include discussion of family reunification. See the page for more information.

Folks who attend the CCR meetings rave about them. Have you ever been?

Feds seek input into changes to the live-in caregiver program

As reported in various media, the federal Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism has introduced changes to the live-in caregiver program (LCP). See for example, The Toronto Star’s “Good package of changes to live-in caregivers” (Dec 22/09). Briefly, changes being proposed include:

  • Four years of work to complete the two-year requirement for application for permanent residence
  • Overtime hours to be calculated in the above
  • One medical exam, at time of application to participate in the LCP
  • Travel costs to be paid by the employee
  • A telephone help-line for caregivers.

The details on proposed changes can be found in the Canada Gazette and/or the CIC website. Details were published on Dec 19/09. Comments will be accepted up until Jan 18, 2010 and should be directed to:

Maia Welbourne, Director, Temporary Resident Policy and Program Development Division
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
8th floor, Jean Edmonds Tower South
365 Laurier Avenue W, Ottawa ON K1A 1L1
Tel: 613.957.0001
Fax: 613.954.0850
maia.welbourne@cic.gc.ca

Selected related items:

Temporary Foreign Workers and Non-Status Workers – Report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (May 2009)

Gender-based barriers to settlement and integration for live-in caregivers: A review of the literature by Denise Spitzer and Sara Torres (Nov 2009)

York University (Toronto) annual summer course on refugee and forced migration studies

This year’s Summer Course on Refugee and Forced Migration Issues by the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University will be held May 8-16/10 at the Keele Campus. Fee is $975 Cdn, if you register before Feb 26/10 (fee goes up to $1100 after that date).

For more information, visit the conference course website , email summer@yorku.ca and refer back to previous postings at immigrantchildren.ca.

Francophone female refugees separated from their children, a study

The Ontario Metropolis Centre of Excellence for Research in Immigration Studies (CERIS) has released its latest Policy Matters issue. The Sept 2009 edition is a summary of a report entitled An Analysis of the challenges faced by francophone female refugees living in Ontario and separated from their chilren.

Authors Emile Greon, Michele Kerist, and Francosie Magunira examine the challenges faced by Francophone refugee mothers in Ontario who are separated from their children. The authors make several recommendations for policy change, including:

1) Allow children and spouses to join women refugee claimants, and have their paperwork process from within Canada.
2)  Improve the availability of legal information about family reunification in French.
3)  Ease the bureaucratic process.
4)  Create positions for case workers to follow individual cases and track delays.
5) Enact an “action plan” to systematically present the findings to all stakeholders within one year.

The study was funded by the Ontario Movement for Francophone Immigrant Women.

Maytree’s proposed (economic) immigration strategy

The Maytree Foundation held an online media event (teleconference and webinar) on their latest paper “Adjusting the Balance: Fixing Canada’s Economic Immigration Policies”. In the online Q&A after the presentation, Naomi Alboim informed us that she is now working on another paper that will address the live-in caregiver and seasonal agricultural worker programs. We look forward to an examination of family reunification and transnational families in the next paper.

NB: Maytree and Naomi Alboim used the term “family unification” v. family reunification. We like it!

Visit the Maytree Foundation site to download the current paper, the online presentation notes and after July 27th, the online media event.

House of Commons committee report on the live-in caregiver program

The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) has released their study on Migrant Workers and Ghost Consultants. The paper is the result of the investigation undertaken by the Committee on the Live-in Caregiver Program, and is a follow-up to the May 2009 report, Temporary Foreign Workers and Non-status Workers*.

The June 2009 report makes several recommendations about the LCP including that “the Government of Canada grant live-in caregivers permanent resident status” with conditions.

*The report “Temporary Foreign Workers and Non-status Workers” is currently not available on the Parliament website. {Update: thanks to our friend at OCASI, here’s a link to the report}

Study calls for strengthened family reunification policy

An upcoming edition of the Journal of International Migration includes a piece on transnational families by Judith Bernhard, Ryerson University, Luin Golding, York University and Patricia Landolt, University of Toronto. Transnationalizing Families: Canadian Immigration Policy and the Spatial Fragmentation of Caregiving Among Latin American Newcomers details a study of several transnational families and their struggles to reunite and how they cope when they do.

The article includes several recommendations including some focussed on improving policy in the family reunification area. Quoted about the piece on the Ryerson University news page, co-author Judith Bernhard says:

“After September 11, and now with the economic downturn, immigration policies have become more protectionist. Canada is narrowing its borders for secure permanent residence and increasingly relying on temporary labour arrangements to meet the needs of particular industries. That means that it is more difficult for mothers to bring their children to Canada and spatial ruptures can be prolonged, if not become permanent. What’s more, we have learned that the emotional toll of the separation arrangements often has a lasting negative influence on family relations.”