Report finds Canada trails only Hong Kong as ideal spot for Chinese immigrants

This is the second of a four-part homebuying series for new Canadians in partnership with the Epoch Times. Each month, the series will explore hot-topic issues such as understanding market trends, processes for buying a home, determining factors that influence house prices and more.

The lure of future employment, particularly in oil-and-gas-rich Alberta, has made Canada a top destination for Chinese citizens, a new report found.

In a release from global financial services provider Barclays titled The Rise of the Global Citizen, Canada is the second-most popular place Chinese citizens to call home, preceded by Hong Kong and just ahead of the United States.

“There has been an explosion in second passports as a way for these high-net individuals to achieve global mobility,” said Nicholas Rollason, head of business immigration at London-based Kingsley Napley in the report.

“If you look at the Russian and Chinese high net-worth communities, having second passports and a residence that gives you access to a number of countries visa-free, it is very much seen as a badge of honour.”

A report from the Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary identified economic, humanitarian and family as the three top reasons immigrants are moving to Canada. More than two-thirds (69.3 per cent) came via the Federal Skilled Worker Program, followed by family (18.2 per cent) and humanitarian (9.2 per cent).

Recent changes to Canada’s immigration policy that limit available applications and increase requirements for full-time residency, however, might change that trend moving forward.

For example, earlier this year, Quebec adopted new rules capping the number of applications for a permanent workers and business people to 1,750 investors, 500 entrepreneurs and 6,500 skilled workers.

Also this year, the federal government introduced a new system that requiring a 30 per cent higher minimum income from immigrant family who wish to sponsor people. In addition, the number of permitted sponsorships is now capped at 5,000 per year.

In Alberta, new Premier Jim Prentice acknowledged new federal rules are making it difficult for many businesses, particularly in resource-rich Alberta, from filling jobs. He said addressing temporary foreign worker concerns will be at the top of his agenda moving forward.

Prentice noted Alberta accounts for most of Canada’s job growth, yet only receives two per cent of the immigration nominees. According to Bloomberg, Alberta has added 81,800 jobs over the past 12 months, while the rest of Canada has lost 9,500.

The federal government said it’s attempting to address the labour issue by introducing an “Express Entry” model in 2015 that acts as a job bank and selects the best candidates, not necessarily the first person in line. The program has caught the ire of critics, with Ryerson University professors Morton Beiser and Harald Bauder arguing, “we haven’t seen such naked pragmatism since the Railway Act of 1925 gave Canada’s two railroad companies virtually full sway over immigration.”

An added challenge is in providing new workers with the proper resources once they’re arrived in Canada, said Vivien Lok, senior settlement co-ordinator at Immigrant Services Calgary.

“Newcomers face many different challenges when they first arrive to Canada, one of which is renting or buying their first home,” she said. “Often, immigrants’ lack of references and financial support can make this process more difficult.

“We support newcomers by providing options and giving advice on how to find a home. Our personalized services evaluate each individual household’s particular situation, and we provide advice that fits our client’s specific needs. We also provide free workshops on this topic with the hope that newcomers can more easily find a place that they can call home.”