WHILE China has been occupying the Spratlys and other islands in the West Philippine Sea (or South China Sea depending on who’s speaking) Filipinos are occupying Canada – and has expelled China from the top spot as the source of permanent residents or immigrants to Canada.
Apparently if the government is unable or unwilling to fight for its territory and people, Filipinos will find ways to protect and fend for themselves. Migrating – temporarily or permanently – has been the weapon of choice.
POEA and industry sources show approximately 5,000 Filipinos leave for overseas work daily. About 65,000 get their immigrant visas and join their families in the United States – and Canada.
After overtaking India as the second biggest source of permanent residents (after the People’s Republic of China) the Philippines zoomed to the top of the list from 2010 to 2012, then moved back to second place in 2013.
Mr. Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister, announced that the Philippines regained its place as the top source of immigrants to Canada – more than 40,000 Filipinos, up over 30 percent from 2013.
The Citizenship and Immigration Ministry also reported that Canada issued nearly 47,000 visitor visas to Filipinos in 2014, representing a 56 percent increase since 2006.
“Immigration is a key element of Canadian culture. Since 2010, Canada has welcomed an average of more than 260,000 permanent residents each year. The Filipino community makes up a large part of our overall immigration and the government celebrates the many contributions that Filipino Canadians make to Canada,” Mr. Alexander concluded.
This feat is not likely to be repeated under Express Entry – the new selection system unless the threshold continues its downward trend. Successful candidates may get a maximum of 1,200 points. However, in the last 8 draws, the lowest points-threshold for the selected candidates was 453.
To be invited to apply as a permanent resident and keep its top spot as a source country for Canada’s permanent residents, the profile of a successful Filipino Express Entry applicant who has not resided, studied or worked in Canada should be one who has a Master’s degree at least, married to a degree holder with the same high level of English proficiency (at least 7.0 in speaking, reading and writing and 8.0 in listening) has at least 6 years of experience in skilled employment and between the age of 20 to 29.
Under current rules, an intending candidate for Express Entry would get best chance of being invited to apply for residency by completing at least a year of study or work in Canada opening the door to either a provincial or employer nomination which would earn the candidate 600 points each.
Global developments affect US visas
With the US presidential election looming – and immigrant groups lobbying for the use of returned visas to ease retrogression — the Obama Administration may take advantage of this window of opportunity to further cement its relations with America’s immigrant groups by allocating the unused 200,000 visas in the Family and Employment-based categories.
The movement of visas from June 2010 to this month’s cut off dates and that of the previous month should give our readers a sense of the short and long-term pacing (over a month and five-year period).
The June 2015 Visa Bulletin reflects the ambivalence – if not paralysis of advancing legal immigration reform which is possible even without Congressional authorization.
Presidential contenders of both parties – Democrats and Republicans – are positioning to be their party’s anointed. This means that during the primaries the candidates will cater, cajole, and pander to their traditional electoral base: the Democrats for the average Joe and Jane and wage increases and the Republicans to Wall Street and tax cuts.
Democrats since the 1930s through their party have emphasized an activist government, social-liberalist platform, supporting a mixed economy and social justice. Hence Democrats can be defined regarding their advocacy of universal health care, labor unions, social programs, equal opportunity, consumer protection, and environmental protection.
Republicans reflect American conservatism; promote free market capitalism, limited government intervention, strong national defense, wary of labor unions, and support socially conservative policies.
On immigration, either party could initiate legislation that benefits their base constituents. The most recent examples are the administrative activism of the Obama administration in proposing a comprehensive immigration reform, offering protection and equal opportunity to employment initially to children who were brought by their parents to the US when they were minors and later to encompass the parents themselves. The Republicans quickly filed cases in court challenging the Democratic leader’s initiative.
The Illegal Immigration and the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (the last time general amnesty was offered) is a Republican creation since at the time, the agriculture sector lobbied to keep workers that the industry needs. In the same breath, the 1986 amnesty act emphasized sanctions on businesses that hire undocumented aliens outside of the target beneficiaries and proposed strict enforcement of immigration laws.
Until the presidential election next year then, the decisive factor that will move priority dates forward or backward would be economic and political developments outside the United States.
Should Europe recover, China’s economy will continue to fuel growth in countries that supply the resources that the Modern Middle Kingdom needs, technological advances and rekindling of space exploration will keep the United States on an even keel, then immigration would be in America’s back burner.
On the other hand, how ruthless and random radical Islamist groups would spread the creed of ethnic and religious cleansing in Europe, Africa and the Middle East could result in massive flow of refugees to the United States, as well as create a mad scramble for the finite number of immigrant visas or per country allocation. This could lead to a standstill in visa dates at best and continuing retrogression at worst.
If things remain the same, the visa dates would move faster over a five year period as they had been if you take the cut-off dates in 2010 and the priority dates this year in the same month of June.
By then, China’s occupation of Spratlys and other islands within the 9-dash line should progress, not retrogress.