Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Life without "Smile"

Life without Smile

Dedicated to my father Muhammad Ismail.

"You do not have to remember my name. Just "smile" and there you go". This is what he used to say when people found it difficult to pronounce or remember his name "Ismail". It is prounced exactly as "Smile". Indeed, he was a source of smile for many.

But on 10th January 2012, he took away the smile from my face when he suddenly passed away in Karachi. I was in Toronto at that time when the news reached me and, needless to say, I was shattered and devastated. My mentor, the wise man, as I used to call him, was no more. A part of me was no more. I got introdcued to the pain of loosing the father and it was enormous.

I am glad I was able to share some great time with him, even when I moved to Canada, thanks to the nature of my work, being an immigration consultant, whereby I travel to Pakistan frequently, at least 4 times a year. During my trips, I stayed at his home often and more consistently during the last two years of his life. He was tough and I had never thought that he can leave us like this and that soon.

My father got married at the age of 21. His first child, thats me, was born 2 years after his marriage. The age difference between me and him was only 23 years. So when I got married at the age of 20 and had my first child when I was 21, he was only 44 to become a grandfather. I am happy that he enjoyed his life to the fullest, saw me establish myself and played with my kids. He had plans to come to Canada in April to see my new born son Ahad Amir but unfortunately this did not happen due to will of Almighty.

Well travelled, well respected and an

intelligent person, he was the pillar of our family and the guiding star for us all. He will be dearly missed and I am sure I will never be the same, confident son proud of having the support of the strongest person in my life. Yet, I am sure, somewhere in this universe, he will look upon me, wait for me and hug me when I am finally with him. Ameen.

Life without "Smile" is going to be tough. Dad, I love you and I know you loved me most.

Amir Ismail

Monday, January 9, 2012

Occupation not in the list - What are my immigration options

It is a common question these days asked by the aspirants who wish to make Canada their home: "My occupation is not in included in the list of "in-demand occupations" (also termed as the "priority occupation list"). What are my options if I was to immigrate to Canada?"

For a highly qualified individual, it is sometimes difficult to realize that their application is not eligible for processing. Some of them are not very happy to learn that they do not qualify to immigrate to Canada. It is understandably difficult for them to realize that they are no eligible just because they do not meet one of the mandatory requirement  introduced by the Canadian government in recent times. That is to have at least one year of full time, paid and continous work experience in one of the occupations listed in the "priority occupation" list.

As per the current requirements for Federal Skilled Worker Class of Canada's Immigration Program, one must have at least one year of full time/full time equivalent paid and continuous work experience in at least one of the occupations identified as high demand occupations eligible for processing by the Minister of Immigration in his Ministerial Instructions (MIs). So far, there have been 3 MIs issued since November 2008 with changes in occupations as well as the number of applications allowed each year. Currently, there are only 29 occupations eligible for processing and only 500 applications allowed for processing each year at the time of writing of this post. The full list of eligible occupations can be viewed at

While it may seem impossible for many to come to Canada as a skilled worker given that their occupation is not included in the current priority list, there are still other ways people could immigrate to Canada. Let's discuss them today.

1: Arranged Employment Opinion (AEO) or Provincial Nominee Programs for Skilled Workers

Individuals who have the opportunity of being offered a job in Canada by a Canadian employer with a view that the job will be available to the person after he/she has landed in Canada as a permanent resident, can by bypass the requirement of having at least one year of experience in one of the occupation listed in the priority list.  This could be the time to tap your Canadian contacts and see if you could be offered such an opportunity. However, you should remain wary of the offerings made by the unauthorized agents in the market offering jobs or should one say "selling" job offers letter. It is illegal to charge money for arranging a job in Canada. It is important to note that a job offer letter alone is not sufficient. The employer has to lodge a formal application to the labour department in Canada, also called Service Canada, to have that offer opinionated. In doing so, the Service Canada reviews the criteria established to approve or reject the application. If approved, the applicant submits the Federal Skilled Worker Application to the processing post with the positive opinion of the Service Canada. Not only the applicant get to bypass the occupation list, he/she is also awarded extra 15 points on the selection grid. The current pass mark is 67 and these additional points go a long way in reaching to to it. In the case of a provincial nominee program for skilled workers you must have a job offer from an employer based in the particular province you are considering immigrate to.

2: Canada Experience Class and Provincial Nominee Programs for students:

International students studying in Canada enjoy the benefit of applying for permanent residence after completion of their studies under the Canada Experience Class. It is a relatively new category very suitable for those who wish to continue residing in Canada after securing a Canadian degree. Students can also consider applying for permanent residence via provincial nominee programs for international students being administered by various provinces. Many people have considered coming to Canada to acquire a world-class degree and eventually becoming a Canadian permanent resident if they so desire after the completion of their studies.

3: Provincial Nominee Programs for businessmen and Investor Programs

A lot of people think that the provincial business immigration programs and investor programs are only confined to business individual. While that holds true, it is also important to note that the programs also accommodate Senior Mangers employed at medium to large sized firms provided they meet the definition of "business management" experience and the "net worth" required. For most of the PNP programs for business the net worth required is C$350,000 to C$800,000 while for the investor program it is C$1,600,000. Each program come with its own selection criteria and obligations to either establish the business and invest certain amount (usually in the vicinity of C$150,000) in their own business within two year of landing in Canada or invest C$800,000 with the Canadian Government (refundable after 5 years or pay one time non-refundable fee of C$180,000) without any obligation of establishing a business.

4: Provincial Family Stream Programs 

Foreign nationals who have their close relatives residing in those Canadian provinces that administer the "Family Stream" programs can benefit of being sponsored by those Canadian relatives. This sponsorship option is not available through the Federal Sponsorship program that allows the sponsorship of very limited relatives such as spouse, kids, parents and grandparents or grandchildren. Not all provinces offer this option but many do and it is worth checking if your relatives are residing in one such province.

Amir Ismail is a Toronto-based licensed, certified and regulated immigration practitioner. He can be reached at |

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Fast Track - Very few are lucky to get in

With only 29 occupations allowed for processing and restriction of just 500 applications from all over the world every year, it is extremely difficult these days to get into the processing queue of the so-called Fast Track of Canada's Federal Skilled Worker Program. However, if you do manage to squeeze in, you can consider yourself to be very lucky. While the competition is tough considering the limited quota, time could not be better than now to apply to come to Canada as a skilled worker in terms of processing speed. Should you make it to the processing queue you can expect to be issued the permanent residence visa within 12 months assuming you meet the rest of the requirements. This in comparison to the cases filed earlier is super fast. With processing time ranging from 7 years to 3 years for previously files cases, the priority being accorded to the new applications can truly be termed as "Fast Track".

Amir Ismail - Toronto | Canada

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fast Track Immigration for Biologists and Related Scientists

The Federal Skilled Worker of Canada's Immigration Program has become quite restrictive in the recent past. Only 29 occupations are considered eligible for processing with a quota limitation of only 500 application from all around the world in a calender year. The good news is those who find their occupation listed in the 29 occupations demand list are being processed on fast track basis within 12 months. Biologists and Related Scientists are listed in the demand list.

In order to qualify, one must meet the definition of a Biologist and must have performed duties as described under the National Occupation Classification (NOC). According to the NOC, Biologists perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Plan and conduct studies of the environment, and of the population, distribution, structure and functional characteristics and behaviour of plants and animals
  • Conduct ecological and environmental impact studies and prepare reports
  • Study, identify and classify plant and animal specimens
  • Conduct experiments in plant or animal growth, heredity and breeding
  • Prepare reports and plans for management of renewable resources
  • May supervise biological technologists and technicians and other scientists.

Microbiologists and cell and molecular biologists are also part of this occupation. According to the NOC, they perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Conduct research into the structure, function, ecology, biotechnology and genetics of micro-organisms, including bacteria, fungi, protozoans, and algae
  • Conduct research into the structure and functioning of human, animal and plant tissues and cells
  • Conduct studies into the identification, effects and control of human, plant and animal pathogens and toxins
  • Conduct clinical or laboratory studies to test, evaluate and screen drugs and pharmaceuticals
  • Conduct molecular or biochemical studies and experiments into genetic expression, gene manipulation and recombinant DNA technology
  • Conduct research to discover, develop and refine, and evaluate new products
  • May participate in the commercialization of new products
  • May supervise biological technologists and technicians and other scientists
  • May conduct biostatistical data analysis using computer modelling techniques.
The following example of titles are found under the Occupation of Biologists and Related Scientists:

agricultural scientist
agriculture research officer – military
animal ecologist
animal geneticist
animal nutritionist
animal taxonomist
aquatic biologist
bacteriologist – animal health
biological scientist
biologist, enzymology
biologist, medical parasitology
biologist, parasitology
biologist, protozoology
biologist, veterinary parasitology
cell biologist
cellular physiologist
crop scientist
crop-research scientist
dairy bacteriologist
dairy scientist
descriptive toxicologist
developmental biologist
developmental geneticist
domestic animal scientist
economic botanist
entomologist, apiculture
environmental and occupational toxicologist
environmental biologist
environmental toxicologist
enzymology biologist
fishery bacteriologist
fishery products bacteriologist
food bacteriologist
food products bacteriologist
food products scientist
food research scientist
food scientist
forest ecologist
forest pathologist
human physiologist
industrial bacteriologist
insect physiologist
interpretative naturalist
invertebrate zoologist
laboratory immunologist
marine biologist
marine hydrobiologist
marine mammal trainer
mechanistic toxicologist
medical parasitology biologist
molecular biologist
molecular geneticist
molecular physiologist
parasitology biologist
park naturalist
pathologist, forests
pathologist, plants
pharmaceutical bacteriologist
physiological biophysicist
physiologist-biochemist – nuclear medicine
plant anatomist
plant breeder
plant ecologist
plant nematologist
plant pathologist
plant physiologist
plant population biologist
plant scientist
plant taxonomist
population geneticist
poultry scientist
protozoology biologist
public health bacteriologist
regulatory toxicologist
research biologist
research officer, agriculture – military
rural ecologist
soil bacteriologist
staff toxicologist
systematist, biology
systems biologist
taxonomist, biology
veterinary parasitology biologist
wildlife biologist
wildlife helminthologist
wildlife naturalist
Biologists and related scientists may specialize at the macroscopic level, in fields such as botany, zoology, ecology and marine biology or, at the cellular and molecular level, in fields such as genetics, immunology, pharmacology, toxicology, physiology, pathology, bacteriology and virology.

Employment prospects for biologists and related scientists are expected to be fair for 2011-2012 in the Toronto economic region. According to the 2006 census, there were about 2,000 biologists and related scientists in the Toronto economic region, an increase of nearly 18% from the previous census. The number of job opportunities will be limited by the fact that this is a relatively small occupational group in the Toronto economic region compared to other occupations. However, there is a high concentration of research facilities, universities and hospitals in the Toronto area that promote research and development. Close to two-fifths of Ontario workers were found in the Toronto economic region, according to the 2006 census. Compared to all occupations in the region, biologists and related scientists are a younger workforce. Less than one-fifth of workers are over the age of 50, therefore, retirements will contribute limited openings over the next several years.

In Ontario, the outlook for biologists and related scientists is expected to be fair over the period 2011-2012. At the time of the 2006 census, there were about 5,300 biologists and related scientists in Ontario, a 19% increase from the previous census. Compared to other occupations, this is a relatively small occupational group in the province. The majority of biologists and related scientists are concentrated in the Toronto and Ottawa regions. Many biologists are employed in the public sector. Employment for this occupational group may be limited by government funding for the healthcare, energy and environmental sectors. Biologists and related scientists with a high level of education as well as those with a specialization will have the best employment prospects. There is a trend toward employers looking for workers with diverse skill sets that include engineering and project management.
National Outlook (2010 - 2020 Porjection)

Occupations in this groupBiologists and Related Scientists (2121)
Forestry Professionals (2122)
Agricultural Representatives, Consultants and Specialists (2123) 
Employment (non-student) in 201024,080
Median Age of workers in 201042
Average Retirement Age in 201061

This Chart contains data for Projection of Job Openings vs. Job Seekers for Canada. Information is available in the following tables.

This Chart contains data for Projection of Job Openings vs. Job Seekers for Canada. Information is available in the following tables.
Expansion Demand3,79936%
Projected Job Openings10,440100%
School Leavers7,47469%
Net Mobility9238%
Projected Job Seekers10,875100%

If you have at least one year of full time/full time equivalent paid and continous work experience as a Biologist, you may qualify to immigrate to Canada as a skilled worker. In addition to having the experience, you must score at least 67 points on selection grid for skill workers. The factors on which your qualification would depend include Age, Education, Work Experience, Language Skills and Adaptability. In addition, you must possess the minimum settlement funds and clear background and security and medical checks. Send us an email at or complete our online assessment form available at our website for a free, no obligation assessment of your eligibility.