Thursday, December 18, 2014

Canada seeks 50 millionaires for test of immigration program

VANCOUVER - Canada is looking for 50 wealthy foreigners to join a pilot run of an immigration program for millionaires, although applicants will have to be far richer than those who entered under a previous scheme and will also need language skills to get in.

The federal government, which scrapped its previous investor class visa earlier this year amid criticism it was allowing rich Chinese to buy their way into Canada, will start accepting applicants for the new Immigrant Investor Venture Capital plan in January.
 
Under the new program, would-be immigrants will have to invest a minimum of C$2 million ($1.7 million) in Canada for a 15-year period and must have a net worth of at least C$10 million, the government said on Tuesday. They must also meet a new requirement that they speak English or French, among other criteria.
 
Many of Canada's wealthy immigrants flock to major cities like Vancouver and Toronto.
 
Realtors who sell homes in Vancouver's top neighborhoods said the new language rules will exclude many people who had hoped to enter under the previous program.
 
"For investment immigrants, before, if you had enough money, then it was very easy to come here," said Na An, an agent with Royal Pacific Realty Group. "But with the language requirement, I think they will block a lot of people."
 
Na said that could push wealthy foreigners to choose other jurisdictions, like Britain or Australia, or they could simply enter Canada under a 10-year multiple entry visa.
 
Launched in the mid-1980s, Canada's immigrant investor program promised a fast-track visa for foreigners with a net worth of C$800,000 and some C$400,000 to invest. The minimums were later upped to a net worth of C$1.6 million and C$800,000 to invest. There was no language requirement.
 
The program was wildly popular, particularly with ethnic Chinese investors - first from Hong Kong and Taiwan, and later from mainland China. Vancouver, with its proximity to the Asia-Pacific region, was the preferred destination.
 
But applications surged over the last decade and the scheme was frozen in 2012 as officials scrambled to clear the backlog. Canada officially canceled the program earlier this year. ($1 = 1.1587 Canadian dollars).   Reuters

76 OFWs in Jeddah finally receive pay after 4 months

After a long wait, 76 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, finally received their salaries, ensuring a pleasant reunion with their families in the Philippines this Christmas, a report on GMA News TV's "QRT" said Wednesday.

The report said it took the workers four months of legal battle to get their salaries that were withheld by their employer, delaying their return to the Philippines.

However, eight of their kababayans are still waiting for their wages, the report said. 

Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

Pregnant Pinay reported missing in Sacramento

A pregnant Filipina has been reported missing in Sacramento, and authorities are determining if the body found inside her car belongs to her, reports said.
 
Audrey Andrews, 20 years old and nine months pregnant, was last seen on the night of December 6 when she left home looking distraught, according to CBS News.

Her car was found 10 days later at a parking lot in Sacramento with a woman's body inside, a separate CBS News report said.

Fox 40 reported that the car was found at the parking lot of a Wal-Mart five miles away from Audrey's home.

Citing investigators, the CBS News report said the body bore no signs of foul play.

It also quoted Audrey's husband, Edward, as saying that he didn't think his wife would be gone for long without contacting family members.

Audrey didn't even bring her purse and wallet, Edward said.

CBS News said Aubrey is described as a Filipino, 5 feet 1 inches tall, 150 pounds, with brown/hazel eyes and black hair with gold or blonde highlights. Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

Fil-Am community urged to reflect on racism, prejudice after Ferguson incident

Filipino-Americans join the biggest protest on December 13 in response to the non-indictment of police officers involved in the deaths of teen Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the chokehold killing of 43-year-old Eric Garner in Staten Island. Brown and Garner are African-American.

The protest started at Cooper Union. The marchers then proceeded towards Washington Square Park to merge with an even bigger group. Estimates say about 60,000 protesters took to the streets chanting “Black lives matter,” “I can’t breathe,” and “Fist up, fight back!” This is only one of the many demonstrations happening as part of the larger protest called “Million March Day of Anger.”

“We, as Filipino-American youth and students, stand in solidarity with the families of Mike Brown, Eric Garner and everyone who has lost loved ones as a result of state-sanctioned violence,” said Chrissi Fabro, chairperson of Anakbayan New York, in a statement. “We join because an injury to one is an injury to all. We condemn the state violence against communities of color.”
 
Members of Anakbayan hold ‘Filipinos stand with Ferguson’ sign.The FilAm photo
According to the young activists, this experience is not far from the experiences of Filipinos.

“The killings of people of color and impunity that is prevalent in the United States resembles the killings of community leaders and activists and the culture of impunity that allows perpetrators off the hook in the Philippines,” Fabro added.

She pointed out that 204 cases of extrajudicial killings of activists remain unsolved under the Aquino administration, while those responsible for these human rights violations continue to walk free.

Anakbayan is calling on Fil-Am youth to reflect on and challenge existing “anti-Black racism” within the Filipino community.

“We recognize that anti-Black racism has permeated even our own community. We acknowledge that this is a product of centuries of Western colonialism and assimilation to American culture,” said Joelle Eliza Lingat, chairperson of Anakbayan New Jersey.

Anakbayan activists challenge Filipinos to play an active role in what they call as the “new” civil rights movement in the United States.

“Every 28 hours a Black person is shot by the police. We challenge Filipinos, especially youth and students, to stand in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters by being agents of change in our own community. We must actively challenge racism and prejudices against other oppressed peoples,” said Lingat.

“Let’s conduct discussions, dialogues and fora to educate ourselves and our community about the evils of racism and its systemic roots. We must do more than just show up, but actively uphold the demands of Black leaders, especially queer and transgender people, and participate in the various protests that are sweeping the country,” Lingat concluded.

Anakbayan is a national youth and student organization working to educate, organize and mobilize the Filipino community to address important issues that affect Filipinos in the U.S. and the Philippines. It has 11 chapters in major American cities. —The FilAm

Governments urged to crack down on human smugglers, not illegal migrants

Governments should hunt down human smugglers and not irregular migrants, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Wednesday, December 17, the eve of International Migrants Day.

“Governments should de-criminalize irregular migrants so that they can report smugglers to the police for prosecution and contribute to efforts against trans-national organized crime,” IOM director general William Lacy Swing said in a statement.

IOM records show some 4,868 migrants died while being smuggled across countries this year, with 3,540 dying in unseaworthy boats and 307 in trying to cross the land border between Mexico and the United States.

The IOM is batting for more labor migration partnerships, family reunification programs, and information dissemination to prevent what it called "desperation migration," which is predicted to increase internally displaced persons and refugees number at 33.3 million and 16.7 million each.

“Migration is not only inevitable, but also necessary and desirable... the rise of anti-migrant sentiment is a cruel irony at a time when ageing societies need migration to provide much-needed labor,” Swing said.

He added that hosts countries and countries of origin have much to gain from improved migration, the latter benefiting hugely from remittances by migrants. Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

Owner of lion that attacked Pinay maid in Kuwait faces charges

Charges have been filed against the employer of the Filipina domestic helper in Kuwait who died days after she was attacked by the employer's pet lion, a report on GMA News TV's “Balitanghali” said Wednesday.

The report said the Philippine embassy there has filed charges against the employer for negligence that led to the death of Lourdes Abejuela.

Citing lawyer Raul Dado, the embassy's charge d'affaires, the report said the two Kuwaiti siblings who are allegedly involved in the case have already been arrested.

While they were allowed to post bail, the embassy said those responsible for the incident will be made accountable.

It is also working on arrangements to fly Abejuela's remains back to the Philippines, the “Balitanghali” report said.

Abejuela was brought to a hospital after she was attacked by her employer's pet lion, which escaped from its cage after the Filipina fed it.

She was immediately discharged, but experienced headaches days later, prompting her employer to bring her back to the hospital, where she died December 10. Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/KBK, GMA News

Appointments body confirms 7 ambassadors, 2 foreign service officers

The bicameral body Commission on Appointments on Wednesday confirmed the appointments of seven ambassadors and two foreign service officers in the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Before the approval of the nomination at the plenary, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago led the  hearing of the CA foreign affairs committee. The proceeding was short as there was no opposition.

Those confirmed were:

- Christopher Montero, Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Cambodia, Chief of Mission, Class II,

- Carlos Sorreta, Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Russian Federation with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Armenia, Republic of Belarus, and Republic of Ukraine, Chief of Mission, Class I,

- Jose Burgos, Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Federative Republic of Brazil with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Colombia, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, and the Republic of Suriname, Chief of Mission, Class II

- Junever Mahilum-West, Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan with concurrent jurisdiction over the Palestine Republic, Chief of Mission, Class II,

- Meynardo Montealegre, Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Brunei Darussalam, Chief of Mission, Class II,

- Nestor Ochoa, Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Hellenic Republic with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Cyprus, Chief of Mission, Class I,

- Bayani Mangibin, Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Republic of Kenya and to include the concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of South Sudan, Chief of Mission, Class I,

- Joseph Anthony Reyes, foreign service officer, Class I, and

- Jose Garcia III, foreign service officer, Class II.

Meanwhile, Santiago admitted after the hearing that she was not feeling well.

“I’m a little dizzy today. You noticed my voice is very hoarse,” she told reporters. The senator was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in July and has been recovering since. —KBK, GMA News

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