Immigration Minister Uses Social Media to discuss Canada’s Immigration Programs

On March 22, 2014, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister, Chris Alexander, hosted a live chat on popular Chinese social media platform, Weibo. Weibo is similar to popular sites like Twitter. The chat centred around Canada’s successful immigration programs and took place during the Minister’s recent trip to China.

Alexander visited Hong Kong and Shanghai to position Canada as a destination of choice for leisure travel, business and study. He highlighted the many pathways to Canada for aspiring permanent residents, reiterated the Government of Canada’s commitment to doubling the intake of international students, and promoted the active recruitment model known as the “Expression of Interest” (EOI) system. The EOI will result in faster visa processing for newcomers who have the skills and attributes that Canadian employers need, in the event that Canadians cannot fill available jobs.

Alexander’s social media goal was to promote Canada as a destination of choice for students, businesses, and visitors. Nearly 29,000 Chinese students came to Canada in 2013, and almost 34,000 Chinese newcomers became permanent residents, making China the top source country that year.

The Weibo chat also provided the Minister with the opportunity to highlight the existing immigration pathways for those who want to immigrate to Canada, such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Provincial Nominee Program, and the Start-Up Visa.

Before the online discussion, Alexander was optimistic about the relationship between Canada and China’s young, technologically savvy Weibo users:

“I am looking forward to chatting with some of our followers on Weibo about the opportunities Canada has to offer, as well as the pathways to permanent residency that are available to people who want to come study, do business or visit our great country. Our government values the strong relationship between Canada and China and we look forward to further strengthening people-to-people ties between our two countries.” Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister

The Minister also took the time to meet with members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, in addition to attending a number of events related to international education, in an effort to underscore just how important China is a source of students to Canada.

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