New Zealand among top countries to travel to in 2018

Lonely Planet names New Zealand among top countries to travel to in 2018

New Zealand among top countries to travel to in 2018

New Zealand among top countries to travel to in 2018

Lonely Planet has named New Zealand as one of the top countries to travel to in 2018, describing it as a “place where the planet’s pulse pumps close to its scarred skin”.

New Zealand has come in at number five on the list of the top 10 countries to travel to next year, trailing the likes of Chile and South Korea but ahead of Malta, Georgia, Mauritius, China and South Africa. NZ was last named in Lonely Planet’s top countries in 2010 when it came in at number seven.

The popular travel guide’s Best in Travel 2018 yearbook touted New Zealand as a haven for the adventurous, saying that “long before it was retrofitted to resemble Middle Earth, NZ began actively attracting adventure seekers”.

The Great Walk under construction in Paparoa National Park in memory of those who died in the 2010 Pike River Mine disaster was singled out as a future highlight.

It “will form a magnificent multi-day trail through the South Island’s wild and wonderful west coast” when complete, according to the book. In the meantime, “hikers can get a taster of the walk’s dramatic scenery on four existing trails”.

Visitors with two weeks to spend in New Zealand were encouraged “to enjoy the urban scene in Auckland” before hitting “unique” Hot Water Beach, checking out the “bubbly mud in sulphur-scented Rotorua” and getting a taste of the country’s nine existing Great Walks on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. From Wellington, travelers were advised to catch the Interislander to Nelson and explore Abel Tasman’s beaches before driving “super-scenic Route 6” and spending the night in Ces Clarke Hut. A loop around Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park and drive through Haast Pass to Queenstown marked the recommended grand finale.

Now in its 13th year, the yearbook is aimed at showcasing destinations which offer travelers new things to see and do, have something special happening in the year ahead or its contributors consider overlooked or underrated.

“But the big factor is that x- or wow-factor that propels it to the top of people’s lists of places they want to go,” said Lonely Planet spokesman Chris Zeiher.

Tourism NZ chief executive Stephen England-Hall said “Given the rapid growth in global tourism destinations, it is a real achievement to see New Zealand rated as one of the top five countries in the world by Lonely Planet. The recognition of the new Great Walk on the West Coast of the South Island is particularly satisfying as it is one more way we can spread the benefits of tourism across the country.”

Chile was named the top country to visit in 2018 in part because it will be celebrating 200 years since the signing of its Declaration of Independence and there will be a lot happening to commemorate it, he said.

South Korea has come in at number two which Zeiher acknowledged is “probably a little bit controversial” but merited given it will be hosting the Winter Olympics in February.

Portugal, which has taken out the third spot, has finally “come out of Spain’s shadow” and offers “fantastic value for money”, he said.

Seville, Spain; Detroit, USA; Canberra, Australia; Hamburg, Germany and Kaohsiung, Taiwan are among the top 10 cities to visit in 2018.

The top 10 regions included Belfast and the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland; Alaska, USA; the Julian Alps, Slovenia; Langeudoc-Roussillon, France and Kii Peninsula, Japan.

Zeiher said he doesn’t think there’s been a year when New Zealand hasn’t made it into the yearbook.

The diverse scenery and experiences on offer are among the key factor he thinks ensures it “always bubbles up in top-10 lists of places people want to go.

“From tip to toe there are unique experiences to be had: From the Bay of Islands where you can have beautiful, scenic island-hopping experiences to Milford Sound and its dramatic glaciers.”

Zeiher is particularly partial to Waiheke Island, which was included in Lonely’s Planet’s top 10 regions to visit in 2016, and Cape Reinga, which he discovered on a recent trip for a friend’s wedding and found “absolutely glorious”.

He also thinks the road trips on offer in NZ are “extraordinary” and that it offers “a lot of bang for your buck” in general.

Taranaki was named as one of the best regions to in the world visit in 2017, while the West Coast has also featured.

In terms of travel trends for 2018, Zeiher said we should see a big upswing in vegan and vegetarian and cross-generational travel.

“People are wanting to discover great vegan and vegetarian options around the world and cross-generational travel is a massive trend. People are choosing more and more often to travel in large groups, with the kids, parents and grandparents all going on an adventure – whether it be a cruise, safari or something else – together.”

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Ontario Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Reaches Registration

Ontario Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Reaches Registration Intake Limit

Ontario Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Reaches Registration Intake Limit

Ontario Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Reaches Registration Intake Limit

Ontario’s popular Human Capital Priorities immigration stream has reached its registration intake limit after reopening for registrations last Thursday, November 2. This popular Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) stream is part of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), a Canadian immigration program through which the province can welcome newcomers who have the ability to integrate quickly into the labour market.

No additional registrations will be accepted for the time being. However, OINP staff confirmed to CICNews last week that the program is likely to issue more Notifications of Interest (NOIs) to eligible Express Entry candidates in the pool before the end of the year.

In a statement, the OINP stated that it is ‘monitoring the intake of applications with respect to the limits of Ontario’s federal nomination allocation, and will determine if any more applications can be accepted for this stream.’

An NOI works in the same way as an invitation to apply. However, in the case of the OINP Human Capital Priorities stream, the process of obtaining an NOI is passive in the sense that Ontario immigration authorities search the Express Entry pool for eligible potential applicants. There is no guarantee that eligibility for the stream will result in an NOI being issued.


To be eligible under the Ontario Human Capital Priorities stream, candidates must:

  • Have a profile in the Express Entry pool and score a minimum of 400 points under the CRS. The score must remain at or above 400 during both the Ontario nomination processing stage and at the federal application for permanent residence processing stage;
  • Have a minimum level of work experience;
  • Candidates who choose to be assessed against the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) criteria must have at least one year of continuous and full-time employment experience, or part-time equivalent, in a National Occupation Classification (NOC) level 0, A, or B occupation in the five years prior to the date of the Notification of Interest from the OINP.
  • Candidates who choose to be assessed against the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) criteria must have at least one year of cumulative and full-time employment experience, or part-time equivalent, in a NOC 0, A, or B occupation in Canada in the three years prior to the date of the NOI from the OINP.
  • Have a Canadian Bachelor’s, Master’s or Ph.D. degree OR an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report produced by a designated organization indicating that their foreign education credential is equivalent to a Canadian Bachelor’s, Master’s or Ph.D.;
  • Demonstrate English or French language proficiency level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or above in all four competencies (speaking, reading, writing, and listening);
  • Intend to reside in Ontario;
  • Possess sufficient funds to cover settlement costs in Ontario; and
  • Meet the additional criteria under either the FSWP or CEC.

The province has, on occasion, removed the requirement for certain candidates to have at least 400 CRS points, notably in June when the requirement was temporarily waived for certain Express Entry candidates with work experience in the Information and Communications Technology Sector (ICT).

Ontario also issued the following notes in its recent updates regarding the Human Capital Priorities stream.

  • Notifications of Interest (NOI) issued prior to November 1, 2017 are valid for six months or to December 31, 2017, whichever comes first. This means that candidates must submit an application for the HCP Stream in the OINP e-Filing Portal within six months of receiving their NOI from Ontario.
  • NOIs issued after November 1, 2017, are valid for 45 days or to December 31, 2017, whichever comes first. This means that candidates who received their NOI after November 1, 2017 must submit an application for the HCP in the OINP e-Filing Portal within 45 days of receiving their NOI from Ontario.
  • All NOIs issued in 2017 are no longer valid after December 31, 2017.
  • If an application is approved after the OINP reaches its nomination allocation for 2017, the nomination certificate will be issued in early 2018.
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Increased Family Class Immigration Targets Follow Other Government Initiatives

Increased Family Class Immigration Targets Follow Other Government Initiatives

Increased Family Class Immigration Targets Follow Other Government Initiatives

Increased Family Class Immigration Targets Follow Other Government Initiatives

When Canada’s Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen stood before the gathered press in Toronto last week to reveal and explain the government’s new multi-year immigration plan, he was keen to point out that the majority of the nearly one million permanent residents to be admitted to Canada over the next three years would be economic migrants. The next largest broad category, however, will be newcomers who arrive under the Family Class programs.

It has been two years now since the governing Liberal Party won office in Ottawa from the Conservatives, and nearly a year since Hussen took over as head of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) from his predecessor, John McCallum. The strategy to grow the intake of Family Class immigrants may be seen as the latest in a succession of developments put in place over the last two years to make the process of sponsoring a loved one, or being sponsored, simpler than before.

All in all, the outlook for Family Class applicants looks positive. Under this broad Canadian immigration category, citizens and permanent residents of Canada may sponsor their foreign spouse, common-law partner, dependent child(ren), parent(s), or grandparent(s). Over the next three years, Canada intends to welcome around 265,500 such persons as new permanent residents, to unite them with their family members in Canada.

Processing times down

In a news release last week, IRCC stated that this increased target intake ‘will create the space needed to reduce backlogs and decrease processing times for families sponsoring spouses, children, parents, and grandparents.’

This projection ties in with the government’s goal to reduce processing times, with a particular effort for spouses and common-law partners being sponsored while residing in Canada. In December, 2016, and to much media attention, then-Minister of Immigration McCallum announced that processing times for Inland sponsorship would be halved, from 24 months to 12 months. As of today, this target is being met in the majority of cases.

Extension of work permit pilot program

Not only can sponsored spouses and common-law partners enjoy quicker processing, but the government has ensured that they have the opportunity to work while awaiting a decision on the application. An open work permit pilot program, first introduced by the Conservative government in 2014, was subsequently extended by the Liberals in both 2015 and 2016.

The extension of this popular pilot program has meant that many sponsored persons residing in Canada can sustain themselves and their families economically while their application for permanent residence works its way through the system. Work permit holders can remain engaged with the Canadian labor market, rather than having to wait, a factor that may also benefit their career prospects over the long term.

Conditional PR provision removed

Another move that makes the settlement in Canada easier for some sponsored newcomers took place last April, when the government removed what was known as conditional permanent residence.

Under this government policy, brought in by the Conservatives in 2012, sponsored spouses and common-law partners had to live with their sponsors for at least two years upon admission to Canada as a permanent resident if, at the time they applied, the relationship had begun less than two years previously and the couple had no children in common. The provision had been introduced as a means to deter people from seeking to immigrate to Canada through non-genuine relationships.

However, by 2017 the Liberals had resolved that while cases of marriage or relationship fraud exist, the majority of relationships are genuine and most sponsorship applications are made in good faith. An additional concern that led to the removal of the provision was that vulnerable sponsored spouses or partners may have stayed in abusive relationships because they are afraid of losing their permanent resident status, even though an exception to the condition existed for those types of situations.

Definition of dependent child changed

For Canadian immigration purposes, between August, 2014 and October, 2017 an individual applying for permanent residence could include dependent children under 19 years of age on their application. Leading up to the 2015 federal election, the Liberal manifesto stated that increasing the age definition of dependency for immigration to under 22 years of age would be a priority. This change finally came into effect on October 24, 2017.

While not strictly concerned only with the Family Class programs, this important change nonetheless affects all Canadian immigration categories, including the Family Class. Canadian citizens and permanent residents with eligible dependents abroad, who may not necessarily have been eligible before the change, may now be able to sponsor those family members for immigration to Canada.

Higher PGP intake, new process

The Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP) is part of the Family Class category. Through the PGP, Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor foreign parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents.

The final PGP application intake cycle under the Conservatives took place in early 2015 and allowed for 5,000 applications to be accepted for processing. At that time, the program operated on a first-come, first-served basis, a process that the Liberals continued into 2016. However, the new government doubled the intake to 10,000 applications. Then for 2017 a new application process was revealed, whereby potential sponsors first declared their interest in the program before the government selected at random those who could go on to submit an application. Later in the year, the government issued more invitations to apply for the PGP, in line with the target intake for the year.

Under the government’s new multi-year immigration plan, there is to be a gradual, steady increase in the number of admissions under the PGP so that by 2020, around 21,000 new permanent residents will be admitted through the program. This will allow IRCC to whittle down the backlog of submitted applications awaiting processing, while also providing scope for new applications to be submitted in future application cycles.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Canada, contact Global Gateways.

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