New U.S. Consulate Fees – Effective June 4, 2010

Posted by Marwah Serag|US Immigration
May 10
27


 

On May 20, 2010, an Interim Final Rule was published by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) which indicates that consular fees will increase as of June 4, 2010.  The fee increase will affect most Nonimmigrant Visas (NIV).  The fee will be increased to $140 for many Nonimmigrant Visas and Adult BCCs.  In addition, the fee for H, L, O, P, Q, and R visas will be increased to $150.  K visas will be increased to $350 and E visas will be increased to $390.


Posted by Marwah Serag » No Comments »

Continued Skilled Labour Shortage in Alberta Predicted

Posted by Donna Habsha|Canada Immigration
May 10
26


According to the Alberta Regional Occupation Outlook 2005 – 2010 report by Alberta Human Resources and Development, employment in the province grew by more than 470,200 jobs over the past ten years.  However, the Alberta government is predicting a shortfall of workers over the next decade – a situation that threatens the $107 billion in expected capital projects.

The shortage of skilled labour is one of the most pressing issues in Alberta.
The oil and gas and construction industry are two sectors suffering a critical shortage of workers. This spring, chairman of the Board of the Canadian Construction Association, Wayne Morsky, estimated 300,000 new construction workers will be desperately needed in the next ten years.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program permits the admission of foreign workers to Canada (and Alberta) in order to temporarily meet an employer’s human resource needs under certain conditions.

The Alberta Provincial Nominee Program [PNP] is an employer-driven immigration program operated by the Government of Alberta, in conjunction with Citizenship and Immigration Canada [CIC]. Employers unable to fill skilled positions with Canadian residents may present their business case to the Alberta Provincial Nominee Program and apply for approval to recruit a specified number of foreign candidates to fill these positions.

For more information on whether you qualify under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the Alberta Provincial Nominee Program contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP Canadian Immigration Lawyers at pwcimmigrationlaw-info@ca.pwc.com or 1-800-993-9971.


Posted by Donna Habsha » No Comments »

I-601 Waiver Approved through U.S. Consulate in Montreal

Posted by Marwah Serag|Global Immigration
May 10
25


Our firm recently had the success of obtaining an approved I-601 extreme hardship waiver on behalf of our clients.  The I-601 waiver package was thoroughly prepared with extensive supporting documentation and persuasive legal arguments which led to the speedy approval of the I-601 waiver.  If you are a U.S. citizen, married to a foreign national who is inadmissible to the U.S., feel free to contact our U.S. attorneys to discuss the I-601 extreme hardship waiver and how it might apply to your case.


Posted by Marwah Serag » No Comments »

The End of the Information Technology Worker Program.

Posted by Karen|Global Immigration
May 10
21


On September 30, 2010, the facilitated processing for information technology (IT) specialists (“It Worker Program”) will come to an end, except in instances where the employer is hiring foreign workers for positions in Quebec, where the facilitated process will remain in place for a limited time after September 30, 2010. Under the facilitated process, an employer is not required to obtain a labour market opinion in order to hire foreign workers in seven specific IT occupations. In turn, a foreign worker to be hired in one of the seven IT occupations is not required to submit a copy of the labour market opinion to Citizenship and Immigration Canada as part of their work permit application.

Effective October 1, 2010, employers who wish to hire Temporary Foreign Workers previously eligible for IT facilitated processing will be required to apply for a labour market opinion and demonstrate that:
• the wage rate meets (or exceeds) the prevailing wage rate for the occupation and region;
• the working conditions are consistent with Canadian standards;
• efforts to hire Canadians or permanent residents have been made and the TFWP advertising guidelines have been followed;
• the employment of the foreign worker will directly create new job opportunities or help retain jobs for Canadians;
• the foreign worker will transfer new skills and knowledge to Canadians;
• the hiring of the foreign worker will not affect a labour dispute or the employment of any Canadian worker involved in such a dispute.

Please note that employers are required to conduct advertising and recruitment efforts as per TFWP guidelines before submitting a labour market opinion application and should plan sufficient time to conduct these activities.

Effective October 1, 2010, work permit applications received by Citizenship and Immigration Canada or by the Canada Border Services Agency at a port of entry, will require a copy of the labour market opinion for the seven specific IT occupations that were previously under the facilitated process.

Please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP to discuss how this change will impact you.


Posted by Karen » No Comments »

Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement Extended

Posted by Donna Habsha|Canada Immigration
May 10
16


Last week Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, and Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Dr. Eric Hoskins, signed a one-year extension to the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement (COIA).

Each of the provinces and two of the three territories in Canada have immigration agreements with the federal government that allow the provinces to nominate or select individuals for permanent residence in Canada. The agreements also encompass the level of settlement support and funding each province and territory will obtain from the federal government. For 2010-2011 $320 million dollars have been allocated to Ontario in addition to annual settlement funding of $108 million.

During the program extension, the federal and provincial government will negotiate a successor agreement to ensure Ontario continues to attract immigrants addressing its unique economic and social needs while contributing to Canada’s overall social, cultural and economic goals.

For further information on the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP Canadian Immigration Lawyers at pwcimmigrationlaw-info@ca.pwc.com or 1-800-993-9971.


Posted by Donna Habsha » No Comments »

H-1B Cap Countdown.

Posted by Karen|Global Immigration
May 10
12


There is still time to organize an H-1B for a start date of October 1, 2011. According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) approximately 18,000 H-1B cap-subject petitions were filed as of May 11, 2010. Additionally, USCIS has received 7,600 H-1B petitions for aliens with advanced degrees.

If you are interested in pursuing a work permit to the United States and think that you may qualify for an H-1B, please contact one of the U.S. immigration attorneys at PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP for consultation.


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USCIS Changing the Look of Green Cards

Posted by Karen|Global Immigration
May 10
12


USCIS announced today that Green Cards will go through a major re-design. Permanent residents to the United States will now be given a more security enhanced card that encompasses features such as: Secure optical media will store biometrics for rapid and reliable identification of the card holder. Holographic images, laser engraved fingerprints, and high resolution micro-images will make the card nearly impossible to reproduce. Tighter integration of the card design with personalized elements will make it difficult to alter the card if stolen. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) capability will allow Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry to read the card from a distance and compare it immediately to file data. Finally, a preprinted return address will enable the easy return of a lost card to USCIS.

Current Green Card holders do not need to apply for the new card. It will be automatically issued when the Green Card is renewed.

If you are interested in pursuing possible permanent residence or “Green Card” options for the United States, please do not hesitate to contact one of our U.S. Immigration attorneys.


Posted by Karen » No Comments »

Changes to Canadian Citizenship Testing — Update.

Posted by Karen|Global Immigration
May 10
6


As of March 15, 2010, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) has ensured that all citizenship test questions (oral and written) are based on information provided in the new study guide, Discover Canada. If applicants do not pass the written test, CIC will send the applicant a Notice inviting them to appear for a hearing/oral interview with a citizenship judge. At the interview, the judge will ask the test questions orally.

However, CIC has instituted am interim  retesting policy to cover the transition phase of the testing.  Specifically, the retesting policy is as follows:

Retesting Policy

During the implementation phase of the new test, there will be a test monitoring period. Certain adjustments may be required to ensure that the test evaluates the knowledge and language abilities of citizenship applicants accurately.

In order to minimize the number of hearings during the transition period while the new test is being perfected, clients who fail the written test during the retesting period and who are not flagged for other issues (e.g. language, residence criminality, etc.) will be scheduled to write the test a second time before being referred for a hearing with a citizenship judge. Hearings are generally more resource intensive for the Department compared to scheduling groups for written tests. Also, wait times for hearings are generally longer than for tests.

These interim retesting measures will be in place for six months (March 15 to September 15) and are subject to change at the discretion of the Department.

A period of two months between the first and second test should elapse before retesting failed applicants. Offices should continue to ensure that test notices are sent out at least 4 weeks prior to the test event.

If you require assistance filing your Canadian Citizenship application, we urge you to contact our office to discuss your application with one of our Canadian immigration lawyers.


Posted by Karen » No Comments »