Expansion of the Post-Graduate Work Permit Program for International Students in B.C.

Posted by Donna Habsha|Canada Immigration
Jan 11

Effective January 31, 2011, the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) has been expanded to include international students who have completed career training programs of eight months or longer at select private educational institutions in British Columbia.

Under a two-year Pilot Program with British Columbia, the PGWPP has been expanded to include international students graduating from select British Columbia Education Quality Assurance (EQA)-designated private post-secondary institutions in programs of eight months or longer.

This Pilot will be in effect between January 31, 2011, and January 31, 2013, inclusively and may be extended with a mutual agreement between the parties. These dates refer only to the period in which qualifying work permits can be issued and not to the duration of the work permits. The terms of the Pilot will apply only to qualifying foreign nationals who have graduated from eligible programs of study at select EQA-designated, private post-secondary institutions in the province of British Columbia.

For further details with regards to this and other post-graduate work permit opportunities contact our office to speak with one of our immigration experts.

Posted by Donna Habsha » No Comments »

Temporary Transfer of Visa and Immigration Services from the Canadian Embassy in Abidjan, Ivory Coast to the Canadian Embassy in Dakar, Senegal

Posted by Melodie Hughes|Canada Immigration
Jan 11

On December 8, 2010, due to circumstances beyond the Embassy’s control, the services of the Visa and Immigration Section at the Canadian Embassy in Abidjan, Ivory Coast were temporarily suspended. As a result, Citizenship and Immigration Canada recently announced that all visa and immigration services previously handled by the Embassy will now be temporarily transferred to the Canadian Embassy in Dakar, Senegal.

    Permanent Resident Applications

Specifically, the visa office in Dakar, Senegal is now temporarily responsible for permanent resident applications (except Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) and Quebec-selected Skilled Worker applications) from Burkina-Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea (except refugees), Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.

New Quebec-selected skilled worker applications and applications made for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker category should continue to be submitted to the Centralized Intake Office (CIO) in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Applicants that have been instructed to submit any additional documents in support of their skilled worker applications should send those documents to the Canadian Embassy in Dakar, Senegal.

Applicants who have been instructed to submit a complete application within 120 days should send it to the Canadian Embassy in Dakar. Applicants will not be penalized if the submission is not received within that timeframe.

    Temporary Resident Applications

The visa office in Dakar is also currently responsible for temporary resident applications from Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau Mauritania and Senegal.

CIC has advised, however, that applicants may now submit visitor visa, study permit and temporary work permit applications to any other Canadian visa office in person. Applicants should not send any correspondence or applications to the visa Section in Abidjan.

    Expect Delays

Applicants that have already sent documents to the Canadian Embassy in Abidjan for either temporary or permanent resident applications do not need to re-send them to Dakar. However, due to the temporary closure of the visa office in Abidjan, all applicants should expect additional delays to the processing of their application.

Posted by Melodie Hughes » 4 Comments »

H-1B Cap Reached for FY2011 – No More H-1B Visas Available

Posted by Marwah Serag|US Immigration
Jan 11

On January 27, 2011, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has received enough H-1B petitions to reach the cap for FY2011.  January 26, 2011 was the last receipt date for H-1B petitions.  H-1B petitions received after that date will be rejected for the FY2011 cap.  USCIS will run a randomly selected lottery of the petitions received on January 26, 2011 in order to select petitions to meet the 65,000 statutory cap.

Posted by Marwah Serag » No Comments »

I-130 Petitions Filed in Canada & the Issue of “Domicile”

Posted by Marwah Serag|US Immigration
Jan 11

While U.S. citizens residing in Canada may petition for permanent residence for their spouses while they are in Canada, the U.S. Consulate in Montreal has increasingly raised the issue of “domicile” for these types of immigrant visa petitions (I-130).  Consular Officers are asking U.S. citizens residing in Canada to demonstrate their domicile in the U.S., which can pose delays in processing or outright denials.  Contact one of PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP’s U.S. immigration attorneys to discuss the issue of domicile and how it has or might affect your imigrant visa processing.

Posted by Marwah Serag » No Comments »

Working in Canada without a work permit

Jan 11

Immigration legislation defines work as an activity for which wages or commission is earned, or that competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market.    According to the Foreign Worker Manual by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, an activity that competes directly with activities of Canadians or permanent residents is one in which the following factors are considered:
• Is the foreign national doing an activity that a Canadian or permanent resident should really have an opportunity to do?
• Is the foreign national engaging in a business activity that is competitive in the marketplace?
If the answer is yes to either of the above questions, the foreign national is deemed to have entered into a competitive activity that is considered work and must obtain a work permit.    However not all unpaid activity is considered work.  Looking after grandchildren or an elderly parent, or helping a friend or family with building their backyard deck may be permissible without a work permit. 

In limited circumstances, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations allow for foreign nationals to work in Canada without a work permit.  A business visitor does not require a work permit as long the business visitor is not employed in Canada and the activities he or she undertakes are international in nature.  Other types of work that are permitted in Canada without a work permit include:
– Performing Artists and their essential crew who are performing at a venue outside of a restaurant, bar or similar establishment
– Athletes and coaches, which includes foreign teams and individuals, as well as foreign athletes who are members of Canadian amateur teams.
– News Reporters
– Clergy, which applies to those whose employment in Canada consists mainly of preaching doctrine, either as an ordained minister, a lay person, or a member of a religious order.
– Emergency Service Providers, which helps facilitate the admission of people who are coming to Canada in times of emergency, such as floods, tornadoes, earthquakes or fires.  It may also include industrial accidents or medical emergencies.

For more information on work permits please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP to speak to one of our immigration lawyers.

Posted by Immi Sikand » No Comments »

H-1B Cap Count Update.

Jan 11

USCIS (“United States Citizenship and Immigration Services”) updated its count of FY2011 cap-subject H-1B petitions and advanced degree cap-exempt petitions receipted. As of 1/21/11, approximately 62,800 H-1B cap-subject petitions were receipted. USCIS has receipted 20,000 H-1B petitions for aliens with advanced degrees.

If you have a job offer, or are considering hiring a foreign employee for your U.S. company, we urge you to contact one of the U.S. immigration lawyers at PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP immediately to begin the process before the H-1B work permit cap has been reached.

Posted by Karen » No Comments »

Electronic Communication with CIC

Posted by Donna Habsha|Canada Immigration
Jan 11

In the past few months there have been a series of Federal Court decisions dealing with the challenges and pitfalls of communicating with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) by e-mail.

The general rule established as a result of these cases is that the party most likely at fault for failed electronic communication will bear the consequence of that failure. For example, if an Applicant inadvertently deleted, ignored or filtered out an e-mail from CIC and their application was subsequently refused, the refusal will be final. If on the other hand CIC fails to demonstrate their e-mail system is secure and reliable an application to the Federal Court of Canada to review a refused application will likely be granted.

The benefits of using e-mail to communicate with CIC are obvious – it is fast, cost efficient and available 24/7. However, given the rulings of the Federal Court it is incumbent upon all applicants who authorize use of e-mail communication with CIC to ensure proper security settings, as well as careful and regular review of e-mails received including those sent directly to spam folders.

Posted by Donna Habsha » No Comments »

CIC Update on Federal Skilled Worker Category

Posted by Melodie Hughes|Canada Immigration
Jan 11

Citizenship and Immigration Canada implemented a number of significant changes to Canada’s permanent residence process in 2010, including key changes to the eligibility requirements for applications made under the Federal Skilled Worker Category and the introduction of a cap on the number of applications that may be processed under this category from individuals without an offer of arranged employment. Specifically, between June 26, 2010, and June 30, 2011, a maximum of 20,000 complete Federal Skilled Worker applications (without a job offer) will be considered for processing. Within the 20,000 cap, a maximum of 1,000 Federal Skilled Worker applications per eligible occupation will be considered for processing within this same time frame.

As of January 17, 2011, CIC has announced that it has received a total of 6,564 complete applications towards the 20,000 cap. The occupation-specific cap has already been met for two of the eligible occupations: Registered Nurses and Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management.

While no other occupations are expected to reach their cap this month, other professionals, including Dentists, Pharmacists, Biologists/Scientists and Restaurant/Food Service Managers, are reported to have submitted the greatest number of applications under this category to date (ranging from 656 applications received for Pharmacists to 415 applications for Restaurant/Food Service Managers).

As mentioned, CIC is no longer accepting applications for permanent residence from registered nurses without offers of arranged employment until July 1, 2011. With that said, there remain over 900 spots left for licensed practical nurses. Similar occupations with over 900 spots left for processing without a job offer include: Dental Hygienists and Therapists (11 applications received); Medical Radiation Technologists (25 applications received); Drillers and Blasters – surface mining, quarrying and construction (9 applications received); and Crane Operators (2 applications received).

For more information on the Federal Skilled Worker category and other options for permanent residence to Canada, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP to speak to one of our immigration professionals.

Posted by Melodie Hughes » No Comments »