Clarification to the 4-Year Cap for Foreign Workers

Posted by Melodie Hughes|Global Immigration
Mar 11

Tomorrow, the changes to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) relating to temporary foreign workers will come into effect. These regulatory amendments include the most significant changes to the program in many years. Among these changes are:

    – a more rigorous assessment of the genuineness of each job offer;
    – a two-year ban from hiring temporary foreign workers for employers who fail to meet their commitments with respect to wages, working conditions and occupation; and
    – a four-year limit on the length of time some temporary foreign workers may work in Canada before returning home.

Clarification to the Four-Year Cap – Who is Subject to the Cap
When Citizenship and Immigration Canada released the changes to the Canada’s immigration regulations in 2010, limited provisions were included for situations where a temporary worker would not be subject to the new 4-year in, 4-year out rule. The apparent breadth of the new rule left many wondering if their ability to work in Canada – or if a Canadian company’s ability to rely on skilled foreign workers – would be affected. Recently, however, further clarification has been provided.

Specifically, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has announced that the following workers will be exempt from the cumulative 4-year cap:

    – Workers in managerial (NOC 0) or professional occupations (NOC A).
    – Workers who have applied for permanent residence and received:
      * a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) if applying as a Quebec Skilled Worker;

      * a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) certificate if applying as a provincial nominee;

      * an approval in principle letter if applying under the Live-in Caregiver Class;

      * a positive selection decision if applying under the Federal Skilled Worker Class; or

      * a positive selection decision if applying under the Canadian Experience Class.

    – Workers who are employed in Canada under an international agreement, such as NAFTA, the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, or another agreement.
    – Workers who are exempt from the Labour Market Opinion process, including:
      * Spouses and common-law partners of international graduates participating in the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program and highly-skilled temporary workers;

      * Charitable or religious workers;

      * Entrepreneurs, intra-company transferees, researchers and academics;

      * Others for purposes of self-support (refugee claimants) or humanitarian reasons (destitute students, holders of Temporary Resident Permits valid for at least six months)

Calculation of the 4-Year Period
As a reminder, this new regulation is not retroactive – the clock starts ticking on April 1, 2011, for all temporary workers, regardless of how long they have already been in Canada.

All temporary foreign workers are strongly encouraged to keep thorough records to clearly document the time they have spent working in Canada. For any workers who hold long-term work permits but enter on a periodic basis only, they must be able to provide to the CIC or CBSA officer documents that prove there were breaks from work during the time period covered by their previous work permit. Examples of legitimate breaks from work provided by CIC include extended unpaid leave, parental leave, or periods of unemployment. The onus of proving any absences from Canada falls upon the foreign worker.

Posted by Melodie Hughes » 2 Comments »

Increased Labour Market Opinion Requirements Effective April 1, 2011

Posted by Donna Habsha|Canada Immigration
Mar 11

Effective April 1, employers applying for a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) are required to submit extensive additional information. The documentary requirements vary somewhat for new and returning employers. Upon request however, returning employers may be asked to submit any or all of the documents requested from new employers.

Returning Employers

All returning employers must demonstrate that they have met the terms and conditions of employment set out in previous LMO confirmation letters. If it appears that employers did not fully respect the terms and conditions of employment set out in the LMO confirmation letters and annexes (if applicable), the employer will have the opportunity to provide a rationale. The government will then work with the employer to implement the appropriate corrective action, which may include providing compensation to the temporary foreign worker (TFW). Employers may be found non-compliant if they refuse to provide a rationale and/or provide only partial compensation to the TFW.

Effect of Non-Compliance

If the employer is found to be non-compliant Service Canada may issue a negative LMO and revoke all positions on confirmed LMOs for which work permits have not yet been issued and/or Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) may deem the employer ineligible to hire TFWs for two years. The employer’s name, address and period of ineligibility may also be published on a list of ineligible employers posted on the CIC website.


Employers are going to be significantly burdened by these new requirements. It is critical that companies hiring TFWs strategically plan LMO and WP applications based on their pool of TFW and project needs, track the work permit history of all TFWs and carefully monitor the terms and conditions of authorized work.

Posted by Donna Habsha » No Comments »

Online Applications for Labour Market Opinions Temporarily Suspended

Posted by Melodie Hughes|Canada Immigration
Mar 11

Effective March 25, 2011, the online labour market opinion (LMO) application system will be unavailable until a new secure online Web system is installed in June 2011. During this period, all employers can still submit LMO paper application forms by mail or fax to the appropriate Service Canada Centre. The Live-in Caregiver Program online application process will continue to be available without interruption.

In addition, with the implementation of new LMO requirements coming into effect on April 1, 2011, new LMO application forms will be available as of March 25, 2011. These new forms will be specific to each stream under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program such as the Live-in Caregiver Program, the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, and the general Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Completed LMO applications received by Service Canada by March 31, 2011, will be processed in accordance with the standard Program requirements. As of April 1, 2011, any LMO request received must be made using the new LMO application forms and will be processed in accordance with the new amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

Further details on the new LMO requirements to come!!

Posted by Melodie Hughes » No Comments »

Federal Skilled Worker Cap reached for 3 of 29 Eligible Occupations

Posted by Donna Habsha|Canada Immigration
Mar 11

The Federal Skilled Worker eligibility criteria changed on June 26, 2010 to allow a maximum of 1000 permanent residence applications per eligible occupation, to a maximum of 20,000, to be considered for processing until June 30, 2011.   These limits do not apply to Federal Skilled Worker applications with an offer of arranged employment in Canada (indeterminate job offer).

As of March 15, 2011 Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has received 9,242 applications out of the maximum of 20,000 that can be processed.

Registered Nurses, Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management and most recently Pharmacists have reached the 1000 application cap.  Assuming they are still on the list for 2011/2012, applications in these three occupations may be submitted on July 1, 2011 to be counted toward next year’s cap.

Posted by Donna Habsha » No Comments »

Great News for Immigrants in Canada

Posted by Veronica Zanfir|Canada Immigration
Mar 11

Yesterday I attended a luncheon with Prime Minister Steven Harper hosted by the Mississauga and Brampton Boards of Trade. During the luncheon, held at the Pearson Convention Centre, Prime Minister Harper indicated that increased efforts will be made to ensure that Canadian immigrants and foreign trained professionals will have the opportunity to work in their chosen professions in Canada. The Prime Minister stressed that immigrants to Canada can expect to have greater access to securing equivalency for their foreign attained degrees in the future. As this committment is part of the Prime Minister’s platform, future procedural changes to this effect can be anticipated. For further information in this respect or assistance with your Canadian immigration matters, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP.

Posted by Veronica Zanfir » No Comments »

EAD and Advance Parole Combined Document

Posted by Karen|US Immigration
Mar 11

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently announced that it is now issuing employment and travel authorization on a single card for certain applicants filing for Adjustment of Status on form I-485 as part of a permanent residence application. Applicants will no longer receive a paper confirmation of the Advance Parole.

The card looks similar to the current Employment Authorization Document (EAD) but will include text that reads, “Serves as I-512 Advance Parole.” A card with this text will serve as both an employment authorization and Advance Parole document. The Adjustment of Status, Employment Authorization, and Advance Parole must all be filed at the same time, or separate EAD and Advance Parole documents may be issued.

USCIS further notes that as with the current Advance Parole document, obtaining a combined Advance Parole and employment authorization card allows an applicant for adjustment of status to travel abroad and return to the U.S. without abandoning the pending adjustment application. Upon returning to the U.S., the individual who travels with the card must present the card to request parole through the port-of-entry. The decision to parole the individual is made at the port-of-entry. Individuals who have been unlawfully present in the U.S. and subsequently depart and seek re-entry through a grant of parole may be inadmissible and ineligible to adjust their status.

If you have questions regarding your status as a foreign national applying for permanent residence through the United States, please do not hesitate to contact the attorney’s at PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP for further assistance.

Posted by Karen » No Comments »

Temporary Foreign Workers Certified in Alberta Optional Trades Can Apply for Permanent Residence Directly to AINP

Posted by Donna Habsha|Canada Immigration
Mar 11

Effective immediately, skilled temporary foreign workers certified in Alberta’s optional trades can apply directly to the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) for permanent residency instead of having to apply with their employers.

There are currently fifty designated trades in Alberta. Of these, thirty one are in the optional trades (including occupations like roofer, tile setter, concrete finisher and cabinet maker). Nineteen occupations fall under compulsory trades (including occupations like welder, ironworker, gasfitter and plumber).

Before this change, workers in the optional trades applied for permanent residence with their employers. Workers in the compulsory trades had the option to apply either directly to AINP or with their employers.  Now candidates are no longer eligible to apply under the Employer-Driven Stream and must apply under the Strategic Recruitment Stream, Compulsory and Optional Trades Category requiring an “Alberta Qualification Certificate” (in many cases this means journeyman status) in both the compulsory and the optional trades. Previously this was not necessary if an employer was sponsoring. This may be a challenging obstacle for many. Cooks, painters, and carpenters may be particularly affected.

The federal government limits the number of people Alberta can nominate for permanent residence. In 2011, Alberta is allowed to nominate 5,000 people.

Posted by Donna Habsha » No Comments »

USCIS Vietnam Field Office closing.

Posted by Karen|US Immigration
Mar 11

USCIS has announced that it will close its office in Vietnam on 3/31/11, and stop accepting applications on 3/25/11. The DOS Consular Section will assume responsibility for processing certain cases where authorized.

Posted by Karen » No Comments »