CIC Reporting Fastest Processing Times for Work Permit, Study Permit and Visitor Record Extensions in Years!!

Posted by Melodie Hughes|Canada Immigration
Jan 12
23


As of today, Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta is reporting the fastest processing times it has had in years. The Case Processing Centre (CPC) is the office responsible for assessing applications to extend stay or change conditions of work permits, study permits and visitor records for temporary residents currently residing in Canada. In the past, a straightforward application to extend a work permit with the same employer could take anywhere from 3 to 4 months, which meant that temporary foreign workers and their Canadian employers would need to plan well in advance to extend an offer of employment and in turn the individual’s work permit. Individuals who required a Labour Market Opinion or a TRV would need to plan even further in advance, particularly if they had travel plans. In an effort to address the very lengthy processing times, Citizenship and Immigration Canada implemented an online application process, which was designed to address the backlog and speed up processing. Nearly two years since its inception, it appears the online process has started to yeild results. Or perhaps the speedy processing times are a result of more effective management within the CPC, or maybe a more efficient use of resources or shuffling within departments. Whatever the cause, the results are clear – temporary resident documents are being issued and FAST!

Effective January 18, 2012, CIC is reporting its fastest processing times in years, taking an average of 15-16 days to adjudicate applications filed online, and only 30-46 days to adjudicate applications filed by mail.

This comes as very welcome news for many temporary residents currently seeking to extend their status in Canada. It does, however, bear some implications on those workers seeking to extend permits that rely on an approved Labour Market Opinion (LMO). LMO applications across the country are still taking very long to process, with processing times in Ontario, for example, most recently being reported at approximately 12 weeks. As work permit extensions will not be approved before an LMO is issued, timing is critical for these types of applications and advance planning even more vital.

For further information on Canadian work permits, visitor records, or study permits and the extension process, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP!


Posted by Melodie Hughes » No Comments »

58 Countries Designated to Participate in the H-2A and H-2B Nonimmigrant Worker Programs

Jan 12
20


As per Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced 58 countries whose nationals are eligible for H-2A and H-2B participation. The notice listing eligible countries was published in today’s Federal Register (effective January 18, 2012 for one year).

The H-2A and H-2B programs establish a means for U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs and temporary nonagricultural jobs. USCIS generally may only approve H-2A and H-2B petitions for foreign nationals of countries the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as eligible to participate in the programs. Alternatively, USCIS may approve the petitions for foreign nationals whose countries are not listed in the Federal Register if it is determined that it is in the U.S. interest to bring the foreign national in to the United States.

The following nationals for the following countries are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B nonimmigrant worker programs:

Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Nauru, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Samoa, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vanuatu.

Although this notice does not affect the status of nationals who currently hold valid H-2A or H-2B status, it may affect those seeking extension or change of status under the H-2 category at the time of this notice.

If you require additional information regarding the H-2A or H-2B nonimmigrant worker program, please feel free to schedule a consultation with one of our U.S. immigration specialists.


Posted by Immigration Law Team » No Comments »

H-1B Visa Quota Reached for FY 2012

Jan 12
18


As of January 17, 2012, nonimmigrant visas are not available to the foreign nationals subject to the H-1B cap, which has been reached for fiscal year 2012. Both the 65,000 regular H-1B visas and the 20,000 cap-exempt visas set aside for those with advanced degrees have been exhausted.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will, nonetheless, continue to accept extensions on current H-1B visas and petitions that request the change of terms of employment for current H-1B nonimmigrant workers and to allow current H-1B workers to obtain second H-1B positions.

U.S. companies, who require their workers to obtain H-1B visas, are encouraged to prepare H-1B petitions ahead of time in order to avoid being subject to the annual quota cap. The filing period for fiscal year 2013 will begin on April 1, 2012.

For additional information about the H-1B visa process, please feel free to contact one of our U.S. immigration attorneys.


Posted by Immigration Law Team » No Comments »

Changing the Principal Applicant on a Parental Sponsorship

Posted by Veronica Zanfir|Global Immigration
Jan 12
18


As of January 17, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has officially announced that Principal Applicants may be switched on applications to sponsor parents or grandparents to Canada. This is an option where the principal applicant passes away. Specifically, where the principal applicant has died, the spouse of the principal applicant may take his/her place so that the sponsorship application may continue. The onus lies on the sponsor to make a specific request to effect this change. This change would only apply where the surviving parent is eligible to be sponsored as a member of the Family Class by the sponsor (i.e. not a step-parent or step-grandparent).

 


Posted by Veronica Zanfir » No Comments »

New Refugee Rules Coming

Posted by Veronica Zanfir|Global Immigration
Jan 12
18


 

At the end of June 2012 Citizenship and Immigration Canada will be finalizing the implementation of its new refugee regulations. Canada’s refugee assessment system has already undergone significant changes. When additional revisions come into effect later this year, it is anticipated that the increase in refusals and removals of failed refugee claimants will create an unanticipated burden on U.S. Immigration officials as failed claimants look south for additional immigration options. Canada and the USA, however, have signed a Third Safe Country Agreement, which bars claims for protection if a prior claim was made in either of the two countries. Some exceptions do apply to the agreement, such as being the family member of a person with legal status in the country in which protection is being sought. For further information in this regard contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP at 1-800-993-9971.


Posted by Veronica Zanfir » No Comments »

Revised Immigration Waiver Process for U.S. Citizen Relatives

Jan 12
9


The Department of Homeland Security announced Friday, January 6, 2012 of a proposed waiver process change which would allow spouses and children of U.S. citizens, who are present in the U.S., to file for a waiver of unlawful presence while remaining in the U.S. Unlawful presence is when a foreign national originally enters the U.S. without proper inspection by an immigration officer. An immigrant visa applicant who is ineligible for a visa under unlawful presence may apply for a waiver if the applicant can establish that the denial of his or her admission would result in extreme hardship for the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent.

The current regulations only permit the waiver application to be filed in the foreign national’s home country. This proposed change will now allow spouses and children of U.S. citizens to apply for a waiver of unlawful presence while remaining in the U.S., which will keep families together. Under the proposed system, once the foreign national is granted the waiver, he or she will leave the U.S. and apply for his or her immigrant visa abroad, which will ultimately shorten the time of separation between loved ones.

For more details on immigrant waivers, please contact one of our attorneys at PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP.


Posted by Immigration Law Team » 1 Comment »

Can I Travel Outside the United States While my Green Card Application is in Process?

Posted by Karen|US Immigration
Jan 12
5


If you are applying for adjustment to permanent resident status, you must receive advance permission to return to the United States if you are traveling outside the United States.  This advance permission is called Advance Parole. If you do not apply for Advance Parole before you leave the country, you will abandon your application with the USCIS and you may not be permitted to return to the United States.  Please contact our law firm at pwcimmigrationlaw-info@ca.pwc.com or 1 800 993 9971 for more information concerning Advance Parole.


Posted by Karen » No Comments »