CIC Application Processing Network Changes

May 13

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has said that applications for permanent residence will no longer necessarily be sent to the country where the applicant has been lawfully admitted for 1 year or to the applicant’s country of nationality. Instead CIC intends to have the location of processing of an application determined based on which visa office has capacity.

Currently posted processing times do not reflect reality and are in no way guaranteed by CIC. Hopefully a more fluid processing network will ease the current backlog which has some permanent resident applications in process for over two years!

Posted by Donna Habsha » No Comments »

New Rules for Recruiting and Hiring Foreign Workers in Positions Located in Nova Scotia

May 13

Effective May 1, 2013, employers who choose to hire a recruiter to help them find foreign workers for positions in Nova Scotia are required to use the services of a licensed recruiter listed on the provincial Labour Standards’ website.

In addition, as part of the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) application process, employers must complete the Appointment of Representative section of the form, and the Annex to the Appointment of Representative form.  Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC)/Service Canada will ensure that the name provided on these forms is included in the list of licensed recruiters.

As of August 1, 2013, employers wishing to hire a foreign worker in Nova Scotia will require a certificate of registration from the province’s Labour Standards. The application form for a certificate, valid for one year, is currently available online.

For more information on this or other Canadian or US immigration matters, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP – Immigration Lawyers at 1-800-993-9971 or

Posted by Vian Sulevani » No Comments »

Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program: Strategic Recruitment Stream for Engineers and Trades

May 13

Under the Strategic Recruitment Stream, you may be able to apply directly to the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) on your own, without needing an employer to support your application.  The Strategic Recruitment Stream is for occupations that are in demand in Alberta. This stream may be adjusted according to changes in Alberta’s labour market.  The AINP is a program for permanent residence.

The Strategic Recruitment Stream is currently only accepting application for two categories:  1) Alberta Qualification Certificate in a Compulsory or Optional Trade and 2) Engineering Occupations Category.

The criteria for the Compulsory and Optional Trades Category (includes but is not limited to):

  • You must intend to and be able to live and work permanently in Alberta.
  • You must have an Alberta Qualification Certificate in a compulsory or optional trade, or a Recognized Trade Certificate in a compulsory or optional trade issued by a recognized regulatory authority in Canada recognized by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT).
  • You must be residing in Alberta at the time of application and show that you have a valid work permit from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to work in Alberta in the trade in which you are certified.
  • You must show, at the time of application, that you are either currently working in your trade for an Alberta Employer or have previously worked in your trade with an Alberta Employer for a minimum of six months in the past two years.

The criteria for the Engineering Occupations Category (includes but is not limited to):

  • You must be currently residing in Alberta.
  • You must intend to and be able to live permanently in Alberta.
  • You must provide evidence of related education/training and experience as an engineer, designer or drafter.
  • You must be currently working or have worked within the last two years in Alberta either directly or on contract for one of the following: A recognized, reputable and well-established Alberta Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) Company; and/or an Alberta company that is a member of the Consulting Engineers of Alberta.
  • Your occupation in Alberta must be on the AINP Strategic Recruitment Stream Engineering Occupations List.


For more information on this or other Canadian or US immigration matters, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP – Immigration Lawyers at 1-800-993-9971 or

Posted by Vian Sulevani » No Comments »

Immigration Reform Passes Senate Committee

May 13

The Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Senate on May 22, 2013 approved the proposed immigration reform bill, The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S. 744), which will now go before the full Senate.  The bill, which is over 800 pages, has some significant proposals across the full scope of immigration from border security, nonimmigrant status, permanent residence / green card to a path to citizenship for undocumented individuals.  The bill is a bipartisan proposal from the “Gang of Eight”, the name given to the eight Senators that introduced the bill which has overcome the first hurdle in the long process to becoming law.  While it is no doubt inevitable that the bill, should it become law, will undergo change, some of the proposals of note (and there are many) related to business immigration include:

H-1B nonimmigrant work visa

  • Increase the annual cap by between 5,000 and 20,000 if demand exceeds the cap and the unemployment rate for professional, managerial and related occupations is less than 4.5%.
  • Expand definition of H-1B dependency to include companies if workforce is made up of 15% or more H-1B employees.  Dependent employers will be required to attest that they have not displaced U.S. workers 180-days prior to filing the H-1B petition, and will not displace U.S. workers 180-days after the filing.
  • Employers will have to post H-1B jobs on a Department of Labor web site and conduct good faith recruitment and offer position to qualified U.S. workers (if any) before proceeding with the H-1B.
  • Proposed limit on H-1B filings for employers that have a large percentage of their workforce in H-1B status.  Further propose additional fees of between $5,000 and $10,000 for employers with a high percentage of employees in H-1B status.
  • Propose granting of employment authorization for spouse of H-1B employees (H-4 nonimmigrants).

Green Cards (Employment based)

  • Would use unused immigrant visa numbers to reduce current backlog.
  • Would introduce a merit based immigrant visa stream, up to 120,000 immigrant visas each year.

New W-1 Visa

  • New nonimmigrant work visa for low-skilled workers for positions that do not require a bachelor degree.
  • Initially 20,000 per year, increasing to 75,000 per year over four year period.

Mandatory use of E-Verify

  • Over a phased-in five year period, employer will be required to use E-Verify, the federal government’s online employment verification system.

There are also significant proposals related to legalizing undocumented workers.


For more information on U.S. or Canadian immigration, please contact our offices at 1-800-993-9971 or

Posted by Mark Dey » No Comments »

Temporary Foreign Worker Program – Four-Year Maximum (Cumulative Duration)

May 13

Effective April 11, 2011 changes to immigration regulations have limited the number of years a foreign national may work in Canada to four (4) years subject to certain exceptions. Once a foreign national has accumulated four (4) years of work in Canada, s/he will be ineligible to work in Canada again until a period of four (4) years has elapsed. The impact of this regulatory change will begin to be felt now.

All work counts toward the four (4) years:

All work performed in Canada since April 1, 2011 — regardless of whether or not it was authorized by a work permit or exempt from requiring a work permit, will count towards a temporary foreign worker’s four (4) year cap. This includes work done as a volunteer or as a self-employed individual, work in all occupations falling under all categories in the National Occupation Code (NOC) list, work done while under implied status as well as work done while on an open work permit. However, any work performed during a period in which a foreign national was authorized to study on a full-time basis in Canada is not included in calculating the four (4) year work period.

A temporary foreign worker working within one of the occupations or categories listed as ‘exceptions’ to the four (4) year cap, is STILL COUNTED toward the cumulative total. It is only at the point of application/request for a work permit, that these ‘exceptions’ become relevant, and an officer may issue a work permit to the foreign national with a job offer in one of these occupations/categories regardless of whether the worker has acquired four years of work in Canada or not.

Gaps in employment not counted toward the four (4) year period include

  • Periods of time spent outside of Canada
  • Periods of medical leave spent in Canada, if this period is not covered by the employment contract/agreement
  • Maternity/paternity leave spent in Canada

When the “clock” resets

A foreign worker who spends four (4) consecutive years either:

a) outside of Canada; or

b) in Canada but not working, i.e., with legal status as a visitor or student, may apply for a work permit and begin accumulating another four (4) years of work in Canada.

Employers should pay close attention to the cumulative total of years a foreign national they wish to hire has been working in Canada in order to ensure they are able to receive work authorization for the full duration they are needed.

Posted by Donna Habsha » No Comments »

Opportunities Ontario: Provincial Nominee Program

May 13

Opportunities Ontario: Provincial Nominee Program is an immigration program through which the province of Ontario nominates individuals and their families for permanent resident status based on a pre-approved job offer in the province.

Applications from employers who are seeking positions for foreign workers residing abroad, or foreign workers who are visiting Canada, will receive priority processing if those employers have tried to recruit Canadian citizens or permanent residents located in Ontario for those positions before applying to the program.

Approved employers can recruit foreign workers through the General Category and international students through the International Student Category.

The General Category is for foreign workers in any managerial, professional or skilled trades occupation (NOC O, A, or B).  The International Student Category has three streams:   1) With Job Offer Stream which allows Ontario employers to recruit international students graduating from a publicly funded Canadian college or university in a skilled position; 2) PhD Graduate Stream which allows PhD graduates from Ontario publicly funded universities to apply to live permanently in Ontario; and 3) Pilot Masters Graduate Stream which allows Masters graduates from Ontario publicly funded universities to apply to live permanently in Ontario.

Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. When the program reaches its target, submitted applications will be assessed in the next calendar year.

For more information on this or other Canadian or US immigration matters, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP – Immigration Lawyers at 1-800-993-9971 or

Posted by Vian Sulevani » No Comments »

Changes to LMO-Exempt Work Permit Renewal/Extension Requirements for Certain CSQ Holders in Quebec

May 13

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has announced that holders of a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) under the Quebec Skilled Worker class will no longer be required to show evidence of filing of a Permanent Residence application in order to submit an application to renew or extend their work authorization in Canada without a Labour Market Opinion (LMO).  This change is consistent with the current policy guidelines for persons nominated for permanent residence in provinces or territories other than Quebec, who do not require proof that their permanent residence application is in process with CIC in order to qualify for an LMO-exempt work permit renewal or extension.

The requirements for LMO-exempt work permit renewal/extension for CSQ holders in Quebec are as follows:

  • The applicant must hold a CSQ issued under the Quebec Skilled Worker class, which includes the Programme régulier des travailleurs qualifiés (PRTQ) and the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ);
  • The applicant must currently reside in Quebec;
  • The applicant must fall under one of the following categories:
    • seeking to extend their WP for their current employer;
    • seeking to renew their current work authorization with a new employer in the province of Quebec;
    • is a foreign student who has obtained a post-graduation WP and has a job offer in the province of Quebec; or
    • is a WP holder under the Programme de l’expérience international canadienne (EIC).
  • The applicant must submit a copy of his or her CSQ and job offer to work in Quebec.

Work permits issued pursuant to this policy are employer-specific and are to be issued for the duration of the job offer, with a maximum validity of two years.  Spouses or common-law partners who are accompanying the principal applicant and who are currently in Canada are entitled to apply for open work permit for the duration of the work permit of the principal applicant, irrespective of the skill level of the principal applicant’s occupation.

For more information on this or any other Canadian or US immigration matter, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP at or 1-800-993-9971.

Posted by Joy Sisca » No Comments »

Victoria Day Holiday Weekend Travel

May 13

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (“CBP”), the agency responsible for securing the U.S. border and facilitating lawful international trade and travel, issued a Travel Advisory in anticipation of greatly increased travel between Canada and the United States over the Victoria Day weekend (Friday, May 17 to Victoria Day [Monday, May 20]).

Pursuant to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, U.S. and Canadian citizens age 16 and over entering the U.S. by land or sea are reminded that they must have a valid, acceptable travel document, such as a passport, U.S. passport card, trusted traveler card (NEXUS, SENTRI, Global Entry or FAST/EXPRES), U.S. permanent resident card (“green card”) or enhanced driver’s license (denoting both identity and citizenship).  Air travelers must have a passport.

Non-Canadian or U.S. citizens should be in possession of a valid visa to enter the U.S. unless they are a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program country whereby they are waived the visa requirement to visit the U.S. They must however register online with ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) at least 72 hours before their trip.

Travelers are advised to give themselves plenty of time at border crossing as delays are expected given the increased volume.  Information on Border Wait Times for land crossing is available at:

For more information on U.S. or Canadian immigration, please contact our offices at 1-800-993-9971 or

Posted by Mark Dey » No Comments »