Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Plan for an Expression of Interest Model by 2015

Oct 13

On Monday October 28, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander oversaw the tabling of the Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration. The report includes important information on the Canadian Government’s plans for immigration in 2014.

The report outlines target immigrant admissions both overall and per immigration category. It also provides further information about Canada’s gradual transition to an Expression of Interest (EOI) model for immigration in 2015.

Under an EOI program, prospective immigrants first complete an online form which states their interest in becoming a permanent resident of Canada. It is important to note that an EOI is not an application for a permanent resident visa. Rather, it indicates an individual’s request to become a candidate for permanent residency.

The EOI form will include important information about the prospective applicant, such as work experience, assessed educational credentials, and proof of English/French language proficiency. In addition, EOI candidates will be ‘assigned a points score and ranked’. Not all individuals who submit an EOI application will be invited to apply for Canadian permanent residency, and not all those who are invited to apply will necessarily receive a visa.

CIC believes the EOI system will provide immigrants with greater support during the application process and through their landing in Canada. Canadian officials also believe it will allow them to select immigrants that are most likely to succeed in the country’s labour market and society.


Posted by Donna Habsha » No Comments »

Dependent Work Permits and the International Experience Canada Program

Posted by Melodie Hughes|Canada Immigration, Temporary Residence
Oct 13

With Autumn now well under way, more and more young professionals, recent graduates, and other foreign nationals new to the workforce are coordinating their work and travel plans for 2014. Whether the foreign national is coming to Canada for an internship, summer job, or even to travel with the option to work, the International Experience Canada (IEC) program is often the best and sometimes only category for such young foreign nationals. But what about their spouses, children, or other dependents?

Work Permits under the IEC program are available to nationals of certain countries with whom Canada has a bilateral agreement (such as France, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Japan and Croatia, to name a few) and are limited to individuals who:

  • are citizens and habitual residents of a participating country, and
  • who are under the age of 30 or 35 (depending on their country of nationality), and
  • who meet all other criteria for their country’s IEC program

As many IEC streams do not require the foreign national to already have a job offer from a Canadian company, this type of work permit has become increasingly popular. In most cases, however, there are limited work permits available under this program, with applications typically accepted by the respective visa post starting in January for the 2014 year (note: some programs open up in late Fall) and frequently meeting the cap within months – and sometimes days – of opening the program.

While Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has no specific policy prohibiting spouses and dependents of IEC participants from joining them in Canada, the IEC program does not automatically grant dependents status in Canada and as such, any accompanying family members must be admissible to Canada and, if intending to work, qualify for a work permit on their own merits. With that said, CIC has recently provided some clarification for when a dependent spouse may qualify for an open work permit by virtue of the IEC work permit holder’s status and established employment in Canada.

Specifically, spouses may qualify for a work permit under Canada’s public policy provisions if all of the following eligibility requirements can be met and demonstrated:

  • The principal foreign worker must be engaging in work in Canada in a high-skilled position, i.e., work which falls within Skill Levels 0, A or B of the National Occupational Classification (NOC);
  • The principal foreign worker must hold a work permit that is valid for a period of at least six months; and
  • The principal foreign worker and spouse must physically reside, or plan to physically reside, in Canada while working.

If an IEC participant in the Working Holiday Program category holds only the Letter of Introduction, CIC cannot positively determine if the participant is employed in a NOC 0, A or B occupation and, therefore, cannot issue an open work permit to the participant’s spouse. Once the IEC work permit holder can prove that they are already employed in a high-skilled position, however, CIC has confirmed that their spouse may then be eligible to apply for a spousal work permit.

For further information or to determine your eligibility under the IEC or any other work permit program in Canada, please contact the PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP!

Posted by Melodie Hughes » No Comments »

TN Visa for Management Consultants

Oct 13

One of the most common U.S. work authorization classifications used by Canadians is the TN Visa classification. The TN Visa is a product of the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”)

TN status permits Canadians (and Mexican citizens) to work in the United States so long as the applicant fits within a certain occupational category listed under the NAFTA. Though the TN is a temporary status, it may be renewed in 2-3 year increments. Currently, there is no cap on the amount of times it can be renewed. Furthermore, TN applicants may bring their accompanying spouse and children into the United States with them upon entry or after the applicant has been granted TN status.

TN status can be attained at a port-of-entry into the United States (i.e. the United States border or certain international airports in Canada) and is issued on-the-spot.

Management Consultants

As noted above, to qualify for a TN Visa an applicant must be a Canadian citizen and must meet the requirements of a particular occupational category listed in the NAFTA. The applicant must also be entering the U.S. to work within the identified occupational category.

One occupational category under the NAFTA is the Management Consultant category. To qualify for a TN Visa under the Management Consultant category, the following requirements must be met:

  • You must be a Canadian citizen;
  • You must have a four year degree in a business related area of study, or in an area of study related to the field in which you will be consulting;
  • If you do not meet the above educational requirement, then you can still qualify for a TN as a management consultant as long as you have at least 5 years of experience in the field and/or industry in which you will be consulting;
  • You must be providing the company with services in the capacity of an independent contractor, or, if the position is salaried and you will be on payroll as an employee, you must be filling a temporary position that did not exist previously, and will not exist once you leave the company; and
  • Your duties must be restricted to consulting and advising the company (research is also permissible), but you should not be engaged in the company’s normal course of operations, nor should you manage employees or serve the company’s clients.

To learn more about qualifying for a TN under the Management Consultant category, feel free to contact our firm at  1 800 993 9971 or

Posted by Ife Ashabo » No Comments »

11 more countries now required to provide biometrics

Oct 13

As of October 23rd, 2013, biometrics are required for eleven more countries, including: Albania, Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Tunisia.

Biometrics include the electronic scanning of fingerprints and digital photos for all temporary resident visas to come to Canada.   If you are a national of one of these countries, you will need to go to the closest Visa Application Centre (VAC) to give your biometrics.  If you are a national of one of these countries and residing in the US, you can give your biometrics at various Application Support Centre (ASC) within the US.  If you are already in Canada, you do not need to obtain biometrics to extend your visa at this time.

A further 16 countries will need to meet this biometric requirement by the end of 2013.

For more information on this alert 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 »

If I could save time in a bottle…

Oct 13

This week I wish I could bottle time and use it whenever I needed extra time to process an application through a government office or to help a client with tight timelines on a project.

It seems that Immigration processes are always the last thing people think of when they are trying to achieve a goal, and given long processing timelines with Citizenship and Immigration Canada it really should be the first thing to be addressed.

This week has consisted of stories such as a Labour Market Opinion taking longer to process than the work permit, resulting in a work permit refusal and leaving an individual out of status; an individual realizing that having Canadian citizenship to allow him to travel under the NAFTA for the purposes of his new job would be highly useful and rushing to make an application (which can take well more than a year to process at this time); a company needing to cancel or postpone a high profile seminar because the providers of the seminar won’t be able to obtain their required work permits on time; and a critical client emergency for which the visas / work permits the technicians need to enter Canada and address the situation will take longer to process than the company can afford in order to provide good and responsive customer service.

All these situations cause frustration, headache and expense for the companies and the individuals, and all these situations could all be resolved with more time.  If I could bottle time and use it to resolve situations like these….I’d be the most famous Immigration lawyer in the world!

Posted by Sarah Adler » No Comments »

Start-up Visa Program To Be Expanded

Oct 13

The federal government is creating a new visa program, known as the Business Incubator stream, designed to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to come to Canada with the hope that it will help drive economic growth.

The Business Incubator stream will be launched under the existing Start-Up Visa Program, which fast-tracks permanent residency for immigrant entrepreneurs who are able to secure funding from designated Canadian investors. The five-year pilot program has a ceiling of 2,750 applications a year.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will designate eligible business incubator programs in consultation with the Canadian Association of Business Incubation (CABI). The new stream will begin accepting applications on October 26, 2013. CIC also announced that five additional Canadian venture capital funds will soon be designated as Start-Up Visa partners. An updated list of all designated organizations will be made available on the CIC website as of October 26, 2013.

Foreign entrepreneurs will apply directly to incubator and accelerator programs, which will evaluate proposals and provide recommendations to CIC on whether to approve their immigration applications by a letter of commitment. The final determination will be made by Ottawa.  The initial evaluation is expected to take 2-4 weeks, and if approved and forwarded to CIC, processing time frames are between three to six months.

Business Incubator stream applicants can come in teams of up to five partners.  And while the proposal is that there would be no minimum language requirements, those with good English and French language skills would have a better chance of success.  The program has not yet specified whether there will be a minimum amount of money that foreign entrepreneurs are expected to provide.

Posted by Nina Modi » No Comments »

Canada-EU Free Trade Agreement Allows More Labour Mobility than NAFTA

Oct 13

Canada’s trade with the United States is many times larger than with Europe, however the trade deal drafted with the European Union (Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement-CETA) covers a broader scope of trade issues. Both NAFTA and the EU agreement reduce tariffs on goods but unlike NAFTA, the EU agreement covers “sub-national procurement,” that is the public contracts of Canadian provinces and cities, so European companies can bid on hydro or subway deals, and Canadians can do the same in Europe.

The EU deal covers extensions of drug patents in Canada and bigger trade quotas for agricultural products. It also appears to cover services more broadly than NAFTA, including financial services, and allows more labour mobility, including efforts to work on recognizing each other’s credentials for professionals like architects and engineers.

Thus far Canada and the EU have an “agreement in principle” as nothing has been officially signed. Even once a deal is signed, it must be passed by the European Parliament, and the parliaments of all 28 countries in the EU –  three countries have signalled they won’t sign off unless Canada lifts requirements that their citizens obtain visas before visiting Canada. While Canadian provinces are not part of signing the trade agreement, the EU has already indicating it will insist on hearing the provinces publicly endorse the agreement. While the agreement has been touted as a ‘historic opportunity for Canada’, it remains to be seen whether it will ever be unveiled.

For more information, please contact us at 1 800 993 9971 or


Posted by Donna Habsha » No Comments »

Nonimmigrant Waiver

Posted by Ife Ashabo|US Immigration
Oct 13


A nonimmigrant waiver allows those who are inadmissible to the U.S. – that is, prohibited from entering the U.S. – to travel to the United States on a temporary basis (i.e. to visit, to attend school pursuant to a student visa, to work in the U.S. pursuant to a work visa, etc.). Typically, the first two waivers you apply for, if approved, will be granted for a period of one year each, and all subsequent waivers will be granted for a period of five years.

Application Process

For a Canadian to apply for a nonimmigrant waiver, they must file their application in person at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection office that accepts waiver applications. The waiver office will then forward the waiver application to the Admissibility Review Office (ARO), which is the office that adjudicates the application.

Processing Time

In our experience, the processing time for non-immigrant waivers filed by Canadians is approximately 5 to 10 months.

Posted by Ife Ashabo » No Comments »