Do you need an Immigration Medical Exam?

Posted by Vian Sulevani|Canada Immigration
Jan 14

Most temporary residents do not realize that they may be required to undergo an immigration medical exam prior to their entry to Canada.  Under Canada’s immigration law, you must have a medical exam if you want to come to Canada for more than six months AND you have lived or travelled for six consecutive months in a country or territory on the designated countries list, in the one year immediately before the date you want to enter Canada.  This applies even if you are a citizen of a country that does not need a visa to enter Canada or require an immigration medical exam.  The list of designated countries is updated by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and should be reviewed prior to making any travel arragnements.  The immigration medical exam cannot be performed by your own doctor, it can only be performed by a panel physician.

Immigration medical exams are also required for individuals coming to Canada to work in an occupation that brings them into close contact with people.  This will apply to workers in the health sciences field, clinical laboratory workers, doctors, nurses, medical students admitted to Canada to attend university, domestic caregivers, nannies, and teachers.

The medical exam can add on additional processing time, so it is essential to determine whether an immigration medical exam will be required prior to your travels to Canada.

For more information on this or any 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 »

Canadian Citizenship – Testing

Posted by Nina Modi|Canada Immigration
Jan 14

There has been a decline in the number of Canadian citizenships granted over the last few years, from 176,572 in 2008 to 113,142 in 2012, according to a report by University of Ottawa sociology professor Elke Winter.  Meanwhile, during the same period, the number of citizenship applications received grew from 242,400 to 317,440.  The numbers would indicate that the process is getting longer and harder. 

One of the difficulties is that there is a more demanding citizenship test as well as stricter language requirements.  This has led to a backlog and lengthened the processing times.  It is currently taking over two years to process routine Canadian citizenship applications and three years for cases where applicants are required to fill out a residence questionnaire to prove their physical presence in Canada.

Despite these rigid measures, more than 75 per cent of Canadian permanent residents are eventually granted citizenship.

Naturally the citizen examination process contributes significantly to this backlog.  To remedy this, CIC issued a statement on 16 January 2014 outlining their policy regarding re-testing applicants who fail the written knowledge test.  CIC has indicated that there will be three options available to the Applicant: Re-test; Withdraw; or Split their file.   

Following all test sessions, CIC staff will communicate to the applicant the results of their test. The staff will provide the applicant with the actual test score, which will allow the applicant to gauge their performance, consider the option to withdraw their citizenship application or to retest. If the applicant fails on their first time, then they may re-write the citizenship test after 4 to 8 weeks. Applicants are only given one opportunity to re-write, and if they fail the test a second time they will be scheduled for an oral interview with a citizenship judge.  These wait times are very long.

If there is more than one applicant on the file, and one of them passes, then CIC will split the file to allow the successful family members to proceed through the rest of the process immediately, rather than waiting for the hearing of other family member(s) to be completed.

If the Applicant is 55 years of age or above, the application can be removed from the hearing inventory and be referred to the judge for a paper review and decision if there are no other concerns with the file.

CIC has implemented this “triage” process in order to expedite the hearing process; and since the pathway to citizenship is well over two years, we can only hope that the measures are effective. 

Posted by Nina Modi » No Comments »

SINP Cap Reached

Jan 14

As of January 10, 2014, the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP), category for international skilled workers without a job offer has been filled. This is the first year for this category and the cap was set at 250 applications.  This category is the first to fill its quota for 2014.   Applications submitted after the quota has been filled will not be held in a queue, they will be returned to the applicant.  All other SINP immigration categories remain open, except for the Entrepreneur Category which remains under review.

Given the popularity of this category, it will be interesting to see if the international skilled workers without a job offer category remains the same or if caps will be increased in 2015.

For more information on this or any 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 »

Canada-India Immigration Numbers

Posted by Vian Sulevani|Canada Immigration
Jan 14

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has released a statement that Canada continues to be the destination of choice for visitors, students and business travelers from India.  Minister of State (Multiculturalism), Tim Uppal, said that “Canada and India share close people-to-people ties, which are demonstrated by the large numbers of Indians coming to Canada to work, study and visit.” CIC confirmed that between January and December 2013, 84,672 visitor visas were issued and 13,613 study permits were issued.

In addition, the Business Express Program (BEP), which has been in place since June 2008, is open to businesses invited by the High Commission, that have good immigration track records and who have a significant number of business visitors destined to Canada.   Businesses registered can submit visa applications through the facilitated process, which includes less paperwork, priority processing of visa applications, and a dedicated service to respond to the needs of those within the program. Between January and December 2013, 2,793 visas were issued under the BEP.

These numbers demonstrate Canada’s continued commitment to facilitating linkages with India in 2014. 

For more information on this or any 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 »

CIC Urged by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to Speed Up Applications

Posted by Nina Modi|Canada Immigration
Jan 14

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has issued a statement saying that Ontario employers are at a disadvantage in acquiring the services of foreign skilled workers due to the high processing times of applications.  This is highlighted by the fact that other countries are processing similar types of applications in just two months. 

How can Ontario realistically expect to attract the world’s most talented individuals when they have to wait an exorbitant amount of time?  The lengthy processing times force potential employees into untenable situations where they cannot plan for this future, this is made especially difficult when they have families who are likely to accompany them.  Meanwhile, employers often have to wait for years before they can have their desired employee begin working with them as a permanent resident. 

CIC has announced the opening of the Expression of Interest (EOI) Program which will be replacing the old “first-in, first-out” program that has led to long queues for immigrants.  However, the processing time of the EOI is still expected to be over six months, which when compared to Australia’s 58 days, is still quite high. 

Ontario’s unemployment rate is historically high, yet many employers are unable to find skilled workers.  Despite our human capital, Ontario is suffering from a labour shortage and this is acting as a barrier to economic growth and prosperity. In order to address this and to be in line with a 21st century workforce, there not only needs to be renewed focus on building our domestic labour force, but also, it means building a fast and responsive immigration system that attracts the best and brightest to Ontario.  

It is hopeful that CIC heeds the calls from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce for the EOI to have reduced processing times, which will ultimately represent an opportunity to Ontario and its employers. 

Posted by Nina Modi » No Comments »

Happy 2014! New Year – New Immigration

Jan 14

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has taken the new year as an opportunity to update, introduce, and amend a variety of Canadian Immigration programs.  The start of 2014 has been very busy in the Immigration world and below I provide a summary of the changes we have seen over the last week.

1.  The reopening of the Parent and Grandparent Family Class sponsorship Programs, which has newly established annual caps on applications to be accepted, higher financing requirements, as well as longer financial support obligations;

2.  Issuance of New Labour Market Opinion forms requiring employer undertakings to review salaries and positions on an annual basis to ensure continuing compliance, and to allow Service Canada to perform onsite spot checks; and

3.  New Ministerial Instructions for the LMO applications to be refused or revoked, as well as the resulting work permits based on unresolvable non-compliance with the LMO conditions.


We were also anticipating that the age of dependent children would also be changed at the beginning of 2014 from 22 (or 24 if continuously a fulltime student), to under 19.  This changes has been temporarily postponed and we currently anticipate that the change will be implemented around May 2014.

Other changes that we can anticipate during 2014 are the following:

1.  Changes to requirements to qualify for citizenship; and

2.  Changes to the requirements for work permits based on Intra-company Transferees.


In addition, when we look back at 2013 we also see changes such as the loss of the Accelerated LMO, the regular closing of a variety of visas posts around the world, the movement toward electronic application filing, the re-introduction of the new Federal Skilled Worker Permanent Residence Program and changes to the Canadian Experience Class Permanent Residence Program.


It feels like Canadian Immigration has completely changed on almost all fronts in the last year and 2014 promised more of the same.  Immigration in Canada is moving quickly and steadily across all Immigration sectors.  When planning relocations and changes of Immigration status in Canada it is becoming increasingly important to seek professional assistance as Canadian Immigration becomes more complex and demanding.

Posted by Sarah Adler » 2 Comments »