Canada: Ontario’s Commitment to Modernizing Immigration for the New Economy

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Feb 17
27


In Brief

During an exclusive gathering on February 16, 2017, the Honourable Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Laura Albanese, and the Honourable Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development Deb Matthews announced changes to Ontario’s Provincial Nominee Program.

Discussion

In a renewed commitment to ensuring Ontario’s provincial nominee program addresses Ontario’s current labour market need, changes announced by Ministers Albanese and Matthews include the reopening of the Ontario Master’s, PhD, and Express Entry Human Capital Priorities streams, previously closed since May 2016. The Honourable Ministers also announced an increase in Ontario’s 2017 provincial immigration allocation from 5,500 to 6,000.

Ontario’s International Graduate stream provides international graduates of Ontario Master’s or PhD university programs the opportunity to settle permanently in Canada. Under the Master’s stream, graduates of qualifying Ontario universities who meet the requisite language requirements and are residing legally in Canada can apply for a provincial nomination without holding an approved job offer. PhD graduates can apply under the same conditions from anywhere in the world. Following today’s special announcement, qualifying candidates may be able to submit their application under one of these two streams as early as next week.

Minister Albanese also announced the reopening of Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities stream. Created in mid-2015, the Human Capital Priorities stream issues provincial nominations to those Express Entry candidates with a human capital score of at least 400, who indicate an interest in settling permanently in Ontario. With this nomination, Express Entry candidates will receive a 600-point increase, virtually guaranteeing them an Invitation to Apply under the next round of invitations. The Human Capital Priorities stream will also begin accepting applications next week.

Following in the footsteps of Ontario’s French Speaking Skilled Worker program which made the move to an online application intake system in late January, all three newly reopened streams will move online, facilitating access for qualifying candidates.

Impact

The re-opening of the Ontario Master’s, PhD, and Human Capital Priorities stream provides qualifying candidates with more and better opportunities to settle permanently in Ontario. However, those employers looking to capitalize upon Ontario’s provincial nomination programs will have to wait, as dates for the re-opening of the employer-driven streams are not expected until later in 2017.

For more information on Ontario’s provincial nomination programs, please contact PwC Law LLP.


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United States: 9th Circuit Upholds Suspension of President Trump’s Travel Ban

Posted by Immigration Law Team|US Immigration
Feb 17
10


In Brief

On February 9, 2017, The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied an emergency motion from President Trump’s administration, meaning that citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen with valid travel documents may continue to enter the U.S. for the time being.

Discussion

Previously, President Trump’s administration issued an executive order which prevented citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from traveling to the U.S., regardless of whether they possessed valid travel documents. The travel ban remained in effect until February 3, 2017, when a Federal Judge in Seattle, Washington issued a nationwide restraining order that temporarily blocked enforcement of the executive order. President Trump’s administration appealed the restraining order, arguing that the travel ban should be reinstated until the court made a final decision on the case.

However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, and upheld the restraining order issued by the lower court. The decision was made unanimously by the three-judge panel, which discussed the public’s interest in free travel, avoiding separation of families, and freedom from discrimination. As a result, citizens of Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are currently authorized to travel to the U.S. until further notice, provided they possess valid travel documents.

Recommendations

Despite the ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who are physically present in the U.S. are advised not to travel out of the country at this time, until the situation is further resolved. Additionally, citizens of the above mentioned countries who are currently outside the U.S., but who have immigrant or non-immigrant visas, are advised to return to the U.S. as soon as possible, while the travel ban is temporarily suspended.

For further details regarding the travel ban, or any other immigration matters, please contact a member of our team.


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United States: Update on Executive Order – Travel ban to the US temporarily lifted

Posted by Immigration Law Team|US Immigration
Feb 17
6


A Judge of the United States District Court, Seattle, Washington has issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against parts of the January 27, 2017 Executive Order which temporarily stopped the admission of individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  In relevant part, the Judge has ordered a national TRO against the Executive Order which will allow the admission of individuals from the restricted countries as well as refugees in possession of a US visa.

Moreover, media reports are indicating that the State Department are reinstating the US visas for individuals from the 7 countries which had been revoked, although there was no official confirmation of this at time of writing.

The situation continues to be very fluid, with the White House indicating that it will appeal the decision.  Caution is still advised to those from one of the 7 affected countries, if in the US, that they not depart.

For further details on the Executive Order, or on any other immigration matters, please contact a member of our team.


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Canada: Temporary public policy concerning foreign nationals affected by Executive Order

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Feb 17
2


In Brief

On January 27, 2017, the President of the United States of America signed an Executive Order prohibiting foreign nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen from entering the United States of America for a period of at least 90 days.  Subsequently, on January 31, 2017, the Honourable Ahmed Hussein, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), announced a temporary public policy to assist foreign nationals  who are adversely affected by the Executive Order in applying for, or extending their, Canadian temporary resident status. This temporary public policy is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. EST on April 30, 2017.

Discussion

Foreign nationals from the aforementioned counties who are currently in Canada with valid temporary resident status (visitor, student, worker) and who hold valid temporary resident status in the United States of America may not be able to return to the United States of America during the prescribed period as a result of the Executive Order.  Further, those who were transiting through Canada on their way to the United States of America may not be able to enter the United States of America during the prescribed period as a result of the Executive Order.  Therefore, IRCC has implemented special measures to assist foreign nationals who are essentially stranded in Canada as a result of the Executive Order.

Citizens of the aforementioned countries require a Canadian temporary resident visa (TRV), or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) if they are a permanent resident of the United States of America, to enter Canada.  If a foreign national made arrangements to travel to the United States of America but is unable to do so as a result of the Executive Order, he / she may be able to apply for a Canadian temporary resident permit at a Canadian port-of-entry (e.g. international airport) to enter Canada if they do not have a Canadian TRV or eTA without having to pay the applicable processing fee.

If a foreign national is currently in Canada as a temporary resident and he / she  made arrangements to travel to the United States of America but is unable to do so as a result of the Executive Order, he / she may be able to apply for restoration and / or an extension of their Canadian temporary resident status without having to pay the restoration fee (if required) and applicable processing fee(s) and they may be able to apply for work authorization if they do not have sufficient means to support themselves during their temporary stay in Canada.

In order to be eligible for Canadian temporary resident status based on these public policy considerations, the foreign national must hold a visa or other document that is normally required to enter the United States of America and they must not be inadmissible to Canada other than for a failure to obtain a TRV or eTA.

Impact

IRCC will consider all applications subject to these public policy considerations on a case-by-case basis.  Therefore, all foreign nationals who are seeking to rely upon the public policy considerations should include a detailed explanation as to how they are affected by the Executive Order as part of their application and mark their application as “Urgent: Facilitation” for expedited processing.

For information about this temporary public policy, please contact PwC Law LLP.

 

 


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United States: Update on Executive Order: Clarification as to how dual nationals from restricted travel countries will be handled

Posted by Immigration Law Team|US Immigration
Feb 17
2


US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has recently issued an FAQ addressing the January 27, 2017 Executive Order which temporarily stopped the admission of individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  In relevant part, CBP has stated that dual nationals will be processed for entry according to the travel document they present to the CBP officer.  Thus, dual nationals of the seven designated countries may still be permitted entry to the United States so long as they present a passport from a country that is not on the banned list.  However, do note that there have been isolated reports of dual nationals travelling on their passport from a non-banned country who have been detained, so it is best to be aware of this possibility and continue exercising caution.

CBP has also indicated that US permanent residents (green card holders) from the listed countries will be permitted entry (granted a waiver) into the United States, absent any indication that they might pose a serious threat to public safety and welfare.  What constitutes a threat to public safety and welfare is not clear however foreign nationals from the banned countries who are U.S. legal permanent residents can expect further questioning at the border.

For further details on the Executive Order, or any other immigration matters, please contact a member of our team.


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Canada: Atlantic Immigration Pilot opening in early March 2017

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Feb 17
2


In brief

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will be launching the Atlantic Immigration Pilot in early March 2017 in an effort to stimulate Atlantic Canada’s economic growth. This pilot program consists of three employer-driven categories which will allow skilled immigrants and international graduates to pursue permanent residency in one of the Atlantic Provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Beginning in early March 2017, IRCC will accept a total of up to 2,000 applications.

Discussion

In recognition of Atlantic Canada’s aging population and shrinking labour force, the Canadian government developed the Atlantic Growth Strategy as a means of ensuring the region’s continued economic success. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot is a key initiative within this strategy as it facilitates permanent residency for skilled immigrants and international graduates. These individuals can apply for permanent residency through one of three employer-driven categories:

1. The Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program (AISP)

2. The Atlantic High-Skilled Program (AHSP), and

3. The Atlantic International Graduate Program (AIGP)

Each category has its own specific eligibility requirements with respect to the duration of the job offer, level of education and related work experience. However, generally, applicants must hold a full-time job offer from a designated employer in order to qualify. Additionally, applicants must meet certain language requirements and obtain a letter of endorsement from one of the Atlantic Provinces. International graduates must have graduated from a publicly-funded institution in one of the Atlantic Provinces within the previous 12 months in order to qualify.

Prior to issuing a qualifying job offer to an applicant, an employer must first become a designated employer by meeting certain requirements which include committing to support the newcomer and their family as they integrate into life in Atlantic Canada. These requirements vary amongst the Atlantic Provinces.

Impact

The innovative Atlantic Immigration Pilot is expected to stimulate economic growth in Atlantic Canada by making it easier for employers in the region to attract and retain skilled immigrants. In recognition of the pressing labour needs of Atlantic Canada, employers will not need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which is often an onerous process. Employers, however, will be required to support the newcomer in his or her long-term integration, including connecting the newcomer and their accompanying family member(s) with a settlement organization to develop an individualized settlement plan. The Atlantic Provinces are now accepting applications to become a designated employer under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot. Therefore, any employers who are interested in participating in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot should apply to become a designated employer immediately due to the limited quota under this Pilot.

For information on the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, please contact PwC Law LLP.


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Canada: Special Authorization Period extended

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Feb 17
2


In Brief

On January 27, 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced an extension of the Special Authorization program for dual-Canadian citizens, granting them additional time to acquire a valid Canadian passport.

Discussion

Following consultations with several stakeholders including major international airlines, IRCC has extended the Special Authorization program for an undefined period. This program, designed to minimize travel disruptions arising from IRCC’s new Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) requirement, allows dual-Canadian citizens who do not hold a valid Canadian travel document a short window to board their flight into Canada. Accordingly, dual-Canadian citizens with a passport from a visa-exempt nation and arranged travel plans to enter Canada within 10 days of their application may apply for a Special Authorization which, if granted, is valid for 4 days from the date of travel.

Impact

Due to Canada’s mobility rights, Canadian citizens are ineligible to apply for an eTA. Accordingly, IRCC’s announcement allows dual-Canadian citizens who hold a valid passport from a visa exempt nation to continue to benefit from the Special Authorization program until they can acquire a valid Canadian passport.

For information on obtaining a Special Authorization, please contact PwC Law LLP.


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United States: DACA Amnesty Program cancellation

Posted by Immigration Law Team|US Immigration
Feb 17
1


In brief

A leaked draft executive order reveals that Donald Trump may sign an executive order ending the DACA program instituted under President Obama.

Background

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an amnesty program created by executive order under President Obama which allows foreign-born nationals who entered the United States when they were younger than 16 years old, have no felony convictions, and who pursue education, to be temporarily protected from deportation and allowed to work in the United States.

Impact

A leaked draft executive order reflects that Donald Trump might end this amnesty program for childhood arrivals.  The following information is based on our analysis of the leaked draft.  The final order, if signed, may differ.

By the terms of this draft executive order, work permits already issued will remain valid only for their current respective durations.  On expiry, work authorization for DACA beneficiaries will not be renewed and they will no longer be protected from deportation.

If these orders are officially executed, our office will provide detailed analysis on their impact.

For further details regarding the draft executive order ending DACA, or any other immigration matters, please contact a member of our team.


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