Canada: Changes to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) announced May 30, 2017

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
May 17
30


In brief

On May 30, 2017, Suzanne Hastie, Ontario’s Director, Business Immigration and Selection, announced the following three changes to the OINP:

–  The Employer Job Offer stream has been re-designed and will re-open for online processing during the week of May 31, 2017.
–  A new stream called the Express Entry Skilled Trades stream has been created in response to stakeholder feedback.
–  Changes have been made to the Entrepreneur Stream’s selection criteria.

Discussion

Employer Job Offer stream

This OINP stream has been streamlined and is set to re-open via the OINP’s online application processing system this week. The employer pre-screen approval stage for this application has been removed, and a new form, the Employer Job Offer and Declaration Form, has been introduced. This form must be filled out by the employer, as an attestation that they meet the criteria for the program.

It is important to note that the selection criteria and processing fees for this stream have not been changed. Processing time for this stream is expected to improve. A detailed Application Guide for this revamped stream will be released by the OINP shortly.

Express Entry Skilled Trades stream

In response to stakeholder feedback, the Ontario government has created a stream targeting skilled tradespersons within the construction and agricultural sectors. In order to be eligible for this stream, the eligibility criteria includes:

–  12 months of full-time skilled work experience in Ontario in an eligible NOC B occupation within the last 2 years;
–  Residence in Ontario with a valid work permit;
–  Certification, if applicable, with the provincial trade authority;
–  Language proficiency score of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 or above in English or French; and
–  Minimum amount of settlement funds in savings or income.

Entrepreneur Stream

The Ontario government has introduced some revisions to this stream’s selection criteria. The revisions are as follows:
–  The minimum language requirement has been lowered from CLB 5 to CLB 4.
–  Additional points, to a maximum of 10 points, will now be awarded for applicants who intend to establish a business in a smaller community in Ontario.

Impact

It is anticipated that the above changes to the OINP will help employers in Ontario attract and retain global talent. More specifically, the re-opening and streamlining of the Employer Job Offer stream may simplify and expedite the process for skilled workers who want to pursue permanent residence in Canada. The creation of the Express Entry Skilled Trades stream may provide a pathway for otherwise ineligible individuals to pursue permanent residency in Ontario through the federal Express Entry system. Lastly, the changes made to the Entrepreneur Stream’s selection criteria may facilitate economic growth in Ontario’s smaller communities, as well as facilitate permanent residency for individuals who may not qualify for other pathways.

For more information about these changes to the OINP, please contact PwC Law LLP.


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Canada: CBSA Postpones Restriction on Flag-Poling During Certain Days

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
May 17
4


In brief

On May 2, 2017, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) informally announced that it would no longer be permitting flag-poling at certain land crossings in the Southern Ontario Region during peak periods. CBSA has, today, clarified that the implementation of this initiative will be delayed until further notice.

Impact

CBSA has confirmed that this initiative, which would have prohibited the use of flag-poling to apply for an immigration status document or complete the permanent residence landing process at high volume ports-of-entry, including Queenston, Niagara Falls, Rainbow Bridge and Fort Erie (Peace Bridge) during peak periods (i.e. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, or Mondays), will not be brought into effect until further notice. As the implementation of this initiative was postponed and not cancelled altogether, please stay tuned for more information.

(To read our earlier Alert outlining the restrictions that CBSA had initially announced, please click here)

For more information regarding this initiative or any other immigration matter, please contact a member of our team at PwC Law LLP.


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Canada: Flag-Poling Restricted During Peak Periods in Southern Ontario Region

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
May 17
2


In brief

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) informally announced today that it will no longer be permitting flag-poling at certain land crossings in the Southern Ontario Region during peak periods, effective immediately.

Discussion

Foreign nationals who do not require a temporary resident visa to enter Canada are eligible to apply for an immigration status document (e.g. work permit, study permit, etc.) at a Canadian port-of-entry (e.g. land crossing or international airport). Further, all foreign nationals are eligible to complete the permanent residence landing process at a Canadian port-of-entry as an alternative to landing at an inland immigration office.

Qualifying foreign nationals who are present in Canada can enter the United States of America and then apply for their immigration status document or complete the permanent residence landing process upon re-entry to Canada. This process is colloquially referred to as “flag-poling” and is often advantageous due to lengthy processing times for applications and wait times for landing interviews within Canada.

To alleviate pressure at land border crossings, the CBSA informally announced today that it will no longer be permitting flag-poling at certain high volume ports-of-entry in the Southern Ontario Region during peak periods (i.e. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, or Mondays), effective immediately. The ports-of-entry affected by this initiative include:

– Queenston;
– Niagara Falls;
– Rainbow Bridge; and
– Fort Erie (Peace Bridge).

If a foreign national attempts to flag-pole at the above ports-of-entry between Friday and Monday, it is likely that their examination will be deferred and they will be directed to return to that port-of-entry on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. If a foreign national’s immigration status has expired or will be expiring imminently, there is the added risk that their status document may not be renewed in a timely manner if their examination is deferred and/or they may be denied re-entry to Canada.

Impact

In light of this new initiative, any foreign national planning to flag-pole at the ports-of-entry listed above between Friday and Monday should consider re-entering between Tuesday and Thursday and/or consult with their legal counsel about re-entering at an alternative port-of-entry. Further, this initiative highlights the importance of maintaining valid immigration status and filing extension applications in a timely manner.

For more information regarding this initiative or any other immigration matters, please contact a member of our team at PwC Law LLP.


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