Canada: Visas Now Required for Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Jun 17
27


In brief

The Government of Canada announced today that it has instated a visa requirement for citizens of Antigua and Barbuda due to concerns regarding the integrity of travel documents originating from this country. Effective immediately, citizens of Antigua and Barbuda will require a temporary resident visa to enter Canada and Electronic Travel Authorizations (eTAs) previously issued to citizens of this country will no longer be valid.

Discussion

Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda are now required to apply for a temporary resident visa at a Canadian Visa Office abroad prior to travelling to Canada. Temporary resident visas may be valid for up to ten (10) years and authorize multiple entries to Canada for up to six months at a time. The implications of this new visa requirement are as follows:

–  Travellers in transit between June 27, 2017, and June 29, 2017
The Government of Canada will work with airlines to facilitate travel for citizens of Antigua and Barbuda who are already in transit to Canada.

–  Travellers with confirmed flights to Canada between June 27, 2017 and July 11, 2017
For citizens of Antigua and Barbuda who booked and purchased their flights to Canada prior to June 27, 2017, the Canadian Visa Office in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago will expedite the processing of visa applications if proof of purchased flights and itinerary information is provided. The estimated processing time for these visa applications is approximately 24 hours.

–  Travellers with confirmed flights to Canada after July 11, 2017
An application for a temporary resident visa may be submitted online or by paper via a Visa Application Centre. The closest Visa Application Centre to Antigua and Barbuda is located in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The estimated processing time for these visa applications is approximately 14 calendar days.

–  Dual citizens
Dual citizens of Canada and Antigua and Barbuda need a valid Canadian passport to travel to Canada.

Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda who are dual citizens with a visa-exempt country may apply for an eTA using the passport of the visa-exempt country.

–  Lawful permanent residents of the United States (Green Card holders)
Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda who are Green Card holders need an eTA to travel to or transit through Canada by plane. If an individual previously held an eTA, a new one will be required. These travellers must travel to Canada with their U.S. Green Card and valid passport.

Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda who are Green Card holders who are not travelling to Canada by plane need to carry their U.S. Green Card and valid passport when crossing the border into Canada.

–  Visitors, students and temporary workers in Canada
All existing status documents for temporary visit, study, or work in Canada remain valid. However, citizens of Antigua and Barbuda who plan to travel outside Canada must obtain a visa to return to Canada.

Impact

The new visa requirement for citizens of Antigua and Barbuda will make it more difficult and costly for citizens of this country to travel to Canada. Therefore, citizens of Antigua and Barbuda and employers recruiting from this country should be cognizant of this new requirement and plan accordingly.

For further details regarding the new visa requirement for citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, or any other immigration matter, please contact a member of our team.


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United States: Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”

Posted by Immigration Law Team|US Immigration
Jun 17
26


In brief

On Monday June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed parts of President Donald Trump’s executive order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” to go into effect.  The Supreme Court will hear full arguments as to the order’s legality in October.  However, in the meantime the decision allows the Executive Order to go into effect for people with no strong ties to the United States.

Background

The Executive Order calls for a 90-day travel ban of nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and directs heads of executive agencies to review and determine the procedures that should be required for individuals seeking admission from these countries.  Furthermore, the Order seeks to reduce the cap on the admission of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000 for the 2017 fiscal year.

On March 15, 2017 the Federal District Court of Hawaii granted a temporary restraining order with nationwide effect, preventing the enforcement of the travel restriction.  The District Court’s ruling was challenged by the government and upheld by The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on March 30, 2017.  The Ninth Circuit upheld the lower court’s ruling, completely blocking the Executive Order, on the basis that it was discriminatory and failed to provide sufficient rationale as to why the entry of foreign nationals from the designated countries would be detrimental to the United States’ interests.

On Monday June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court granted parts of the Trump administration’s request to put the order into effect while the legal battle continues.  The court narrowed the scope of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling and determined that the Order will go into effect “with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”  The ruling indicates that people from the six countries and refugees who have family, business or educational ties would not be barred from entry.  But those seeking visas to enter the United States with no such ties could be barred.

The Supreme Court’s opinion explained that “for individuals, a close familial relationship is required.” For people who want to come to the United States to work or study, “the relationship must be formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course, not for the purpose of evading” the travel ban.

Recommendations

Although the travel ban remains suspended for U.S. workers with formal ties to the United States, nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who are physically present in the US are advised to either extremely limit their international travel or not travel out of the country at all.  Those concerned that they are not eligible for entry should seek counsel regarding entering the US as soon as possible. Additionally, affected nationals should closely monitor the situation over the coming months, especially since the Order’s legality is expected to be decided by the US Supreme Court this fall.

PwC Law continues to monitor these developments and will be sure to provide updates as changes occur.

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


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Canada: Flagpole Pilot Project Now in Effect

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Jun 17
20


In Brief

The Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) has confirmed that the ‘Flagpole Pilot Project’ is now in full effect at certain land crossings in Southern Ontario.

Discussion

Originally detailed in PwC Law’s Canadian immigration alert on May 2, 2017, the CBSA has confirmed that the Flagpole Pilot Project which prohibits flagpoling at certain land crossings in Southern Ontario during peak periods (i.e. Friday to Monday) is now in full effect.

The ports-of-entry affected by this Pilot Project include:

– Rainbow Bridge

– Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, and

– Fort Erie (Peace Bridge)

Any temporary residents of Canada who attempt to flagpole at these ports-of-entry during the blackout period may be granted re-entry to Canada on the basis of their current status or as a visitor and given the following options:

– Filing an inland extension or change of conditions application or scheduling a landing interview in Canada, or

– Returning to the port-of-entry at their convenience during non-peak periods (i.e. Tuesday to Thursday)

Impact

Any foreign nationals planning to flagpole at the ports-of-entry listed above between Friday and Monday should consider doing so between Tuesday and Thursday instead and/or consult with their legal counsel regarding alternatives.

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


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Canada: Changes to the Citizenship Act as a result of Bill C-6

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Jun 17
20


In Brief

On June 19, 2017, Bill C-6 received Royal Assent, resulting in a number of changes to the current Citizenship Act. Several changes came into effect on June 19, 2017, and others are expected to come into effect in fall 2017 and early 2018.

Discussion

These changes, which are summarized in the below chart, are reflective of the Canadian government’s commitment to streamlining the citizenship process, as well as to enhancing program integrity and ensuring that dual citizens receive equal treatment to other Canadian citizens under the Citizenship Act.

Summary of changes:

Effective datePrevious Citizenship ActCitizenship Act with Bill C-6 Amendments
June 19, 2017Citizenship could be revoked from dual citizens convicted of treason, spying and terrorism offences, depending on the sentence received, or who were a part of an armed force of a country or organized group engaged in conflict with Canada.This provision is repealed. Dual citizens living in Canada who are convicted of these crimes will face the Canadian justice system, like other Canadian citizens who break the law.
Applicants were required to intend to continue to live in Canada if granted citizenshipThis provision is repealed. Applicants are no longer required to intend to continue to live in Canada once granted citizenship.
The Minister had the discretion to waive certain requirements under subsection 5(1) of the Citizenship Act so a minor could obtain citizenship without a Canadian parent.Minors can now apply for citizenship without a Canadian parent, as the age requirement for citizenship has been removed under subsection 5(1). A person having custody of the minor or empowered to act on their behalf by court order, written agreement or operation of law, can now apply for citizenship on behalf of the minor, unless that requirement is waived by the Minister.
No provision existed to prevent individuals serving a sentence in the community (a conditional sentence order) from being granted citizenship, taking the Oath of Citizenship or counting this time towards meeting the physical presence requirements for citizenship.Individuals serving a conditional sentence will not be granted citizenship, will not be able to take the Oath of Citizenship, or be able to count this time towards meeting the physical presence requirements for citizenship.
The Minister has the discretion to grant citizenship to a person to alleviate cases of special and unusual hardship, or to reward services of an exceptional value to Canada.Statelessness has been added as a stand-alone ground that can be considered for a discretionary grant of citizenship.
The Department has reasonable measures to accommodate the needs of citizenship applicants. However, there was no explicit reference to accommodate persons with disabilities in the Citizenship Act.The requirement to take into consideration reasonable measures to accommodate the needs of a citizenship applicant who is a disabled person is now included in the Citizenship Act.
The requirement for applicants to maintain the requirements for citizenship from the time they apply for citizenship until taking the Oath of Citizenship only applied to applications received on or after June 11, 2015.This requirement now also applies to all applications, including those received before June 11, 2015.
Fall 2017Applicants had to be physically present in Canada for 4 out of 6 years before applying for citizenship.Applicants must be present in Canada for 3 out of 5 years before applying for citizenship.Applicants must be present in Canada for 3 out of 5 years before applying for citizenship.
Applicants had to file Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for 4 out of 6 years.Applicants must file Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for 3 out of 5 years.
Applicants had to be physically present in Canada for 183 days in 4 out of the 6 years preceding their application.This provision has been repealed.
Time spent in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident (“PR”) did not count towards the physical presence requirement for citizenship. Applicants may count each day they were physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a PR as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum credit of 365 days.
Applicants between 14 and 64 years had to meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship. Applicants between 18 and 54 years must meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship.
Early 2018The Minister was the decision-maker for most cases of citizenship revocation on the grounds of false representation, fraud, or knowingly concealing material circumstances. The Federal Court was the decision-maker for citizenship revocation cases involving false representation, fraud, or knowingly concealing material circumstances related to security, human or international right violations, and organized criminalityThe Federal Court is the decision-maker in all revocation cases, unless the individual requests that the Minister make the decision.
There was no clear authority for Citizenship Officers to seize fraudulent or suspected fraudulent documents provided under the Citizenship Act. Clear authority for Citizenship Officers to seize fraudulent or suspected fraudulent documents is provided under the Citizenship Act.

 

Impact

The immediate and anticipated changes outlined above are expected to streamline the citizenship process by simplifying and relaxing physical presence requirements, amending the language and knowledge requirements, and allowing time spent in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person prior to obtaining PR status to count toward physical presence for the purposes of obtaining Canadian citizenship. Additionally, these changes are expected to uphold and enhance the integrity of Canada’s citizenship program by ensuring equal treatment of dual citizens and other Canadian citizens.

For more information about these changes or obtaining Canadian citizenship, please contact a member of our team at PwC Law LLP.


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Canada: New Global Skills Strategy launched today

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Jun 17
12


In Brief

The highly anticipated Global Skills Strategy was launched today and is expected to facilitate the entry of high skilled workers into Canada by introducing a new stream under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), new work permit exemptions, expedited processing of work permit applications, and a dedicated service channel.

Discussion

Although further details of the Global Skills Strategy are expected to emerge as the regulatory process eventuates, current details of this multi-faceted strategy are as follows:

1.   Global Talent Stream
2.  New short-term work permit exemption
3.  Two week processing for eligible applications
4.  Dedicated Service Channel

 

1. Global Talent Stream

The Global Skills Strategy has resulted in a new Global Talent Stream under the TFWP, managed by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications under this particular category will be prioritized and are targeted to be processed within ten (10) business days.

Applications filed through the Global Talent Stream will be identified as either Category A, or Category B, distinguished as follows:

Eligibility Requrements

Category A

The employer has been referred by one of fourteen (14) designated partners and is seeking to hire unique and specialized talent.

“Unique and specialized talent” is indicated when an applicant possesses:

–  Advanced industry knowledge
–  Advanced education credential in a relevant area of specialization and / or at least five years experience in a relevant area of specialization; and
–  A high salary, usually of at least CAD $80,000

Category B

The employer wishes to hire a highly-skilled foreign national in an occupation designated on the Global Talent Occupations List, including:

–  Computer and Information Systems Managers (NOC 0213)
–  Computer Engineers (except Software Engineers and Designers) (2147)
–  Information Systems analysts and Consultants (2171)
–  Database Analysts and Data Administrators (2172)
–  Software Engineers and Designers (2173)
–  Computer Programmers and Interactive Media Developers (2174)
–  Web Designers and Developers (2175)
–  Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technologists and Technicians (2241)
–  Information Systems Testing Technicians (2283)
–  Digital Media and Design (5241)

In addition to meeting requirements for the high-wage LMIA stream, as well as the occupation-specific requirements for Category B applications, qualifying employers must include a Labour Market Benefits Plan as part of the LMIA application. The Labour Market Benefits Plan must include the following commitments:

Labour Market Benefits Plan Requirements

Category A

–  Employers must commit to new job creation for Canadian citizens and permanent residents; and
–  An additional two (2) complementary benefits.

Category B

–  Employers must commit to upskilling and making investments into the training of Canadian citizens and permanent residents; and
–  An additional two (2) complementary benefits.

Of significant note, applications filed under the Global Talent Stream will also benefit from and be required to meet the following:

–  Recruitment: No minimum recruitment, however, if conducted, details of such should still be provided;
–  Wages: The prevailing wage must be met, with only guaranteed compensation considered; and
–  Working conditions: All conditions relating to work and workplace safety must comply with applicable employment standards legislation.

Impact

Based on the anticipated popularity of the Global Talent Stream, Category A prospective-employers are advised to contact a designated partner as soon as possible for information on obtaining a referral to the program.

 

2. Short-term work permit exemption categories

Effective immediately, qualifying foreign nationals will be able to enter Canada for a time-limited, non-renewable duration as work-permit exempt visitors under the following conditions:

1. Eligible high-skilled workers employed in NOC skill level 0 or A occupations are able to enter Canada once for a maximum period of fifteen (15) consecutive calendar days within a six (6) month period, OR once for a maximum period of thirty (30) consecutive calendar days within a twelve (12) month period; and

2. Researchers coming to Canada to perform project-based research at a publicly-funded degree-granting institution or affiliated research institution are able to enter Canada once for a maximum period of 120 days every twelve (12) months.

Foreign nationals seeking to rely on this new work permit exemption are required to present an application demonstrating they meet the requirements, whether entering at a Canadian port of entry or applying at a Canadian visa office abroad. They should further track their entries, as foreign nationals may be required to demonstrate their compliance with the requirements in response to concerns from Officers.

Renewals and consecutive uses of this exemption are not permitted.

Impact

As a result of this work-permit exemption, the entry of qualifying skilled workers or researchers will be facilitated, thereby significantly increasing cross-border collaboration and innovation.

Employees seeking to utilize this exemption are also advised to consider their corporate tax obligations, and consult with their local PwC Advisor before utilizing this category.

 

3. Two Week Priority Processing for Eligible Work Permit Applications

Those foreign workers submitting work permit applications from outside of Canada under the Global Skills Strategy on or after June 12, 2017 will be granted access to a targeted two-week processing standard, provided their applications are complete, have been filed online, and fall within one of the following categories:

–  The foreign national is applying for an LMIA-exempt work permit under Canada’s International Mobility Program, for an employer-specific position in a NOC skill level 0 or A occupation; or

–  The foreign national is submitting an LMIA-based work permit application pursuant to an LMIA approved under the Global Talent Stream (regardless of NOC code).

Those foreign nationals wishing to access the two-week processing standard for an LMIA-based work permit under the Global Talent Stream must identify as such when making their online work permit application. Further, those foreign nationals requiring medical examinations should ensure they submit this information upfront. Those requiring biometrics must pay the appropriate fee at the time of submitting the e-application, and obtain biometrics within two (2) weeks (if applicable).

This 2-week standard does not apply to applications lodged before June 12, 2017, to those filed under an International Experience Canada program, or to inland applications and renewals, which will continue to process under standard posted processing times.

Impact

Previously subject to processing times of up to twelve (12) weeks for work permit applications submitted in India, fifteen (15) weeks for those submitted in the United States, and seven (7) weeks for those submitted in China, all qualifying foreign nationals can expect to be able to join their Canadian employer much sooner than would otherwise be possible, provided all criteria have been met.

 

4. Dedicated Service Channel

ESDC will offer a Dedicated Service Channel (DSC) to both employers making a significant job-creating investment in Canada, as well as universities and research institutions. DSC personnel will be available to answer questions and provide guidance to those employers who have been referred to the DSC by one of the 21 organizations listed on IRCC’s DSC designated partner list.

For more information on the Global Skills Strategy or any other immigration matter, please contact a member of our team at
PwC Law LLP.


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United States: Ninth Circuit Affirms District Court’s Injunction Against Travel Ban and Refugee Program Limitations

Posted by Immigration Law Team|US Immigration
Jun 17
12


Ninth Circuit Affirms District Court’s Injunction Against Travel Ban and Refugee Program Limitations

 

In brief

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed an earlier District Court order suspending enforcement of President Trump’s revised Executive Order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”  The revised order was to take effect on March 16, 2017 and was to reinstate a 90-day ban on travel of nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  The order directed heads of the executive agencies to review processes in order to determine additional procedures that should be required for individuals seeking admission as refugees.  Furthermore, the Order reduced the cap on the admission of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000 for the 2017 fiscal year.  The Ninth Circuit ruling continues to make the Executive Order unenforceable.  It is anticipated that the United States Department of Justice will appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court.

Background

On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order suspending the entry of nationals of seven countries, with limited exceptions, into the United States as immigrants and nonimmigrants for 90 days. The initial travel restriction remained in effect until February 3, 2017, when the Federal District Court in Washington issued a temporary restraining order preventing the enforcement of the travel restriction. Despite a request for a stay of the temporary restraining order, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit unanimously denied such a request, thereby making the travel restrictions unenforceable. On February 16, 2017, the Trump Administration stated that the Executive Order would be replaced with a new one.

On March 6, 2017, a new Executive Order was signed, which revoked and replaced the previous Order, and which was to become effective on March 16, 2017. The revised Order contained several changes that were supposed to address the deficiencies of the prior Order. Despite these changes, on March 15, 2017, Federal District Courts in Hawaii and Maryland granted temporary restraining orders with nationwide effect, preventing enforcement of the travel restriction.

On March 30, 2017 the Government filed a notice of appeal for the Federal District Court of Hawaii’s ruling with The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, requesting that the court vacate the preliminary injunction.  Today the Ninth Circuit issued its ruling and upheld the District Court ruling.  The judges largely affirmed the District Court’s decision which found the core provisions of the revised executive order—namely the 90 day ban on travel for citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen including all refugees—violated the Constitution because the Order’s primary purpose was to discriminate on religious grounds.  The court also held that the Executive Order failed to provide a sufficient rationale as to why entry of foreign nationals from the designated countries would be detrimental to the United States’ interests.  For these reasons, the Ninth Circuit ruled to affirm in large part the District Court’s order suspending enforcement of President Trump’s revised Executive Order.

Recommendations

The Ninth Circuit’s ruling today continues to suspend the enforcement of the Executive Order and consequently the enforcement of a “travel ban”.  Despite the rulings, nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who are physically present in the US are advised to either extremely limit their international travel or not travel out of the country at all.  Those concerned that they are only eligible for entry as a result of the temporary restraining orders should seek counsel regarding entering the US as soon as possible. Additionally, affected nationals should closely monitor the situation over the coming months, especially since it is widely anticipated the Ninth Circuit ruling will be appealed and ultimately decided by the US Supreme Court.

PwC Law continues to monitor these developments and will be sure to provide updates as changes occur.

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

 


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Canada: Changes to Express Entry to come into effect June 6, 2017

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Jun 17
5


In brief

On March 31, 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced changes to the Express Entry ranking system, designed to facilitate the integration of skilled workers in Canada. These changes will come into effect on June 6, 2017.

Discussion

The changes, which include removing the mandatory Job Bank registration requirement, and awarding additional points to those Express Entry candidates with adult siblings residing in Canada who are Canadian or permanent residents, and those candidates with strong French language skills, were detailed in PwC Law’s immigration blog post, published on March 31, 2017.

In addition to awarding additional points to qualifying candidates, IRCC has recently announced changes to the method in which candidates in the Express Entry pool are ranked against those with the same Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. Previously, all candidates in the Express Entry pool who met the cut-off score were issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA). This made it difficult for IRCC to manage the number of ITAs issued in each round of invitations, as each score level represents a significant number of candidates. With its new ranking system, when two candidates hold the same CRS points score, and that score is the minimum required score for that round of invitations, IRCC will rank the profiles based on the time and date when the profiles were originally submitted, with those profiles submitted earlier being first in line to receive an ITA.

IRCC has advised that candidates who update their profile will maintain their original position in the queue, however, those who withdraw their profile and submit a new one will be considered last-in and, therefore, rank lower than those candidates with the same points score who have submitted their profiles earlier.

Impact

As of June 6, 2017, those candidates with siblings who are Canadian or who have permanent resident status, or those candidates with strong French language skills will be awarded additional CRS points. However, candidates wishing to receive additional points for their French language skills must have reported a qualifying score as a result of a language test administered by a recognized institution. As such, French-speaking candidates who have not previously taken a French language test, or whose results have expired, should ensure they take such a test as soon as possible so they may accurately report their French language skills and qualify for additional points.

Candidates should note that an update to their Express Entry profile, such as an update to report their French language score, will not result in their application being shifted to the end of the queue. However, when making changes to the profile, as a result of IRCC’s new ranking system, candidates should be vigilant that they do not inadvertently withdraw their profiles. In the event that a profile is withdrawn and then re-submitted, the new application will be ranked lower than all previously existing candidate-profiles with the same CRS points score.

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

 


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