Canada: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada releases new immigration figures for upcoming three years

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Nov 17
2


In brief:

On November 1, 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) released new immigration targets for 2018, 2019, and 2020, respectively. These figures represent an increase from previous years, and demonstrate IRCC’s heightened commitment to strengthen Canada’s long-term economic outlook by way of immigration.

Discussion:

Announced by the Honourable Minister Ahmed Hussen, the newly released immigration targets are as follows:

– 2018: 310,000 new permanent residents, including 177,500 economic migrants;
– 2019: 330,000 new permanent residents, including 191,600 economic migrants; and
– 2020: 340,000 new permanent residents, including 195,800 economic migrants.

These immigration targets are structured to gradually reach 1% of Canada’s current population over the three year period. The majority will be allocated for economic immigration streams while the remainder will be reserved for the family, humanitarian, and refugee classes. These numbers are designed to help guard against the negative economic effects of Canada’s aging population by providing an increased supply of skilled workers to take up employment in various higher-skilled employment sectors. In recognition of meeting provincial needs in addition to the federal government’s economic goals, the figures continue to allocate just under one half of all economic migration to provincial nominee programs.

Impact:

As these new figures represent an increase from previous annual targets, hopeful Express Entry candidates should have a better chance of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence. Similarly, as provinces will be authorized to accept more economic immigrants through their respective provincial nominee programs, qualifying applicants intending to reside in specific provinces may wish to consider submitting an application under one of these programs.

IRCC has also noted that the increased numbers allocated to family class immigration – including spouses, partners and children, as well as the parent and grandparent class – will “create the space needed to reduce backlogs and decrease processing times for families sponsoring spouses, children, parents, grandparents, and caregivers.” Accordingly, those who have submitted applications to sponsor an eligible member of the family class may expect to receive a response on their application sooner than anticipated, although the efficacy of this commitment remains to be seen. Overall, the increase in target levels is a welcome announcement from IRCC, one that is expected to strengthen Canada’s short- and long-term economic and social goals.

For more information about immigrating to Canada, please contact a member of our team at PwC Law LLP.


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Canada: Changes to the maximum age of dependent children

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Oct 17
26


In brief:

Effective October 24, 2017, the maximum age of a dependent child is increased to 22 years of age. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has now updated its website to reflect this change.

Discussion:

As of October 24, 2017, the definition of a dependent child has changed to a child who depends on their parent for financial and other support and who is both: 

– under 22 years old; and
– without a spouse or common-law partner.

Children 22 years of age or older will qualify as dependents if they meet both of the following requirements:

– They have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22; and
– They are unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition.

For more information on the increase in the maximum age of dependent child that was previously provided when the proposed increase was announced in November 2016, please see PwC Law LLP’s client alert here:

https://www.pwc.com/ca/en/law/immigration-law/resource-centre/immigration-alerts/several-immigration-developments-announced-this-week.html

Impact:

This amended definition will now allow individuals seeking permanent residence to include their children who are under the age of 22, and in some circumstances over the age of 22, within their application for Canadian permanent residence. By widening the scope of the age requirement, it allows more flexibility to include children that are dependent, but who were otherwise not permitted to be included prior to this change, as they were over the age of 19.

For more information about these changes or obtaining Canadian permanent residency, please contact PwC Law LLP.


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Canada: Changes and updates to the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Oct 17
24


In brief:

Effective January 2, 2018, the Government of Alberta will reduce the number of streams available to applicants looking to apply for permanent residency under the AINP. The AINP will be implementing a new Alberta Opportunity Stream (AOS) which will replace two of the current streams. In January 2018, the AINP will be updating its website to reflect these changes and provide intake and nomination guidelines that will set the maximum number of applications accepted and nominations issued each year.

Discussion:

Starting January 2, 2018, the AINP will make the following changes:

Streams on or before January 1, 2018Changes on or after January 2, 2018
Employer-Driven StreamReplaced by the new AOS
Strategic Recruitment StreamReplaced by the new AOS
Self-Employed Farmer StreamN/A

Complete applications for the Employer-Driven and Strategic Recruitment streams postmarked on or before January 1, 2018 will continue to be accepted, along with those applications which are currently in queue to be processed. As such, applications made under the AOS that are postmarked before January 2, 2018 will not be accepted.

In addition, the AINP will also have an Alberta Express Entry stream operational in January 2018, which will allow Alberta to nominate a limited number of qualified application from the Government of Canada’s Express Entry system.

Impact:

These planned changes are made in hopes to simplify the application process, reduce wait times, and make it fairer for applicants across all sectors and industries in Alberta to apply for permanent residency. In addition, the AINP hopes to be more responsive to emerging labour market needs while supporting the goal of building a skilled, permanent workforce and a more diversified economy.

For more information about these changes or obtaining Canadian permanent residencyplease 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
Oct 17
4


In brief:

On June 19, 2017, Bill C-6 received Royal Assent, resulting in a number of changes to the Citizenship Act. Several changes came into effect on June 19, 2017, with other changes coming into effect in fall 2017 and early 2018. Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, confirmed that certain key changes to the Citizenship Act will be coming into force as of October 11, 2017.

Discussion:

The citizenship changes which will come into force on October 11, 2017 include:

–  To be eligible for citizenship, applicants will be required to be physically present in Canada for 3 out of the 5 years preceding their application. Under the current regime, applicants must be physically present in Canada for 4 out of the 6 years preceding their citizenship application, including a minimum of 183 days in each of those 4 years.

–  Citizenship applicants will be permitted to count each day they were physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident as a half-day towards meeting their physical presence requirement for citizenship, to a maximum credit of 365 days. Under the current regime, citizenship applicants may not count any time spent in Canada as a permanent resident or protected person towards the citizenship’s physical present eligibility requirements.

–  Applicants between the ages of 18 and 54 will be required to undergo language testing and write a citizenship examination. At present, applicants between the ages of 14 and 64 must meet language and knowledge requirements.

–  Applicants must provide Canadian tax returns for 3 out of the 5 years preceding their application, when they are required to file such tax returns by law. At present, applicants must submit tax returns for 4 out of the 6 years leading up to their citizenship application.

With this announcement, all of the proposed changes that were announced on June 19, 2017 will come into force as of October 11, 2017.

For a complete list of the changes that were introduced on June 19, 2017, please see PwC Law LLP’s client alert here:

http://immigrationblog.ca.pwc.com/canada-immigration-changes-to-the-citizenship-act

Impact:

The previous and anticipated changes to the Citizenship Act are expected to streamline the citizenship process by simplifying and relaxing the application requirements. These changes are necessary to support the implementation of amendments to the Citizenship Act made pursuant to the Bill C-6, which will facilitate access to citizenship for qualified applicants.

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 Work Permit and Business Visitor Avenues Under CETA

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Sep 17
27


In Brief

On September 21, 2017, the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), a free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union (EU), entered into provisional force. With a mandate to facilitate international trade, CETA’s immigration provisions will make it easier and faster for qualifying EU citizens to enter Canada on a temporary basis for business purposes.

Discussion

CETA includes provisions pertaining to both professional employees and independent contractors, as well as employees of EU-member state companies seeking to work at the operations of related Canadian entities.

1. Contractual Services Suppliers and Independent Professionals

Contractual Services Suppliers are employees of EU enterprises which have service agreements with Canadian entities and which do not have a presence in Canada. To qualify for a work permit under this provision, a contractual services supplier must:

–  Be employed with an EU-based enterprise that has a contract to supply a service to a Canadian service consumer;
–  Have been employed with the EU-based enterprise for at least 1 year prior to the submission of the application;
–  Possess 3 years of professional experience in the sector which is the subject of the contract; and
–  Not receive remuneration for the provision of services from a Canadian entity.

Independent Professionals are self-employed EU nationals with a contract to provide services to a Canadian service consumer. To qualify for a work permit, an independent professional must:

–  Supply a service to a Canadian company on a temporary basis as a self-employed person; and
–  Possess at least 6 years of professional experience in the sector or activity which is the subject to the contract at the time the application is submitted.

Additionally, applicants under both the Contractual Services Suppliers and Independent Professional categories must:

–  Be citizens of an EU member state;
–  Be delivering services in a designated sector such as architecture, engineering, computer and related services, management consulting, mining, financial services, and research and development, among others;
–  Possess a university degree or equivalent qualifications; and
–  Have valid provincial, territorial, or federal certification, licensing, or registration in the Canadian jurisdiction where the service will be supplied (where relevant).

EU professionals who qualify under the above categories may be eligible for a work permit valid for the length of the service contract to a maximum period of 12 months within any 24 month period, or for the duration of the contract, whichever period is less.  Government will also grant extensions on a discretionary basis.

2. Intra-Company (Intra-Corporate) Transferees

The Intra-Company Transferee provisions in CETA are similar to those in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other free trade agreements, with the addition of a new sub-stream for graduate trainees.

To qualify for a work permit under this category, an Intra-Company Transferee must:

–  Have been employed with, or been partners in, an EU-member state entity for at least 1 year;
–  Have a job offer with a related company in Canada; and
–  Meet the eligibility criteria for the Senior Personnel, Specialist, or Graduate Trainee sub-streams.

For the purposes of CETA, Senior Personnel refers to individuals who provide direction and oversight for a company or department / division within the company, and generally have discretionary decision-making powers and the latitude to hire and fire employees.  Specialists are similar to specialized knowledge personnel under the NAFTA Intra-Company Transfer categories, and must have advanced and uncommon knowledge of the company’s products or services.

Qualifying Senior Personnel and Specialists are eligible for work permits valid for the length of the contract or for up to 3 years, whichever time period is less. Extensions of up to 18 months are possible at the adjudicating officer’s discretion.

To qualify for a work permit as an Intra-Company Transferee, Graduate Trainees must:

–  Possess a university degree; and
–  Take up employment with an enterprise in Canada for career development purposes, or to obtain training in business techniques and / or methods.

Graduate Trainees who qualify under this category may be eligible for a work permit valid for the length of their contract or for up to 1 year, whichever is less. No extensions are permitted under this category.

3. Investors

The investor provisions of CETA apply to applicants who:

–  Will establish, develop, or administer the operation of an investment in a capacity that is supervisory or executive;
–  Are the investor; and
–  Are employed by an enterprise that has committed to or is in the process of committing a substantial amount of capital to the investment.

Investors who qualify under this category may be eligible for a work permit valid for 1 year, with possible extensions at the discretion of the adjudicating officer.

4. Business Visitors

CETA includes provisions relating to both short-term business visitors and those entering Canada for investment purposes. EU nationals may enter Canada under CETA’s short-term business visitor provisions to attend meetings and consultations, training seminars, conduct research for an EU-member state headquartered enterprise, attend trade fairs and exhibitions, sales, purchasing, and provide after-sales or after-lease services, among other activities.

Short-term business visitors cannot:

–  Engage in selling goods or services to the general public;
–  Receive remuneration directly or indirectly from a source in Canada; and / or
–  Be engaged in the supply of a service, with certain exceptions.

Business visitors for investment purposes must be employed in a managerial or specialist position, and be entering Canada to establish an enterprise, but must not engage in direct transactions with the general public or receive direct or indirect remuneration from a Canadian source.

Under both categories, business visitors will be granted entry for a maximum of 90 days in any 6 month period.

Impact

In keeping with CETA’s mandate to facilitate the exchange of goods and services, CETA’s mobility provisions are somewhat more limited than other free trade agreements, such as NAFTA. Nevertheless, CETA does offer some new avenues for citizens of participating EU member states to enter Canada as business visitors or to obtain work permits. CETA will be particularly useful for Canadian companies looking to bring in EU-based contract or independent service providers, as well as for EU investors and graduates looking to take up employment in Canada for training purposes. As certain provisions in CETA – particularly those relating to intra-company transferees and business visitors – mirror provisions found elsewhere in Canadian immigration law, employers should consult with their legal counsel to determine the most advantageous route for their employees.

For more information on CETA, 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
Sep 17
20


In brief

On June 19, 2017, Bill C-6 received Royal Assent, resulting in a number of changes to the Citizenship Act. Several changes came into effect on June 19, 2017, and others were expected to come into effect in fall 2017 and early 2018. Today, the Canada Gazette published additional information regarding some of the proposed changes to the Citizenship Act.  

Discussion

Some of the changes which were anticipated for Fall 2017 were published by the Canada Gazette today, and are coming into force. These changes will be implemented once all updates to the program delivery instructions and manuals, application kits, guidelines, IT systems and web pages are completed.

For a complete list of the changes that were introduced on June 19, 2017, please see PwC Law LLP’s client alert here: 

http://immigrationblog.ca.pwc.com/blog/canada-immigration-news/canada-changes-to-the-citizenship-act-as-a-result-of-bill-c-6

The changes which were published by the Canada Gazette today include:

–  The tax filing requirement for those applicants required to do so under the Income Tax Act, have changed from four taxation years in a period of six years to three taxation years in a period of five years to match the proposed change to the physical presence requirement.

–  Applicants are no longer required to be physically present in Canada for 183 days in the 4 out of 6 years preceding their application, as this provision has been repealed. The subparagraph outlining the requirement to provide evidence of this requirement will be removed.

 –  The age range for those applicants who are required to meet the language requirements for citizenship has been amended from those between the ages of 14 and 64 years, to those who are between the ages of 18 and 54 years.

Impact

The previous, current and anticipated changes to the Citizenship Act are expected to streamline the citizenship process by simplifying and relaxing the application requirements. These changes are required in order to support the implementation of amendments to the Citizenship Act made pursuant to the Bill C-6, which will facilitate access to citizenship for qualified applicants.

Practitioners may want to revisit any ongoing citizenship applications they have, in order to determine whether applicants may be impacted by the above-referenced changes.

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: Changes to the Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Sep 17
5


In brief

On September 1, 2017 Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) published updates to the Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship Program.

Discussion

IRCC announced an update to the newly implemented application intake process for the Parents and Grandparents Program. Under the new process, which took effect January 3, 2017, Canadian citizens and permanent residents who wanted to sponsor their parents and grandparents to reside in Canada had to first complete an online form and join a pool of applicants from which they would be randomly selected.

As of this year, 10,000 individuals were selected and invited to submit an application to sponsor their parents and grandparents. They were given 90 calendar days to submit their applications which fell due on August 4, 2017. However, IRCC did not receive 10,000 complete applications by the deadline and thus a second round of emails will be sent on September 6, 2017, to invite additional potential sponsors to submit an application.

In this second round of invitations, only those who have been randomly selected will receive an email inviting them to submit an application. These potential sponsors will have until December 8, 2017 to submit their completed applications to IRCC, excluding those potential sponsors who were invited in the first round, but did not submit their applications. Those potential sponsors will not have another chance to submit their applications in 2017.

As of September 6, 2017, potential sponsors can confirm whether or not they have been selected by looking up their unique Confirmation Number and comparing it to the list of numbers that were randomly selected.

Impact

Those who were not randomly selected in the first round of invitations now have an opportunity to submit an application, if they are selected in this second round of random selection. Potential sponsors should check their Confirmation Number as well as their emails, to see whether they have been selected to apply.   

For more information on sponsorship applications under the Parent and Grandparent Program, please contact PwC Law LLP.


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Canada: Changes to passport and immigration documents

Aug 17
25


In brief

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has formally announced that the Government of Canada will be working to implement an “X” gender designation in Canadian passports and other documents issued by the IRCC.

Discussion

This proposal will allow the government to support the LGBTQ2 community, as well as advance their agenda on gender equality, diversity and inclusion by implementing an “X” gender designation, making it easier for people who do not identify as female (“F”) or male (“M”) to acquire passports and other government-issued documents that better reflect their gender identity.

Starting August 31, 2017, IRCC will be the first Government of Canada department to introduce interim measures, which include allowing individuals to add an observation to their passport stating that their sex should be identified as “X,” which indicates that it is unspecified. These interim measures will be available until IRCC is able to print official documents with an “X” gender designation. More information will be published by IRCC on August 31, 2017.

Impact

Minister Hussen’s announcement follows steps to protect Canadians in their right to the gender identity of their choice, and freedom of gender expression. In the coming months, the Government of Canada will continue working on developing a consistent approach to how it collects, uses and displays sex and gender information so Canadians can have their gender more accurately reflected in government documents while also protecting their privacy.

For more information on the future changes to passports and other immigration documents, or any other immigration matter, please contact a member of our team at PwC Law LLP.


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