The best laid plans…

Posted by Sarah Adler|Global Immigration
Apr 16

I have recently been reading about the future of global mobility and how relocation and transfer policies can be used in new ways to support strategic business efforts, controlling expenditure, optimally using specialized skill sets in a global marketplace and developing leadership. Keys to moving forward into the new age of global talent management include well defined business strategies, high end leadership support, knowing your employee population, and access to and knowledge of mobility metrics such as who is traveling, where and when are they traveling, what is the total program expenditure, etc. This all requires careful planning and the coordination of various stakeholders.  Not an easy task and a big accomplishment when it is done well. However, when mobility intersects with immigration, the business loses control of the process and becomes subject to the political machine that can often be unpredictable and time consuming even when HR has done everything right. It’s disheartening to see all that work, planning and the expectations of the business and the individual evaporate in the spotlight of bureaucracy. This situation gives rise to social tension between outward expansion of business and governments protectionist perspectives given global security and unemployment concerns. The question is how do we manage challenging government requirements and still maintain the integrity of hard won business strategies. Immigration concerns need to be central to the mobility strategy and not be considered only after the international assignment has been finalized. Businesses and immigration service providers need to partner in the assignment planning process to ensure governmental requirements can be strategically met.  Business and service providers can also work together to establish processes that can pull business information required by the government accurately and efficiently.  This requires a robust centralized immigration system with stakeholder commitment to keeping data up to date. Service providers also need to be flexible and creative within the confines of the immigration programs. There needs to be a keen focus on the business objectives while creatively navigating the gauntlet of governmental requirements.

Posted by Sarah Adler » No Comments »

Is your global workforce working within the law?

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration, Global Immigration
Apr 15

Companies seeking to fill talent gaps with foreign labour ignore immigration rules at their peril.  We’ve identified five ways your company can fill talent gaps with foreign labour while staying on the right side of the law.

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Canada and China facilitate multiple-entry visas through reciprocal agreement – effective March 9, 2015

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Global Immigration
Mar 15

Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister, Mr. Chris Alexander, announced on March 8, 2015 that Canada and China have reached a reciprocal visa agreement to facilitate long-term, multiple-entry visas between the two countries.

Canada and China may now respectively, issue multiple-entry visas, for a period of up to ten (10) years, allowing their citizens to travel to the reciprocating country (with an exception for visa issuance being issued only until the validity of one’s passport). This visa accommodates for all types of travel including business visitors, tourists and family visits. One of the restrictions on this type of a visa includes a maximum of a 180-day stay per visit. The caliber of this type of initiative is meant to benefit both countries in their cultural exchange, economic and trade relations.

What this means to you?
Prior to this agreement, Canadians had to hold two (2) dual entry visas before they were eligible to qualify for a one-year (1) multiple-entry visa to China. Canadian individuals, who wish to travel on an immediate basis for business or personal purposes, will now be able to do so with their multiple-entry visa. Canadians will now only need to apply for a visa once, as a visa may be issued for up to ten (10) years. This will positively impact Canadian businesses and individuals who can now cross borders in a more economic, friendly and convenient manner.

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Mar 15

The International Experience Canada (IEC) Program provides young individuals from certain countries, with which Canada has a reciprocal agreement, the opportunity to travel and work in Canada. Generally, individuals aged between 18 to 35 years are able to participate in this program; however some countries have capped their age limit to 29 or 30 years.

For most participating countries, the IEC program has three streams: Working Holiday, Young Professionals and International Co-operation Internship. Once approved, a work permit is usually issued to an individual for twelve (12) or twenty-four (24) months, depending on the country of their citizenship. IEC-based work permits are often open permits which provide numerous advantages to holders, however they can be employer specific as well.

Foreign nationals should be aware that each country has a set quota, per category, of applications they will process and accept, and once reached that particular category will be closed for the remainder of the year.
It is important to note that this program is designed to be temporary in nature to facilitate gaining international work experience that would then be taken back to the temporary foreign worker’s home country.

IEC Program Now Open

On February 24, 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced that they plan on opening up the IEC program for 2015, shortly. Following this announcement, the following categories started accepting applications:

– France – Young Professionals (still open) and Co-operation Internship (still open); and
– Croatia – Working Holiday (now closed), Young Professionals (now closed) and Co-operation Internship (still open).

IEC Programs Opening on March 3, 2015

CIC has indicated that the following streams will be accepting applications as of March 3, 2015:

– Australia – Young Professionals and Working Holiday;
– Germany – Young Professionals and International Co-operation; and
– South Korea – Working Holiday.

It should be noted that CIC recently changed the duration of stay for Australians who are in Canada pursuant to IEC-based work permits. Previously the duration was unlimited, as long as the applicant fulfilled the other conditions listed to qualify under the program, and now the duration is capped out at twenty-four (24) months.

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Known Employer Program

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Global Immigration
Feb 15

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intent to implement a “Known Employer” pilot program to streamline the adjudication of certain employment-based visa applications. While details about the program have not been released, a goal of the pilot would be to expedite or otherwise facilitate legitimate cross-border business travel along the Northern border ports of entry. The program could make adjudications more efficient and less costly for both DHS and U.S. employers seeking to employ foreign workers.

This announcement stems from prior commitments made by the U.S. and Canadian governments under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), as well as the U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border Initiative. In particular, the U.S. and Canadian governments have previously discussed the feasibility of incorporating a trusted employer concept when processing business travelers through their respective borders. This could lead to less paperwork and shorter delays for applicants seeking admission based on Employment with a “Known Employer.”

DHS is hoping to launch the new program by the end of 2015, although no specific start date has been announced. The pilot would be jointly implemented by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. For further information regarding work visa applications or other immigration matters, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP.

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First and Second Draw Held for the New Express Entry Program

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Global Immigration
Feb 15

The Express Entry System, which was implemented on January 1, 2015, allows foreign nationals to apply for permanent residence (PR) under certain economic immigration programs. Under the Express Entry system foreign nationals who meet the criteria for at least one of the economic immigration programs will be placed into a pool of candidates and ranked according to a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

Applicants are then ranked on the basis of their CRS score and the highest scoring applicants will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for PR. Foreign nationals can earn up to a maximum of 1200 points and those ranked high enough will be invited to apply for Canadian PR. An applicant who receives an ITA will have sixty (60) days to submit an online application for PR under one of the economic PR categories listed before the ITA is revoked. An applicant’s ITA will specify which PR category they have qualified under.

When candidates are selected from the pool, it is referred to as a “draw.” Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will select the highest-ranking candidates from the pool through regular “draws” and invite them via an ITA for PR.

The first draw was made on January 31, 2015 and a total of 779 ITAs for PR were sent out. Foreign nationals who had a total of 886 points or more under the CRS were deemed to be the highest-ranking candidates in the pool and fulfilled the criteria to receive an ITA for PR.

The second draw was made on February 7, 2015 and a total of 779 ITAs for PR were sent out. Foreign nationals, who earned a total of 818 points or more under the CRS were issued ITAs in this second draw. The first two draws sent out 1558 ITAs within a span of 7 days and we anticipate the next draw to yield a similar outcome.

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Preferred Ports of Entry for First time L and TN applicants

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Global Immigration
Feb 15

Applying for a U.S. work visa can often be a long and arduous process. However, for Canadians, certain applications may only take a matter of hours. This streamlined option is available to Canadian travelers who apply directly with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as intra-company transferees (L-1) or NAFTA professionals (TN-1). An approved application with CBP often take a few hours to process, whereas the same application filed by mail with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may take a matter of weeks or months. Further, the filing fees with CBP are significantly lower for TN applicants (Currently $56 with CBP vs. $325 or $1,550 with USCIS depending on whether applicant uses their Premium Processing service).

In January 2015, CBP designated 14 specific ports of entry as preferred posts to adjudicate first time L and TN applications filed by Canadians. Their recommendation indicates that officers at these ports have the most experience with work visas and are more likely to fairly adjudicate applications. While this does not mean that an applicant may only apply at one of these 14 ports, it is recommended by CBP to optimize the process for Canadians.

The list of 14 preferred processing stations includes the following ports of entry (4 of which are preclearance locations):

 • Canadian Preclearance Locations
-Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
-Trudeau International Airport, Dorval, Quebec, Canada
-Vancouver International Airport, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
-Calgary International Airport, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Vermont Locations
-Highgate Springs Port of Entry, Highgate, Vermont
-Derby Line Port of Entry, Derby Line, Vermont
New York Locations
-Alexandria Bay Port of Entry, Alexandria Bay, New York
-Peace Bridge Port of Entry, Buffalo, New York
-Rainbow Bridge Port of Entry, Niagara Falls, New York
-Champlain Port of Entry, Champlain, New York
Michigan Locations
-Detroit Canada Tunnel Port of Entry, Detroit, Michigan
-Detroit Ambassador Bridge, Port of Entry, Detroit, Michigan
Washington Location
-Blaine Peace Arch Port of Entry, Blaine, Washington
Montana Location
-Sweetgrass Port of Entry, Sweetgrass, Montana.

Although the process of applying for a work visa with CBP has its advantages, it is not one to take lightly. Before traveling, applicants should ensure they have all of the appropriate forms and supporting documentation, as well as an idea of what to expect from their interview with the CBP officer. For further information regarding work visa applications with CBP, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP.

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New Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) Pilot Program

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration, Global Immigration, Permanent residence
Jan 15

On January 23, 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced that Canada will accept applications from January 28 to February 11, 2015, under the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) Pilot Program.

The new IIVC Pilot Program allows for millionaire immigrant investors to invest in the Canadian economy, in exchange for permanent residency.

The IIVC Pilot Program is open to individuals between January 29 to February 11, 2015, or until a maximum of 500 applications have been received. From this pool of applications, a random selection will be made until 60 completed applications are selected. After the selection has been made, additional documents will be required to complete the process, including a due diligence report of finances from one of six service providers listed by CIC.

All selected applicants must have a net worth of CDN $10 million or more and must be willing to make an at-risk, non-guaranteed investment of CDS $2 million over approximately 15 years. The IIVC Pilot Program has been designed to help elevate the Canadian economy, ensure long-term prosperity and grow Canada’s venture capital system.

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