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.


Posted by Immigration Law Team » No Comments »

INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE CANADA PROGRAM FOR 2015 IS NOW OPEN

Mar 15
2


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.


Posted by Immigration Law Team » No Comments »

Express Entry: Things are About to Change

Dec 14
23


Beginning on January 1, 2015, the Express Entry system will introduce a whole new procedure for managing Foreign Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Foreign Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applications more efficiently. The new system will involve the following steps:

1) Creating a profile on the national Job Bank, and registering for the Express Entry system;

2) Applicants will be entered into a candidate pool, and will be given a ranking depending on their stated qualifications. A maximum of 1200 points may be awarded to each candidate;

3) Candidates will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) if they have: (a) a job offer and a valid LMIA; (b) a PNP offer; or (c) very high rankings;

4) Upon receiving an ITA, a candidate will have 60 days to submit a complete application for permanent residency, which will be processed in six (6) months or less.

Several aspects of the Express Entry system continue to raise questions, such as the frequency of ITA draws, the challenge of acquiring police certificates and medical examinations within the 60 day limit of an ITA, and the impact of the system’s unpredictability.

Nevertheless, CIC believes that the benefits of the Express Entry system will make the transition worthwhile. The system is designed to be more responsive to employer needs, as it prioritizes candidates based on their ranking, regardless of when they applied. Proponents of the system say that Express Entry will give employers a more direct impact on economic immigration to Canada, and the government has stated that its objective is to admit 180,000 economic immigrants in 2015 through the Express Entry system.

For further details regarding the Express Entry system, or assistance in utilizing this new application system, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP.

 


Posted by Immigration Law Team » No Comments »

LABOUR MARKET OPINIONS REVOKED AND SUSPENDED

Apr 14
28


On April 7, 2014, Employment and Skills Development Canada (ESDC) announced that they have made public employers with revoked or suspended Labour Market Opinions (LMO) on a “blacklist”.  This is the first instance of ESDC using its authority to suspend and revoke LMOs when the program is being misused or when employers do not use the program as intended.

Currently, employers found to be non-compliant with the LMO process may be subject to the following penalties:

  • Bar from hiring foreign workers for two years;
  • Have the company name, address and period of ineligibility published on a public ban list;
  • Receive a negative decision on any pending LMO applications; and/or
  • Have previously-issued LMOs revoked.

ESDC also has the authority to conduct workplace inspections, without first obtaining a warrant, to verify an employer’s compliance with immigration and employment requirements for LMO-based work permits.

For further details regarding assessing compliance with current Temporary Foreign Worker Program obligations, contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP.


Posted by Vian Sulevani » No Comments »

More Options for Citizenship Applicants from Ontario

Feb 14
3


As of January 30, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will now accept certificates from individuals who complete Ontario’s provincial language training program as proof of language ability for the purpose of applying for citizenship.  The acceptance of this language training program is intended to facilitate access to citizenship for Ontario applicants.

Applicants for citizenship must provide evidence of language ability from CIC’s list of acceptable evidence, which includes results from third party tests, academic certificates, and certificates from government-funded language training programs. Ontario’s provincial Adult Non-Credit Language Training Program will now be accepted as proof that citizenship applicants meet language knowledge requirements.

We anticipate more announcements in the coming months regarding programs in other provinces.

For more information on this or any other Canadian or US immigration/citizenship matter, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP – Immigration Lawyers at 1-800-993-9971 or pwcimmigrationlaw-info@ca.pwc.com


Posted by Vian Sulevani » No Comments »

SINP Cap Reached

Jan 14
20


As of January 10, 2014, the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP), category for international skilled workers without a job offer has been filled. This is the first year for this category and the cap was set at 250 applications.  This category is the first to fill its quota for 2014.   Applications submitted after the quota has been filled will not be held in a queue, they will be returned to the applicant.  All other SINP immigration categories remain open, except for the Entrepreneur Category which remains under review.

Given the popularity of this category, it will be interesting to see if the international skilled workers without a job offer category remains the same or if caps will be increased in 2015.

For more information on this or any other Canadian or US immigration matters, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP – Immigration Lawyers at 1-800-993-9971 or pwcimmigrationlaw-info@ca.pwc.com


Posted by Vian Sulevani » No Comments »

Happy 2014! New Year – New Immigration

Jan 14
3


Citizenship and Immigration Canada has taken the new year as an opportunity to update, introduce, and amend a variety of Canadian Immigration programs.  The start of 2014 has been very busy in the Immigration world and below I provide a summary of the changes we have seen over the last week.

1.  The reopening of the Parent and Grandparent Family Class sponsorship Programs, which has newly established annual caps on applications to be accepted, higher financing requirements, as well as longer financial support obligations;

2.  Issuance of New Labour Market Opinion forms requiring employer undertakings to review salaries and positions on an annual basis to ensure continuing compliance, and to allow Service Canada to perform onsite spot checks; and

3.  New Ministerial Instructions for the LMO applications to be refused or revoked, as well as the resulting work permits based on unresolvable non-compliance with the LMO conditions.

 

We were also anticipating that the age of dependent children would also be changed at the beginning of 2014 from 22 (or 24 if continuously a fulltime student), to under 19.  This changes has been temporarily postponed and we currently anticipate that the change will be implemented around May 2014.

Other changes that we can anticipate during 2014 are the following:

1.  Changes to requirements to qualify for citizenship; and

2.  Changes to the requirements for work permits based on Intra-company Transferees.

 

In addition, when we look back at 2013 we also see changes such as the loss of the Accelerated LMO, the regular closing of a variety of visas posts around the world, the movement toward electronic application filing, the re-introduction of the new Federal Skilled Worker Permanent Residence Program and changes to the Canadian Experience Class Permanent Residence Program.

 

It feels like Canadian Immigration has completely changed on almost all fronts in the last year and 2014 promised more of the same.  Immigration in Canada is moving quickly and steadily across all Immigration sectors.  When planning relocations and changes of Immigration status in Canada it is becoming increasingly important to seek professional assistance as Canadian Immigration becomes more complex and demanding.


Posted by Sarah Adler » 2 Comments »