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.

Posted by Immigration Law Team » No Comments »

Happy 2014! New Year – New Immigration

Jan 14

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 »

Changes to Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program Announced

Posted by Melodie Hughes|Canada Immigration, Temporary Residence
Dec 13

Effective December 31, 2013, amendments to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) come into force, and new Ministerial Instructions issued by the Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) come into effect.

As a result, employers who want to apply for a labour market opinion (LMO) as of December 31, 2013, need to be aware of the new powers and duties conferred on the Minister of ESDC, and the new conditions employers will be required to comply with, including:

  • Prohibition on the issuance of LMOs to employers in the sex and sex-related trades
  • New LMO Forms and Conditions imposed on employers
  • Greater authority for ESDC to conduct inspections
  • New ministerial instructions to suspect and revoke LMOs, or to refuse to process LMO applications


Prohibition on the issuance of LMOs to employers in the sex and sex-related trades

Effective immediately, ESDC will no longer issue an LMO to any employer seeking to hire a temporary foreign worker where the employer’s business involves offering striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages on a regular basis. This prohibition is designed to protect foreign workers from the risk of abuse and exploitation.


New LMO forms and conditions and imposed on employers

As part of the regulatory amendments, employers applying for an LMO will now be required to retain any document relating to the terms and conditions of the foreign worker’s employment for a period of at least 6 years, beginning on the first day of the period of employment for which the foreign worker’s work permit was issued.

In addition, employers will now have greater responsibility in ensuring that reasonable efforts have been made to provide a workplace that is free of abuse, as well as demonstrate efforts to hire or train Canadian citizens or permanent residents, if that was one of the factors that led to the issuance of a positive LMO and work permit.

In line with these changes, ESDC has also introduced new LMO application forms that include modified questions and additional attestations. Effective immediately, all employers seeking to apply for an LMO must complete and sign the new, updated forms.


Greater authority to conduct inspections

ESDC/Service Canada officials now have the authority to conduct inspections to verify an employer’s compliance with the conditions of Canada’s immigration regulations, including the terms and conditions of employment confirmed in the company’s previous LMOs and annexes. These inspections are separate from employer compliance reviews and will authorize officers to:

–          Require employers to provide documents that relate to compliance going as far back as 6 years

–          Conduct on-site inspections of any public space or dwelling without a warrant

–          Interview foreign workers and Canadian employees, by consent

For on-site inspections, ESDC has advised that in the majority of cases, advance notice will be given to employers. In the event an employer is found to have been non-compliant without justification or corrective action, employers may be subject to the following repercussions:

–          Bar from hiring foreign workers in Canada for 2 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.


New ministerial instructions to suspect and revoke LMOs, or to refuse to process LMO applications

As a result of the introduction of new Ministerial Instructions, ESDC may now suspend or revoke LMOs, or refuse to process LMO applications, under identified public policy considerations. ESDC has advised that decisions governing the LMO suspension or revocation will not be taken lightly and that employers facing a suspension or revocation of their LMOs will be contacted and provided an opportunity to respond. ESDC/Service Canada may also refuse to process LMO applications based on the public policy considerations provided in the Ministerial Instructions for selected sectors; regions; or occupational groups.  ESDC will publish on its website, in advance, any information related to any decision made by the government regarding the refusal to process LMO applications for any specified groups. As of December 31, 2013, no such publications have been made.

For more information or to discuss how these changes may impact your business, contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP to speak with one of our Canadian immigration professionals.

Posted by Melodie Hughes » No Comments »