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 »

Favoriser l’immigration francophone au Canada

Sep 14

Le 9 Septembre 2014, le ministre de la Citoyenneté et de l’Immigration du Canada, Chris Alexander, a exprimé son engagement à lancer, au cours des prochains mois, des consultations dans le but d’augmenter le nombre d’immigrants d’expression française qui s’établissent dans les communautés francophones hors Québec, ainsi que de renforcer la vitalité et le dynamisme de ces communautés.

En tant que francophone cherchant à immigrer au Canada, le premier instinct est, généralement, de se tourner vers le Québec où la langue familière de Molière est d’usage. Cependant, une fois les premières frayeurs liées à l’immersion anglophone passées, il est intéressant de découvrir que le reste du Canada offre de nombreuses opportunités pour ceux qui osent s’y aventurer. Que ce soit pour un séjour de courte durée ou une installation permanente, vivre au Canada en tant que francophone s’avèrera toujours être un atout dans votre vie professionnelle et personnelle.

Que votre choix se porte sur le Québec ou une toute autre province Canadienne, il existe de nombreuses options en termes d’immigration offertes aux francophones :

1. L’initiative Expérience Internationale Canada (qui comprend le permis vacances-travail, le permis jeunes professionnelles, le permis stage, le permis job d’été pour étudiants, etc.);

2. Le permis de travail dispensé de l’étude d’impact sur le marché du travail sous la catégorie C10-avantage important francophone;

3. La résidence permanente; et

4. La citoyenneté Canadienne.

Que ce soit en mode baroudeur ou en « golden boy » dans une grande métropole, le Canada n’a pas fini de vous impressionner, après tout, ce n’est pas pour rien qu’en moyenne 250,000 immigrants y déposent leurs valises chaque année…

Pour de plus amples renseignements sur les services offerts par PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP et pour savoir comment on peut vous aider à faire de votre rêve Canadien une réalité, n’hésitez pas à nous contacter au 1-800-993-9971 ou

Posted by Amandine Kagabo » 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 »

Labour Market Opinions and the New Era of Compliance

Dec 13

Applying for a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO)  is becoming increasingly challenging with new requirements and more detailed information being requested all the time.  In addition, the introduction of compliance reviews in 2011 requires that employers keep increasingly detailed and accurate records of both the information provided to Service Canada and how the LMO conditions are continuing to be met throughout the lifespan of the LMO based work permit.  This journey into the territory of compliance continues to progress and we are expecting new compliance requirements to be introduced in 2014.

One of the more interesting changes to LMO compliance reviews  is when an LMO application is completed, and a company advises that the foreign worker will be benefitting the Canadian economy by on of the following: 1) Filling a labour shortage, 2) Transferring new skills to Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents, or 3) Creating new jobs for Canadian citizens or Permanent residents, upon a compliance review, Service Canada will be looking for established training plans, that skills have been transferred to Canadians, and / or new jobs have been created based on the  employment of the foreign worker.  These items may be very difficult to prove and it is yet to be seen how Service Canada plans to practically carry out this mandate.

Compliance reviews up until now have been triggered when a new LMO has been requested for the same employer.  Going forward Service Canada can contact an employer for a compliance review at any time for any of the following reasons:

1) If CIC of Service Canada have reason to suspect that the employer is non-compliant;

2) That the employer has a history of non-compliance; and

3) The employer is randomly selected for verification compliance.

Given the measure to be implemented above, 2014 proves to be another challenging year for Canadian Immigration, particularly in regards to obtaining LMO based applications.

Posted by Sarah Adler » No Comments »


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

Effective December 11, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has fully rolled out its new Temporary Resident Biometrics Project. Under this project, nationals of certain countries now need to have their biometrics (including fingerprints and a digital photograph) taken in order to apply for any temporary resident visa, study permit, or work permit. Children, the elderly, and government officials and their family members travelling to Canada on official business may be exempt from this new requirement.

The Temporary Resident Biometrics Project was first introduced in December 2012 with participation on a voluntary basis. Mandatory participation was rolled out in phases this year, with citizens of Colombia, Haiti and Jamaica being required to provide biometrics as of September 2013. Effective December 11, 2013, citizens of all of the following countries are now required to provide biometrics as part of the visa application process:

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Bangladesh
  • Burma (Myanmar)
  • Cambodia
  • Colombia
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Egypt
  • Eritrea
  • Haiti
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Palestinian Authority
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Syria
  • Tunisia
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen

The Biometrics Process

The implementation of the biometrics requirement means that applicants from the above countries will now need to appear in person to have their fingerprints and photograph taken at the time the application is submitted. In order to facilitate the process, CIC has opened new Visa Application Centres (VACs) around the world.

Processing Times and Fees

While taking biometric information is not expected to increase the time it takes for CIC to process applications, it may impact the submission of the application as applicants will now need to attend a local application centre in person provide their biometrics. In order to reduce delays, CIC is recommending that applicants file their application either online or in person through a VAC. Additional time and costs should be planned for attending a VAC in-person, particularly when travel is involved.

The Government of Canada has also implemented a biometrics fee of $85 CAD per person and $170 CAD for a family. This fee is in addition to the normal temporary resident visa, work permit and study permit application processing fees. If you choose to submit your application for processing through the VAC, however, the biometrics fees also covers VAC service costs.

Posted by Melodie Hughes » No Comments »

Protecting Ontario’s Vulnerable Workers

Posted by Nina Modi|Temporary Residence
Dec 13

Ontario proposed The Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act on 04 December 2013.  These measures introduce stronger rules and enforcement measures to protect the province’s vulnerable workforce while increasing fairness for both employees and businesses.  This will impact foreign workers and the companies that employ them, and is especially relevant considering that the number of temporary foreign workers in Ontario has risen from 91,000 in 2008 to 120,000 in 2012.

The new rules are:

  • Eliminating the $10,000 cap on the recovery of unpaid wages and increasing the period of recovery from six and twelve months to two years for employees.
  • Making temporary help agencies and their clients liable for employment standards violations, thereby helping to decrease the number of companies that hire individuals solely to work in unsafe conditions.
  • Prohibiting employers from charging fees and seizing personal documents like passports from temporary foreign workers by extending the application of the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals to cover all foreign employees who come to Ontario.

Given the precarious situation that many foreign workers find themselves in, they are often afraid to speak up against harsh working conditions out of fear of losing their jobs.  ­ These measures aim to address some of the concerns, and builds upon a 2009 law that bans recruitment agencies from charging fees to live-in caregivers.  Many foreign workers pay third parties to assist them in finding work in Ontario, often at an exorbitant recruitment fee.  This leaves workers in the debt of unsavory parties, so that instead of working to support their families they have to borrow money to pay third parties.  With the proposed changes, recruitment agents must register in order to work with Canadian, thereby creating a level of accountability.

As part of these measures, enforcement will be key.  In this regard, the Liberal government has increased spending to ensure that employers are compliant.




Posted by Nina Modi » No Comments »

Foreign Worker Recruitment and Immigration Services Act

Nov 13

The Government of Saskatchewan has taken an increasingly aggressive stance in combating immigration related abuses by consultants, recruiters, and employers however, it faced difficulties with enforcement due to lack of a statutory framework.

This all change on October 11, 2013, when the Government of Saskatchewan put into effect new legislation to protect immigrants and foreign workers from exploitation and mistreatment during the immigration and recruitment process.

The new legislation provides the most comprehensive protection in Canada for foreign nationals who may be vulnerable due to language ability or lack of knowledge about Canadian laws and culture.

The new legislation will:

  • Require immigration recruiters and immigration consultants to be licensed and sign open and transparent contracts with employers and foreign workers/immigrants
  • Require employers to be registered
  • Prohibit recruitment fees or costs being charged to foreign workers
  • Prohibit unethical conduct against foreign workers/immigrants, such as withholding documents or other property, threatening deportation or providing misleading information
  • Allow foreign workers and immigrants to seek compensation if they incur costs resulting from violations of the Act
  • Allow fines to be levied of up to $50,000 for an individual and $100,000 for a corporation, as well as up to one-year imprisonment for those violating the Act

Although immigrants will benefit the most from this progressive piece of legislation, employers, recruiters and immigration consultants will also benefit from a more transparent and fair business environment.

Posted by Donna Habsha » No Comments »