Canada: Coming into force of the new Ontario Immigration Act, 2015 (Bill 49)

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Nov 17
24


In brief:

The Ontario Immigration Act (“the Act”), which received Royal Assent on May 28, 2015, will come into force on January 1, 2018.

Discussion:

The Ontario government passed the Act through Bill 49 in an effort to implement its vision for Ontario’s future immigration needs through the following goals, as stated in its preamble:

  – To collaborate with the Government of Canada on the recruitment, selection and admission, to Ontario, of immigrants and foreign nationals on a temporary basis.
  – To collaborate with all partners, including municipalities and employers, to address the short-term and long-term labour market needs of Ontario.
  – To collaborate with all partners, including the not-for-profit sector, to enable immigrants to settle in Ontario and to integrate quickly into and to participate fully in Ontario society.
  – To enable all communities across Ontario, including Franco-Ontarian communities, to attract, welcome and integrate immigrants.

The Act is intended to reinforce the commitment to protecting foreign workers in Canada through the grant of an on-site inspection authority to designated inspectors and investigators. The Act also outlines penalties for contravention, which may include administrative monetary penalties of up to CAD$50,000 per instance.  

Impact:

The coming into force of the Act may have several implications, including but not limited to, new compliance obligations created by virtue of programs created under the Act. Additionally, the imposition of administrative penalties on a person or organization that is found in contravention of the Act emphasizes the importance to employers of maintaining a compliant Global Mobility Program, and ensuring all foreign workers under their employ are properly documented.

For more information on Immigration to Ontario or any other immigration matter, please contact a member of our team at
PwC Law LLP.


Posted by Immigration Law Team »

Canada: Invitation to Land via Telephone Interview

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Nov 17
21


In brief:

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has introduced a new initiative to provide some permanent resident (PR) applicants with an opportunity to complete the landing process via telephone.

Discussion:

Commencing mid-November, IRCC rolled out a short-term pilot project which gives some PR applicants an opportunity to complete their landing process via telephone. This initiative has been extended to a select group of PR applicants via e-mail, with an option to provide their availability and preferred contact information. Telephone interviews may offer an efficient alternative to flag-poling at a Canada-U.S. land border, or scheduling an in-person landing interview with IRCC. This pilot project is expected to last for approximately three months. This landing alternative is not available for applicants who reside outside Canada.

Impact:

This initiative will enable certain PR applicants to land as PRs in an efficient manner, which will especially benefit individuals who are in rural areas, far from a land border or an IRCC office.

For more information on Canadian permanent residency and/or the landing process, please contact a member of our team at
PwC Law LLP.


Posted by Immigration Law Team »

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.


Posted by Immigration Law Team »

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.


Posted by Immigration Law Team »

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.


Posted by Immigration Law Team »

US: Presidential Proclamation on the Travel Ban – Courts temporarily block implementation

Posted by Immigration Law Team|US Immigration
Oct 17
18


In brief

Federal courts issue temporary restraining order blocking travel ban which would have restricted individuals from certain countries from entering the U.S.

Discussion

President Trump signed a Proclamation on 24 September 2017, imposing new indefinite travel restrictions on citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and North Korea.  The Proclamation also barred entry into the US by certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate families.  The travel restrictions were set to take effect in full on 18 October 2017.

On October 17, 2017, Federal District Courts in Hawaii and Maryland issued nationwide orders against enforcement of the Presidential Proclamation.  Both judges found that the challengers to the Proclamation were likely to win their claim that the restrictions exceeded the President’s power.

The travel restrictions on certain Venezuelan government officials and on nationals of North Korea remain in place.

To learn more about the Proclamation, please visit our prior alert.

Impact and Recommendations

Citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen can continue to apply for visas and apply for entry into the United States.  However, the Trump Administration is expected to appeal the District Court rulings which could lead to the restrictions being enforced.

Nationals of the countries listed still remain subject to higher scrutiny security checks under the Administration’s extreme vetting policies.

Caution is still advised to those from the affected countries, whether they are in the US and seek to travel internationally, or are currently outside the US and will be seeking re-entry.  US immigration counsel should be sought before any travel.

For further details, please contact a member of our team.


Posted by Immigration Law Team »

US: USCIS has resumed Premium Processing for all H-1B petitions

Posted by Immigration Law Team|US Immigration
Oct 17
6


In Brief

As of October 3, 2017, USCIS has resumed premium processing for all H-1B petitions.

Discussion

USCIS’ premium processing service guarantees a 15 calendar day processing time for certain petitions filed at a Service Center, including H-1Bs, L-1s, and certain I-140 petitions. In April, USCIS suspended premium processing for all H-1B petitions for up to a six month period. At the 2017 AILA Annual Conference, representatives of USCIS confirmed that the reason for the suspension of premium processing was to allow adjudicators to focus on adjudicating backlogged H-1B extension cases. With 69% of H-1B petitions being premium processed, and therefore moved to the front of the line, USCIS adjudicators did not have the ability to focus on, and adjudicate, backlogged cases. Although premium processing offers a significant source of revenue for USCIS, the agency made the decision to temporarily suspend the service and then reintroduce it in a phased approach, to avoid an insurmountable surge in caseload. As a result, in June, USCIS resumed H-1B premium processing under the Conrad 30 Waiver program and, in July, it resumed premium processing for certain cap-exempt H-1B petitions. In September, USCIS resumed premium processing for H-1B petitions subject to the annual cap. Finally, on October 3, USCIS announced that it resumed premium processing for all H-1B petitions, including H-1B extensions, amendments, and change of employer petitions.

Impact

Premium processing has been a very important part of the H-1B program and its resumption is significant for employers and employees alike. Below are some examples of how the ability to premium process cases is beneficial to both employers and employees:

–  Premium processing allows for employers to know which cap-subject beneficiaries are approved well in advance of the October 1 start date, thus assisting with workforce planning
–  Cap-subject H-1B workers can know whether they have approved H-1B employment in advance of the October 1 start date
–  Employers can know whether an H-1B change of employer case is approved before having to accrue onboarding costs
–  H-1B workers can move to a new employer with some certainty that their H-1B change of employer case has been approved
–  H-1B workers with expiring driver’s licenses can apply for driver’s license renewals from those states that make it difficult to obtain a driver’s license without an H-1B approval notice
–  H-1B workers who have international travel plans can obtain an H-1B approval prior to departing the US, thus facilitating H-1B visa processing and re-entry into the US

For more information on how the premium processing service may be utilized, please contact a member of our team at
PwC Law LLP.


Posted by Immigration Law Team »

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.


Posted by Immigration Law Team »