February 2013 Newsletter

31 January 2013

Hello from all of us at Ackah Business Immigration Law! Canada’s immigration programs continue to have a prominent place in the news media, particularly as the government continues to introduce or expand upon programs designed to meet the needs of the labour market.

Given the often extreme shortages of certain skilled tradespeople, there is a great deal of excitement regarding the introduction of the Federal Skilled Trades Program for Permanent Residence which was announced in late 2012 and which is now accepting applications. Now that the program requirements have been released, we are happy to provide more information so that you can determine ways this program may be leveraged to meet your workforce needs.

Feel free to contact Evelyn or Helen to discuss any questions arising from this newsletter.

UPDATES IN IMMIGRATION LAW

Reorganization of Canadian Visa Offices

Effective January 29, 2013, there are significant changes to the processing network of Canadian visa offices in the US. The following offices in the US will no longer process visa applications:

  1. The Canadian Embassy in Washington
  2. The Canadian Consulate in Seattle
  3. The Canadian Consulate in Detroit

All temporary residence applications currently in process at these three offices will be still be finalized by these offices. Should it be necessary, applications may be transferred to the remaining visa offices in Los Angeles or New York City.

Going forward, applications will be submitted as follows:

Study Permits – Los Angeles
Work Permits and Temporary Resident Permits – New York City
Temporary Resident Visas – ONLINE
Permanent Residence – Case Processing Pilot in Ottawa

Outside of North America, there have been further closures of visa offices. Effective immediately, the visa section of the Canadian embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, is being closed. Applications for temporary status such as work permits and study permits can be submitted online, with Canada’s third party Visa Application Centres in Venezuela, or sent to the Canadian embassy in Mexico City. Applications for permanent residence will also now be processed at the Canadian embassy in Mexico.

The visa section of the Canadian embassy in Seoul, South Korea, is also being closed. Similarly, applications for temporary status such as work permits can be submitted online, at Visa Application Centres where available, or directly to the Canadian embassy in Manila, the Philippines. Applications for permanent residence will be also be processed by the Canadian embassy in Manila, Philippines.

Further Details on the Federal Skilled Trades Program for Permanent Residence Released

As we noted in the last month’s newsletter, CIC is implementing a new stream for foreign nationals wishing to apply for permanent residence in Canada which will admit applicants in a skilled trade occupation. The current list of 43 eligible jobs in the skilled trades can be found athttp://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/trades/applications.asp.

This program will have a quota of 3000 for 2013, with sub-caps of 100 in certain jobs, but it is hoped that this will be increased in future years, depending on the success of the program. To be eligible, applicants must:

Meet a minimum language proficiency requirement, which will be lower than that required under the FSWP

  • Applicants are required to take the General Test as administered by CELPIP, the General Training Test administered by IELTS, or the French test administered by TEF;
  • Applicants must receive a minimum mark of 5 for speaking and listening and 4 for reading and writing; and,
  • Original results must be enclosed with your application and they cannot be more than two years old.

Have an offer of employment OR a certificate of qualification from a provincial / territorial apprenticeship authority

  • Offer of Employment must indicate full-time employment for a total period of at least one year after receiving permanent residence and meet the following criteria:
    • Written on company letterhead;
    • Signed by responsible officer / supervisor;
    • Signed by the applicant;
    • Show the company’s full name, address, telephone and fax numbers, email and website addresses, and be stamped by the company’s official seal (if possible);
    • Include expected state date of employment, should the application be approved and a commitment by the applicant to continue in this role for a minimum of one year;
    • State the title of the position, its main duties, the corresponding NOC Code, total annual salary plus benefits, and the number of hours per week; and,
    • Be accompanied by a copy of the applicant’s work permit (if they are already in Canada) or LMO (if they are outside of Canada).

*OR*

  • Certification of Qualification in the skilled trade occupation under which the application is being made and which must have been issued by a Canadian provincial or territorial authority responsible for apprenticeship education, training, and certification.

Provide evidence that applicant can practice trade independently

  • Applicants must identify the requirements to practice independently in the skilled trade occupation identified in their application for each country / region in which they gained their work experience and provide evidence these requirements were met before gaining two years of work experience in that occupation; and,
  • Applicants must also demonstrate that they meet the relevant employment requirements for their skilled trade occupation as set out in the National Occupational Classification (NOC), except for the requirement to obtain a certificate of qualification issued by a competent provincial authority.

Provide evidence of qualifying work experience

  • Applicants must include letters of reference from all of their employers in the skilled trade occupation identified in their application for all periods of qualifying work experience which must be:
    • Written on company letterhead;
    • Signed by responsible officer / supervisor;
    • Displaying the company’s full address, telephone and fax numbers, email and website addresses, and stamped with the company’s official seal (if possible); and,
    • Outlining the specific period of employment with the company, the positions held and time spent in each, the main responsibilities, total salary and benefits, and number of hours worked per week.
  • Also included must be evidence of how applicants met the requirements to practice independently in the skilled trade occupation before gaining their qualifying work experience;
  • If the applicants worked full-time in Canada in the past five years in the skilled trade identified in their application, original letters of reference from their Canadian employers must be included as well as any T4 slips from the Canada Revenue Agency, and copies of all work permits;
  • For self-employed applicants, the following must also be provided:
    • Articles of Incorporation;
    • Evidence of self-employment income; and,
    • Letters of Reference from clients indicating service provided and payment details (Self-declarations are not sufficient evidence).

This program, in combination with the LMO exemptions for certain skilled tradespeople inbound to Canada, should greatly help to alleviate labour shortages, particularly in Western Canada.

FROM ALL OF US AT ACKAH BUSINESS IMMIGRATION LAW…

We hope that you have found this both helpful and informative. Please let us know how we may be of assistance and how you can leverage our expertise in helping meet your business needs. Should you wish to discuss further the impact of any of these changes, we encourage you to contact either of our offices in Alberta and British Columbia.

*Please note that this immigration alert has been created for informational purposes only and cannot be relied upon as legal advice.

Our addresses:

CALGARY OFFICE
Ackah Business Immigration Law
1105, 550 11 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2R 1M7

RICHMOND OFFICE
5811 Cooney Road
South Tower, Suite 305
Richmond, BC V6X 3M1


Contact us:

Email:
   contact@ackahlaw.com

Phone:
   Calgary: (403) 452‑9515
   Vancouver: (604) 985‑9512
   Toronto: (416) 643‑7177

   North America: 1 (800) 932‑1190


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