Newsletter - April 2014

28 April 2014

Hello from all of us at Ackah Business Immigration Law!  We are sending our April newsletter to provide you with recent updates regarding immigration law in Canada.

Please don’t keep our little boutique firm a secret! We are very appreciative of any referrals and recommendations you send our way.

SAVE THE DATE: May 28, 2014 – 7:30 am to 10 am at The Ranchmen’s Club to attend a Complimentary Client Seminar on Cross-Border Immigration Law and Tax Matters. An invitation will be sent out shortly.

Ackah Business Immigration Law Speaking Engagements

Our lawyers frequently present on a wide range of immigration issues to firm clients, professional associations, community groups, institutions of higher education and many types of businesses. If you are interested in attending a presentation or inviting one of our lawyers to speak to your group, institution or business, please contact Evelyn Ackah directly to schedule and discuss topics of interest.

Evelyn will be speaking on April 26, 2014 at the Young Women of Power Conference being held at FFC High School.  The focus of this conference is “Anything But Typical and the Importance of Boldness in Young Girls.”  If you know of a young woman between the ages of 12 to 18, consider registering them to attend.  See http://www.ywop.ca/ywop-conference/ywop-2014/

Should you be interested in inviting us to speak about immigration topics of interest to you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

UPDATES IN IMMIGRATION LAW

Possible changes to Intra-Company Transferee Work Permits

Following announcements made in the spring of 2013 regarding the suspension of the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion (“LMO”) and a series of media scandals related to the abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is currently considering making changes to the Intra-Company Transferee (“ICT”) work permit category found under Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program Regulations CEC C12 and NAFTA T-24.  This work permit category allows employers to move employees across international borders for (temporary) periods of time, without the need for a LMO from Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”).

As many of our clients know, this is a frequently used and vital part of most corporations’ talent mobility strategy and CIC’s proposed changes would make it more difficult for employers to use this work permit category.   These proposed changes are surprising because statistically speaking, ICTs made up less than 5% of the Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada in a 2012 survey.  There are no official documents on this change so far. We will keep you posted as this develops.

The Federal government will Introduce New Fines for Abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Employment Minister Jason Kenney’s press secretary, Alexandra Fortier announced on March 28, 2014 that the Federal government will introduce fines on employers caught abusing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP”).  The fines should be in place by early 2015, however, regulations still need to be drafted.  The intent is to punish firms that bring in TFWs “under false pretences for jobs that could have been filled by Canadians, or to replace existing Canadian workers.”

This is just another in a series of TFWP crackdowns that the Minister has been announcing since his appointment as Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism in 2013.  The actual amounts of the fines have not yet been determined.

For more information on these announcements see:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tories-to-introduce-fines-for-employers-abusing-foreign-worker-program/article17704343/#dashboard/follows/ or

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/temporary-foreign-worker-program-abuse-to-bring-heavy-fines-1.2590135

Canada will increase Working Holiday Visas for Irish Foreign Workers

Canada has recently increased the total number of International Experience Canada (IEC) permits from 6,350 this year to 10,700 for Irish citizens. The program has already seen a dramatic increase in applications received.

According to the most recent numbers published on CIC’s website, the quotas for the first round of 3,850 permits have already been filled. The second round quota of 3,850 already has a waiting list as of yesterday, April 1st.

This is an astonishing increase in interest from Irish workers looking to work and relocate to Canada.

Indeed CIC’s work focused IEC programme, which started as a cultural exchange between the two countries, has become increasingly work-focused in recent years as Canada has looked to Ireland’s highly-skilled but underemployed workforce to fill acute labour shortages in its economy.  For more information on the programme and current application numbers, see:

http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/ireland-irlande/experience_canada_experience/index.aspx?lang=eng

Processing Times for Labour Market Opinions appear to be Decreasing

Our clients will be happy to know that we have noticed a significant decrease in processing times for LMOs submitted to the Service Canada.  Late last year the average LMO application was taking 11 weeks to reach a decision.  As of the first quarter of this year, the average LMO application has been reduced to approximately 6-8 weeks.  Although Service Canada is not required to up date published information on its processing time averages, we hope that this downward trend in processing time continues for the remainder of the year.

For more information on LMO processing times, see Employment and Social Development Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program website at:

http://www.esdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/foreign_workers/lmo_statistics/index.shtml

New Provincial and Federal Immigration Legislation has been proposed

Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Minister Michael Coteau announced a proposed Ontario Immigration Act, Bill 161.  The proposed legislation follows on then-Minister Souza’s new immigration strategy for the province of one year earlier.  The goal of this legislation is to “strengthen [Ontario’s] role in immigrant selection” to help meet the province's future labour market needs and support economic growth.  It will be interesting to see if other province’s follow Ontario’s lead by proposing similar legislation. 

Of interest to our clients with Temporary Foreign Workers in Ontario, is Ontario’s proposed redesign to the Provincial Nominee Program and its request for an increase in its provincial-nominees allocation from 1,300 to 5,000 to support the transition of highly-skilled Temporary Foreign Workers to Permanent Residency status.  Bill 161 is still working through the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, but we will keep you updated.  To read more about the Minister’s announcement see:

http://news.ontario.ca/mci/en/2014/02/strengthening-immigration-in-ontario.html or see:

http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do;jsessionid=c72d607930d7554bd51db8064f55b0b88228915aee02.e3eRb3iNcheNe34PaxqPahaOaNz0n6jAmljGr5XDqQLvpAe?locale=en&BillID=2938&isCurrent=false&ParlSessionID=

Employment and Social Development Canada’s “blacklist” of bad employers

In recent months there has been much speculation about when the ESDC would use its employer “blacklist” to publicize bad employers who have broken the ESDC’s compliance rules.  Over the weekend the first three bad employers were listed on the ESDC’s website.

The official title of this list is “Employers who have broken the rules or been suspended from the Temporary Foreign Worker Program” and it can be found at:

http://www.esdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/foreign_workers/employers_revoked.shtml

It had been our understanding that employers on this list would also be listed on Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website as “Ineligible employers” and posted on the following website:

http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/list.asp however, as of the time of issue of this newsletter, it appears that ESDC has either not communicated this information to CIC, or it is possible that CIC’s Ineligible employer list will contain different information from the ESDC’s.  We will be monitoring both lists to see what information is added in the future.

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 in 2014. Should you wish to discuss further the impact of any of these changes, we encourage you to contact our office.  Feel free to forward this newsletter to any colleagues or contacts that you think may be interested. *Please note that this immigration alert has been created for informational purposes only and cannot be relied upon as legal advice.


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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