Newsletter - April 9, 2015

9 April 2015

Hello from all of us at Ackah Business Immigration Law!  Welcome to the April edition of the Ackah Law Newsletter.  We hope you find it informative and insightful.

 If you happened to receive this newsletter and have not yet signed up to directly consent to receiving future newsletters, please email Kim Pryhitko – kim@ackahlaw.com or sign up through the newsletter.  We encourage you to like our Facebook page and join our LinkedIn Group; you can find us under Ackah Business Immigration Law for both. For more information on immigration matters and on the exciting work we do, please see the link below for our blog http://www.ackahlaw.com/blog/  and follow us on twitter @ackahlaw. 

 Ackah Business Immigration Law Speaking Engagements

We 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 us to speak to your group, institution or business, please contact Evelyn Ackah directly to schedule and discuss topics of interest.

 UPDATES IN IMMIGRATION LAW

INCREASE IN MEDIAN WAGES

 The median wages for Canada are set to increase as of April 30, 2015. These changes may affect employers who have already submitted Labour Market Impact Assessments (“LMIA”) applications and should be taken into consideration if you are thinking about obtaining a LMIA.  Please see the chart below for the upcoming changes:

 

Province/Territory

Wages effective April 30, 2015

2014 Wage ($/hour)

Wages prior to April 30, 2015

2013 wage ($/hour)

Alberta

$25.00

$24.23

British Columbia

$22.00

$21.79

Manitoba

$19.50

$19.00

New Brunswick

$18.00

$17.79

Newfoundland and Labrador

$21.12

$20.19

Northwest Territories

$30.00

$30.00

Nova Scotia

$18.85

$18.00

Nunavut

$29.00

$25.00

Ontario

$21.15

$21.00

Prince Edward Island

$17.49

$17.26

Quebec

$20.00

$20.00

Saskatchewan

$22.00

$21.63

Yukon

$27.50

$27.06

 

Please note, a salary that is below the median wage is considered low wage, whereas if it is equal to the median wage or higher it is considered high wage. Employers, if you are hiring an employee that is considered low wage, you will have to complete the cap for an LMIA application.  If however, the employee is being paid the median wage or higher you will have to complete the transition plan.  If you have questions regarding the cap or transition plan, we would be happy to assist you in either drafting or reviewing these documents and providing our invaluable advice.

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

PROCESSING TIMES FOR WORK PERMIT EXTENSIONS:

The approximate processing times for a work permit extension within Canada submitted online is now 62 days.  Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) is currently working on applications that were submitted on January 23, 2015.  For applications that are submitted by mail, processing times are approximately 80 days now.  CIC is currently working on applications that were submitted on January 5, 2015. 

http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/temp.asp

CIC has significantly reduced the processing times for mailed in applications by almost 20 days.  This will affect applicants who wanted to benefit from implied status, as their applications will be processed faster than what was expected.  For those applicants who applied online as processing times were shorter and wanted to obtain their work permits sooner, they will also be negatively affected as processing times have also slowly increased now. Currently, the difference is approximately 20 days between applying online versus applying through a mailed in application.

ALBERTA IMMIGRANT NOMINATION PROGRAM:

Processing Times:

We are all aware of the significant delays that the Alberta Immigrant Nomination Program (“AINP”) is currently experiencing.  Employers with employees who applied under the Employer Driven Stream – Skilled Workers are experiencing processing times as follows:

  • On or before December 31, 2013: at least 13-15 months from the date of the application being received
  • Between January and April 2014: at least 15 – 18 months from the date your application was received
  • Between May and August 2014 : at least 18 – 24 months from the date your application was received
  • September 1, 2014 and after: at least 25 months from the date your application was received

If you are an Employer and your employee applied under the Employer Driven Stream – Semi- Skilled Worker category, the processing times are as follows:

Food and Beverage Processing Industry

  • On or before June 20, 2014: at least 12 – 14 months from the date your application was received
  • Between July and August 2014: at least 14 - 18 months from the date your application was received
  • September 1, 2014 and after: at least 19 months from the date your application was received

Foodservices Industry

  • On or before November 26, 2013: at least 12-14 months from the date your application was received
  • November 27, 2013 and after: at least 25 months from the date your application was received

From the above mentioned timelines, it is clear that there are significant delays in the processing of applications under the AINP program.  We recently attended the Canadian Bar Association (“CBA”) Immigration Section meeting, which included a presentation by Brad Trefan, Managing Director at Immigration Programs and Services of the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program.  We learned that the delay in processing is being caused primarily by the Food Services Industry stream as AINP have received over 2,000 applications. If not for the Food Services Industry applicants, the processing times would have remained the same as was quoted in early 2014 (4 months processing) when applicants had applied. For 2015, Alberta only has the ability to make 5,500 nominations, the likelihood of processing all these applications is highly unlikely and the backlog will continue. 

In the fall of 2014, AINP selected certain candidates based on the needs of Alberta and bypassed the long back log of Food Service Industry positions. Certain occupations and jobs were temporarily pushed to the front of the queue and were processed expeditiously.  We can only wonder if this will occur again, as the number of nomination certificates for 2015 continue to decrease due to distribution.   

Open Bridging Work Permits – Issued by AINP

During the CBA Immigration Sectional Meeting, we learned that applicants who are selected to receive the Province’s letter authorizing the open bridging work permit, will only receive it, if their work permits are just about to expire. Applicants whose work permits were expiring in February received permission to apply for their open bridging work permits on February 1st. In order to be eligible to receive the Open Bridging Work Permit, the province will review the applicant’s application and determine whether they may be selected for a nomination. 

There is no guarantee who will be selected to receive this letter and when they will receive this letter. 

UPDATE ON EXPRESS ENTRY – RANKINGS

March 27, 2015 - Foreign Nationals (“FN”) who were assigned a total of 453 points or more under the CRS were provided an invitation to apply (“ITA”). The number of ITAs released was 1,637.

http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/mi/index.asp?expand=mi-pr-express%20-%20mi-pr-express

March 20, 2015 - FNs who were assigned a total of 481 points or more under the CRS were provided an ITA. The number of ITAs released was 1,620.

http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/mi/ita.asp

As of March 2015, the number of points to be eligible for Express Entry was lower than 600 points! This means that applicants who meet the requirements of Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Workers or Federal Trade Workers, who do not have a LMIA, but have obtained a high score would qualify under Express Entry. Although, an applicant’s chances are significantly better if they have an LMIA, the month of March has proved that anyone may be eligible as long as they fit into one of three categories as mentioned above and have approximately 500 points.  It is very important that if you attempt to apply under Express Entry, you maximize your points especially if you are applying without an LMIA. If you need any assistance with that, we would be happy to assist. 

http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/mi/index.asp?expand=mi-pr-express%20-%20mi-pr-express

Guest Contributor: Al Gibson

Introducing Accent Reduction Company

 Have you noticed more accents lately?

 Canada and Calgary are attracting a growing number of people from all over the world.

  • Statistics Canada determined in 2011 that 20.6% of Canadians were born somewhere else.
  • This is the highest percentage of all the G8 countries, and second only to Australia.
  • While 52.2% of new immigrants to Calgary in 2005 knew English, only 10% reported that English was their native language.

 In 2011 Calgary had just under 313,900 immigrants, more than a quarter of our population. Working from Statistics Canada data, the University of Calgary estimates that by 2020 Calgary's total immigrant population will reach almost 500,000.

 Where are these new people coming from? More than half come from Asia, including the Middle East. We are also welcoming more people from Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America. About three-quarters of them grew up speaking a language other than English, the most common ones being Chinese, Tagalog, Spanish, and Punjabi.

 Are you and your organization ready?  Why should you as an employer or an individual be concerned?

 Individuals also suffer when they lose opportunities. I have talked with well-qualified professionals who came to Canada because they were able to get excellent jobs. As oil prices drop and employers reduce staff, these people are now out of work and face an extra challenge as they look for new jobs.

 Accent Reduction Company has a proven program to help individuals improve communication, productivity, and the bottom line by solving certain language issues.

 We offer in-office workshops for companies that have groups of foreign-trained professionals, even if their native languages are different. We also offer flexible coaching for people who want to work one-on-one to help reduce an accent. Our Internet membership option is perfect for people who want flexibility.

 How can you decide if your organization can benefit from this program?

  • If you hire foreign trained professionals, and receive comments that it's sometimes hard to understand some of employees?
  • Do you feel that your team's productivity may be affected because of communication issues?
  • Is there someone who avoids speaking up in meetings or in the lunch room because they are sensitive about their accent?

To talk more, please contact Al Gibson at Accent Reduction Company. Visit www.AccentReductionCompany.com or call 403-473-2350.

Ackah Law invited our guest contributor to share this information as we believe it may be of interest to many of our newsletter subscribers.

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

FROM ALL OF US AT ACKAH BUSINESS IMMIGRATION LAW

We hope that you have found this newsletter both helpful and informative. We look forward to hearing from you if you have any questions about the content. Please let us know how we may be of assistance and how you can leverage our expertise in helping to meet your business needs. Should you wish to discuss further the impact of any of the above-referenced policy changes, we encourage you to contact our office.

*Please note that this immigration newsletter 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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