September 2013 Newsletter

23 September 2013

Hello from all of us at Ackah Business Immigration Law!  We are sending our September newsletter with details on some new immigration initiatives that may affect you, your business, and your temporary foreign worker employees.

Some Good News!

Evelyn Ackah, Founder and Managing Lawyer has been nominated for the Royal Bank of Canada’s 2013 Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award!

Updates in Immigration Law 

1.  New Changes to the LMO Advertising Requirements Require Extra Planning by Employers

Service Canada’s extension of the advertising requirements from the minimum 14 days to the minimum 4 weeks has generated sufficient feedback from clients that we feel we should address this further.  Please note, that the National Job Bank Ad (or its Provincial or Territorial counterpart) must stay live until the LMO process ends, and this means well beyond 4 weeks.

This 4 week minimum requirement is important for employers because we cannot submit an LMO application until the 4 weeks have been completed.  So if you require a LMO in the near future, please factor in this requirement.

We are recommending that all Job Ads, wherever posted online, should remain active until the LMO process ends and the LMO confirmation is approved.

Please see the following link for more details:

http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/foreign_workers/higher_skilled/general/index.shtml

2.  The Upcoming Deadline for Provincial Nominee Program applicants under the Alberta Work Experience Category is November 28, 2013

We are sending out another reminder that all Permanent Resident applicants under this category need to have their application submitted no later than November 28th of this year.  This means that a complete application must be dropped off in-person or postmarked no later than November 28th, 2013.

If you or your employees need assistance completing urgent PR applications under this special category, please contact us immediately.

3.  CIC Strike Activity Continues with Widespread Implications for all Applications

The Professional Association of Foreign Services Officers (PAFSO) union continued strike activity continues to affect Canadian Consular offices globally and even within Canada.

As a result of this, we cannot confidently estimate processing timelines and caution that the processing times available on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website are only a guide.

To avoid lengthy delays, we recommend that businesses should plan ahead as much as possible and build in an additional three to four months of processing time for any upcoming applications to avoid interruption of services.  This means initiating work permit extensions 6-8 months in advance to ensure no disruption to provincial health coverage, SIN cards or provincial drivers’ licenses.

4. Current Processing Times for Work Permit Application’s at Vegreville Case Processing Centre and Labour Market Opinions in Alberta, BC and Ontario

Based on current processing times as of September 24, 2013:

CIC Vegreville – online applications (33 business days (7 weeks) for both new employers and existing employers)

CIC Vegreville – mail in applications (54 business days (11 weeks) for a new employer and 65 business days (13 weeks) for existing employers)

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

According to the Service Canada Temporary Foreign Worker Program LMO Processing Centres for BC and Alberta, the current processing time (based on submission of a complete application) is approximately 8 weeks; however, agents we have spoken with recently have told us explicitly that for very high skilled and highly paid positions, these LMOs are taking up to 20 weeks as they undergo even more scrutiny than the normal LMO application.  You can obtain day to day processing time updates by calling: 1-800-367-5693.

5. Service Alberta Requirements for All Recruiters used by Alberta Employers

We have recently encountered difficulty and delays on LMO applications for higher skilled TFWs where the employers have used third-party recruiters and executive search firms to head hunt or recruit highly specialized candidates.  According to Service Alberta, they are strictly adhering to their requirements that all recruiters (even executive search companies) used by Alberta employers, must have or obtain the licensing requirements as set out by Service Alberta at: 

http://www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca/1249.cfm

We strongly caution all employers to check that the recruiter they are intending to use is in full compliance with these Service Alberta requirements as the new Labour Market Opinion Application for Higher Skilled Occupations, Form EMP5517, explicitly requires this information.  If the recruiter you have used is not registered or licensed, your LMO application may be rejected and you may have to advertise for an additional 4 week minimum and not rely on the recruiters search process, foregoing the effort and expense of using a recruitment agency to begin with. This still appears to be a grey area and many executive search companies do not believe they require licensing – however, Service Canada requires licensing.

6. The Impact of Recent Changes to the LMO Process – Contact the Minister of Immigration,  The Honourable Chris Alexander, P.C., M.P.

The recent changes to the LMO process including the extended advertising requirements from 14 days to 4 weeks, the changes to the Form EMP5517 (including licensing of recruiters) and the introduction of the new LMO Processing fee of $275 per LMO application, have resulted in a number of complaints and concerns from our clients.  Not only have these changes resulted in an increased costs to employers who find it necessary to hire TFWs, but the manner in which implementation of these changes occurred without any previous notice, has resulted in serious delays on some urgent LMO applications.

We regret that as Immigration lawyers we are often the bearers of bad news when changes in Immigration laws are sprung upon us.  We strongly suggest that you, our clients, consider writing letters or sending emails to the new Minister of Immigration, the Honourable Chris Alexander.  If you’ve encountered similar issues please consider contacting the Minister:

By email at:  Minister@cic.gc.ca
 
Or by mail to:
The Honourable Chris Alexander, P.C., M.P.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1

From All of Us at Ackah Business Immigration Law

We hope that you have found this newsletter 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 our office and speak with one of the members of the Ackah Law Team.

*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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