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Episode 21: November 2020 Immigration News and Updates

Podcast posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Podcast and Coronavirus - COVID

Episode 21: November 2020 Immigration News and Updates

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November 10 Canada and United States immigration updates and news from Canada immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah:

  • U.S. immigration changes due to the new Biden administration
  • NEXUS extensions
  • LMIA updates
  • New Immigration pathways for foreign graduates
  • Tech worker visas
  • Nondiscretionary travel and quarantine exemptions
  • Travel into Canada for humanitarian and compassionate grounds
  • Expedited quarantine pilot in Calgary, Alberta
  • DLI (designated learning institution) travel exemptions for graduate schools

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For more information on immigration to Canada or the United States, contact Ackah Business Immigration today at (403) 452‑9515 Ext. 100 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly at contact@ackahlaw.com.

Transcript

Evelyn Ackah:

Good day. This is Evelyn Ackah from Ask Canadian Immigration Lawyer Evelyn Ackah Podcast. I am coming to you today on Tuesday, November 10th, to talk about all the changes we've had recently with immigration. It has been a very busy month with respect to changes with immigration law in Canada and the United States and I thought I would use this time to give you a really good understanding of some of the changes. And also to talk through as to what are the possible impacts to you regarding the changes to immigration law. So, we're going to speed through a lot of new information, and if you follow us on Ask Canadian Immigration Lawyer Evelyn Ackah Podcast, you'll be able to keep up to date on all the changes, we also have a newsletter that you can sign up for. It's a monthly newsletter and we also have weekly blogs and updates because there's so much changing with respect to COVID and immigration and the borders, as I'm sure you know.

Evelyn Ackah:

So let's start talking about all things immigration. So, the very first thing obviously is that there's going to be a new administration in the United States. And with that, there may be some immigration changes as well as it relates to the border as it relates to how they're managing COVID. So I think it's about let's watch and see what happens if anything, the changes that could impact your ability to come to Canada or your ability to enter the United States. I definitely see some changes will be coming down the line with respect to US immigration in terms of how some of the processing has been managed and some of the animosity obviously that immigration lawyers in the United States have been dealing with the former administration. So, I think when it comes to that it's about wait and see what happens and we go from there.

Evelyn Ackah:

One thing I want to talk about that is affecting some of our clients. It's very common, we have people who maybe had something happened to them when they were younger, and they have one or two criminal charges and convictions and we used to be able to do US Visa Waivers at the border at the airport, they would at least be able to submit and get all their biometrics done, and they would be received by US immigration officials at the airport on the days that they were receiving visa waiver applications. And recently that has changed. As of September what is happening as a result with respect to their immigration and their visa waivers. So, stay tuned, as soon as we know more we'll let you know but at the moment, everybody that's Canadian that needs a visa waiver now must submit through the e-Safe Systems, and then when they know that they are doing biometrics we'll be able to send them to do the biometrics, which definitely means that the application will be delayed considerably.

Evelyn Ackah:

And it's definitely affecting our clients they can't travel for business or for pleasure in the United States at the moment until they can get the visa waiver situation sorted out and resolved. So, please hang on, and give us a call at Ackah Law if you have any questions, we'll be happy to help see what we can do to assist you. Even right now, in the NEXUS program, I can speak for myself even with my children. We have NEXUS in our family, but we were able to renew for an extra year without doing an interview all because at the moment they're not doing interviews.

Evelyn Ackah:

So this is another indication of how COVID has affected us here, is we were given automatic extensions for one year because of COVID. Not that anyone is traveling at the moment, but if you were going to travel, even within Canada and wanted to use your NEXUS pass to get in the NEXUS line, you will have an expired NEXUS card. And maybe you can take the paperwork with you that you got from the NEXUS office to confirm that you actually have been extended for an extra year. So that's something to think about, and I think it's very important as we look forward to seeing some of the changes that may come into play with the new Biden administration.

Evelyn Ackah:

There been a number of changes in Canadian immigration-related to COVID, and so one of the ones I want to talk to you about is about the fact that now people that are here as visitors are eligible to renew their visitor visas internally they don't have to leave. And also if you are a visitor in Canada and how an LMIA, you can apply for work without leaving the country. And if you have the ability maybe a job offer, and you're under a non-LMIA category, you can also change your status. This is new because in the historical past, you weren't allowed to do anything inside Canada.

Evelyn Ackah:

If you are a visitor that was your status, and you have to process out of the country at the consulate that would be your home country. But now because of COVID, they're not sending people back, so that's something to think about if you're here as a visitor and you're thinking and looking for employment, maybe you found a position already. You want to know that if you have a position with an LMIA or non-LMIA under the NAFTA treaty for instance or an intercompany transfer, you can apply for a work permit through Immigration, Refugees Citizenship Canada, and stay in Canada while you're processing. And they're also being more flexible but when you can even start your new employment if you've submitted your application so lots of changes and I think it's really difficult to stay up to date. So please be sure to give us a call at Ackah Law and see what we can do to help you at 403.452.9515 and we can assist you with your questions.

Evelyn Ackah:

In Canada, something else that has really changed in Alberta as it relates to COVID has been the focus of the economy. The number of people that are unemployed as a result of COVID and their businesses has closed down. So the Alberta government has really been facing the brunt of it I would say in Canada due to oil and gas decline but also due to COVID decline. They have come up with some new measures to focus on supporting Canadians and permanent residents first. So for instance, now they have limited the Temporary Foreign Worker Program with where you need a Labour Market Impact Assessment to only certain essential job classifications. They've created a list of positions where they will not approve an LMIA due to the fact that there are so many unemployed Canadians in those job categories.

Evelyn Ackah:

So if you're thinking about getting an LMIA in Alberta, you need to be very careful and know that it will take your time, and there's a high likelihood of refusal if it's in one of those job classifications, we want to make sure you're not in one of those if we can help you. The other thing that's come up is the government is limiting as well the express entry numbers at the moment for those that fit into the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program they are also limiting the numbers of those that are being selected. Right now, we're getting close to the end of the year and the numbers available are very low because again, they're concerned about Albertans first and taking care of Alberties needs and who are here that are unemployed, that need employment so they're looking at measures to limit the accessibility for permanent residents for certain categories of people in Alberta.

Evelyn Ackah:

So there are lots of other provinces of course that are busy, BC and Ontario are thriving, and they're looking for highly skilled people all the time. And so if that is something that is of interest to you, you should be looking as well to see where else you may want to do a labor market application. If Alberta is not a feasible location for you. One thing that is good is that Alberta has launched two new immigration pathways for foreign graduates. They're looking at ways to keep the foreign students that are here that are finishing school that are bringing their expertise that clearly are adaptable. They're wanting them to stay in Alberta and to look at starting businesses. So one of the programs is the Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream. And this is a program that started October 26th. So just a couple of weeks ago that's focused on recent graduates who want to stay, who want to look at starting up businesses and look at entrepreneurship.

Evelyn Ackah:

This is a really great program because they're focused on the high tech industry, they're focused as well on those who went to school here, that speak English, that are adaptable and that have business skills or great technical skills, so they can start up a business here. The other one is the Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa. So there are two different programs for foreign graduates, but you must have graduated from Alberta. And we want to keep them here from either those who were working in the United States to move to Canada and launch a business is who they're looking at. That program is going to start January 2021.

Evelyn Ackah:

So that might be an option for people even if they didn't go to school in Canada. If you went to school in the United States and you want to move to Canada, we can help you in Alberta under this Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa program. So I would say give us a call and let's look at your options. Let's see if you qualify, it would be great to get ready and be the first of the bunch in the January stream that's starting the program and go from there.

Evelyn Ackah:

Another change that has occurred in the COVID programming is relating to non-discretionary travel and quarantine exemptions. This is big news here, there has been a change in Alberta where we're doing a pilot program in the Calgary Airport and the Coutts border crossing for people to have a shorter quarantine period. So rather than the two weeks requirement now people come in and they get tested upon arrival, and then they get tested again two days later.

Evelyn Ackah:

They must stay in Alberta for 14 days, but it means that people can travel for business and not necessarily have to quarantine after they've had a successful test after two days, they can go about their business as long as they stay in the province of Alberta. So many people are looking at this as they're considering moving or going on vacation. You don't have such a long quarantine stuck in your house once you have successfully tested negative for COVID. So we're hoping that when this program will be launched, it will be launched across the country. Right now it is a pilot only in Calgary at the airport and that the Coutts Sweetgrass Montana Border Crossing.

Evelyn Ackah:

So as I say, lots of news, lots of changes. One thing I want to bring out is relating to travel into Canada for humanitarian and compassionate grounds. This is close to us because we had a client who came in as a temporary worker under NAFTA, and got very ill and then was in the hospital. And we were looking at ways to help his extended family join him in Canada to provide support and usually it's near the end. And thank goodness he turned around and did much better. But even the process, I mean doctors have to write letters.

Evelyn Ackah:

It's a pretty high threshold, unfortunately, to bring in your family members, even if it might be close to the end. So I'm hoping that maybe with the change in the government there'll be a little bit more flexibility in the United States about people coming to Canada, there might be more opportunities for family members to be together and not just non-discretionary basis but even just humanitarian compassionate to be together given that it's been eight months of COVID and there are still families and family members that are separated. It's quite a sad time for many, many people. So I'm hoping that things might change.

Evelyn Ackah:

The last real update I want to focus on is the respect to designated learning institutions and travel exemptions for certain schools that qualify for the travel exemptions for their DLI. So right now, a number of study permit holders are doing school out of Canada because they could not get on the plane because of COVID. And so little by little, the Canadian government is looking at the school and looking at their COVID strategies and giving approvals to certain schools to be designated legal institutions that are exempted so that their students can enter Canada and quarantine for two weeks and then continue on with their studies from Canada.

Evelyn Ackah:

So we're watching this on a regular basis. We'll keep you updated on any changes. We get asked regularly about coming to school in Canada and getting a study permit. And honestly at the moment, I think it's worth waiting or applying expecting that you might not start school until September. It's just very stressful for flying, but also for the two weeks of quarantining. And then if you come here and you don't know anybody it's difficult to be stuck in your apartment or your dorm without the supports that you might need to be successful in school, especially under foreign fees that you pay, it's quite a lot.

Evelyn Ackah:

So give us a call If you want to talk through the strategies, some of the things that I've talked about happy to discuss them with you at any time. Again, I am Evelyn Ackah from Ask Canadian Immigration Lawyer Podcasts, Evelyn Ackah give us a call at 403.452.9515. I hope you will sign up to get our regular podcasts and that you will give us a great Google review. That really makes a difference for people finding us and learning about all the information that we share with you. Take good care stay safe. And until next time I'll talk to you soon.

I'm Evelyn Ackah, bye.


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Evelyn Ackah

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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