Hello from all of us at Ackah Business Immigration Law! We hope you are having a wonderful summer and enjoying some time to rest and rejuvenate. Unfortunately, immigration law never seems to rest here in Canada, so we are sending our August newsletter to provide you with recent updates that you need to be aware of.
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.
You may be interested in attending the following conferences that Evelyn will be speaking at:
Evelyn will be speaking about recent updates and trends for temporary foreign workers and Canadian employers
Evelyn will be speaking about retaining foreign workers once they arrive in Canada
UPDATES IN IMMIGRATION LAW
Intra-Company Transferees - Specialized Knowledge Category
On June 9, 2014, new expanded guidelines were introduced by CIC to assist immigration officials who process work permit applications for Intra-Company Transferees (ICTs) applying under the Specialized Knowledge category. The assessment criteria will now include a more rigorous definition of “specialized knowledge”. Now applicants must demonstrate a high degree of both proprietary knowledge and advanced expertise in their work permit applications. Officers will be considering skills that are “unusual”, “different” and that are “critical” to the Canadian business. Applicants must demonstrate that they are key personnel, not simply highly skilled. There is now also a mandatory wage requirement for some ICTs (only those that are non-NAFTA or non-GATS). Officers will continue to consider other aspects of Specialized Knowledge as outlined in Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) operational manuals.
These new guidelines are effective immediately. Please see the link for further details.
Major Changes to Citizenship Act
On June 19, 2014 Bill C-24 Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act received Royal Assent and is now law. The new Citizenship Act includes stronger penalties for fraud and misrepresentation (a maximum fine of $100,000 and/or five years in prison) and expands the grounds to bar an application for citizenship to include foreign criminality. Individuals between 14 and 64 years old are now required to meet knowledge and language requirements which are intended to provide an incentive for more individuals to acquire official language proficiency and civics knowledge. The previous age cut off for the written knowledge test was 54. Citizenship applicants will now need to be physically present in Canada for a total of four out of their last six years. In addition, they will need to be physically present in Canada for 183 days per year for at least four of those six years. These provisions will come into full force in June 2015.
Anyone considering applying for Canadian citizenship should do so as soon as they qualify to avoid being impacted by these new provisions. For a summary of the changes being introduced, see links below:
For summaries of Bill C-24 see:
Changes to Dependent Children Definition
As of August 1, 2014, a new definition of “dependent child” will be applied across all Citizenship and Immigration Canada applications, including temporary residents. Now, the relevant section of paragraph 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) reads as follows:
“Dependent Child”, in respect of a parent, means a child who
i. is the biological child of the parent, if the child has not been adopted by a person other than the spouse or common-law partner of the parent, or
ii. is the adopted child of the parent; and
is in one of the following situations of dependency, namely,
2. i. is less than 19 years of age and is not a spouse or common-law partner, or
ii. is 19 years of age or older and has depended substantially on the financial support of the parent since before the age of 19 and is unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition.
This amendment narrows the previous definition of dependent child and involves two key changes:
Two key provisions that have been retained in the new definition are civil status and lack of capacity to be self-supporting for certain dependent children. A child will not be considered a dependent if they are married or in a common-law relationship. Children with a physical or mental condition that prevents them from being able to financially support themselves will continue to be considered as dependents.
The new definition will apply to permanent resident applications received by CIC on or after August 1, 2014, except for those that are subject to a transitional provision.
Effective August 1, 2014, this new definition will also be applied to determine whether the accompanying child of a temporary resident applicant qualifies as a dependent, and any other references to “dependent child” in the IRPR are to be interpreted in terms of the new definition. Please see the link for further details.
Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) Processing Times
Recently, AINP applications for permanent residence are taking between 8 and 12 months (from the date an application was received) to complete assessments and processing. They used to be completed in 1 to 4 months. This significant increase in processing times is causing major issues for temporary foreign workers as their work permits may be at risk of expiring before the nomination certificate has been approved. The AINP office is advising any employees with work permits that may expire within the next 6 months (and within the 12 month processing time) to begin the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process to ensure at all times they have valid work permits.
The AINP is authorized by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to issue a maximum of 5,500 nomination certificates during the 2014 calendar year. As of the end of May, the AINP has issued close to half of its maximum nomination certificates for 2014. You may continue to submit applications to the streams and categories currently accepting applications.
IN THE NEWS
Tim Horton’s in Fernie – Human Rights Complaint
On July 10, 2014, a group of temporary foreign workers from the Philippines got the green light from the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal this week to proceed with a complaint over alleged discrimination at a Fernie Tim Horton’s. The current and former employees, represented by the United Steelworkers, make several allegations, including that they were required to rent pricey, substandard housing from the former franchisee Pierre Joseph Pelletier; they were denied overtime pay; given undesirable shifts; and threatened with being booted from the country, according to the tribunal decision. None of the allegations have yet been proven.
Separately, the tribunal has accepted a similar complaint about tenancy from Mexican employees at a Dawson Creek Tim Horton’s. Please see the link for further details.
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 question 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.
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*Please note that this immigration newsletter has been created for informational purposes only and cannot be relied upon as legal advice.