Hello from all of us at Ackah Business Immigration Law! Welcome to the February edition of the Ackah Law Newsletter. We hope you find it informative.
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UPDATES IN IMMIGRATION LAW
INTERNATIONAL MOBILITY PROGRAM – INCREASING EMPLOYER ACCOUNTABILITY
As of February 21, 2015 employers who hire a foreign national (“FN”) and are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) process (i.e. Intra-company transfers, NAFTA/GATS categories (intra-company transfers, professional), significant benefit exemptions etc…) will now be required to submit information regarding their business, completion of the Offer of Employment form and pay a fee of $230 to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) for employer compliance in addition to the work permit fee of $155. Many of these applications are made directly at ports of entry – airports or border crossings for all those not requiring entry visas. It is a significant change in process.
The new $230 fee does not apply to employers hiring FNs who have open work permits, or those FNs who are exempt from paying the $155 work permit fee.
If the employer has not submitted the required information and paid the fee before the work permit application is submitted, the FN will not be able to obtain an employer specific work permit.
When an inspection of the employer is conducted by CIC/CBSA and a determination of non-compliance is made, the employer could face several repercussions:
All employers in Canada will now be subject to inspections and compliance reviews – even if they are not in the Temporary Foreign Worker LMIA process. They will face the same level of scrutiny.
NEW FEES FOR OPEN WORK PERMITS
As of February 21, 2015 a new fee of $100 will be charged by CIC for those applying for an open work permit. The additional fee will be paid at the same time as the work permit is being processed and can be paid online. This will affect applications under the Working Holiday portion of the International Experience Canada class, Post-Graduation Work Permit, Spouses/Common-Law partners of Highly Skilled Foreign Workers and International Students and some FNs who are in Canada and waiting for their permanent residence (“PR”) applications to be finalized.
UPDATE ON TEMPORARY FOREIGN WORKER PROGRAM (ALBERTA)
The Alberta Government has reached an agreement with the federal government on TFW’s who are currently waiting to be assessed by the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (“AINP”) for their Permanent Residence status. The agreement is effective as of February 1, 2015 and gives relief by way of bridging work permits to those TFW’s who:
Anyone who is eligible will receive a participation letter from AINP. Individuals who are not eligible are those whose work permits have already expired or will expire outside of the February – December 2015 time period. It is imperative that the FN be 100% percent certain they will qualify to receive this letter – because if not, they may require an LMIA or other means of extending their current status – they cannot let their immigration status lapse at any time.
UPDATE ON EXPRESS ENTRY
CIC has implemented a new authority titled “A11.2” in order to support the Express Entry System. A11.2 gives an immigration officer the authority to not issue a visa to an applicant who did not or does not meet the Express Entry minimum entry criteria or did not or does not possess the qualifications for which they received their comprehensive ranking system (“CRS”) score at
UPDATE ON EXPRESS ENTRY – RANKINGS
January 31, 2015 – FNs who were assigned a total of 886 points or more under the CRS were provided an invitation to apply (“ITA”). The number of ITA’s released was 779.
Feb. 7, 2015 - FNs who were assigned a total of 818 points or more under the CRS were provided an ITA. The number of ITAs released was 779.
Feb. 20, 2015 – FNs who were assigned a total of 808 points or more under the CRS were provided an ITA. The number of ITA’s released was 849.
UPDATE ON EXPRESS ENTRY – English/French Test
It is highly suggested that anyone who has not yet taken the English Test and is considering applying for Express Entry this year, consider travelling to other locations in order to take the test as quickly as possible. Currently, applicant bookings are being taken for the end of March and April in Calgary and other major centers. It may be worth travelling to a smaller town or city where they have availability for earlier test dates. Waiting to write the test for weeks and months will delay your ability to submit your application for Express Entry online, as the English/French test result is a requirement.
OPEN WORK PERMITS TO APPLICANTS FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCE UNDER THE SPOUSE OR COMMON-LAW PARTNER IN CANADA CLASS – NEW PILOT PROGRAM
As of December 22, 2014, CIC has begun issuing open work permits to spouses or common law partners in Canada (“SCLPC”) who qualify, before the first stage of sponsorship approval is made. If you have already submitted an application for PR under the SCLPC but have not yet applied for an open work permit, you may be eligible to apply by mailing in your application. If you have already received first stage approval, you can apply for an open work permit online. For any applications received after December 22, 2014 they will be processed approximately within four months.
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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.
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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.