Welcome to the March 2016 edition of the Ackah Law Newsletter.
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Ackah Law Now Offering Employer Immigration Compliance Review Services!
Ackah Business Immigration Law is pleased to announce that it has begun offering employer immigration compliance review services to assist clients who have obtained Labour Market Impact Assessments under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program as well as those who have foreign workers in Canada under the International Mobility Program. Given the government’s increased focus on compliance and the expansion of Employer Compliance Reviews (“ECR”) and Investigations, we believe that it is important employers are prepared. 1 out of 3 businesses will go through a compliance review every year–are you prepared? If the business is found to be non-compliant, employers can face significant monetary fines up to a maximum of $1 million, a ban of 1 to 10 years or even permanent bans from using the TFW program again. As well, CIC and Service Canada are prepared to publish the names of non-compliant employers. To further assist our clients, we have developed a new employer immigration compliance review program with services to assist you to ensure you are compliant with the new rules and are keeping all the correct documents and responding appropriately if selected for an ECR. Please see the following links: Compliance and Mobility and contact Ackah Law for more information.
UPDATES IN IMMIGRATION LAW
Electronic Travel Authorization - UPDATE
As we advised in our February 2016 newsletter, effective March 15, 2016, all foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) prior to flying to Canada. The eTA is now a mandatory requirement; however, the government has announced a leniency period which will last until the Fall of 2016 in order to minimize disruptions for the Summer vacation season. It is still strongly recommended that all foreign nationals that are required to obtain an eTA, do so before departing for Canada. More information about the eTA and the leniency period can be found here.
Conditions for Open Work Permit Issuance under In-Canada Spousal Sponsorships
CIC issued some clarifications on the Pilot Project for the Spousal Open Work Permit eligibility under the In-Canada Spouse or Common-Law Partner sponsorship category. It has now been clarified that the principal applicant (spouse of the Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident) must be in full legal status in Canada in order to be eligible to receive the Open Work Permit within four months. If status has lapsed, then the Open Work Permit will not be issued until the Approval in Principal Stage, which is currently taking 18 months to process. It is more important than ever to ensure that you track expiration dates of Work Permits / Visitor Records and ensure you remain in status for the duration of the sponsorship application. More information about this can be found here
Canadian Government to attract francophone workers outside of Quebec
On March 17, 2016 the Canadian Government announced efforts to encourage francophone workers to settle in communities outside of Quebec. The government will create a new stream under the International Mobility Program stream that will assist Francophone workers to move to Canada and apply for Permanent Residency. This program is set to launch June 1, 2016. More information can be found here
Immigration Minister Promises to Simplify Immigration for International Students
On March 16, 2016, Minister McCallum advised that the Canadian government will start looking at ways to simplify immigration for international students, as they are the target audience the government is trying to attract to Canada. Currently, the immigration process for Permanent Residence makes it difficult for international students, as it is points based system which has a focus on work experience, which students have not yet built up. As such, McCallum has stated that federal government will work with the provinces to reform the points system. More information can be found here
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program to be Reviewed
The TFW program is set to face federal review. The previous Conservative government had reformed the TFW program to cap a company at 10% of their workforce and refusing applications in regions of high unemployment for low wage employment. The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour wants a House Committee to review the program, as the current program has severely affected seasonal industries. More information can be found here
UPDATE ON EXPRESS ENTRY – RANKINGS
March 23, 2016 - Foreign Nationals (“FN”) who were assigned a total of 470 points or more under the CRS were provided an invitation to apply (“ITA”). The number of ITAs released was 1,014. latest draw.
Please don’t keep our boutique immigration 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.