Happy Spring and welcome to the May 2016 edition of the Ackah Law Newsletter!
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UPDATES IN IMMIGRATION LAW
Electronic Travel Visa (eTA) Enforcement Date Set
As previously mentioned in our recent newsletters, Canada introduced the requirement for Foreign Nationals from visa exempt countries, other than citizens of the United States, to obtain an Electronic Travel Visa in order to travel to Canada. Upon the roll-out of this new visa requirement, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that there would be a grace period over the summer travel season to minimize disruption.
We now know that as of September 29, 2016, enforcement of the requirement for an Electronic Travel Visa will begin. Update
Faster Processing of Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorships
Recently, applications for both Out-of-Canada and Inland Spousal/Common-Law sponsorships are being completed faster than ever before for certain countries such as Australia, Spain, France, New Zealand, Israel and many more. Now, the processing time is as fast as one year. These applications used to take over two or three years – in some instances even up to five years. Now applicants can make informed decisions based on the two options and have a better sense of timing of completion. IRCC has now returned to providing a full list of processing times per country on their website:
Updates on LMIA Requirements
Employers involved with the Temporary Foreign Worker should be aware that as of April 29th, 2016 the median hourly wages for most provinces have changed. For instance, Alberta’s median hourly wage has gone from $25 dollars to $25.38. This is for the high wage category. As well the Top 10% Wage Earners hourly rate also increased as of April 30th. In Alberta, it went from $47.60 per hour to $48.74. This is the minimum hourly rate for obtaining 10 day processing.
ESDC is also currently refusing to process LMIA applications for 10 low-wage/lower-skilled occupations from employers that are included in the Accommodation and Food services sector and the Retail trade sector in economic regions across Canada that have an unemployment rate of 6% or higher. The annual unemployment rates by economic region table has also been updated as of April 1, 2016 – please see below:
UPDATE ON EXPRESS ENTRY- SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN RANK
May 6, 2016 - Foreign Nationals (“FN”) who were assigned a total of 534 points or more under the CRS were provided an invitation to apply (“ITA”). The number of ITAs released was 799. latest draw.
It also appears that recently, a higher number of those selected for Express Entry are for those living outside of Canada. Currently, approximately 39% of those selected reside outside of Canada. We encourage anyone interested in obtaining Canadian Permanent Residence status to create a profile quickly in order to even be considered for Express Entry – whether residing in Canada or outside of the country.
US H-1B Visa Cap Reached – Canada May Be An Interim Option For Some
On April 7, 2016, the filing period for US H-1B Visas ended. Now the United States department of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will undergo a “lottery” process to select a random number of petitions to meet the 65,000 visa cap. For those who may not be selected, they should consider looking to Canada for temporary work permit status. Categories such Intra-company transfer, Provincial Nominee programs or even Express Entry Permanent Residence may be available and worth considering.
Ackah Law Now Offers Employer Immigration Compliance Review Services!
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.
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.