Newsletter - December 13, 2016

15 December 2016

Welcome to the final Ackah Law Newsletter for 2016.  It has been a very busy year for Canadian immigration law and we appreciate having the opportunity to share updates with you and ensure you are informed.


From all of us at Ackah Business Immigration Law, we would like to wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year!

We are proud to support the community that supports us. In recognition of the very difficult year some in Alberta have experienced, Ackah Law has made our annual donation to the Calgary Food Bank.  We believe in the great work they are doing to help those in need.

We would like to thank you for your support and for allowing us to assist you over these past six years. As we embark on our seventh year in business, we look forward to continuing to be your trusted immigration partner.  Season’s Greetings!


Follow up on Recent Changes to Express Entry and 30 November 2016 Round of Invitations

On November 19, 2016, IRCC made major changes to the way points are awarded under the Express Entry system. The most drastic change was the loss of points for those with Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) backed offers of employment. Previously all Express Entry Candidates with LMIAs were awarded 600 points towards their overall CRS score, which all but guaranteed an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residents. Following these changes, the majority of Candidates holding LMIA-backed Job offers lost between 300 – 550 points. By contrast LMIA-exempt Candidates with qualifying job offers from employers where they work as Intra-company Transferees, under NAFTA, GATS, Mobilité Francophone, or the federal-provincial agreements, as well as those working under the Canadian Interests exemptions, had the opportunity to gain or retain points for their job offers.

While the minimum CRS score required to receive an ITA had been trending downward for some time, to date the lowest minimum CRS score to have ever been drawn is 450. Following last month’s changes, many LMIA-holding Candidates who now fall below this level have been left feeling discouraged. Candidates with low CRS scores may have been further discouraged by the fact that the minimum CRS score in IRCC’s first draw since implementing the changes jumped back up to 786 points.

While are still in the process of understanding the full impact of these changes, the results of the November 30, 2016 draw should not be cause for alarm.  This was a small draw (only 559 invitations were issued) and it specifically targeted Provincial Nominee Program Candidates. By their nature, these Candidates all hold Provincial Nominations, which have retained a value of 600 points after the changes.

Because it was possible for the government to draw from this group without obtaining updated information related to their job offers or employment histories, the November 30, 2016 draw from among this this high scoring group is not reflective of how the November 19, 2016 changes have impacted overall average scores within the Candidate pool.  Given the significant loss of points for the large number of candidates holding LMIAs, it is expected that the changes should eventually lead towards lower minimum CRS scores going forward, even if the minimum scores drawn are higher in the short term.

IRCC has advised that the next draw will take place after December 12, 2016. This is the deadline that they have set for Express Entry Candidates to update the information in their online profiles, to ensure that they have answered the new questions related of the recent changes to the law.

We recommend that all Express Entry Candidates log into their IRCC portal and review their submitted applications to determine if any of the information in their profile needs to be updated. To do this login to your My CIC portal, scroll to bottom of your application/profile details page and click the button that says view submitted application. Anything that says “In process” will need to be updated. If you require assistance, please call our office.

Updates Regarding Family Class Applications

New Application Format for Spousal Sponsorships: On December 15, 2016 IRCC is introducing changes to the spousal sponsorship application process that will affect all applications, whether they are made inland or overseas. The changes are intended to make the application process quicker, simpler and more streamlined, which will reduce the strain on sponsors and applicants, and enhance the speed at which the government can process their applications. The changes include:

  • A single application kit to be used for both inland and overseas spousal sponsorships
  • New and improved Sponsorship Guides for applicants
  • New and improved checklists to be used for applications, depending on a couple’s circumstances
  • New and Improved forms
  • Fewer upfront Supporting document requirements (Upfront Medical Examinations Are No Longer Required)

For more information on these changes please refer to the Government Backgrounder or this infographic .

It is hoped that these changes will allow the government to process spousal sponsorship applications more rapidly, and meet their commitment of reducing the average processing time for spousal sponsorships to 12 months or less.

For families who have already begun drafting their applications using one of the previous kits, these applications forms are still being accepted by IRCC, but the completed application must be submitted before January 31, 2017. After this date,applications submitted using the older versions of the forms will be returned to the applicant unprocessed.

In addition to the changes to the spousal sponsorship application process announced this month, IRCC has also confirmed that it will be extending the spousal open work permit pilot program until December 21, 2017. Under this program for spouses and common-law partners who are being sponsored from within Canada can apply for a work permit at the same time as they submit the sponsorship application, and if found eligible they will receive their work permit within 4 months of it being received by the government.

Ackah Law Now Offers Employment Law Advisory Services!

To further assist our clients, we are now offering employment law advisory services to assist clients with workforce planning.  Ackah Law can now assist our clients with full service employment law advice, including drafting employment and consulting agreements, implementing workplace policies and procedures and preparing for reorganization and terminations - we can help ensure you are compliant with workplace regulations and well protected in the event of workplace unrest.  We are pleased to have on our team an experienced employment and labour lawyer that will be contracted with us to assist our clients with employment law matters. Contact us directly for more information at (403) 452-9515 ext. 100 or

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!


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.

If you have not yet signed up directly to receive our newsletter, please email Kim Pryhitko – or sign up through the newsletter. We encourage you to like our Facebook page and join our LinkedIn and Twitter groups; you can find us under Ackah Business Immigration Law. For more information on immigration matters and on the exciting work we do, please see the link below for our blog  and follow us on twitter @ackahlaw. 


Contact us:


   Calgary: (403) 452‑9515
   Vancouver: (604) 985‑9512
   Toronto: (416) 643‑7177

   North America: 1 (800) 932‑1190

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