LMIA Exemption for the Performing Arts Sector

On February 3, 2016, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”, previously “CIC”) introduced new Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA“) exemptions, and expanded the Business Visitors category for certain foreign nationals so that they may work in Canada without a work permit.

The specific changes are:

    • the introduction of a LMIA exemption for prospective foreign workers whose work is essential to a television or film production and would create and maintain significant economic benefits and opportunities to Canadians and permanent residents;

 

    • the introduction of a LMIA exemption to prospective foreign workers working in dance, opera, orchestra and live theatre whose work contributes to competitive advantages and reciprocal benefits for all Canadians, including Canadian performing artists and performing arts organizations; and

 

  • that foreign nationals who are employed as film producers, essential personnel for commercial (i.e,, advertising) shoots, and film and recording studio users may now be considered as Business Visitors.

The LMIA exemptions described above take affect on February 17, 2016.  The expansion to the Business Visitor category is effective immediately.

Significant Benefit Guidelines

As noted above, starting on February 17, 2016, an LMIA exemption will exist for prospective foreign workers whose work is essential to a television or film production and would create and maintain significant economic benefits and opportunities to Canadians and permanent residents.

The IRCC website notes that such positions are typically unionized and pay above the provincial median wage for all occupations.

Applicants are advised to provide both a letter of support from the production as well as a letter from the relevant union or guild.

Work permits will be valid for the duration of the intended employment, or until the expiry of the foreign national’s travel document, whichever is earlier.  If there is no end date to the duration of intended employment, then the work permit will be valid for up to two years, or until the expiry of the foreign national’s travel document.

Reciprocal Employment Guidelines

As noted above, starting on February 17, 2016, an LMIA exemption will exist for prospective foreign workers working in dance, opera, orchestra and live theatre whose work contributes to competitive advantages and reciprocal benefits for all Canadians, including Canadian performing artists and performing arts organizations.

Evidence of reciprocal employment opportunities include:

    • where an offer of employment clearly indicates that the applicant’s job offer is in the dance, opera, orchestra or live theatre disciple of the arts, and that the employer is a current recipient of annual or multi-year operational funding support from the Canada Council for the arts or of financial support via parliamentary appropriation;

 

    • where there is a letter (or other evidence) submitted by the foreign national that has been provided by an applicable Canadian performing arts representative or service organization and that proves reciprocal international opportunities exist for Canadians in that discipline.  A 1:1 ratio is not necessary; rather, proof that similar opportunities exist for Canadians internationally is sufficient; and

 

  • where the applicant can provide a copy of a formal agreement between a Canadian performing arts organization and an international performing arts organization that stipulates the employment of particular workers who possess intellectual property related to the production.

Work permits will be valid for the duration of the intended employment, or until the expiry of the foreign national’s travel document, whichever is earlier.  If there is no end date to the duration of intended employment, then the work permit will be valid for up to two years, or until the expiry of the foreign national’s travel document.

Business Visitors 

As noted above, foreign nationals who are employed as film producers, essential personnel for commercial (i.e,, advertising) shoots, and film and recording studio users may be considered as Business Visitors.

The film producers must be employed by foreign companies.

As well, the essential personnel (e.g., actors, directors, technicians) must be entering Canada for a short duration, which on the IRCC website is stated as being no longer than two weeks.  The commercial must be foreign-financed.

This Business Visitor category is in addition to the existing work permit exemption for performing artists, which includes:

More information about the new LMIA exemption and Business Visitor categories can be found here.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about his upcoming change.


Abolish PR Cards and Implement a Residency Obligation Amnesty

Permanent residents of Canada are currently required to possess a Permanent Resident Card, commonly referred to as a “PR Card,” in order to board commercial transport to Canada.  Processing times for new PR Cards currently exceed 100 days, and the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) Twitter account recently advised permanent residents seeking to renew their PR Cards to apply 9 months in advance of travel in order to avoid trip disruptions.  Permanent residents are often left stranded abroad, or find themselves stuck in Canada unable to travel internationally, for months. The situation is untenable, and it is time for the Government of Canada to eliminate PR Cards, let permanent residents travel to Canada using the new Electronic Travel Authorization system, and implement a “residency obligation amnesty” until the government develops a better system to track entries and exits to and from Canada.

This will focus on the impact of PR Card processing delays to those travelling by air to Canada, as this is where the issue is most pronounced.  However, it is important to note that the PR Card requirement applies to all commercial transport to Canada, including air, boat, rail, and bus.

The Residency Obligation

When someone immigrates to Canada they don’t automatically become a Canadian citizen.  Rather, they become a permanent resident. A permanent resident has the right to reside in any Canadian province, attend any educational institution, and work in any legal employment.   Permanent resident status can only be lost in prescribed circumstances, including when a permanent resident becomes a citizen, when the Government of Canada establishes that the permanent resident is inadmissible to Canada for having engaged in serious criminality or misrepresentation, and, most commonly, where it determines that the permanent resident has not complied with Canada’s permanent resident residency obligation.

Canadian immigration legislation requires that all permanent residents spend 730 days in Canada during every five year period.  This is typically referred to as the “2 year out of 5” rule.  In addition to time spent physically in Canada, the time a permanent resident spends outside Canada accompanying a Canadian spouse or common-law partner counts towards the 730 days, as does the time that a permanent resident spends working abroad on a short term assignment for a Canadian business.

In exceptional circumstances, permanent residents who do not meet the residency obligation can retain their status if there are exceptional humanitarian & compassionate considerations justifying it.  Typical satisfactory reasons include that the permanent resident was spending time outside of the country as the primary caretaker for a sick relative, that they were a minor accompanying their parents outside Canada and had no meaningful say in whether they remained outside of Canada, or that they were attending post-secondary education outside of Canada.

PR Cards

The PR Card is the physical proof that someone is a permanent resident of Canada.  It is a wallet-sized card that must be presented at an international airport in order for a permanent resident to board a commercial airplane to Canada.  If a permanent resident arrives at a Canadian port of entry without a PR Card, but can demonstrate to the border official that they are a permanent resident of Canada, then they will still be admitted to Canada.  However, the Canadian government may fine the airline for allowing the permanent resident to board an airplane to Canada without a PR Card.  For this reason, airlines will generally deny boarding to anyone who they identify as being a permanent resident without a PR Card.

There are two types of PR Cards.  Initial PR Cards are automatically processed by IRCC once someone becomes a permanent resident of Canada.  They are valid for five years.  After five years, permanent residents must apply to renew their PR Cards, with each subsequent PR Card also being valid for five years if they wish to travel internationally commercially.  As part of the application process, IRCC requires that permanent residents demonstrate that they meet the residency obligation.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Parliament created the permanent resident residency obligation without also enabling IRCC to track exits from Canada.  While the government does track entries, it does not track exits.  Given the permanent resident residency obligation one might have assumed that the Canadian government would have installed PR Card swiping machines at airports and other border crossings so that permanent residents could voluntarily indicate to IRCC when they leave Canada.  However, no such system exists.  Accordingly, permanent residents seeking to renew their PR Cards must provide to IRCC supporting documents to establish when they were inside and outside of Canada, including passport stamps, boarding passes, employment documentation, education documentation, etc.  For frequent travellers, PR Card renewal applications can be thicker than their immigration applications.

Processing Delays

The IRCC website states that it is currently taking 105 days to process initial PR Cards.  It further states that this does not include the time that it takes the department to mail the PR Card, which can add an additional 6 weeks.  The IRCC website further states that while someone with travel plans can request an urgent PR Card, that urgent processing cannot occur in less than 6 weeks.  The inane result is that after someone immigrates to Canada they are unable to travel by commercial aircraft internationally for a period ranging from 6 weeks to 4 months.

Capture-newcards

The IRCC website further states that the processing time to renew a PR Card is 180 days, plus up to an additional 6 weeks to mail the actual card.  Even the stated processing time seems optimistic considering that on the IRCC’s Twitter account the Department recently recommended that permanent residents apply to renew their cards 9 months in advance of it expiring.  As a result of ever increasing delays, it is not uncommon for permanent residents to apply several months in advance of their PR Card expiring only to be unable to travel for several more months.
Capture-prcardsrepeat

Capture-prcard

 

At the same time, it typically takes less than one month for IRCC to process Canadian passport applications, and urgent applications can be processed in under 48 hours.

Now of course, it is not the case that a permanent resident who is outside of Canada without a PR Card can never return to Canada. They have two options. The first is for them to travel by air to the United States and then arrange for a family member or friend to pick them up so that they can enter Canada through a land crossing.  While the Canada Border Services Agency initially viewed such actions suspiciously this is now becoming a widely accepted practice as most border officials recognize that IRCC’s processing delays are forcing Canadian permanent residents to travel through the United States in order to enter Canada.  One can only assume that Canadian airports are unimpressed that the Canadian government is essentially driving business to American airports.

The second option is for the permanent resident to apply for a Permanent Resident Travel Document (“PRTD”) at a Canadian consulate.  A PRTD is a one-time entry permit that a Canadian consulate will affix to a permanent resident’s passport.  It can take anywhere from days to weeks to process, and the IRCC document checklist states that PRTD applicants must enclose with their application evidence that they meet the permanent resident residency obligation by providing documents such as school or employment records, tax documents, marriage licenses, entry and exit records, pay statements, credit card and phone records, etc. This is not very easy to do when someone is outside Canada, and it is not uncommon to hear of permanent residents being stranded for months while their PRTD is processed.

The Electronic Travel Authorization

Traditionally, Canadian permanent residents who are also citizens of countries whose nationals are exempt from the requirement to obtain temporary resident visas to visit Canada have more or less been able to ignore the PR Card requirement.  This includes citizens of most European states, the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, etc.  The reason that they were generally able to ignore the PR Card requirement is that the airlines had no meaningful way of verifying whether these individuals were Canadian permanent residents or simply tourists wishing to visit Canada.  Accordingly, the Canadian government almost never fined airlines that allowed permanent residents of these countries to board aircraft without PR Cards.

However, as of March 15, 2016, most foreign nationals who are exempt from the requirement to obtain a TRV to enter Canada, excluding Americans, will be required to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (an “eTA”) before they travel to Canada by air.   As such, it will no longer be the case that citizens of these countries will be able to simply purchase tickets and board planes to travel to Canada.  Rather, they will be unable to board commercial aeroplanes to Canada unless the airlines first confirm that passengers possess eTAs through the Government of Canada’s new Interactive Advance Passenger Information system.

The eTA is an online application, and the travel authorization is also electronic.  Applicants need to provide their passport details, personal details, contact information, and answer background questions regarding their health, criminal history, travel history, and whether they are a permanent resident of Canada.  Permanent residents cannot get eTAs, and are instead told that they need to apply for PR Cards if they do not already have one.  As well, once a foreign national who possesses an eTA becomes a permanent resident, the eTA becomes invalid.

The obvious consequence is that for the first time citizens of most European states, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, etc., who are Canadian permanent residents will be impacted by the PR Card processing delays.   Indeed, these delays are likely only going to worsen as the number of permanent residents who need PR Cards will increase after March 15.

Get Rid of PR Cards, and Implement a Residential Obligation Amnesty

It is hopefully clear from the above that the current PR Card system is untenable, and that reforms are needed.

Indeed, the Government of Canada should also abolish PR Cards completely.  If foreign nationals can travel to Canada using an electronic system, then surely permanent residents should be able to as well.  Getting rid of the physical card and instead issuing an eTA, or something similar, to permanent residents would presumably reduce the time that it takes to process an initial permanent resident travel authorization to zero.  It could even be done at the time an applicant becomes a permanent resident.  For renewal applications it would eliminate the up to six week delay in mailing times.

As well, IRCC should immediately and temporarily implement is a “residency obligation amnesty” for permanent residents renewing their travel authorizations.  Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations state that IRCC officers shall issue a permanent resident a PR Card if (a) the permanent resident has not lost permanent resident status, (b) has not been convicted for fraud involving the misuse of a PR Card, (c) has submitted a complete PR Card application, and (d) returns their previous PR Card, unless it has been lost, stolen, or destroyed.  The law does not require that IRCC to make a permanent resident residency obligation determination prior to issuing the card.  While ideally IRCC would make such determinations to ensure residency obligation compliance, until the Government of Canada devises a system to better track exits or reduce processing times by other means, it should temporarily stop enforcing the residency obligation during the PR Card application process.

Both of the above two recommendations seem obvious.  Whenever a solution seems obvious I assume that I have missed something.  If a reader knows why either recommendation above cannot be done, please let me know.

However, regardless of the solution, it is important that the Government of Canada act quickly to end the inability of permanent residents to travel internationally while they wait for PR Cards.  It is puzzling that IRCC has allowed the issue to worsen as it has.  It is also disheartening to know that the situation will likely continue to be unaddressed until at least the eTA requirement comes into force.  I am not one who typically views things through racial prisms.  However, if after years of ignoring the inability of permanent residents who are citizens of China, India, the Philippines, and other “dark skinned” nations to travel while they wait for PR Cards, the Government of Canada were to suddenly take action only when the citizens of predominantly European nations become similarly affected, then it will be perfectly reasonable for people to conclude that it was only when “white people” were impacted that the Canadian government took action.



The BC PNP Skills Immigration Programs in 2016

On January 27, 2016, the British Columbia Provincial Nomination Program (“BC PNP“) re-opened its Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC programs, and introduced the Skills Immigration Registration System.

The Skills Immigration Registration System is an expression of interest system to manage BC PNP Skills Immigration application intake.  It is similar to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (“IRCC”, previously “CIC”) Express Entry system, as only registrants who are invited by the BC PNP to submit full nomination applications can actually apply for nomination certificates.  Simply meeting program requirements does not guarantee an Invitation to Apply for nomination.

The BC PNP determined that an application intake management system would be necessary in 2016 as the BC PNP had to frequently suspend intake to its programs in 2015.  On March 31, 2015, the BC PNP announced a 90-day pause on intake to its Skills Immigration programs. On July 2, 2015, the BC PNP re-opened its Skills Immigration program to limited intake, and the programs were full within 36 hours.  On September 1, 2015, the BC PNP suspended intake to its Express Entry BC programs, and, with the limited exception of a 50 spot opening in November, the BC PNP has not accepted applications to its programs since.

While the Skills Immigration Registration System is designed to prevent similar program closures in 2016, it does mean that many individuals who qualify for BC PNP Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC programs will be unable to apply this year.

The Skills Immigration Registration System is open, and is now accepting registrants. Potential applicants must qualify for a BC PNP Skills Immigration program, or an Express Entry BC program, at both the time of registration and application.

Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC

The BC PNP Skills Immigration stream contains the following programs:

  • Skilled Workers
  • Health Care Professionals
  • International Graduates
  • International Post-Graduates
  • Entry Level and Semi-Skilled
  • North East Pilot Project

While the detailed requirements of each program are beyond the scope of this newsletter, a brief summary of each program, including any significant changes from 2015, are as follows.

The Skilled Workers program is for individuals who have an offer of indeterminate, full-time employment with an eligible employer in British Columbia.  The position must be in an occupation classified under National Occupational Classification (“NOC”) Skill Level 0, A, or B. Applicants must have a minimum of two years of directly related full-time (or full-time equivalent) work experience in the occupation for which they are offered a job.

The BC PNP is now defining “directly related work experience” as paid employment that is classified under the same NOC code as the British Columbia job offer.  Experience in a related occupation at a NOC Skill Level equal to or greater than the NOC code of the B.C. job offer may be considered “directly related” where there is a reasonable explanation, however, experience in a lower skill level NOC occupation will not be. It is important to note that this new definition of “directly related work experience” may negatively impact people who have been recently promoted.

The Health Care Professionals program is for individuals have an offer of indeterminate, full-time employment with a public health authority in an occupation that is an a prescribed list of occupations related to health care, including physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, and, in certain circumstances, midwives. Applicants must have a minimum of two years of directly related full-time (or full-time equivalent) work experience.

The International Graduates program is for recent graduates who have an offer of indeterminate, full-time employment with an eligible employer in British Columbia.  The position must be in an occupation classified under NOC Skill Level 0, A, or B.  Alternatively, if the position is in a NOC Skill Level C or D occupation, then the applicant’s employer must demonstrate that there is a structured career plan in place that will lead to a NOC Skill Level 0, A, or B position.  No previous employment experience is required; however, applicants must have a degree, diploma or certificate from an eligible post-secondary institution in Canada, and must apply to the BC PNP within two years of graduating.

The International Post-Graduates program is for recent graduates who have a masters or doctoral degree from an eligible program at a post-secondary institution in British Columbia.  The program must be in agriculture, biological and biomedical sciences, computer and information sciences and support services, engineering, engineering technology, health professions and related clinical sciences, mathematics and statistics, natural resources conversation and research, or physical sciences. No job offer is required; however, applicants must apply within two years of graduating.

The Entry Level and Semi-Skilled (“ELSS“) program is for individuals who been employed full-time by a B.C. employer in an eligible occupation for at least nine consecutive months immediately prior to applying to the BC PNP, and who have a full-time and indeterminate job offer in that occupation from the same employer who employed them during those 9 months. Eligible occupations are prescribed, and include those in tourism and hospitality, long-haul trucking, and food processing. In addition to the nine months experience requirement, long-haul trucker drivers must also have at least two years of employment experience as a long-haul truck driver in the three year period before registering Skills Immigration Registration System.

The current occupations that are eligible for the ELSS program in the tourism and hospitality sector are::

NOC Occupation
6525 Hotel Front Desk Clerks
6531 Tour and Travel Guides
6532 Outdoor Sport and Recreation Guides
6533 Casino Operators
6511 Maîtres d’hotel and Hosts/Hostesses
6512 Bartenders
6513 Food and Beverage Servers
6711 Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers
6731 Light Duty Cleaners at Hotels / Resorts
6732 Specialized Cleaners at Hotels / Resorts
6733 Janitors, Caretakers, and Building Superintendents employed by Hotels / Resorts
6721 Support Occupations in Accommodation, Travel, and Facilities Setup Services at Hotels / Resorts
6741 Dry Cleaning, Laundry, and Other Service Support Occupations at Hotels and Resorts

The Northeast Pilot Project is for individuals who have any full-time job offer in an NOC Skill Level C or D occupation, where that job is located in Northeast British Columbia. This pilot project program will run until March 31, 2016, and may be extended.

The following are additional requirements that apply to all programs above that are based on a job offer:

  • The job offer must contain a wage that is competitive with B.C. wage rates for that occupation.
  • The job offer must establish an employee/employer relationship with the employer. Independent contractor relationships are not accepted.
  • If the job offer is in a NOC Skill Level B, C, or D, position, then the applicant will have to complete a language test, and demonstrate English or French language proficiency at a Canadian Language Benchmark 4 level in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. As well, the BC PNP may, at its discretion, require an applicant with a job offer in a NOC Skill Level 0 or A position to complete a language test where the BC PNP has concerns about an applicant’s language ability.
  • The BC PNP will not approve applications where there are reasonable grounds to believe that an employer offered increased an employee’s wage for the purpose of meeting minimum income requirements, or for the purpose of obtaining a higher registration score.
  • The applicant cannot own more than 10% of the company that has offered the applicant employment.
  • Where the applicant is not already working for the employer, then the employer will have to conduct two weeks of bona fide and reasonable recruitment.
  • The employer must have operated in B.C. for at least one year prior to the registration being submitted, and two years for applicants in the ELSS program or the Northeast Pilot Project.
  • If located in Metro Vancouver, the employer must have five or more full-time (or full-time equivalent) and indeterminate employees. If the employer is located outside of Metro Vancouver, it must have at least three.
  • Applicants must demonstrate that they meet the BC PNP’s minimum income requirements. This minimum necessary income will depend on an applicant’s family size and area of residence in British Columbia. Applicants who are already working in British Columbia must demonstrate a history of having met the minimum necessary income requirement prior to registering. ELSS applicants must have met the minimum income requirement for the full duration of their 9 qualifying months of employment. A spouse’s income will only be considered towards the minimum necessary income where the spouse has a valid work permit and is currently employed in British Columbia.
  • The BC PNP will not approve applications where there are reasonable grounds to believe that an employer increased an employee’s wage for the purpose of meeting minimum income requirements, or for the purpose of obtaining a higher registration score.

The minimum income cutoff is.

Family Income Threshold by area of Residence
Size of Family Metro Vancouver Rest of B.C.
1 $21,895 $18,248
2 $27,257 $22,716
3 $33,510 $27,927
4 $40,685 $33,908
5 $46,145 $38,457
6 $52,043 $43,374
7 $57,943 $48,290

Finally, in all programs, applicants who are out of status and who have not applied for restoration of status will not be able to apply to the BC PNP.

Applicants who are in IRCC’s Express Entry pool should know that the BC PNP also has the following categories.

  • Express Entry BC – Skilled Workers
  • Express Entry BC – Health Care Professionals
  • Express Entry BC  – International Graduates
  • Express Entry BC  – International Post-Graduates

The Express Entry BC program requirements are similar to their corresponding non-Express Entry program requirements, with the exception that applicants must be in IRCC’s Express Entry pool at the time of registration, and Express Entry BC – International Graduates program participants require a job offer in a NOC Skill Level 0, A, or B position.   In 2015 the advantage of applying to an Express Entry BC program rather than its corresponding non-Express Entry BC program was that the Express Entry BC programs had faster processing times.  The same will presumably be true in 2016.

The Skills Immigration Registration System

Individuals who meet the minimum requirements for a BC PNP program described above can create an online profile and register in the SIRS. Registration is free of charge. Individuals may only have one active registration at a time, and they must indicate which stream they wish to be considered under.

It is important that information inputted during SIRS registration be accurate, as differences between the information in a registration and an application may lead to the BC PNP refusing an application.

Scoring in the Skills Immigration Registration System pool is as follows:

Scoring Sections Maximum Points
Skill Level of the B.C. Job Offer 60
Wage of the B.C. Job Offer 50
Regional District of Employment 10
Directly Related Work Experience 25
Highest Level of Education 25
Language 30
Maximum Total Points Available 200

Skill Level of the B.C. Job Offer points are calculated as follows:

Skill Level Points
NOC Skill Level A (including Skill Type 0) 25
NOC Skill Level B 10
NOC Skill Level C 5
NOC Skill Level D 5
Bonus Points
Occupation is a “00” NOC 15
Occupation identified in the Top 100 occupations in the BC Labour Market Outlook 2014-2024 10
Currently working in B.C. for the employer in occupation identified in the BC PNP registration 10
Maximum Score Available 60

Wage of the B.C. Job Offer points are calculated as follows:

Wage Points
$100,000 and above 50
$97,500 to $99,999 38
$95,000 to $97,499 37
$92,500 to $94,999 36
$90,000 to $92,499 35
$87,500 to $89,999 34
$85,000 to $87,499 33
$82,500 to $84,999 32
$80,000 to $82,499 31
$77,500 to $79,999 30
$75,000 to $77,499 29
$72,500 to $74,999 28
$70,000 to $72,499 27
$67,500 to $69,999 26
$65,000 to $67,499 25
$62,500 to $64,999 24
$60,000 to $62,499 23
$57,500 to $59,999 22
$55,000 to $57,499 21
$52,500 to $54,999 20
$50,000 to $52,499 19
$47,500 to $49,999 18
$45,000 to $47,499 17

Regional District of Employment points are as follows:

Regional District of Employment Points
Stikine, Central Coast, Northern Rockies, Mount Waddington, Skeena-Queen Charlotte, Powell River, Sunshine Coast, Kootenay-Boundary, AlberniClayoquot 10
Kitimat-Stikine, Bulkley-Nechako, Squamish-Lillooet, Strathcona, ColumbiaShushwap, East Kootenay 8
Peace River, Comox Valley, Cariboo, Central Kootenay 6
Okanagan-Similkameen, Cowichan Valley, North Okanagan, Fraser-Fort George 4
Thompson-Nicola, Nanaimo, Central Okanagan 2
Capital, Fraser Valley 2
Greater Vancouver 0
Maximum Score Available 10

Directly Related Work Experience points are calculated as follows.

Directly related work experience is work experience in the same NOC code, or work experience in an equal or higher NOC Skill Level where justification is provided.

Directly Related Work Experience in the Occupation of B.C. Job Offer Points
5+ years 15
4 to 5 years 12
3 to 4 years 9
2 to 3 years 6
1 to 2 years 3
Less than 1 year 1
None 0
Bonus Points
At least 1 year of directly related experience in Canada 10

Highest Level of Education points will be scored as follows.  The duration of the program must have been at least six months. It is important to note that language training programs do not qualify for bonus points.

Education Points
Doctoral of Master’s Degree 17
Post Graduate Certificate or Diploma 11
Bachelor’s Degree 11
Trades Certification 11
Associate Degree 4
Non-trades certification or diploma 2
High School 0
Bonus Points
Post-secondary education completed in B.C. 8
Post-secondary education completed in Canada (outside of B.C.) 6
Educational Credential Assessment from a qualified supplier 4
Trades certification assessment from the Industry Training Authority 4
Maximum Score Available 25

Language points will be based on testing from designated testing agencies as follows.  It is important to note that language ability will be scored on an applicant’s lowest score for reading, writing, speaking, or listening.

Language Points
10+ 30
9 26
8 22
7 18
6 14
5 10
4 6
Below 4 or no test 0
Maximum Score Available 30

The BC PNP will be periodically issuing Invitations to Apply (“ITAs“).  Only the highest scoring registrants will be issued ITAs.  Individuals who achieve or exceed the following registration scores will be guaranteed to receive an ITA.

Category Registration Score
Skills Immigration – Skilled Worker 135
Skills Immigration – International Graduate 105
Skills Immigration – Entry Level Semi Skilled 95
Skills Immigration – Northeast Pilot Project 95
Express Entry BC – Skilled Worker 135
Express Entry BC – International Graduate 105

At its discretion, the BC PNP will issue ITAs for scores lower than the above. The number and frequency of draws will be based on nomination allocation and program processing capacity. The BC PNP plans on managing application intake so that 25% of applications will be BC PNP Express Entry applications, 35-45% of applications will be Skilled Workers applications, 15-20% of applications will be International Graduates applications, and 10-15% of applications will be ELSS and Northeast Pilot Project applications.

More information about the Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC programs can be found here: http://www.welcomebc.ca/welcome_bc/media/Media-Gallery/docs/pnp/BC-PNP-Skills-Immigration-and-Express-Entry-BC-Technical-Guide.pdf

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about his upcoming change.


Owner Operator LMIAs

One of the less understood recruitment exemptions in the Labour Market Impact Assessment stream is the exemption for Owner / Operators of a business.  The Employment and Social Development Canada website states:

Category: Owners/Operators
Description: The owner/operator must demonstrate that he is integral to the day-to-day operation of the business and will be actively involved in business processes/service delivery in Canada. In such instances, greater consideration should be given to demonstration by the applicant (owner/operator) that such temporary entry will result in the creation or retention of employment opportunities for Canadians and permanent residents and/or skills transfer to Canadians and permanent residents.

Variation: No advertising or recruitment is required.

Applicability: All Provinces

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program Manual states:

Unable to display PDF
Click here to download

Regardless of what the ESDC website and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program Manual states, the reality is that this is a very rarely used exemption.  The website, and especially the Temporary Foreign Worker Program Manual (which is internal and so of course cannot give rise to a legitimate expectation) are merely guides in the application of this highly discretionary process. While it is highly discretionary, I have always found that ESDC officers exercise this discretion fairly.


Significant Benefit Work Permits

Most work permit applicants to Canada will typically need their potential employer to first obtain a positive or neutral Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA“) before they apply for their work permit.  This is an arduous process which generally requires that the potential employer conduct recruitment, pay a $1,000.00 processing fee, a mandatory interview, and uncertainty for a period of several weeks to months.

However, there are several exemptions to the LMIA requirement.  One of these exemptions is where the entry of the prospective foreign worker would create or maintain significant social, cultural, or economic benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.  These work permits are typically known as Significant Benefit Work Permits, or C-10 Work Permits.

The CIC website contains guidance to officers who are processing C-10 Work Permit applications. It states that:

… circumstances sometimes present officers with situations where an LMIA is not available, and a specific exemption is not applicable, but the balance of practical considerations argues for the issuance of a work permit in a time frame shorter than would be necessary to obtain the [LMIA] opinion. [Significant Benefit Work Permits are] intended to provide an officer with the flexibility to respond in these situations. It is imperative that this authority not be used for the sake of convenience, nor in any other manner that would undermine or try to circumvent the importance of the LMIA in the work permit process. It is rather intended to address those situations where the social, cultural or economic benefits to Canada of issuing the work permit are so clear and compelling that the importance of the LMIA can be overcome.

Officers should look at the social and cultural benefit of authorizing entry to Canada for persons of international renown, examining whether a person’s presence in Canada is crucial to a high-profile event, and whether circumstances have created urgency to the person’s entry.

For requests for work permits based on significant economic benefit, where entry into the labour market is concerned, all practical efforts to obtain [an LMIA] assessment should be made before C10 is applied. Foreign nationals submitting an application for consideration under C10 should provide documentation supporting their claim of providing an important or notable contribution to the Canadian economy.

As such, the following are factors that officers typically consider:

  • Whether a LMIA is not available, specifically because the balance of practical considerations argues for the issuance of a work permit in a time frame shorter than it would be necessary to obtain the LMIA, and not simply for the sake of convenience;
  • Whether there is another specific exemption available;
  • Whether the social, economic, and cultural benefits to Canada are so clear and compelling that the importance of a LMIA can be overcome;
  • Whether there is an urgency to the person’s entry;
  • Whether the person’s entry is crucial to a high profile event; and
  • Whether all practical efforts to obtain a LMIA were made.

The following are examples of where Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC“) either approved or refused C-10 Work Permit applications.  I note that these are not my cases, as it is not my practice to post my own files on this blog. Rather, these were obtained through an Access to Information Act request.

A201433267_2015-12-18_08-29-36

sigben

It is important to note that although the policy only discusses economic, social, and cultural benefits, it is not uncommon for other benefits to be considered. In this approval, for example, IRCC considered the ecological benefits to Canada of admitting a foreign worker. sigbenmussel


Religious Workers and Work Permits

There are generally two types of religious workers who seek entry to Canada to work. The first are clergy (which includes Buddhist monks, Sikh granthis, rabbis, priests, preachers, pastors, etc.) whose employment in Canada will consist mainly of preaching doctrine, presiding at religious functions, or providing spiritual counselling.  Section 186(l) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR“) provides that such people may work in Canada without a work permit.  IRPR r. 186(l) states:

186. A foreign national may work in Canada without a work permit

(l) as a person who is responsible for assisting a congregation or group in the achievement of its spiritual goals and whose main duties are to preach doctrine, perform functions related to gatherings of the congregation or group or provide spiritual counselling;

Generally, applicants applying to work in Canada without a work permit under IRPR r. 186(l) need to demonstrate that they have a genuine offer of employment from the religious denomination that seeks to employ them, that the organization employing them can provide for their care and support, and that they are able to minister to a congregation under the auspices of that congregation’s denomination.

To demonstrate this, applicants should provide the following documents, where applicable:

  • Certificate of Incorporation of the employer;
  • Proof of registration as a charity or non-profit;
  • Statement from the religious organization showing:
    • the date and place of founding of the religious organization;
    • length of time in continuous operation in the province or territory of destination;
    • description of the structure of the organization;
    • copies of relevant corporate and society documents;
    • financial statements;
    • copy of residential lease if a residence is not supplied to the foreign national; and
    • other documents which establish the relationship between the religious denomination and the religious worker.

The second type of religious workers are people who are entering Canada to perform charitable or religious work.  Depending on the circumstances, such individuals may be exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA“) process, if they are carrying out duties for a Canadian religious or charitable organization and the duties themselves are of a charitable or religious nature (e.g., teachers assistants supplied by a charitable organization to a school because funds were not available to the school to hire).  These individuals can apply for a work permit pursuant to IRPR r. 205(d), which provides that:

205. A work permit may be issued under section 200 to a foreign national who intends to perform work that

(d) is of a religious or charitable nature.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Guidelines (“TFWG“) provide that an individual may be considered to be engaging in charitable or religious work if they meet the following conditions:

  • the duties performed by the individual must be of a charitable or religious nature that help to relieve poverty, or benefit the community, educational or religious institutions;
  • the organization or institution which is sponsoring the foreign worker will not, itself, receive direct remuneration from any source on behalf of, or for, the services rendered by the foreign worker; and
  • the work goes above and beyond normal work in the labour market, whether remunerated in some manner or not, for example: organizations which gather volunteer workers to paint or repair the houses of the poor may qualify, provided that the work would not otherwise be done, i.e. if the recipients of this work are not able to hire a professional or do the work themselves. L’Arche, which relies on people to live full-time in a group home with people who have developmental disabilities; (workers in the homes are remunerated, but they are committed to taking care of the disabled people on almost a 24-hour basis.) persons who are giving their time to community or religious organizations in a position which would not represent a real employment opportunity for Canadians or permanent residents. (Such work would entail a requirement to be part of, or share the beliefs of, the particular religious community in which they are working.)

The following is an example of an approval under IRPR r. 205(d).  I note that this was not one of my files, as it is not my practice to post my files on this blog.  Rather, this example of an approval was obtained through an Access to Information Act request.

charitablework

It is important to note that a non-profit organization is not necessarily a charitable one.  A charitable organization has a mandate to relieve poverty, or benefit the community, educational, or religious institutions.  While most of these cases are linked to registered charities, being a registered charity with the Canada Revenue Agency is not a mandatory requirement.  Such organizations will face greater scrutiny, however, in determining whether their mandate is to help relieve poverty, benefit the community, educational, or religious institutions.

Of course, foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada to perform religious work may also apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment if they do not meet one of the above two requirements.

Tips

The following are 6 useful tips for foreign nationals who are considering entering Canada to perform religious work.

  • When you are applying make it clear that you are applying under either IRPR r. 186 or under IRPR r. 205.  Even if you are eligible for Permit A, but you request Permit B, then Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is not under any duty to provide you with Permit A: Sharma v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2014 FC 786
  • While religious workers from visa-exempt foreign countries do not need to apply for a visa from outside Canada to work in Canada without a work permit under R186L, they do need to satisfy Port of Entry officers that they meet the requirements of R186L.
  • One of the larger issues that applicants face is whether the employer can support them in Canada.  If the religious organization is small, it is not uncommon for officers to request supporting financial documents.
  • Even if you are eligible to work in Canada without a work permit pursuant to IRPR r. 186(l) you may want to obtain one nonetheless.  Some advantages of having a work permit include the possibility of open work permits for spouses and children, access to provincial health care, dependent children being exempted from having to obtain a study permits, and more.
  • There are several documents which can be useful to show the genuineness of the job offer, including a certificate of incorporation, proof of registration as a charity under the Income Tax Act, copies of the Constitution, financial statements, and proof of ordination.
  • I always recommend that people at least provide a letter from the Canadian religious organization.  Statements from the religious organization should mention the date and place of founding of the religious organization, the length of time in continuous operation in the province, a description of the structure of the organization, the size of the adult congreation, the number of clery employed, the address of the regularl emeting place, schedule fo worship

Business Visitor or Work Permit Required?

The Business Visitor category facilitates the entry of a broad range of individuals who intend to enter Canada to engage in business or trade activities without entering the Canadian labour market. Business Visitors do not need work permits, pursuant to section 186(a) of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR“), which states that:

No permit required

186. A foreign national may work in Canada without a work permit

(a) as a business visitor to Canada within the meaning of section 187;

IRPR s. 187, meanwhile, states that:

Business visitors

187. (1) For the purposes of paragraph 186(a), a business visitor to Canada is a foreign national who is described in subsection (2) or who seeks to engage in international business activities in Canada without directly entering the Canadian labour market.

Specific cases

(2) The following foreign nationals are business visitors:

(a) foreign nationals purchasing Canadian goods or services for a foreign business or government, or receiving training or familiarization in respect of such goods or services;

(b) foreign nationals receiving or giving training within a Canadian parent or subsidiary of the corporation that employs them outside Canada, if any production of goods or services that results from the training is incidental; and

(c) foreign nationals representing a foreign business or government for the purpose of selling goods for that business or government, if the foreign national is not engaged in making sales to the general public in Canada.

Factors

(3) For the purpose of subsection (1), a foreign national seeks to engage in international business activities in Canada without directly entering the Canadian labour market only if

(a) the primary source of remuneration for the business activities is outside Canada; and

(b) the principal place of business and actual place of accrual of profits remain predominately outside Canada.

Accordingly, the general criteria to be a Business Visitor is that:

(a) the employee must not intend to enter the Canadian labour market;

(b) the employee’s activity must be international in scope; and

(c) the primary source of the worker’s remuneration should remain outside Canada, the principal place of the worker’s employer should be outside of Canada, and the accrual of profits of the worker’s employer should be outside of Canada.

Typical examples of business activities include, but are not limited to, consultation, negotiation, discussion, research, participation in educational, professional, or business conventions, or meetings and soliciting business.

The following is an example of an approval under the Business Visitor category.  It also answers the often asked question of whether a foreigner who owns a business in Canada needs a work permit to simply meet with his Canadian staff.  Please note that this was not my file, as it is not my practice to post my files on this blog. Rather, this was obtained through an Access to Information Act request.

businessvisitor

Intra-Company Trainees and Trainers

IRPR s. 187(2)(b) is not as well known as it should be. As noted above, it provides that foreign nationals who are receiving or giving training within a Canadian parent or subsidiary of the corporation that employs them outside of Canada, does not require a work permit.

The following is an example of an approval under this category. Please note once again that this was not my file, as it is not my practice to post my files on this blog. Rather, this was obtained through an Access to Information Act request.

intracorporate