Ministerial Instructions – Revoking, Suspending, and Refusing to Process Work Permits and Labour Market Opinions

27th Dec 2013 Comments Off on Ministerial Instructions – Revoking, Suspending, and Refusing to Process Work Permits and Labour Market Opinions

Last Updated on December 27, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

On December 27, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) and the Ministry of Economic and Social Development (“Service Canada“) released Ministerial Instructions regarding the revocation of work permits and Labour Market Opinions (“LMOs“), now called Labour Market Impact Assessments (“LMIAs“).  The Ministerial Instructions will allow the Government of Canada to rapidly respond to economic developments by immediately reducing the intake of foreign workers, will increase program integrity, and create uncertainty for Canadian businesses.

These are the first Ministerial Instructions to be issued by Service Canada since the Government of Canada amended s. 30 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA“) in the first 2013 Budget Implementation Act.  Section 30 of IRPA now reads:

Work and study in Canada

30. (1) A foreign national may not work or study in Canada unless authorized to do so under this Act.

Authorization

(1.1) An officer may, on application, authorize a foreign national to work or study in Canada if the foreign national meets the conditions set out in the regulations.

Instructions

(1.2) Despite subsection (1.1), the officer shall refuse to authorize the foreign national to work in Canada if, in the officer’s opinion, public policy considerations that are specified in the instructions given by the Minister justify such a refusal.

Concurrence of second officer

(1.3) In applying subsection (1.2), any refusal to give authorization to work in Canada requires the concurrence of a second officer.

Purpose

(1.4) The instructions referred to in subsection (1.2) shall prescribe public policy considerations that aim to protect foreign nationals who are at risk of being subjected to humiliating or degrading treatment,

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Change to Age of Dependency Pushed Back

19th Dec 2013 Comments Off on Change to Age of Dependency Pushed Back

Last Updated on December 19, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is informing immigration representatives that the proposed reduction in the age of dependency from 22 to 18 is being pushed back.  (The same is rumoured to true for proposed changes to the study permit system.)

The e-mail that CIC is sending out reads:

Dear Sir/Madam:

Thank-you for your query.

Please be advised that a proposal to reduce the age of dependents from under 22 to under 19 was pre-published in the Canada Gazette Part I on May 18, 2013, along with the proposed regulatory changes to the PGP program.  The proposal to change the age of dependent children will not be coming into force at the time the PGP program re-opens on January 2, 2014.

Trusting this addresses your concerns.

As noted previously in this blog, currently, the children of immigrants may immigrate to Canada with their parents if they are under the age of 22.  As well, young adults over the age of 22 who have been continuous full-time students since turning 22 may also accompany their parents.

Under the proposed change, the maximum age of dependants will be reduced to 18 years of age for all immigration programs.  There will be no exception for full-time post-secondary students.  The only exception will be for those who are financially dependent on their parents due to a mental or physical disability.

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The CEC Has Changed, What to do Now

18th Dec 2013 Comments Off on The CEC Has Changed, What to do Now

Last Updated on December 18, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

[Editor’s note: The following appeared in the December edition of The Canadian Immigrant Magazine]

On Nov. 8, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) introduced significant changes to the Canadian experience class (CEC), which limited eligibility to the popular program. The changes took effect the next day. Hundreds (if not thousands) of foreign workers in Canada who were gaining work experience that previously qualified for the CEC suddenly learned that it did not.

For some of these individuals, many of whom are post-graduate work permit holders, career changes will be necessary if they wish to immigrate to Canada.

However, in the month following CIC’s announcement, many people researched their options and discovered to their surprise that they qualified for other Canadian immigration programs. Indeed, some even learned that they could have submitted permanent residence applications many months prior to Nov. 8.

The CEC changes

The changes that CIC introduced to the CEC are significant. First, the program now features annual application caps. From Nov. 9, 2013, to Oct. 31, 2014, CIC will accept 12,000 completed applications to the program. Within the overall 12,000 application cap, CIC will process a maximum of 200 new CEC applications each year per each National Occupational Classification (NOC) Skill Level B occupation. While NOC Skill Type 0 and NOC Skill Level A occupations are not individually sub-capped, applicants with such work experience are subject to the overall 12,000 application cap.

The second change — and for many people the much more devastating one — was CIC’s decision that work experience gained in six proscribed NOC Skill Level B occupations would no longer count toward the CEC work experience requirement.

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Environmental Overview (New Delhi)

17th Dec 2013 Comments Off on Environmental Overview (New Delhi)

Last Updated on December 17, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

The following is a summary of the Environmental Overview of the immigration functions at the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi (the “Environmental Overview”).  The Environmental Overview was prepared as part of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada 2013-2014 planning exercise, and is current as of January 2013.

Areas in blockquote are direct passages from the Environmental Overview.

Environment

The Canadian High Commission in New Delhi (“CIC New Delhi”) is CIC’s largest overseas mission.  It provides permanent resident processing for India, Nepal, and Bhutan, with the assistance of Chandigarh for temporary resident processing.  It also processes medicals nationals of the above countries, as well as for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Canadian vetting procedures for Indian military, police and intelligence officers still continue to be a significant bilateral irritant.  Although there have been no refusals of temporary resident applications for these types of applicants in 2012-13 and requests for additional information for screening purposes are no longer made, the Indian government continues to raise the issue with Canadian officials at the highest levels.  Countering the impact of refusals that were given media attention in 2010 still remains a challenge.

A full-time resource is devoted to responding to the 75-100 e-mail communications that CIC-Dakar receives each day.

VAC Data Transfer

With assistance from GCMS and in cooperation with VFS, a system was set up from mid-December 2012 whereby 2D forms for TR applications are scanned using handheld scanners at the time of submission which are then transferred via secure download to the visa office.  The data is then uploaded to GCMS using a watch folder.  This has eliminated the need for 2D bar code scanning creation o 95% of our TR applications.

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LMO Q&A: Employer Doesn’t Have Business License OPS/BE-004

12th Dec 2013 Comments Off on LMO Q&A: Employer Doesn’t Have Business License OPS/BE-004

Last Updated on December 12, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

During a consultation last month, a foreign worker and an employer told me that the employer was interested in obtaining a Labour Market Opinion to continue employing the foreign worker.  The employer, however, did not have a business license, and for various reasons refused to obtain one.  The employer wanted to know whether Service Canada would still approve his Labour Market Opinion.  While I did not know the answer off the top of my head, I luckily had a copy of the internal TFWP OPS/BE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS document that I have slowly been uploading to this blog.

Please note that what I have reproduced below should not be viewed as legal advice.  I obtained a copy of this internal Service Canada question and answer through an Access to Information Act request (the “ATI”).  The reproduction of question and answer has not occurred with the affiliation of the Government of Canada, nor with the endorsement of the Government of Canada.  (I have decided not to reproduce the names of the Service Canada officers involved.) Please e-mail me if you want a copy of the original question and answer contained in the ATI.

BACKGROUND:

The above named employer submitted a Labour Market Opinion application December 21, 201[2], seeking a “Licensed Practical Nurse”. The ER has advised that the senior living facility is set to open June 17, 2013 and have residences move in by July. The ER stated that the centre has been delayed in opening due to a construction fire; consequently the City of Regina will not issue a business license.

QUESTION/ISSUE:

Given that the ER is currently unable to obtain a business license through the City of Regina (a license that has been determined to be required by the city),

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Informing CIC of a Pregnancy

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Last Updated on December 11, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s acknowledgements of receipts for permanent residence applications generally contain some variation of the following statement:

Please inform the visa office of any changes in your application (e.g. birth or adoption of a child, marriage or common-law relationship, new occupation or employer, change of address, change of e-mail address, change of immigration representative, etc).  Please include a letter identifying what the changes are and any relevant supporting documents.  If your documents are not in English or French, send a notarized (certified) translation with a copy of the originals.

It is generally clear to most applicants that failure to do the above can result in an application being refused for failure to comply with s. 16(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the “Act”), and s. 51 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, which together state:

16. (1) A person who makes an application must answer truthfully all questions put to them for the purpose of the examination and must produce a visa and all relevant evidence and documents that the officer reasonably requires.

51. A foreign national who holds a permanent resident visa and is seeking to become a permanent resident must, at the time of their examination,

(a) inform the officer if

(i) the foreign national has become a spouse or common-law partner or has ceased to be a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner after the visa was issued, or

(ii) material facts relevant to the issuance of the visa have changed since the visa was issued or were not divulged when it was issued; and

(b) establish that they and their family members,

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LMO Q&A: Discrimination to obtain a Labour Market Opinion OPS/BE-003

5th Dec 2013 Comments Off on LMO Q&A: Discrimination to obtain a Labour Market Opinion OPS/BE-003

Last Updated on December 5, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

When reviewing internal Service Canada correspondence, I came across this interesting exchange between a Service Canada officer and a Business Expertise Consultant (“BEC”).  The issue involves a Labour Market Opinion application where a daycare employer told a Service Canada officer that she did not hire a qualified Canadian candidate because he was a male.  The BEC said that a Labour Market Opinion could not be issued because such gender discrimination was contrary to the BC Human Rights Code 

Please note that what I have reproduced below should not be viewed as legal advice.  I obtained a copy of this internal Service Canada question and answer through an Access to Information Act request (the “ATI”).  The reproduction of question and answer has not occurred with the affiliation of the Government of Canada, nor with the endorsement of the Government of Canada.  (I have decided not to reproduce the names of the Service Canada officers involved.) Please e-mail me if you want a copy of the original question and answer contained in the ATI.

BACKGROUND:

Daycare facility with 2 female employees and 10 children. When asked results of recruitement, ER stated she interviewed 6 candidates. Most wanted part time positions, one did not pass interview, one came in 30m late for interview, one was male and ER said she does not feel comfortable hiring male employees. She prefers having female workers and believes female children would feel more comfortable having female caretakers; especially in incidences where they need help with going to the bathroom.

QUESTION/ISSUE:

The employer has indicated she is uncomfortable to hire male employees for the position.

Is it appropriate to exclude men?

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Introducing Biometrics for Certain Visa Applicants

1st Dec 2013 Comments Off on Introducing Biometrics for Certain Visa Applicants

Last Updated on December 1, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

[The following article of mine was published in Canadian Immigrant Magazine.]

Canada has joined the United States, Japan, most of Europe and Australia in requiring biometric information from certain foreign nationals.

Biometrics is the measurement of unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints and facial features, for the purpose of verifying identity. Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC’s) goal in requiring that certain foreign nationals provide biometrics is to make it more difficult for individuals to use another person’s identity, and to prevent criminals, deportees and previous failed refugee claimants from (re-)entering Canada using false identification.

By Dec. 11, citizens of the following countries will be required to give their biometrics (fingerprints and digital photograph) when they apply for a visitor visa, study permit or work permit: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Laos, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Vietnam and Yemen.

How biometrics will work

Applicants from the above-listed countries will be required to go to a Visa Application Centre (VAC) or a visa office (if a VAC is not available) to give their fingerprints and have their photographs taken. Digital copies will be sent to the Royal Canadian Mountain Police and to CIC, who will then check the fingerprints against criminal, refugee and visa application records. When successful applicants arrive at Canadian ports of entry, the Canada Border Services Agency will use the photograph and/or fingerprint to verify the identity of individuals.

Because of the biometrics requirement, it will no longer be possible for people from the above-mentioned countries to submit paper applications directly to a Canadian embassy or consulate.

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