The BC PNP Skills Immigration Programs in 2016

29th Jan 2016 Comments Off on The BC PNP Skills Immigration Programs in 2016

Last updated on May 4th, 2020

Last Updated on May 4, 2020 by Steven Meurrens

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,

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Judges, Referees, and Work Permits

11th Jan 2016 Comments Off on Judges, Referees, and Work Permits

Last Updated on January 11, 2016 by Steven Meurrens

Does a rodeo announcer require a work permit and a Labour Market Impact Assessment to give background information on radio contestants during a rodeo?  The answer is.. it depends.

Section 186(m) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR“) provides that:

Work Without a Work Permit

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

(m) as a judge, referee or similar official at an international amateur sports competition, an international cultural or artistic event or competition or an animal or agricultural competition;

Amateur Sports Competitions and Events

The Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) website states that for judges, referees and similar officials involved in an international amateur sports competition, the event should be organized by an international amateur sporting association and should be hosted by a Canadian organization.  The distinction between “organizing” and “hosting” becomes important, and supporting documents needs to reflect this.

The CIC website further states that events may include international or university games, winter or summer Olympics, etc., and that an “amateur” sports competition is generally defined as one in which the participating athletes are not paid to compete or otherwise participate in the event.  The CIC website notes that there are exceptions to this, as of course in recent decades the line between “professional” sporting events and “amateur” sporting events has become blurred.

Cultural or Artistic Competitions and Events

The CIC website states that judges or adjudicators of artistic or cultural events such as music and dance festivals are included in IRPR r. 186(m), as are judges for animal shows and agricultural competitions.

So what about the rodeo announcer? 

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Intra-Company Transferees and Start-Ups

8th Jan 2016 Comments Off on Intra-Company Transferees and Start-Ups

Last updated on September 16th, 2020

Last Updated on September 16, 2020 by Steven Meurrens

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (“IRCC“) International Mobility Program provides that a foreign worker may be issued a work permit without the employer needing a Labour Market Impact Assessment if the employee meets the requirements of the Intra-Company Transferees (“ICT“) program.

Although some free trade agreements contain specific requirements, the general ICT rules applicable to citizens of all countries are that ICTs must:

  • be currently employed by a multi-national company and be seeking entry to work in a parent, a subsidiary, a branch, or an affiliate of that enterprise;
  • be transferring to an enterprise that has a qualifying relationship with the enterprise in which they are currently employed, and will be undertaking employment at a legitimate and continuing establishment of that company (where 18–24 months can be used as a reasonable minimum guideline);
  • be being transferred to a position in an executive, senior managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity;
  • have been employed continuously (via payroll or by contract directly with the company), by the company that plans to transfer them outside Canada in a similar full-time position (not accumulated part-time) for at least one year in the three-year period immediately preceding the date of initial application; and
  • be coming to Canada for a temporary period only.

Applicants who have not had full-time work experience with the foreign company may still be approved based on an assessment of several factors, including the number of years of work experience with the foreign company, the similarity of the positions, the extent of any part-time positions with the foreign company, and, most importantly, whether there appears to be an abuse of the ICT provisions.

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The Reciprocal Employment LMIA Exemption

7th Jan 2016 Comments Off on The Reciprocal Employment LMIA Exemption

Last Updated on January 7, 2016 by Steven Meurrens

Regulation 205(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provides that a work permit may be issued to a foreign national without the employer needing to first obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment if the the employment of the foreign national in Canada would create or maintain reciprocal employment of Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada in other countries.

Some obvious examples of where such work permits are frequently issued include in sports leagues such as the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, as well as the Canada World Youth exchange.  International Experience Canada, including its most popular program – the Working Holiday Program – also falls under this Labour Market Impact Assessment, as do reciprocal employment arrangements in academia.

What is less commonly known, however, is that multinational corporations can also take advantage of this Labour Market Impact Assessment exemption.  To qualify, the employer must demonstrate that reciprocity exists.  This can be demonstrated by a work contract (if it provides evidence of reciprocity), a Human Resources Global Mobility Policy that demonstrates a balance of bilateral flow,  and/or other documents that show that Canadian foreign workers benefit from the ability to travel abroad within the company.

As the CIC website states, it is not necessary that there be exact reciprocity, but the general order of magnitude of exchanges should be reasonably similar on an annual basis.

When the entities involved have no history of conducting reciprocal exchanges with Canada, CIC will initially limit work permits to a small number of individuals and inform employers that subsequent work permits be issued only when reciprocity has been demonstrated.  Officers can consider not only the number of individuals working in Canada and abroad,

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Refugee Claimants and Fake Documents

7th Jan 2016 Comments Off on Refugee Claimants and Fake Documents

Last Updated on January 7, 2016 by Steven Meurrens

A challenge that arises in many refugee claims where a claimant has used fraudulent documents to travel to Canada is the balancing of the need to determine a claimant’s identity with jurisprudence that cautions against drawing negative credibility findings from the use of false documents where refugee claimants have little choice but to to use false documents to leave their country.

In Gulamsakhi v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2015 FC 105, for example, the Federal Court stated that:

… this Court has repeatedly cautioned against drawing negative conclusions based on the use of smugglers and forged documents to escape violence and persecution. Travelling on false documents or destroying travel documents is of very limited value as a determination of the claimant’s credibility. This is partly because it is not uncommon for a person fleeing persecution to follow the instructions of the person(s) organizing their escape.

Another, and perhaps the most frequently cited case on this principle, is Rasheed v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2004 FC 587, where the Federal Court stated that:

Where a claimant travels on false documents, destroys travel documents or lies about them upon arrival following an agent’s instructions, it has been held to be peripheral and of very limited value as a determination of general credibility. First, it is not uncommon for those who are fleeing from persecution not to have regular travel documents and, as a result of their fears and vulnerability, simply to act in accordance with the instructions of the agent who organized their escape. Second, whether a person has told the truth about his or her travel documents has little direct bearing on whether the person is indeed a refugee.

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Dance Instructors, Guest Speakers, and Working in Canada Without a Work Permit

6th Jan 2016 Comments Off on Dance Instructors, Guest Speakers, and Working in Canada Without a Work Permit

Last updated on September 20th, 2019

Last Updated on September 20, 2019 by Steven Meurrens

Does a professional ballet teacher require a work permit and a Labour Market Impact Assessment to give a 4 day seminar in Vancouver?  The answer is.. it depends.

Section 186(j) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR“) provides that:

Work Without a Work Permit

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

(j) as a guest speaker for the sole purpose of making a speech or delivering a paper at a dinner, graduation, convention or similar function, or as a commercial speaker or seminar leader delivering a seminar that lasts no longer than five days;

No Work Permit Required

In accordance with IRPR 186(j), the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) website explicitly states that guest speakers for specific events, including as an academic speaker at a university or college function, and commercial speakers or seminar leaders, can enter Canada to work without a work permit provided the seminar to be given by the foreign speaker does not last longer than five days.

CIC defines a seminar as “a small class at a university, etc. for discussion and research, or a short intensive course of study, or a conference of specialists.”

CIC defines commercial speakers as “people who sell tickets or registrations to people who come to hear them speak on a particular topic.” CIC further states that commercial speakers have a vested interest in the event at which they are speaking. Typically, they rent commercial space in a hotel, advertise, charge admission, deliver the event and then leave Canada.

Where the speaker is speaking to multiple groups,

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Performing Artists and Work Permits

5th Jan 2016 Comments Off on Performing Artists and Work Permits

Last updated on July 22nd, 2018

Last Updated on July 22, 2018 by Steven Meurrens

I was recently asked whether an opera singer working in Canada for three months requires a work permit and a Labour Market Impact Assessment.  The answer is.. it depends.

Section 186(g) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR“) provides that:

Work Without a Work Permit

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

(g) as a performing artist appearing alone or in a group in an artistic performance — other than a performance that is primarily for a film production or a television or radio broadcast — or as a member of the staff of such a performing artist or group who is integral to the artistic performance, if

(i) they are part of a foreign production or group, or are a guest artist in a Canadian production or group, performing a time-limited engagement, and

(ii) they are not in an employment relationship with the organization or business in Canada that is contracting for their services.

No Work Permit Required

Examples of performing artists who do not need a work permit to work in Canada include:

  • Foreign-based musical and theatrical individuals and groups and their essential crew;
  • street performers (buskers), DJs;
  • busking;
  • a foreign or traveling circus;
  • guest artists (not employed) within a Canadian performance group for a time-limited engagement;
  • wrestlers from the World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE) (and similar groups);
  • persons performing at a private event for a time-limited engagement, such as a wedding;
  • air show performers;

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Environmental Overview – Rome

4th Jan 2016 Comments Off on Environmental Overview – Rome

Last Updated on January 4, 2016 by Steven Meurrens

The following is a summary of the Environmental Overview of the immigration functions at the Canadian Embassy in Rome (the “Environmental Overview”).  The Environmental Overview was prepared as part of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada 2015-2016 planning exercise.

Environment

The Canadian Embassy in Rome (“CIC Rome”) provides visa services to residents of Albania, Greece, Italy, Malta, San Marino, and the State of the Holy See.  Economic turbulence in Greece resulted in an increased interest in Canada from Greek nationals.

The economic crisis in Greece and Malta, as well as, the political and economic crisis in Italy continue to affect our programs. We continue to receive an increasing number of inquiries related to both our TR and PR programs. We receive approximately 2000 emails per month from persons inquiring about our programs. Our VACs indicate that they too have not only seen an increase in the number of walk-in inquiries on TR programs but also on PR programs. Clients are all referred to the CIC website.

Modernization

Since arriving this summer, new IPM has made several changes to better leverage GCMS and improve processing times across all lines of business. Backlogs and long processing times
have been eliminated and Rome is back to well within all CIC published processing standards.

With the reduction in backlogs and processing times, Rome is now in an excellent position to help with any new mission-to-mission file processing sharing.

Permanent Resident Program

Somewhat surprisingly, to me at least, there is “a lot of fraud” in the family class, and marriages of convenience are a concern.

Temporary Resident Program

Rome processed 3,755 TRV applications in 2014.  

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Environmental Overview – Port of Spain

4th Jan 2016 Comments Off on Environmental Overview – Port of Spain

Last Updated on January 4, 2016 by Steven Meurrens

The following is the Environmental Overview of the immigration functions at the Canadian High Commission in Colombo, Sri Lanka (the “Environmental Overview”).  The Environmental Overview was prepared as part of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada 2015-2016 planning exercise.

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