Last updated on April 6th, 2020
During the last two weeks of March, 2020, the Government of Canada implemented many measures in response to the COVID19 pandemic. In the immigration context, these measures included travel bans, the suspension of biometrics and the transition of most Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) officers to remote work. The changes were frequent, dramatic and difficult to keep up with. They have left a lot of prospective immigrants wondering what exactly is open with regards to Canada’s immigration programs.
Please note that this article was written on April 1, 2020.
Canada is currently denying boarding to most foreign nationals on flights to Canada. There are, however, numerous exemptions to this.
First, individuals who are travelling from the United States who have been in the United States for at least 14 days before they try to travel to Canada by land, sea or air, can travel to Canada if they are asymptomatic. Such individuals must show that they are coming to Canada for essential reasons and not for reasons that are optional or discretionary, such as tourism, recreation or entertainment.
Second, all temporary foreign workers, as well as international students who have a valid study permit or who were approved for a study permit before March 18, 2020, and foreign nationals who were approved for permanent residence before March 18, 2020, but who have not yet travelled to Canada to land as a permanent resident, can travel to Canada.
Third, the immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents can travel to Canada. Immediate family members includes spouses,Read more ›
Regulation 100(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, SOR/2002-227 states:
For the purposes of subsection 12(2) of the Act, the self-employed persons class is hereby prescribed as a class of persons who may become permanent residents on the basis of their ability to become economically established in Canada and who are self-employed persons within the meaning of subsection 88(1).
Becomming Economically Established
The IRCC Guidelines state the following about how officers should assess a person’s ability to become economically established in Canada.
- A self-employed applicant must demonstrate the intention and ability to create his/her own employment in Canada through cultural activities, athletics or the purchase and management of a farm.
- A person’s financial assets may be a measure of intent and ability to establish economically in Canada. There is no minimum investment level for a self-employed person. The capital required depends on the nature of the work.
- Applicants must have sufficient funds to create an employment opportunity for themselves and support themselves and their family members. This includes the ability to be self-supporting until the self-employment has been created.
- A demonstrated ability to support themselves and their family through their talents could be a good indicator of their ability to continue to do so in Canada.
- It is intended that the Self-Employed Persons Class enrich Canadian culture and sports. In other words, when applicants meet the test of experience and there is a reasonable expectation they will be self-employed, the test of significant contribution becomes relative. For example, a music teacher destined to a small town can be considered significant at the local level. Likewise, a freelance journalist who contributes to a Canadian publication will meet the test.
- It is the intent of the Regulations that any farmer meeting the experience requirement,
Heading – Genuineness and Caregivers
On June 18, 2019 Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada revamped its caregiver programs. Gone was the requirement that employers first obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment and that caregivers work in Canada without their families for at least two years before they could apply for permanent residency. Instead, caregivers can now immediately apply for permanent residency if they have a job offer or Canadian work experience in an eligible caregiver occupation and if they meet minimum education and language proficiency requirements and come to Canada with their families right away.
The new caregiver programs have existed for about four months now and it is too early to determine whether they have been a success. An issue that has arisen, however, is the issue of employers and applicants demonstrating that their job offers are genuine.
How the New Caregiver Programs Work
Canada now has two caregiver programs. The first is the Home-Child Care Provider Pilot. The second is the Home Support Worker Pilot. A maximum of 2,750 applications are accepted per year under each stream. In both programs, applicants must demonstrate through standardized language testing that they have Initial Intermediate English or French ability, also known as Canadian Language Benchmark 5, and also that they have at least a one-year post secondary credential.
Applicants must also show that they have two years of full-time Canadian work experience as a Home Child-care Provider or a Home Support Worker, depending on the pilot. Applicants with fewer than two-years experience must show that they have a valid job offer as either a Home Child-care Provider or a Home Support Worker and that they will be able to perform the terms of their job offer in Canada. If they do,Read more ›
On June 18, 2019 Canada launched the Home Child-Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot.
The Home Child-Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot are 2 economic pilot programs targeted to foreign national caregivers who:
- have a job offer or Canadian work experience in an eligible caregiver occupation; and
- meet minimum education and language proficiency requirements.
The ability to be a foreign caregiver in Canada has largely been restricted to these two programs as the Department of Employment and Social Development Canada has issued Ministerial Instructions refusing to process Labour Market Impact Assessments for caregivers.
A maximum of 2,750 complete applications will be processed per year in each pilot.
Applicants with 24 Months or more of Eligible Experience
Applicants with 24 months or more of eligible Canadian work experience must satisfy the following criteria:
- meet the minimum language requirements of Canadian Language Benchmark 5 in Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing;
- meet the minimum education requirements of having either a Canadian one-year post secondary (or higher) educational credential or a foreign educational credential that is equivalent to a completed one-year Canadian post-secondary (or higher) educational credential;
- meet the work experience requirement; and
- be admissible to Canada.
Eligible Canadian experience must be full-time work of at least 30 hours per week in the following applications:
- Home Child-Care Providers (except for foster parents);
- Home Support Workers.
Housekeepers and related occupations are not eligible to apply.
Canadian work experience does not need to be continuous to qualify, but the period of 24 months of required employment does not include
- any extended absence from Canada (including any time worked for an employer outside Canada);
To be a member in the Self-Employed Class, an applicant must have a minimum of two years of experience in cultural activities, athletics, or the purchase and management of a farm (for applications received before March 10, 2018), during the period beginning five years before the date of application for a permanent resident visa and ending on the day a determination is made in respect of the application.
The experience can consist of either two one-year periods of experience in self-employment in cultural activities, two one-year periods of experience in participation at a world class level in cultural activities, or a combination of one-year periods in the two.
The experience can also consist of either two one-year periods of experience in self-employment in athletics, two one-year periods of experience in participation at a world class level in athletics, or a combination of one-year periods in the two.
What is Self-Employment?
The Self-Employed Class section of the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website does not describe what self-employment is.
However, the Canadian Experience Class section of the website provides the following:
Determining an applicant’s employment status
Applicants under the CEC must satisfy a CIC officer that they meet all program requirements [R87.1]. Any period of self-employment shall not be included in calculating the period of qualifying work experience under the CEC [R87.1(3)(b)]. As such, the CEC requires that applicants demonstrate they acquired skilled work experience in Canada through authorized employment by a third party.
As provided for in the CEC Document Checklist, principal applicants are requested to provide documentary evidence of their work experience in Canada through a combination of: a copy of their most recent work permit (unless they are work-permit exempt), copies of their most recent T4 tax information slips and Notice of Assessment (NOA) issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or a sufficient combination of other supporting documentation,Read more ›
Visa officers have the discretion to extend the time limits on visa that have been issued.
The 2018 decision in Austin v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) illustrates this point. There, a person was issued a permanent resident visa that expired 35 days after it was issued. The person booked an airline ticket, however, she was unable to depart as scheduled because her car broke down. She booked a new ticket but was not allowed to board a plane to Canada because her visa had expired. She then wrote to Canadian immigration officials asking that they extend the validity period of her visa.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada refused, writing that:
An immigrant visa was issued to you with an expiry date of October 25, 2017. The onus was on you to travel prior to the expiry date of your visa or to notify this office if you were unable to travel prior to the date of expiry.
Your medicals have now expired and we are unable to re-open your file.
We regret to advise that your file is now closed and no further processing can be carried out.
The internal Global Case Management System notes further stated that:
FILE REVIEWED Rec’d the following email from applicant. PA was issued COPR valid to 25Oct2017. Satisfied PA rec’d landing docs in time for travel as she indicated she was booked to travel 19Oct2017 but did not travel. No reasonable explanation has been submitted as to why PA did not travel on 19Oct2017. In addition PA did not notify our office until today, two days after the expiry of her COPR that she was unable to travel. PA is not a landed immigrant to date and now 23yrs old so not eligible to be spr’d in the future.Read more ›
Last updated on June 11th, 2020
In both the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and indeed most economic immigration programs, the government of Canada relies on Service Canada’s National Occupational Classification (“NOC“) system to determine eligibility.
In the Canadian Experience Class, for example, subsections 87.1(2)(b) and (c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the “IRPR“) set out the job duties that applicants to the Canadian Experience Class must perform in order to meet the requirements of having experience in an eligible NOC.
Subsection 87.1(2)(b) provides that an applicant must have performed the “actions described in the lead statement for the occupation as set out [in the NOC]”, while subsection 87.1(2)(c) provides that an applicant also must have performed a “substantial number of the main duties of the occupation as set out in the NOC, including all of the essential duties.”
In the Federal Skilled Worker Program, meanwhile, s. 75(2)(a)-(c) of the IRPR states:
A foreign national is a skilled worker if
(a) within the 10 years before the date on which their application for a permanent resident visa is made, they have accumulated, over a continuous period, at least one year of full-time work experience, or the equivalent in part-time work, in the occupation identified by the foreign national in their application as their primary occupation, other than a restricted occupation, that is listed in Skill Type 0 Management Occupations or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classificationmatrix;
(b) during that period of employment they performed the actions described in the lead statement for the occupation as set out in the occupational descriptions of the National Occupational Classification;
(c) during that period of employment they performed a substantial number of the main duties of the occupation as set out in the occupational descriptions of the National Occupational Classification,Read more ›
On January 2, 2013, the Federal Skilled Trades Class (“FSTC“) began accepting applications. This is a new program from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
From January 2, 2013, to January 1, 2014, the FSTC will be limited to 3,000 applications. As described in more detail below, the program will also contain numerous occupation specific sub-caps.
To be eligible for the FSTC, applicants must:
- Have twenty-four months of work experience (after being qualified/certified in the country where the work was performed, where applicable) in an eligible skilled trade during the five year period preceding the application;
- Have an offer of employment for continous full-time work for a total period of at least one year from up to two employers in that skilled trade occupation, or possess a Certificate of Qualification from a provincial or territorial Apprenticeship Authority;
- Satisfy employment requirements as described by the occupation’s National Occupational Classification, except for certification and licensing requirements
- Meet or exceed the minimum language threshold; and
- Intend to reside in a province other than Quebec.
Forty-three occupations are eligible under the FSTP.
Within the total FSTP cap of 3,000 applications, seventeen of the forty-thirty occupations are further capped at 100 applications per occupation. These occupations are:
- 7202 Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
- 7204 Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
- 7205 Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
- 7271 Carpenters
- 7301 Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
- 7302 Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
- 8211 Supervisors, logging and forestry
- 8221 Supervisors, mining and quarrying
- 8222 Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling services
- 8241 Logging machinery operators
- 8252 Agricultural service contractors,
New Skilled Trades Class
On August 17, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) announced that it would be introducing the Federal Skilled Trades Class (“FSTC”), a new program which will facilitate the immigration of certain skilled tradespersons in Canada.
The program is expected to be introduced on January 1, 2013.
The FSTC will be open to individuals with experience in the following National Occupation Classification (“NOC“) B occupational areas:
- Industrial, Electrical and Construction Trades;
- Maintenance and Equipment Operation Trades;
- Supervisors and Technical Occupations in Natural Resources, Agriculture and Related Production;
- Processing, Manufacturing and Utilities Supervisors and Central Control Operators;
- Chefs and Cooks; and
- Bakers and Butchers.
Applicants to the FSTC will be required to meet the following four minimum requirements:
- Be working in Canada, or possess a LMO-supported offer of employment from up to two employers in Canada of at least one year duration, or possess a Certificate of Qualification from a provincial or territorial Apprenticeship Authority;
- Meet the same minimum language threshold as required by the concurrently to be introduced new Federal Skilled Worker Class, namely a 7.0 on every language ability;
- Have twenty-four months of work experience (after qualification/certification in the country where the work was performed, where applicable) in the same skilled trade as which they are applying under in the last five years; and
- Have qualifications that satisfy employment requirements as described by the NOC, except for certification and licensing requirements.
Please note that none of the information on this website should be construed as being legal advice. As well, you should not rely on any of the information contained in this website when determining whether and how to apply to a given program. Canadian immigration law is constantly changing, and the information above may be dated. If you have a question about the contents of this blog, or any question about Canadian immigration law, please contact the Author.
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