Sunday, March 30, 2014

Canada Immigration Without Job Offer under Nova Scotia Nominee Program

Welcome to Bienvenue à Nova Scotia
Welcome to Bienvenue à Nova Scotia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Canadian province of Nova Scotia has introduced Regional Market Stream under the Nova Scotia Nominee Program for permanent residence without requiring a job offer from an employer in Canada. The program is intended for those foreign skilled professionals who can meet provincial labour market and economic needs and intend to settle in Nova Scotia. The Nominee along with spouse and dependents can be approved by the province to become permanent residents of Canada after approval by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.  It is a two step application process. First the foreign skilled professional applies for Nova Scotia Nominee Program and gets nominated for the program. The applicant then applies to Citizenship and Immigration Canada to get the final approval to immigrate to Canada. The province is now accepting the application under this new immigration stream.

Eligibility Criteria

  • You must be between the ages of 21 and 55 years
  • You have achieved a minimum language standard on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5
  • You have required amount of funds to settle in Nova Scotia
  • You occupation must be among National Occupational Classifications (NOC) A, B or O and must be in good demand
  • You must have at least 2 years of continuous full time work experience within the last 5 years in the field related to your intended profession in Nova Scotia
  • You must have degree, diploma or certificate from recognized post-secondary educational institution.
  • You have intentions to settle in Nova Scotia permanently
  • You have completed the Employment and Settlement Plan
  • You have passport or travel document of the country where you are residing legally.

Application Process:

Eligible foreign skilled professionals apply for nomination by the Nova Scotia Immigration for the Regional Labour Market Demand Stream. Nova Scotia immigration department will assess the application to check if the applicant fulfills all the requirements or the program and if the applicant will be able establish economically in Nova Scotia. The province will nominate the applicant for permanent residence in the province.
Applicants who are successfully nominated under the Regional Labour Market Demand Stream will then apply to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada for permanent residence. Citizenship and Immigration Canada will assess the application to check if the applicant meets the admissibility requirements such as medical and security. The final decision to approve the application for permanent residence is made by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. If the application is approved, applicant can then come to Canada along with spouse and dependents as permanent resident.

Nexus Canada to discuss if you are eligible to apply under the Nova Scotia Nominee Program under the Regional Labour Market Demand Stream.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Ontario proposes a Québec style Provincial Nominee Program

Le château Frontenac –Vieux-Québec / Old Quebe...
Le château Frontenac –Vieux-Québec / Old Quebec, ville de Québec / Quebec city(Québec, Canada) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Written By: Amy Whittam
According to Ontario Immigration Minister Michael Coteau, Ontario wants what Québec has – a special agreement with the Government of Canada on immigration.  Like Québec, Ontario too would like more power to choose its own immigrants and to set its own targets for attracting skilled workers to the province.
This past month the Ontario government introduced legislation proposing an expansion of the Provincial Nominee Program. The program would grow from 1,300 economic immigrants to 5,000 accepted per year. Similar to Québec, under this new legislation Ontario would have the discretion to develop its own specific selection strategy.
Québec currently has its own set criteria for choosing new immigrants who will adapt well to life in Quebec. A skilled worker first applies to the Québec Government for a Certificat de Sélection du Québec (CSQ) and then later can apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada programs to gain Permanent Residency.
Notwithstanding the very different historical relationship Québec and Ontario have vis-à-vis the Canadian Government, Ontario also has cause to seek a province-specific approach to immigration. Ontario is looking to grow its immigration program beyond the existing 100,000 new residents per year. Ontario also seeks to court a far grater number of skilled professionals in fields like Information Technology, which are in high demand in the province.  Annual caps to the Federal Skilled Worker Program introduced earlier this year by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, may obstruct the Province’s designs on attracting more skilled workers and their families to Ontario.
The Provincial Nominee Program allows employers to fill skilled positions when there is a shortage of qualified candidates to be found within Ontario.  Under the proposed new legislation, new immigrants would apply first to an expanded Ontario Provincial Nominee Program. The role of Citizenship and Immigration Canada would then be to clear these applicants on the basis of security and medical admissibility.
 source: http://www.bellissimolawgroup.com/2014/03/ontario-proposes-a-quebec-style-provincial-nominee-program.html
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Choose the right representative, don’t be a victim of immigration fraud

Immigration Debate at The Weissberg Forum For ...
Immigration Debate at The Weissberg Forum For Discourse (Photo credit: MDGovpics)
Posted by: Claudia Cheung
March is Fraud Prevention Month, and Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander is encouraging newcomers to seek authorized immigration representatives to avoid being a victim of fraud. “Fraud is a very serious issue in our immigration system. Our government is taking action to combat fraud by introducing specific measures in the Strengthening Citizenship Act that will address misrepresentation in the citizenship system.”
Newcomers should be aware that under Canadian law, only authorized immigration representatives are allowed to charge a fee to assist an individual to apply for a Canadian visa. Hiring an unauthorized representative weaken Canada’s immigration system, cost taxpayers money, and can often lead to the refusal of the application. On the other hand, authorized immigration representatives are vastly trained and effectively regulated and will provide newcomers with accurate advice and the best service.
Authorized immigration representatives include:
-       Lawyers and paralegals who are members in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society;
-       Notaries who are members in good standing of the Chambre des notaires du Québec; and
-       Immigration consultants who are members in good standing of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.
Make the right decision, don’t be a victim of immigration fraud

Source: http://www.bellissimolawgroup.com/2014/03/choose-the-right-representative-dont-be-a-victim-of-immigration-fraud.html
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A Summary of Recent Changes to Canadian Immigration

Happy Canada Day
Happy Canada Day (Photo credit: Anirudh Koul)
Written By Amy Whittam
In recent months Citizenship and Immigration Canada has introduced a number of regulatory changes to theImmigration and Refugee Protection Act.  Many of these changes have already come into effect this year. Below is a summary of how several popular immigration programs have been affected. To learn more, contact us to find out how these changes affect you!
On January 2, 2014 the Parent and Grandparent Programreopened after a 2 year hiatus.  Changes to the program include an annual cap of 5,000 applications which will be considered each year.  On February 3, 2014 the Minister announced that the Parent and Grandparent Program had reached its cap for 2014.  The program will reopen to new applications in January of 2015. An available alternative is the Super Visa.
Changes to the Temporary Resident Visa Program are effective as of February 6, 2014. Visitors who require a visa to enter Canada will now automatically be considered for a multiple-entry visa. This visa allows a temporary resident to leave and re-enter Canada for 6 months at a time over a period of up to 10 years.  The changes apply to any new temporary resident visa application including visitor’s visas, work permits and study permits.
On February 12, 2014, new changes were announced to Study Permits for International Students.  Starting June 1, 2014 visitors to Canada will be able to apply for a study permit from within Canada. Study permits will only be issued to international students enrolled at designated educational institutions.  There will be a grace period of up to 3 years for International students enrolled at non-designated schools to complete their programs.  There is to be increased access to part-time work permits for students pursuing studies in Canada. An international student will be able to remain in Canada for only 90 days after their studies are completed, unless the student has applied for a separate work permit or temporary resident visa.
Changes to the Canadian Experience Class now involve an annual cap of 12,000 applications to be considered from November 9, 2013 to October 31, 2014. Occupation types will also be subject to sub-caps limiting certain skilled occupations to only 200 applications per year. There are 6 occupation types that are no longer eligible to apply to the CEC under the changes.
Changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Program affect applications submitted anytime between May 4, 2013 and April 30, 2014.  To be eligible an applicant must meet the minimum language, education, and financial requirements. There is a cap of 5,000 applications per year. Up to 1,000 applications will be considered in the PhD stream. For the other 24 occupation types there is now a sub-cap of 300 applications each.  Many of these of these categories have already reached their annual quota, and others are filling up quickly!  An applicant with a valid job offer and Labour Market Opinion can be considered outside of this cap system.
Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program is under on-going review with the most recent changes announced on February 11, 2014. There will be an increased focus on Labour Market Opinion that limits the use of Temporary Foreign Workers in “high unemployment regions”. Measures to help identify vulnerable workers have been introduced, as well as measures to better enforce employer compliance to the terms of the program.
The Federal Immigrant Investor Program and the Federal Entrepreneur Program are to be terminated as a part of the Economic Action Plan of 2014. These changes were announced on February 11, 2014. The large backlog of existing applications for these two programs will also be eliminated retroactively.
The possible introduction of an Expression of Interest based system was announced in January 2014. This would work as a second stage in the approval process for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades, Canadian Experience Class, Business Class, and the Provincial Nominee Program. The first stage is eligibility; the second stage is availability of interested employers. The Expression of Interest system is set to commence in January 2015.
Mario D. Bellissimo has commented extensively on these and other changes in his role as Chair of the National Immigration Section of the Canadian Bar Association. To find out more about these recent changes and how they affect you, contact us today!
Source: http://www.bellissimolawgroup.com/2014/03/a-summary-of-recent-changes-to-canadian-immigration.html
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Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Interior of one of the Eaton's factories, Eato...
Interior of one of the Eaton's factories, Eaton's department store, Toronto, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Written By: Diandra Farquharson
On February 11, 2014 the Government announced its changes to the Federal Budget. Among these changes were new limits that will be placed on the TFWP (Temporary Foreign Worker Program). The government plans to limit the use of Temporary Foreign Workers in “high-unemployment regions”.
The government proposed funneling $11 million dollars over two years, and $3.5 million per year ongoing to “strengthen the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) process to ensure Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs.”
Mario D. Bellissimo asked an important question: “how do you define unemployment by category and by region?”  If the Government limits the program’s use in places where there is a high unemployment rate, it could leave businesses in those regions without a practical way to recruit skilled workers in a reasonable time frame.
Canadian businesses often turn to the TFWP to acquire workers with science and technology skills who may not be present in high-employment regions.  Mario D. Bellissimo also stated that “placing limits on the program could have a lot of unintended consequences if the changes are too broadly drawn”.
Although, the budget did not provide comprehensive particulars; it did however promise to amend the program in several other ways including but not limited to:
  • Ways to identify vulnerable workers;
  • Improving processing times for certain applications;
  • Ensuring better employer compliance to government terms for the program; and
  • Making changes to the stream of applicants who are exempt from the Employment and Social Development Canada’s Labour Market Opinion process.
The government also plans to impose a $275 user fee per position to ensure full cost of recovery under the LMO process.  They plan to revisit the rules for companies with which Canada has a free-trade agreement.  The North American free trade agreement contains a clause providing for intra-company transfers.  This makes it difficult to make any changes without violating the terms of the agreement.
The changes to the TFWP outside of the LMO process are still being discussed.
To read the full article featuring Mario D. Bellissimo’s comments pleaseclick here.

Source: http://www.bellissimolawgroup.com/2014/02/changes-to-the-temporary-foreign-worker-program-2.html
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Canada Announces New Regulations for International Students

English: International Students
English: International Students (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Posted by: Amy Whittam
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has just announced new regulations for international students that will come into effect on June 1, 2014.  Canada is a study destination of choice for many international students, and Canadian educational institutions benefit greatly from the inflow of funds from international students who pay higher tuition fees than domestic students.  The new regulatory amendments are designed to prevent misuses of the program, and in so doing aim to strengthen Canada’s reputation for high quality education on the world stage.
Study permits will be limited to authorized academic institutions that are to be designated by each province and territory. This measure is to prevent fraudulent educational institutions from taking advantage of international students by offering programs they are unauthorized or unequipped to teach.  The changes will also more closely monitor if international students issued study permits are actually enrolled and actively pursuing their studies while in Canada.  Under the existing program, certain unregulated schools were known to operate ostensibly as “visa mills”. These schools were able to act as a means for foreign nationals to enter Canada, often for other purposes including illegal activity. The new regulations allow designated visa officers to issue removal orders in instances that  students are not complying with the conditions of their study permits. There will also be a shorter period of time that international students can remain in Canada after the completion of their studies.
One major benefit to international students under the new regulations will be the improved ease of access to work permits throughout their time in Canada. International students will be able to obtain work permits and find employment off-campus for up to 20 hours per week during their study period, and full-time during study breaks and holidays.
Visitors to Canada will be able to apply for study permits from within Canada, without having to return to their home country first before applying. Below is a summary of the new regulatory changes:

Current Regulations
New Regulations June 1, 2014
Applicants must show that they intend to pursue studies in Canada when applying for a study permit.Applicants must enrol in and continue to pursue studies in Canada.  Failure to do so could lead to removal from Canada.
Applicants may apply for a study permit to pursue studies at any educational institution in Canada.Study permits will only be issued to successful applicants who are pursuing studies at an educational institution that has been designated to receive international students.
Study permit holders pursuing studies at publicly-funded and certain privately-funded post-secondary institutions must apply for an Off-Campus Work Permit to be able to work up to 20 hours per week off-campus during the academic session and full-time during scheduled breaks.Study permit holders pursuing studies at publicly-funded and certain privately-funded post-secondary institutions must apply for an Off-Campus Work Permit to be able to work up to 20 hours per week off-campus during the academic session and full-time during scheduled breaks.
Any international student can apply for a Co-Op Work Permit if a co-op placement is an integral element of their course of study.Only international students who are pursuing studies at a secondary school or at a designated institution may apply for a Co-Op Work Permit if a co-op placement is an integral part of their course of study.
Visitors may not apply for a study permit from within Canada Visitors may apply for a study permit from within Canada if they are at the pre-school, primary or secondary level, are on an academic exchange or a visiting student at a designated learning institution, or have completed a course or program of study that is a condition for acceptance at a designated learning institution.
International students who have completed their studies but hold valid study permits can remain legally in Canada until the expiration of their study permit.A study permit becomes invalid 90 days following the completion of studies unless the foreign national also possesses a valid work permit or another authorization to remain in Canada.
There are no references in existing regulations that clearly state that Registered Indians who are also foreign nationals are exempt from the requirement to obtain a study permit.Registered Indians who are also foreign nationals may study in Canada without a study permit as they have the right of entry into Canada.
Study permit holders are not authorized to work after the completion of their studies while awaiting approval of their Post-Graduation Work PermitEligible international graduates will be authorized to work full-time after their studies are completed until a decision is made on their application for a Post-Graduation Work Permit.

A grace period of 3 years will be introduced so that any international students currently attending non-designated educational institutions in Canada will be able to complete their programs of study. These students will also be able to renew co-op placements and existing off-campus work permits during this grace period, up to a maximum of three years.

Source: http://www.bellissimolawgroup.com/2014/02/canada-announces-new-regulations-for-international-students.html
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Work Permits for Spousal Sponsorship Applicants

Permanent Resident Card (2002-2007)
Permanent Resident Card (2002-2007) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As part of its commitment to family unification, Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor their spouses or common-law partners for permanent residency. For many couples, it is important that the sponsored spouse is able to work in Canada while waiting for their permanent residency to be finalized.
Permanent resident visa applications for sponsored spouses are processed in two categories: Inland and Outland. Spouses who are living in Canada at the time of application, and who will remain in Canada during the application process, apply through Inland sponsorship. Spouses who are living outside of Canada, or expect to be outside of Canada when their permanent resident visa is finalized, apply through Outland sponsorship.
For many couples, the chance for both partners to live and work together in Canada while their application is processed is an important factor in deciding whether to pursue Inland or Outland sponsorship. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) helps to facilitate work permits for spouses being sponsored under the Inland process. There is no special treatment for spouses who have applied using the Outland process.
Work Permits for Inland Sponsorship Applicants
CIC processes Inland sponsorship applications in two stages. First, the immigration office assesses the Canadian partner’s ability to sponsor his or her spouse. If they are approved, the office then proceeds to assess the foreign spouse’s admissibility to Canada.
Once the first stage of the application has been approved, the person being sponsored is eligible to apply for an Open Work Permit. An individual holding an Open Work Permit may work for any employer in Canada, or may be self-employed, while they wait to hear the results of their permanent residency application.
Typically, the immigration office will inform applicants when they are eligible to apply for open work permits. To reduce waiting time, a work permit application may be included with the initial permanent residency application. In this way, the work permit can be issued as soon as the first stage is approved. This method is particularly useful for spouses who are already working temporarily in Canada, because their pending Open Work Permit application grants them ‘implied status’. Under implied status, an applicant can continue to work past the expiration date of their existing work permit, until they receive the results of their pending application.
Work Permits for Outland Sponsorship Applicants
Outland sponsorship follows a two-stage structure similar to that of Inland sponsorship. However, unlike the Inland process, the first stage of Outland sponsorship does not make the sponsored spouse eligible for an Open Work Permit. A foreign spouse in this situation can still apply for a temporary work permit, but he or she will be subject to general requirements for work permit eligibility.
In order to be eligible for a standard work permit, an individual must typically receive a job offer from a Canadian employer. In most cases, the employer will have to receive a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO)before the foreign worker can request a work permit. Depending on a spouse’s age, nationality, and profession, he or she may qualify for an LMO-exempt work permit through a program such as the NAFTA Professional or International Experience Canada.
Sponsored spouses applying for a work permit should be aware that, in general, temporary work permits are given to individuals who plan to leave Canada after their work permits expire. If a government official determines that a work permit applicant is coming to Canada to live with their partner, it is possible that their work permit application will be refused because they cannot demonstrate that they will leave Canada once their work permit expires.
Applicants in this situation can address this issue by acknowledging ‘dual intent’. The dual intent principle means that it is possible to receive a temporary visa while acknowledging that a permanent resident application is in process.
Should a spouse’s work permit be refused, this does not affect the outcome of his or her permanent residency application.
The Final Word
Spouses coming to Canada are making the brave decision to move to a new country in the name of love. Thankfully, the Canadian government recognizes that such a move should not come at the expense of one’s professional goals.
“When they come to Canada, many sponsored spouses expect to not only build a life with their partner, but to pursue a career,” said Attorney David Cohen. “Spouses who plan to work in Canada should carefully assess their career goals as well as their immigration options when determining what sponsorship program is best for them.”
To find out if you and your spouse are eligible for a sponsorship application, please fill out a free online assessment today. 
Source: http://www.cicnews.com/2014/03/work-permits-spousal-sponsorship-applicants-033283.html
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Changes for International Students – coming in June

A number of new regulations for international students will come into force on June 1, 2014. The changes are intended to make the process easier for genuine students and to minimize abuse of the study permit program.
The Changes
The chart below compares and contrasts the current rules with the new rules as of June 1.
Current Regulations
New Regulations as of June 1
Applicants must show that they intend to pursue studies in Canada when applying for a study permit.Applicants must enroll in and continue to pursue studies in Canada. Failure to do so could lead to removal from Canada.
Applicants may apply for a study permit to pursue studies at any educational institution in Canada.Study permits will only be issued to successful applicants who are pursuing studies at an educational institution that has been designated to receive international students.
Study permit holders eligible to work off-campus must apply for an Off-Campus Work Permit.Study permits will automatically authorize holders to work off-campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic session and full-time during scheduled breaks. There will be no need to apply for a separate work permit. The study permit holder must be pursuing academic, vocational or professional training of six months or more. Studies must lead to a degree, diploma or certificate at a designated institution.
Any international student can apply for a Co-Op Work Permit if a co-op placement is an integral element of their course of study.Only international students who are studying at a secondary school or a designated institution may apply for a Co-Op Work Permit. The co-op placement must still be an integral part of their course of study.
Visitors may not apply for a study permit from within Canada.Visitors may apply for a study permit from within Canada if they:
  • Are at the pre-school, primary or secondary level;
  • Are on academic exchange or are visiting students ; or
  • Have completed a course or program of study that is a condition for acceptance at a designated learning institution
International students who have completed their studies but hold valid study permits may remain in Canada until the expiration of their study permit.A study permit becomes invalid 90 days after completion of studies. To remain in Canada, the graduate must possess a valid work permit or other authorization.
After completion of their studies, study permit holders are not authorized to work until they receive a Post-Graduate Work PermitEligible international graduates will be authorized to work full-time while waiting to receive a decision on a Post-Graduate Work Permit application.
There are no references clearly stating that Registered Indians, who are also foreign nationals, are exempt from the requirement to obtain a study permit.Registered Indians, who are also foreign nationals, may study in Canada without a study permit because they have the right of entry into Canada.
Who is affected by these Changes?
Any international student in Canada may be affected by one or more of these changes. This is especially true for the majority of international students who require study permits to come to Canada.
It is important to note that not all international students need to obtain a study permit. Study permit exemptions are most commonly granted to minor children residing in Canada, as well as individuals who will be studying in Canada for less than six months. More information on studying without a study permit can be found here.
Important Takeaways
The changes are by and large good news for international students, who will see some aspects of their study and work permit applications become more streamlined.
For instance, the decision to make study permit holders automatically eligible for off-campus work relieves international students of the time and stress of applying for a separate work permit. It also gives students the opportunity to gain professional experience during their studies and to connect with potential future employers. Similarly, the decision to allow graduates to work full-time while awaiting a Post-Graduate Work Permit helps students to transition smoothly into the Canadian workforce.
“These new changes were designed with students’ best interests in mind,” said Attorney David Cohen. “The Canadian government understands that international students make important contributions to our country, both economically and socially. Helping students come to Canada, and enjoy their stay here, is a win-win situation.”
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has stated that further details on the changes, as well as how they will be implemented, will be announced in the weeks leading up to June 1. Stay tuned to CIC News for important updates on this program.
To find out if you are eligible for a Canadian study permit, please fill out a free online assessment today. 
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