Saturday, November 29, 2014

Government of Canada Replaces the Live-in Caregiver Program

Janet Morris, Director of Bet Tzedek's Family ...
Janet Morris, Director of Bet Tzedek's Family Caregiver Program, with clients. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On November 28, 2014, the Government of Canada issued Ministerial Instructions completely overhauling Canada's caregiver immigration programs.  


The changes consist of:
  • Suspending the in-take of applications under the existing Live-in Caregiver Program;
  • Establishing the Caring for Children Class; and
  • Establishing the Caring for People with High Medical Needs Class. 
The above changes all take effect on November 30, 2014.

Suspending the in-take of applications under the existing Live-in Caregiver Program
 
No new permanent resident applications under the Live-in Caregiver Class will be accepted for processing unless they are supported by evidence that the underlying work permit associated with the foreign national's initial entry to Canada as a live-in caregiver was based on a Labour Market Impact Assessment application that the employer requested on or before November 30, 2014. 
 
Establishing the Caring for Children Class
 
Individuals will be eligible to apply for permanent residence under the Caring for Children Class if they:
  • Have acquired, within the four years of applying for permanent residence, at least two years of full-time work experience in Canada as a Home Child Care Provider, within the meaning of that occupation as set out in National Occupational Classification code 4411, other than experience as a foster parent;
  • Meet the employment requirements of being a Home Child Care Provider;
  • Have attained (through the completion of a language exam) a level of English or French language proficiency at Canadian Language Benchmark 5,
  • Have obtained either a Canadian educational credential of at least one year of post-secondary studies, or a foreign equivalent as demonstrated through an educational credential assessment; and
  • They intend to reside in a province other than Quebec. 
The full-time work experience in Canada referred to above must have occurred while a foreign national was authorized to work in Canada under a work permit, and cannot include any period during which the foreign national was engaged in full-time study or was self-employed.  It is imperative that open work permit holders complete medical examinations and ensure that their work permits allow them to work as Home Child Care Providers before they begin working. 

Although the Ministerial Instructions do not mention any application caps for the Caring for Children Class, in a press release on October 31, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced that the program would be capped at 2,750 applications per year. 

Establishing the Caring for People with High Medical Needs Class
 
Individuals will be eligible to apply for permanent residence under the Caring for People with High Medical Needs Class if they:
  • Have acquired, within the four years of applying for permanent residence, at least two years of full-time work experience in Canada in one of the following occupations:
    • Registered Nurse or Registered Psychiatric Nurse within the meaning of National Occupational Classification code 3012;
    • Licensed Practical Nurse within the meaning of National Occupational Classification code 3233;
    • Nurse Aide, Orderly, or Patient Service Associate within the meaning of National Occupational Classification code 3413; or
    • Home Support Worker, but not Housekeeper, within the meaning of National Occupational Classification 4412. 
  • Meet the employment requirements of their respective occupation;
  • Have attained (through the completion of a language exam) a level of English or French language proficiency at Canadian Language Benchmark 7 for Registered Nurses or Psychiatric Nurses, and Canadian Language Benchmark 5 for the remaining professions,
  • Have obtained either a Canadian educational credential of at least one year of post-secondary studies, or a foreign equivalent as demonstrated through an educational credential assessment; and
  • They intend to reside in a province other than Quebec. 
The full-time work experience in Canada referred to above must have occurred while a foreign national was authorized to work in Canada under a work permit, and cannot include any period during which the foreign national was engaged in full-time study or was self-employed. It is imperative that open work permit holders complete medical examinations and ensure that their work permits allow them to work as Home Child Care Providers before they begin working. 

Although the Ministerial Instructions do not mention any application caps for the Caring for Children Class, in a press release on October 31, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada previously announced that the program would be capped at 2,750 applications per year. 
 
More information about the Ministerial Instructions can be found here

Source: Steven Meurrens, Barrister & Solicitor

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Canada Set to Announce New Immigrant Investor Plan

Canada is set to announce a new program that would enable some prospective immigrants to acquire residency visas by investing at least 1 million Canadian dollars ($890,000) in a venture-capital fund, a scheme some other western countries have used to attract wealthy, mainly Chinese, newcomers.
Ottawa will create an new immigrant class for individuals who could place C$1 million to C$2 million in a VC fund that would in turn invest in startups, according to a person familiar with the matter. The government is targeting investments totaling around C$120 million, that person said.
Ottawa scrapped a previous immigrant-investor scheme in February, and canceled a backlog of tens of thousands of mainly Chinese applicants. That move was seen as another sign that Canada was becoming less welcoming to China and its investment, coming not long after Ottawa shut the door on Chinese state-owned investment in Canada’s oil sands.
Ottawa denied that view, saying the visa program, which granted permanent residency to those who committed C$800,000 to a five-year zero-interest loan to a Canadian province, allowed people to effectively buy their way into the country without making an investment or taking any risk.
In recent years, Canada has let in more immigrants per capita than any other Group of Seven country.
The new venture-capital linked scheme addresses the view that the previous scheme undervalued Canadian permanent residency and enabled some applicants to gain residency without moving to Canada. Canada signaled for the plan in February, but has yet to release any of the program’s details.
A spokesman for Canadian Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said details governing the new venture capital fund are still being finalized and would be unveiled in due course. He declined to elaborate on specific features of the fund.
Under the new program, investors aren’t guaranteed a return from their investment and could face losses depending on the performance of the VC fund’s investments.
The new program comes as VC fundraising declined 29% year-to-date in the third quarter, according to Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association.
Ottawa has encouraged venture-capital investment as way of generating innovation, skilled-job creation and long-term economic growth. The government has earmarked C$400 million for existing and new venture-capital funds as a way to kick-start private money flows into this style of funding, which typically takes bets on early stage or startup companies. Ottawa also wants the private sector to commit two dollars for every dollar it allocates to VC funding.
Other Western governments have offered residency or passports in exchange for immigrant investment. Under one U.K. scheme, anyone with the intention and means to invest GBP2 million in the country can get a visa. In the past, European countries, including Portugal, Spain, Greece and Cyprus, have allowed investors a residency permit for buying as little as EUR250,000 ($340,950) of real estate.
Last month, Australia offered a faster 12-month pathway to permanent residency for people investing A$15 million ($13.2 million) or more into the country. The Premium Investor Visa program targets investment in higher-risk infrastructure priorities rather than lower-risk sovereign bonds and managed funds. The new visas build on an existing plan—Significant Investor Visas—offering residency in four years for people investing at least A$5 million. As on Nov 24, China accounted for 90.8% of applications, and 87.7 % of visas granted.
—Rob Taylor and Paul Vieira contributed
Write to Ben Dummett at ben.dummett@wsj.com and Alistair MacDonald atalistair.macdonald@wsj.com
Source: http://online.wsj.com/articles/canada-set-to-announce-new-immigrant-investor-plan-1417110338?tesla=y&mg=reno64-wsj&url=http://online.wsj.com/article/SB11659981523255993497704580302972932810424.html

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Express Entry: What employers need to know

English: Supreme Court of Canada Français : Co...
English: Supreme Court of Canada Français : Cour suprême du Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Helping employers connect with skilled immigrants

Canada is changing its economic immigration system to provide more recruitment possibilities for employers and more opportunities for prospective skilled immigrants.

Moving from…

  • First applicant in, first to be processed
  • Recruitment of global talent at employer time and expense
  • Difficult to navigate systems with multiple players
  • 12–14 months to process permanent residence applications

Moving toward…

  • Canadian employers will have a direct role in recruiting economic immigrants
  • Express Entry candidates with a valid job offer or provincial/territorial nomination will quickly receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence
  • Access to a pool of candidates who fit current labour market needs
  • New and improved Job Bank with coordinated Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process
  • Job Bank will connect Canadian employers and Express Entry candidates at no cost
  • No LMIA fee for permanent residence applications
  • Six months or less to process permanent residence applications in 80% of cases from receipt of complete application to final decision

How employers can access Express Entry pool candidates

Employers can hire skilled foreign workers to meet their labour needs when they are unable to find Canadians or permanent residents to fill job vacancies. Employers will have the flexibility and choice to use current recruiting and hiring practices. They will also have access to candidates through: Job Bank, private sector job boards and Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) where applicable.
Image described below

Invitation to Apply

Candidates will be assessed against others within the pool, and be ranked based on criteria that are known to contribute to a newcomer's economic success once in Canada. Only the highest-ranked candidates, and those with valid job offers or provincial/territorial nominations, will be invited to apply for permanent residence.
Candidates will have 60 days to apply for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian Experience Class or a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada will process the majority of complete permanent residence applications received (i.e. those including all the necessary supporting documents) in six months or less.

Express Entry

English: A map of Canada exhibiting its ten pr...
English: A map of Canada exhibiting its ten provinces and three territories, and their capitals. (Lambert conformal conic projection from The Atlas of Canada) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In January 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will launch a new electronic system called Express Entry to manage applications for permanent residence in certain economic programs. Canada needs high levels of immigration to meet current and future labour market needs, which will ensure our economic growth and long-term prosperity.
Express Entry will allow us to actively recruit, assess and select skilled immigrants under the following federal economic immigration programs:
Provinces and territories will also be able to recruit candidates from the Express Entry system for a portion of the Provincial Nominee Programs to meet local labour market needs. Under this new system, employers will also have a key role in selecting economic immigrants. Employers will access candidates through Canada's new and improved Job Bank and through provinces and territories where applicable.
The Express Entry system involves two steps:

Step 1) Potential candidates complete an online Express Entry profile

Potential candidates will complete an online Express Entry profile where they will provide information about their skills, work experience, language ability, education, and other details. Those who meet the criteria of one of the federal economic immigration programs subject to Express Entry will be placed in a pool of candidates.
Candidates will be ranked against others in the pool. Only the highest-ranked candidates (those deemed to have the best chances for economic success), and those with qualifying offers of arranged employment or provincial/territorial nominations, will be invited to apply for permanent residence.
If a candidate does not already have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer or a provincial/territorial nomination, he or she must register with the Government of Canada's Job Bank which will connect him or her with eligible Canadian employers.
Where applicable, employers will be required to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment from Employment and Social Development Canada. There will be no fee for Labour Market Impact Assessments for permanent residence applications under the Express Entry system. 
Completing an online Express Entry profile does not guarantee that a candidate will receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence.

Step 2) Citizenship and Immigration Canada will invite certain candidates to apply for permanent residence and process their electronic applications within six months.

Candidates will receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence if they rank among the top in the pool, based on their skills and experience. Candidates who have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer (subject to the Labour Market Impact Assessment process in place at that time) or have been nominated by a province or territory will be given high scores in the ranking system.
Candidates will have 60 days to submit an electronic application for permanent residence through one of the following programs:
  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP);
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP);
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC); or,
  • A portion of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada will process the majority of complete applications (i.e. applications including all the necessary supporting documents) within six months or less.
Candidates in the Express Entry pool who do not receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence after 12 months may resubmit their profile and re-enter the pool if they still meet the criteria. This provision will prevent backlogs and ensure quick processing times.
Express Entry will result in faster and more efficient service to potential skilled immigrants. It will also allow the Government of Canada to be more flexible and responsive to Canada's changing economic conditions and priorities.

Source: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/express/express-entry.asp

Friday, November 7, 2014

What can education agents do or not do with regards to Canadian immigration matters?

English: Diefenbaker Canada Centre University ...
English: Diefenbaker Canada Centre University of Saskatchewan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


“Education agents often ask me what they are permitted to do for their student clients with regards to Canadian immigration advice or assistance. The simple answer is that they can do very little, if anything, unless they are legally authorised. To be clear, international students seeking to study in Canada are subject to Canadian immigration law. As such, as an education agent, it is important that you know what your obligations are.

Canada is a popular destination not only for international students but also for millions of others seeking to immigrate under a number of other immigration categories. This is an ideal environment for unscrupulous individuals posing as authorised Canadian immigration representatives who would recklessly give false hope to many would-be immigrants. Sadly, the result is that they are often defrauded of their life savings – with dreams of living in Canada utterly destroyed. 

The Government of Canada is very aware of this issue and in 2011 passed new legislation—Bill C-35—that amended the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its regulations by making it illegal for anyone other than an authorised immigration representative to provide immigration advice or otherwise represent a client during an application or proceeding. This legislation is so strict that it even applies to anyone who gives paid advice before the client applies for the immigration process. If convicted, penalties can be as high as a CAN$100,000 (US$91,943) and/or two years in prison.

Authorised immigration representatives permitted to charge a fee or receive any other type of payment are:
•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.

Federal and Provincial governments in Canada will not deal with representatives who charge for immigration related services and are not members of one of the above groups. In fact, the Canadian government has taken the extra step of notifying other countries of these protective measures in an effort to educate their own citizens considering immigration to Canada and to assist in tracking down unscrupulous individuals claiming to be authorised Canadian immigration representatives. 

Here are two helpful lists about what education agents can and cannot do:

What can education agents do under Canadian law?*
•Direct someone to appropriate resources including to an authorised immigration representative
•Provide translation services
•Provide courier services
•Provide medical services (e.g., medical exams)
•Make travel arrangements
•Advise an international student on how to select their courses or register


What are education agents not permitted to do under Canadian law?*
•Explain and/or provide advice on someone’s immigration options
•Provide guidance to a client on how to select the best immigration stream
•Complete/submit immigration forms on a client’s behalf
•Communicate with government including Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency on a client’s behalf (except for direct translation)
•Represent a client in an immigration application or proceeding
•Advertise that they can provide immigration advice or assistance



*For current accuracy, always check with the Canadian government directly.”

By George Bazios is Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant specialising in student immigration matters.

Source: http://www.hothousemedia.com/stmnews/pastissues/140529/view.htm