Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Notice to Express Entry candidates

The Express Entry system has been updated.
We have made a number of improvements that may affect you:
  • The points you can get for a job offer has changed.
  • A job offer now only need to be for a minimum of one year from the time you become a permanent resident. 
  • You can now earn CRS points for study in Canada above high school.
    • you can earn 15 points for a one- or two-year diploma or certificate
    • you can earn 30 points for a degree, diploma or certificate of three years or longer, or for a Master’s, professional or doctoral degree of at least one academic year.
  • You now have more time to complete an application for permanent residence if you get an invitation to apply.
    • Applicants will now have 90 days to apply for permanent residence, instead of 60 days.
  • An LMIA will no longer be needed for certain qualifying job offers to receive CRS points as well as points for arranged employment under the Federal Skilled Worker Class. Many people in Canada on an LMIA exempt work permit will be able to carry that LMIA exemption under Express Entry, including those:
    • here under the North America Free Trade Agreement
    • here under a federal-provincial agreement
    • here under Mobilité Francophone or
    • are an intra-company transferee
    as long as they meet certain criteria, such as at least one year of work experience from the same employer who is providing their job offer.

What do I need to do?

Not everyone will be affected by the changes to the Express Entry system. If you think you are not affected, there is nothing you need to do.
If you think the changes affect you, you should:
  1. Log into your online account and update your Express Entry profile by answering the new questions we added to the system.
  2. After you update your profile, the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) will update your score.

Invitations to apply

Invitation rounds will begin again in the coming weeks. This will give those affected by the changes time to update their Express Entry profile.
All CRS scores will be updated before the next invitation round.

New Comprehensive Ranking System for Express Entry

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has revamped the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) for its Express Entry immigration selection system. The changes, which had been expected for some time, will have a major effect on candidates for immigration to Canada through the three federal programs managed through Express Entry, namely the Federal Skilled Worker Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class, and the Canadian Experience Class.
The new instructions on Express Entry, which were published in the government of Canada’s official Gazette, come into force on November 19, 2016.
The significant changes to job offers are:
  • A qualifying job offer is now worth 200 points if the offer is in an occupation contained in a Major Group 00 of the National Occupational Classification (senior managerial level position). These occupations are:
    • 0011 Legislators
    • 0012 Senior government managers and officials
    • 0013 Senior managers – financial, communications and other business services
    • 0014 Senior managers – health, education, social and community services and membership organizations
    • 0015 Senior managers – trade, broadcasting and other services not elsewhere classified.
    • 0016 Senior managers – construction, transportation, production and utilities
  • A qualifying job offer is now worth 50 points if the offer is any other qualifying offer of arranged employment.
Previously, qualifying job offers supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment were worth 600 points under the CRS. As of November 19, candidates with qualifying job offers will be awarded either 200 or 50 points, depending on the position. Moreover, certain work permit holders may be awarded points for their job offer even if they have not obtained a LMIA (note: LMIA holders will also continue to be awarded points for a job offer).
In addition to LMIA holders, the new regulations also allow the following individuals to be awarded points for a qualifying job offer:
In both above cases, the worker must have been working in Canada for at least one year and the job offer must be made by the same employer named on the work permit. A full list may be reviewed in the table below.
Finally, the job offer duration requirement has also changed from ‘indeterminate’ to at least one year in duration.
Workers currently in Canada: Is your work permit acceptable for Express Entry?
The table below shows which foreign workers in Canada may be able to obtain points for a job offer.
Yes
No
NAFTA
Post-Graduation Work Permits
Intra-Company Transfer
International Experience Canada (IEC)
Labour Market Impact Assessment-based Work Permits
Work Permits issued to Spouses/Common-Law Partners of foreign workers and international students in Canada
Canada-Provincial/Territorial issued Work Permits
All other Open Work Permits
Other Work Permits issued under the significant benefit to Canada initiative

Canadian study now a factor

The points that are to be assigned for a Canadian educational credential are the following:
  • 0 points, if the foreign national has a secondary school educational credential;
  • 15 points, if the foreign national has an eligible credential from a one-year or two-year post-secondary program; and
  • 30 points, if the foreign national has either:
    • an eligible credential from a post-secondary program of three years or more,
    • an eligible credential from a university-level program at the master’s level or at the level of an entry-to-practice professional degree for an occupation listed in the National Occupational Classification matrix at Skill Level A for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required, or
    • an eligible credential from a university-level program at the doctoral level.
Points are only assigned for Canadian study experience if, for the purpose of obtaining the credential, the foreign national:
  • studied in Canada at a Canadian educational institution;
  • was enrolled in full-time study or training for at least eight months; and
  • was physically present in Canada for at least eight months.
Before these changes, there were no additional points available for international students/graduates who had completed a study program in Canada. The changes reflect the government’s goal of providing simpler pathways to permanent residents to international students and graduates in Canada.

Invitations to Apply

Candidates who receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence will have additional time to submit a complete application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Whereas previously an ITA was valid for 60 days, candidates will now have 90 days to submit an application after they receive an ITA.

The consequences for candidates in the pool

On November 19, IRCC may automatically implement these changes for profiles already in the Express Entry pool. In many cases, candidates may notice that the number of CRS points awarded to them has not gone up. However, candidates without a job offer in particular should note that their profile — even though it may state the same number of points as before — may become more competitive, particularly next to candidates with LMIA-based job offers who see their scores dropping by up to 550 points.
The Express Entry pool is a competitive environment, where candidates’ profiles are ranked against each other and the highest-ranked candidates are in a stronger position to receive an ITA when a draw is made. As of November 19, the value of a job offer will go down from 600 points to either 200 or 50 points (depending on the position offered).
IRCC’s year-end Express Entry report for 2015, released earlier this year, showed that of the 31,063 ITAs issued last year, 14,465 (46.6%) were issued to candidates who had a job offer supported by a LMIA. Consequently, the effect of the most recent changes to the CRS could significantly change the make-up of the pool and the rate of candidates with a job offer who go on to receive an ITA. Although candidates with a job offer will continue to be awarded a significant number of points (50 or 200, depending on the position), candidates without a job offer may see their chances of success improving.
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) Now The Most Valuable Factor
It should be noted that candidates who obtain an enhanced nomination certificate through a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) category will continue to be awarded 600 points. Additionally, candidates should note that IRCC’s recently-released Immigration Plan for 2017 revealed that the government of Canada aims to welcome around 51,000 new immigrants through the PNPs next year, a seven percent increase on the target for 2016. With more enhanced PNP categories opening and changing over time, it is arguably more important than ever before for candidates to stay up to date on these immigration programs.
Source: http://www.cicnews.com/2016/11/canada-outlines-significant-changes-comprehensive-ranking-system-crs-express-entry-immigration-118652.html

Changes to Express Entry will benefit applicants, including international students

When the Liberals came into power last year, and John McCallum was named the minister of immigration, he said he would take some time to assess the recently adopted Express Entry system of immigration before making any changes. Now, after a year of focusing on first, the arrival of Syrian refugees and a summer of consultations on the immigration system, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced some changes to Express Entry.
The changes to Express Entry, which will take effect on Nov. 19, aim to create a more fair and responsive immigration system that will address emerging needs and ensure long-term economic growth for the middle class.
Changes include awarding points for job offers to eligible candidates already in Canada on Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exempt work permits, and to international students who completed their studies in Canada.
Also, more time will be allocated to candidates to submit an application for permanent residence once an invitation to apply is received.
“We have committed to doing more to attract highly skilled immigrants to come to Canada and become permanent residents because this is important to build our economy and strengthen our society,” says Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship McCallum. “I am confident that the changes to Express Entry will be one of the many positive outcomes of the changes we will be bringing to our immigration system.”

THE DETAILS

BEFORE NOV. 19, 2016

Job offers
The Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) awards 600 points for a job that is permanent and is supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
Education
The Express Entry system only awards points for education overall as long as it has been assessed as equivalent to a Canadian standard. No additional benefit is awarded specifically to former international students who have received an education in Canada.
Applications
After receiving an invitation to apply, candidates have 60 days to submit a complete application for permanent residence. This includes all documentation such as police certificates and medical exams.

AFTER NOV. 19, 2016

Job offers
On Nov. 19, 2016, the points awarded by the CRS for a job offer will change in three ways:
Points will be awarded for job offers of eligible candidates here on LMIA exempt work permits.
Many people in Canada temporarily on an employer specific LMIA-exempt work permit, but who want to stay in Canada permanently, will no longer need to get an LMIA to be awarded job offer points by the CRS. This includes candidates who are here under the North America Free Trade Agreement, a federal-provincial agreement, Mobilité Francophone, or who are intra-company transferees. The candidates must meet certain criteria, such as at least one year of work experience from the same employer who is providing their job offer.
Job offers will only need to be a minimum of one year in duration once they receive permanent residence.
By changing the job offer requirement from permanent to one year means that more highly skilled candidates working in contract-based industries will have a higher likelihood of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence.
Points awarded for job offers will be reduced.
A total of 50 points will be awarded to candidates with a valid job offer in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) 0, A or B occupation, while a total of 200 points will be awarded to candidates with a valid job offer in a NOC 00 occupation.
The number of points awarded for a job offer, often made it hard for highly skilled candidates without job offers to get an invitation to apply. This change means Canada will now welcome more highly skilled candidates whose skills and experience will help support and grow our economy.
The change in points for job offers will now also better recognize the skills and experience required for the job, together with the value that it brings to the economy.

Education
On Nov. 19, 2016, points will be awarded by the CRS for education obtained in Canada in the following way:
Points will be awarded for study in Canada above high school.
The CRS will award 15 points for a one- or two-year diploma or certificate and 30 points for a degree, diploma or certificate of three years or longer including a master’s, professional or doctoral degree.
With these changes, more former international students will be able to transition to the permanent residence using the Express Entry system. Former international students are a key source of candidates in Express Entry because of their age, education, skills, and experience. In addition to the time already spent in Canada, integrating into Canadian society permanently will be easier because they will have established social networks and familiarized themselves with life in Canada.
Applications
On Nov. 19, 2016, applications will be treated in the following way:
Candidates will have 90 days to complete an application for permanent residence if they get an invitation to apply. This will give candidates more time to gather all the required documentation and submit a complete application.
Source: http://canadianimmigrant.ca/immigrate/immigration-law/changes-to-express-entry-will-benefit-applicants-including-international-students

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Canada adopts lottery system for reuniting immigrants with parents, grandparents

Replacing current 1st-come, 1st-served system to make process more fair for all applicants

By Kathleen Harris, CBC News Posted: Dec 14, 2016 11:11 AM ET
Canada is adopting a lottery system to replace the current first-come, first-served immigration process to reunite parents and grandparents.
The change, which will take effect in the new year, is designed to make the system fair for all applicants, according to a release from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. In past, the number of applications has far exceeded the number of available spots, creating a backlog in applications.
"We're listening to what past applicants had to say and making the process fairer for people who want to sponsor their parents or grandparents," Immigration Minister John McCallum said in a statement.
"We're ensuring everyone can access the application process by giving them the same chance to have their name chosen."
Between Jan. 3 and Feb. 2, 2017, Canadian citizens and permanent residents who want to sponsor their parents or grandparents will be required to complete an online form on the IRCC website within 30 days.
Once the information is properly transmitted, the prospective sponsor will get a confirmation number. The release from IRCC says duplicate entries will be removed. It warns that completing the form does not mean person has applied to sponsor under the program.
Instead, at the end of the 30 days, IRCC will randomly pick 10,000 prospective sponsors and invite them to complete the full application for the Parent and Grandparent Program. They will have 90 days to submit a full application.

Those not selected can reapply

IRCC will let everyone who completed an online form know whether or not they were chosen.
Prospective sponsors who weren't selected can go through the same process in 2018.
Last week, McCallum announced the government would cut the waiting time for family reunification by half, promising to complete the process in one year from an average of two years.
The government will admit 20,000 parents and grandparents to Canada under the program in 2017, the same number as this year.
Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents can also apply for a super visa, which allows them to extend a visit for up to two years after the initial entry into Canada. A 10-year multiple-entry visa allows several visits of up to six months at a time.
Toronto immigration lawyer Sergio Karas said the lottery process represents a slight improvement over the previous system, which led to a "mad rush" every January, with people lining up at the doors of the processing centre overnight or paying place-holders in the queue to deliver applications prepared by consultants or lawyers.
"The lottery system created today will at least give the opportunity to everyone who wishes to apply, understanding that their chances of success are probably in the 20 per cent range," he said.
"However, the larger policy question that should be addressed and that the government desperately wishes to avoid is whether it makes any economic sense for Canada to continue to allow individuals who are elderly or at least of non-working age to receive permanent residence at a time in which there exists increased pressure on the health-care system and social safety net."

Transparency needed

But Dory Jade, CEO of the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants, said Canada has a long tradition of welcoming parents and grandparents as part of the family reunification program. He said they contribute greatly to the social and economic fabric of Canada, often helping to care for children while the parents go to work.
Jade said the new lottery system will modernize the process, moving it from a paper-based system to an online application. He said there are questions around how the random selection process will unfold, and whether a second round will be held if chosen prospective sponsors either don't submit applications, or have their applications disqualified.
"It needs to be transparent," he said.
Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-immigration-parents-grandparents-1.3895808