Citizenship and Immigration Canada
On December 19, 2012, Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced that the Federal Skilled Worker Program (“FSWP”) would once again begin accepting new applications on May 4, 2013. However, several key details of the FSWP were not announced at that time. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has now provided these last remaining details.
On May 10, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced proposed regulatory amendments that will narrow the definition of “dependent child” by reducing the age limit to children under the age of 19 and removing the exception for full-time students. Once implemented, this proposed change will adversely affect the dependent children of all prospective immigrants to Canada.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada cautions against preparing Federal Skilled Worker Program applications until key details are announced
The Federal Skilled Worker Program will begin accepting applications as of May 4, 2013. However, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has recently reminded applicants who may be preparing to submit applications that it still expects to announce three important elements of the FSWP in April 2013, which will have a significant impact on who can apply under the program.
On January 24, 2013, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Citizen Jason Kenney announced that Citizenship and Immigration Canada would launch a Start-Up Visa Program to recruit innovative immigrant entrepreneurs who will create new jobs and spur economic growth. This program differs from existing investor and entrepreneur options to the extent that the entrepreneur will not need to be the source of investment capital. Such a program will enable entrepreneurs who establish start-up businesses using capital contributed by third parties, such as venture capital firms or angel investors, to seek permanent residence in Canada. The Start-Up Visa Program begins on April 1, 2013.
On August 18, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) published proposed regulatory amendments in the Canada Gazette, which (once enacted) would create a Federal Skilled Trades Program (“FSTP”). On January 2, 2013, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced that CIC would begin accepting applications under the FSTP, effective immediately.
On December 8, 2012, CIC published proposed regulations that will authorize the collection and use of biometric data from certain foreign nationals. Starting in 2013, temporary resident visa, study permit, and work permit applicants from certain visa-required countries and territories who seek to enter Canada will be required to have their biometric information (fingerprints and photograph) collected overseas before arriving in Canada.
On September 28, 2012, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism announced that citizenship applicants will now be required to provide up-front objective evidence of their language ability at the time of their citizenship application. This requirement applies to applications received as of November 1, 2012. After that date, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will return any citizenship application, filed by an applicant between the ages of 18 and 54, that does not include objective evidence of language ability.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada proposes significant amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations
On August 18, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada published proposed regulatory amendments in the Canada Gazette, which will significantly alter the Federal Skilled Worker Class, create a new Federal Skilled Trades Class, and liberalize the Canadian Experience Class.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada recently updated its Foreign Worker Manual, which provides guidance to CIC and Canada Border Services Agency officers who adjudicate work permit applications. The updated version includes revisions to sections that describe the C12 and NAFTA intracompany transferee exemptions.
CIC announces temporary pause on most federal skilled worker applications and all federal immigrant investor applications
On June 29, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada published Operational Bulletin 438, which states that a temporary pause has been placed on new applications filed under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, excluding applications received under the PhD eligibility stream and those with a qualifying offer of arranged employment. A temporary pause has also been placed on all new applications filed under the federal Immigrant Investor Program.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has launched a pilot project as part of its plan to streamline procedures and improve services to newcomers. As of April 30, 2012, most permanent residents who apply for Permanent Resident Cards no longer need to visit a CIC office; they will instead receive their Permanent Resident Cards by mail.
On April 18, 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney launched consultations on the possible creation of a new program to attract immigrant entrepreneurs. Citizenship and Immigration Canada will consult with industry associations in the development of a “start-up” visa program for innovative entrepreneurs in the coming months. A start-up visa program differs from existing investor and entrepreneur options in that…
Citizenship and Immigration Canada will close the files of federal skilled worker applicants who applied before February 27, 2008, and for whom an immigration officer has not already made a decision based on the applicable selection criteria by March 29, 2012. This proposed legislation is expected to affect about 280,000 applicants, including their dependants.
The government recently released its 2012 federal budget, which sets out a comprehensive agenda to bolster Canada’s fundamental strengths and address the important challenges confronting the economy over the long term. How will this affect employment in Canada?