Hiring foreign workers
On April 29, 2013, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development (“HRSDC”) and the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism announced that they would be introducing numerous changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Employment and Social Development Canada, formerly known as HRSDC, has now announced changes to the Labour Market Opinion application process, which are effective as of July 31, 2013.
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.
The refugee determination process has been a hotly debated topic in Canadian immigration. These changes could affect the Canadian workforce, which has been experiencing a shortage of skilled labour in a number of provinces. It is too early to say whether these change will be a good move or a bad one for Canada, but it is evident that Canada will be accepting more refugees than ever before.
The British Columbia Supreme Court just certified a class action where the plaintiffs (foreign workers) allege that the employer failed to provide them with the amount of work promised, overtime pay and reimbursements for travel expenses and recruitment fees contrary to the Employment Standards Act. Also, the employees argued the employer breached the contract and its fiduciary duty, and was unjustly enriched for having the workers work without being paid. To top it off…
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.
On April 11, 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced changes to Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). As of July 1, 2012, most PNP applicants for semi-skilled and low-skilled professions will have to undergo mandatory language testing of their listening, speaking, reading and writing abilities and meet a minimum standard across all four of these categories before they can qualify for a nomination certificate.
On March 20, 2012, the Quebec Minister of Finance presented his 2012–13 budget, including an omnibus bill containing modifications to Quebec’s immigration program. Although it is a proposed bill, once enacted the immigration provisions will be retroactive to March 20, 2012. Therefore, these changes should be treated as if they are already in force. The proposed bill will establish caps on the number of Quebec immigration applicants that may be accepted between March 21, 2012, and March 31, 2013.
On March 2, 2012, the Government of Canada announced a regulatory change that now requires sponsored spouses or common-law partners to wait five years from the day that they are granted permanent residence status in Canada before they can sponsor a new spouse or partner. The objective of this regulatory change was to discourage immigration fraud in spouse/common-law partner family class cases.
On March 9, 2012, Jason Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism announced additional measures to discourage marriage fraud. Under the new proposal, conditional permanent resident status would apply to all spouses in relationships of two years or less who have no children with their sponsor at the time of the sponsorship application. Although the Canadian Government’s desire to discourage immigration fraud is not unreasonable, the current Canadian proposal is problematic for a number of reasons.
Approximately seven months ago, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) launched its Come to Canada Wizard (the “Wizard”). It is a useful tool for prospective visitors, students, temporary workers, and permanent residents. However, the Wizard is still not a substitute for formal legal advice. One important shortcoming of the Wizard is the fact that it assesses only eligibility under the federal immigration categories.
Legislation cracking down on crooked immigration consultants (Bill C-35) comes into force on June 30, 2011. At the same time, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) is confirmed as the new regulatory body for immigration consultants. The ICCRC will…
On June 30, 2010, the Minister of International Trade announced that legislation to implement the recently signed Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement had received Royal Assent. From the perspective of immigration practitioners (and perhaps HR professionals), this is exciting news because once the legislation is effective, several additional work permit categories will become available to Colombian Citizens.
On occasion, Canadian HR professionals will be asked if one of their employees requires a work permit to enter the United States. The answer to this question depends on whether the proposed activity falls within the scope of the B-1 business visitor category. The problem lies in the lack of clear guidelines for B-1 business visitors and the considerable amount of discretion given to USCBP officers, who inspect foreign travelers seeking admission to the United States.
I previously reported that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) had posted a notice on its website stating that it would no longer process work permit extensions filed concurrently with pending Labour Market Opinion applications. In response to concerns raised by the Canadian Bar Association National Citizenship and Immigration Section, CIC has now provided further clarification of this notice.
I previously reported that following the issuance of its Ministerial Instructions, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) also revised its IMM 5612 Document Checklist, which is used for the initial filing of Federal Skilled Worker applications with the Central Intake Office. The revised IMM 5612 imposes a requirement that applicants also submit all documents listed on the specific visa office document checklist applicable to the consular post where the application will be processed. CIC has now clarified some of the issues raised by its revised IMM 5612.