Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers are back with the weekly Canadian news review for the first week of March. Last week, the Canadian Government updated one of the most important public policies, invited candidates under the PNPs and Express Entry, and proposed new regulations. Follow us for more news!
Temporary residents on visitor visas can still apply for a work permit in Canada
The Government of Canada expanded the temporary policy allowing visitors to Canada to apply for an employer-specific work permit. Having a valid job offer, foreign nationals in Canada on a visitor visa may apply for an employer-specific work permit. In addition, those with a work permit in the last 12 months can also apply for an interim work authorization to continue working in Canada. The public policy will remain in effect for another two years, until February 28, 2025.
Before this policy change, those willing to work in Canada were required to apply for their work permit before coming to Canada. In addition, all in-Canada applicants on visitor status had to leave Canada to be issued a work permit. After this policy change, leaving Canada is optional, and those with a valid visitor status can apply from within Canada. This change will benefit employers looking to hire talent from abroad and foreign nationals who want to work in Canada.
IRCC held a new PNP-targeted Express Entry draw
On March 1, 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) invited 667 candidates under the new Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) targeted Express Entry draw. In draw #242, IRCC invited candidates with a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 748 or higher – 43 points lower than the previous PNP-targeted draw that happened two weeks ago (minimum CRS score: 791). This year, Canada held six Express Entry draws and issued Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to 16,559 candidates.
Express Entry is the federal pool of candidates from which IRCC selects applicants to apply for Canadian permanent residence. The PNP is a program through which provinces and territories can nominate individuals who wish to settle in the respective provinces. Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers have extensive experience helping clients create a successful pathway to Canadian permanent residence through Express Entry. If you are a prospective candidate and would like to explore your options, please contact us, and we would be happy to discuss how we can help.
Canada admitted twice more parents and grandparents under the PGP
Last year, the number of families reunited through Canada’s Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) soared to a record-breaking high – more than doubling the previous record set before the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, a remarkable 27,195 individuals attained permanent residency status in Canada through the PGP. This figure is especially impressive given the sharp decline in immigration rates due to public health protocols and travel restrictions that had taken place; however, as more sponsorship applications have been submitted recently, the PGP has begun to regain its momentum.
The PGP is a vital program that allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to reunite with their parents and grandparents in Canada by sponsoring them for permanent residence. The Government of Canada is devoted to reinforcing the PGP and broadening its intake numbers, guaranteeing that more families will be accepted annually. This surge in admissions is an immense boost for households separated by international boundaries – acting as a reminder of how crucial reunification is for immigrants. Individuals interested in learning more about the PGP can contact Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers.
British Columbia invited skilled candidates and entrepreneurs
On February 28, British Columbia held new draws for business candidates and skilled immigrants under the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BCPNP). The province invited seven candidates in the Base Category of the Entrepreneur Stream and issued fewer than five ITAs to candidates in the Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot category. In addition, the BCPNP invited 145 tech professionals, 18 early childhood educators, and six healthcare workers. The province issued 2,031 ITAs this year, including up to 22 business candidates.
The BCPNP is the main pathway to Canadian permanent residence for foreign nationals through a provincial nomination. Through the BCPNP, prospective immigrants with the skills and experience targeted by BC can receive a provincial nomination after submitting an online expression of interest (EOI) profile. The EOI profile is assessed, and those candidates who meet the criteria are invited to apply for provincial nomination. Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers provide assistance to candidates interested in applying for the BCPNP and offer personalized advice on the best way to increase their chances of success.
Canada may introduce a simplified, one-click oath ceremony for citizenship applicants
To make the naturalization process faster and more efficient, IRCC has proposed a new solution allowing individuals to electronically confirm their citizenship oath on a secure webpage rather than in person at a formal ceremony. This amendment will be open for public comment until March 27, 2023, and may go into effect as early as June 2023. Scholars insist that if the citizenship oath requirement is discarded, it will diminish citizenship’s worth and make it insignificant. This has been necessary for attaining Canadian citizenship since 1947; thus, any changes should be analyzed carefully.
According to the 2021 census, only 45.7% of permanent residents became citizens compared to 60% in 2016 and 75.1% in 2001. However, citizenship applications have dramatically increased from 113,000 to 243,000 per year over the previous five years. However, due to the global pandemic, the processing time for obtaining citizenship has doubled compared to what was previously processed within the 12-month service standard. According to the IRCC, as of February 21, 2023, there were a total of 303,000 citizenship applications in the inventory. Around 27% of citizenship applications exceeded the expected processing time, while 220,000 remained within the normal service standards.
Alberta to welcome more immigrants under the AAIP
To ensure a fair allocation of PNP nominees, IRCC carefully determines the yearly quota for each province. Alberta has tremendously increased their PNP allocations for 2023 through the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP). An impressive rise of 50%, 9,750 nominations will be issued this year compared to 6,500 last year. The province recently declared its intent to issue 10,140 nominations in 2024 and 10,849 in the following year. With around 100,000 job openings that need filling up across the region, a greater influx of skilled workers is required – which these increased numbers will hopefully accommodate.
As of February 28, the Alberta Express Entry pool had around 1,370 Alberta Opportunity Stream applications and 450 EOI. The AAIP held the last invitation round in the Alberta Express Entry Stream on February 16, 2023, and invited 100 candidates with a minimum score of 357. In 2023, Alberta invited 300 Express Entry candidates to apply for a provincial nomination in the Alberta Express Entry. If you also want to immigrate to Canada under the AAIP, Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers is on hand to provide efficient advice and assistance in all steps of immigration to Alberta.
Canada opened a new operations centre in the Indo-Pacific region
On March 3, 2023, the Government of Canada unveiled a new application processing centre in the Philippines to expedite immigration applications from the Indo-Pacific region. This initiative included 37 additional employees and was built with an emphasis on enhancing customer service and helping Canada reach its goal for higher immigration levels. Canada is devoted to expanding its international reach and influence, strategically investing in efforts that draw people worldwide. As part of this commitment, IRCC has established visa offices in more than 50 countries across the globe.
The connection between Canada and the Philippines is steadily increasing, providing mutual benefit to both nations. As stated in the 2021 census, 960,000 people with Philippine roots live in Canada – a number that continues to grow. Year by year, more Filipinos come to Canada to visit their families and friends, study or permanently immigrate. Under Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, the Canadian Government plans to invest $74.6 million over the next five years and $15.7 million ongoing to increase IRCCs application processing capacity domestically and in the Indo-Pacific region.
Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers is an experienced immigration law firm providing services to individuals, families and businesses seeking immigration assistance in Canada. We provide effective representation in all areas of Canadian immigration, including family sponsorship, permanent residence applications, work permits, investor programs, business applications and more. Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your individual needs.