Weekly Canadian Immigration News Review & IRCC Updates April 29 – May 5 2024


A founding partner of Abramovich & Tchern and a skilled litigator, Lev focuses exclusively on immigration and refugee law. His immigration practice is focused on complex corporate and personal immigration and refugee law matters.
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Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers present weekly news reviews, sharing the latest updates and insights on Canadian immigration policies and procedures. Follow us to stay informed about the changes that could affect your immigration process or status.

IRCC Announced New Regulations For Off-Campus Work Hours For International Students 

On April 29, 2024, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that the policy allowing students to work over 20 hours weekly off-campus ended on April 30, 2024. Students can work up to 24 hours per week off campus starting this fall. The change aims to ensure students primarily focus on their studies while affording the option to work if needed. Students can still work unlimited hours during scheduled academic breaks. This decision considers student needs, other countries’ policies, and research showing academic performance declines if students work excessively. 

IRCC also develops the Recognized Institutions Framework to reward high-standard institutions in selecting, supporting, and retaining international students. The government aims to protect international students from financial vulnerability and maintain the integrity of the International Student Program. These changes are part of Canada’s ongoing efforts to attract and retain international talent while ensuring students have a positive educational experience and contribute to Canada’s social and economic development.

Canada Announced Changes To The Start-Up Visa And Self-Employed Persons Programs To Reduce Backlogs 

As of April 30, 2024, IRCC introduced changes to federal business programs to reduce processing times and application backlog. These changes include a cap on the number of permanent residence applications per designated organization for the Start-up Visa Program and priority processing for entrepreneurs supported by Canadian capital or business incubator members of Canada’s Tech Network. Additionally, a pause on application intake for the Self-Employed Persons Program will be implemented to process existing applications, which provides residency for individuals with notable experience in art, culture, recreation, or sports. 

Despite the pause, IRCC will still process applications from the backlog and consider reform options. With these changes and planned increases in admissions, IRCC aims to reduce the backlog and wait times, continuing to support Canada’s economy with talented and innovative newcomers. Immigrants make up around one-third of business owners with paid staff in Canada. To qualify for the Start-up Visa Program, foreign business people need support from a designated venture capital fund, angel investor group or business incubator.

Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers assist entrepreneurs with Canada’s Start-up Visa and Self-Employed Persons Programs. Contact us for inquiries or assistance.

Many Visitors Who Arrived In Canada Under The Expedited Visa Program Have Sought Asylum 

Many visitors who came to Canada via the expedited visa program have sought asylum. This could be due to the demand during COVID-19 when the border was closed. As of February 29, 2024, 152,400 visas were granted, including 7,300 Super Visas for parents and grandparents. An internal memorandum revealed 19,400 asylum claims were made by these visitors, constituting 13% of visa holders. This is a high rate compared to the 14% of 137,947 refugee claimants in 2023 from the program. This number could increase as many visa holders have yet to arrive. 

A temporary policy waived financial and travel requirements for visa applicants between February 28 and December 7, 2023. All applicants still needed to pass security, criminal, and medical clearances. The policy successfully cleared most older temporary resident visa applications. Currently, there are 1.14 million applications in the queue, with about half exceeding service standards, down from 64% in February 2023. Since COVID-19, Canada has eased regulations for temporary residents.

British Columbia Conducted New Draws Under The BC Provincial Nominee Program

On April 30, 2024, British Columbia conducted the latest invitation rounds under the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BCPNP). The province invited skilled applicants in the general category and targeted occupations, such as healthcare, childcare, construction, and veterinary care. The BCPNP invited 79 applicants in this round, including 47 candidates in the general draw, nine early childhood educators, nine healthcare professionals, nine construction workers, and up to five veterinary care professionals. So far, the province invited over 2,900 candidates in 2024.

The BCPNP is a provincial immigration program that allows British Columbia to nominate individuals for Canadian immigration who can contribute to the province’s economic development. The program provides a pathway for skilled workers, graduates, and entrepreneurs to settle in British Columbia permanently. If you are considering applying to the BCPNP, Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers can provide expert assistance. We offer comprehensive legal advice and guidance on the application process, helping to streamline your journey towards permanent residency in British Columbia. Contact us today to get started.

 An Increasing Number Of Indian Students Are Opting For Canada Over The US

The number of Indian students and skilled workers in Canada has dramatically increased, quadrupling since 2013, due to more favourable immigration policies. A report by the National Foundation for American Policy observed this preference shift. The report indicates that Canada’s welcoming rules and more accessible admission to PR than the USA have attracted those individuals. This trend has been observed despite temporary diplomatic issues between Canada and India.

The report points out that the trend is expected to continue due to the unlikely change in US immigration policies. It highlights certain advantages of Canadian policies, such as a no-limit policy on high-skilled visas, quicker processing times, and the possibility of obtaining permanent residency after graduation. These aspects are seen as superior to the more restrictive policies of the US. The report also accentuates a surge in international student enrollment in Canadian universities, with a growth of 544% from 2000 to 2021.

IRCC Is Improving The Online Tool For Better Prediction Of Application Processing Times

On May 2, 2024, IRCC unveiled upgraded features to the online processing times tool for immigration applications. These improvements offer forward-looking processing times for numerous applications, such as the Canadian Experience Class (Express Entry), Provincial Nominees Program (Express Entry and non-Express Entry), Federal Skilled Workers (Express Entry), Quebec Skilled Workers, citizenship grants, citizenship certificates (proof of citizenship), spouses or common-law partners residing in Canada, spouses, common-law or conjugal partners living abroad, and parents or grandparents. 

IRCC’s new approach to processing times provides current and realistic data, allowing clients to plan their travels and lifestyles based on accurate timelines. For applications not mentioned above, the Government of Canada still uses historical processing times, calculated from how long it took to process 80% of the applications in the past six months for permanent residence and 8 or 16 weeks for temporary residence. For those who have already applied and are waiting, the new times might show shorter estimates than their current wait.

Canada Proposes New Asylum Rules To Streamline Deportations 

The Liberal Government plans to amend Canada’s asylum system to expedite the deportation of rejected seekers as part of the 2024 budget. This is in response to a 62% rise in applications since 2023. The goal is to increase efficiency without compromising justice and fairness, despite controversy and concerns from immigration lawyers. The existing backlog of 186,000 cases and the housing crisis add to the challenges for asylum seekers and government agencies. Additionally, the backlog has resulted in extended wait times for applicants, and worryingly, there are now 28,000 active warrants for applicants who have failed to meet the process requirements. 

In response to these pressing issues, the government has pledged $743.5 million to address this matter head-on. Several changes have been introduced as part of this initiative. These include implementing visa requirements for Mexicans, establishing a cap on the number of international students allowed into the country, and reducing the available work hours. These measures represent a decisive effort by the government to manage and resolve the current challenges facing Canada’s asylum system. The proposed changes have drawn criticism from various quarters, with concerns about the potential for migrant rights violations.

Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers are your trusted partners in your journey to immigrate to Canada. Our team of immigration lawyers provides comprehensive legal services to help you navigate the complex immigration process with ease. We are committed to providing personalized solutions tailored to your unique needs. Contact us today, and let us help you realize your dream of living in Canada.

Lev Abramovich

A founding partner of Abramovich & Tchern and a skilled litigator, Lev focuses exclusively on immigration and refugee law. His immigration practice is focused on complex corporate and personal immigration and refugee law matters.