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Weekly Canadian Immigration News Review & IRCC Updates December 11 – 17 2023 

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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 a weekly review of Canadian immigration news, ensuring you stay informed and up-to-date on any changes or developments.

Canada’s Parents And Grandparents Program Saw A 27.2% Increase 

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Canada experienced a significant 27.2% increase in new arrivals under the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) in October. This marked an impressive recovery from an eight-month low recorded in August. Specifically, 2,525 new permanent residents were welcomed in October. This was a substantial increase from 1,975 in September and a considerable improvement from the August low of 1,515. Although there was a drop from 3,760 in May to 1,515 in August, current trends suggest a promising outlook for the PGP. 

Based on these numbers, it is projected that the PGP could potentially welcome a total of 29,910 new residents by the end of the calendar year. This would mark a 9.7% increase from the previous year, indicative of the program’s growing success. So far this year, the PGP has admitted 24,925 new residents. This is a three percent increase from the same period in the previous year, further demonstrating the program’s consistent growth. Ontario, in particular, saw the highest number of PGP arrivals. In total, 11,805 parents and grandparents have chosen to settle in Ontario, making it the top destination within Canada for PGP arrivals.

Increased Income Requirements May Reduce The Number Of International Students In Canada

There is a substantial change coming that may influence the landscape of international students in Canada. The mandatory income required for these students is set to increase, a move that has the potential to both reduce the number of students coming to the country and provide more transparency around their financial stability. The Minister of Immigration, Marc Miller, has announced this adjustment, declaring that students must demonstrate they have access to $20,635 to be considered for a study permit. This represents a significant increase from the previous requirement of $10,000. 

Memorial University’s student union has expressed concerns about recent changes. They highlight that the overall cost, potentially surpassing $80,000 for a four-year program, could be prohibitive for many international students. The union points out that escalating rental and tuition fees have added to the financial pressure these students are already under. From the next academic year, international students will be limited to 20 work hours per week, which raises questions about their ability to secure full-time opportunities. Given appropriate support, these students can continue their education and contribute to Canada’s economy. 

Canada Is Accepting 2024 International Experience Canada Applications 

On December 11, 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) revealed details about the 2024 International Experience Canada (IEC) Program. This exciting opportunity is open to nearly 90,000 young people from IEC partners, with the application process commencing on the same day. Alongside this, updates were announced for the IEC’s bilateral agreements. New agreements were established with Iceland, and the youth mobility agreements with the UK and South Korea have been updated for the upcoming season. Key changes include allowing UK applicants to participate twice, offering a total experience of 36 months. South Koreans can also apply under the Young Professionals and International Co-op categories, which now permit a repeat category.

The IEC program facilitates reciprocal work and travel opportunities for young individuals aged 18–35 from Canada and international countries. With over 35 partner regions, including recent or enhanced arrangements with Finland, Iceland, Ukraine, South Korea, and the UK in 2023, the program fosters a global youth exchange. The upcoming 2024 season promises more opportunities for Canadian youth to gain global exposure, thanks to the streamlined processing by the IEC’s automation technology. This will positively impact employers and the tourism industry, as participants can explore Canada through work and travel. In 2023 alone, the IEC welcomed over 131,500 applicants, further demonstrating its reach and appeal.

US Professionals Are Increasingly Considering Canada As A Potential Relocation Destination

A significant number of workers in the United States are contemplating migration to Canada, drawn by the country’s encouraging immigration policies that are designed to alleviate labour shortages. In an ambitious move in July, Canada rolled out a pilot program that extended the opportunity for 10,000 H-1B visa holders to apply for an open work permit valid for three years. The response was overwhelming, with the program reaching its maximum capacity within a short span of 48 hours. Since this initiative, around 6,000 foreign workers from the US have relocated, making a significant move towards migration. 

This trend can be attributed mainly to the numerous restrictions and limitations H-1B holders and their families encounter in the United States. The situation was further exacerbated when many skilled workers, especially those working in the tech industry, found themselves jobless during the catastrophic “US Tech Wreck.” This led these highly skilled and talented individuals to explore better opportunities in Canada, a country known for its stable economy and better work conditions. 

Ontario Invited Professionals Working In The Technology Sector

The Government of Ontario invited professionals working in the technology sector under the Human Capital Priorities Stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). The initiative aims to attract skilled individuals who can contribute to the growth and innovation within Ontario’s rapidly expanding tech scene. This presents a wonderful opportunity for tech professionals looking for new challenges and reinforces Ontario’s position as a leading hub for technology and innovation. The province issued 2,359 invitations to tech professionals with work experience in 15 National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes. This year, Ontario issued 41,923 invitations under all streams of OINP, including 17,502 Human Capital Priorities Stream candidates.

The OINP is committed to nominating skilled individuals for permanent residency, aiming to meet Ontario’s labour and economic necessities. Jointly run by Ontario and the IRCC, the program is a part of Canada’s PNP but with a concentration on Ontario’s distinct needs rather than solely on scores. It provides a range of application streams catered to different immigrant categories, some of which are aligned with the federal Express Entry system. It is an advantageous pathway, particularly for those who have connections to Ontario or possess in-demand skills. If you are considering immigrating to Canada through one of the OINP streams and need assistance, Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers can help. Contact us for more information.

Canada’s Commitments Show Its Ongoing Humanitarian Leadership In Global Crises

Canada is committed to addressing this humanitarian crisis, offering protection to vulnerable populations and developing skills-based pathways beyond resettlement. Last week, Marc Miller led Canada’s delegation at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, presenting pledges to address the refugee crisis. Building on the recent resettlement of over 40,000 Afghans, Canada announced a $21 million donation to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to aid Afghan refugees in Central Asia and Pakistan. The Minister also revealed plans to resettle over 136,000 refugees in the next three years. Canada pledged to continue using complementary pathways to aid refugees, including making the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot a permanent program. 

Canada’s pledges reflect its continuous humanitarian assistance and leadership in addressing global crises. The Global Refugee Forum is the world’s largest gathering on supporting refugees, held every four years. Canada’s delegation included a strong representation of Canadian civil society and refugee-led organizations. In 2022, Canada resettled over 46,500 refugees, making it the top-receiving country for the fourth consecutive year. The Government of Canada provides crucial pre-arrival and post-arrival support for refugees, including a $14 million allocation to the IOM for pre-arrival services. Refugees arriving in Canada are welcomed as permanent residents and provided financial and settlement support for one year. Canada continues to allocate funds to humanitarian partners to address refugee situations.

IRCC Terminated The Policy That Streamlined TRV Processing

As of December 15, 2023, the Canadian government has officially ended the temporary policy that facilitated processing temporary resident visa (TRV) applications. This policy was initially implemented by IRCC on February 28, 2023, as a strategic response to address the significant backlog that had accumulated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy proved highly successful, clearing most old TRV cases and significantly improving processing speeds.

The termination of this policy, however, does not affect those already possessing a visa. These individuals can continue to travel to Canada until the expiry date of their visa without any changes to their current status. This is an important clarification that will reassure those concerned about the impact of this policy change on their travel plans. IRCC remains committed to addressing the backlog and expediting the processing of TRV applications. This is in response to the increasing demand for visiting Canada, a beloved destination for tourists, students, and workers worldwide.

Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers offer comprehensive legal services to help individuals navigate the complex immigration process. Leveraging our extensive knowledge of Canadian immigration laws and procedures, we walk you through every step of the immigration journey, from getting your application ready to the final decision, aiming for the most favourable outcome. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss your immigration needs.

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.