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Weekly Canadian Immigration News Review & IRCC Updates January 29 – February 4 2024

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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 news review, keeping you in the loop with any shifts and developments in immigration policy and law. Stay connected with us on our social media channels for more updates on Canadian immigration issues.

Canada Held Two Express Entry Draws And Invited 7,730 Candidates

Last week, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) held two new Express Entry draws. On January 31, 2024, IRCC issued 730 Invitations to Apply (ITA) under all immigration programs. On February 1, IRCC held an Express Entry draw for French language proficiency candidates and issued 7,000 ITAs to francophone candidates. Currently, there are over 215,000 profiles in the Express Entry pool waiting for an invitation. So far, Canada has invited 10,280 candidates through the Express Entry system.

Express Entry is a system the Canadian Government uses to manage applications for Canadian permanent residence through certain economic immigration programs. It is designed to select skilled workers for immigration to Canada. Express Entry is a competitive immigration system that ranks all eligible candidates against one another and then invites the best-ranking candidates to apply for Canadian permanent resident status. Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers can help you understand the process, prepare your application, and optimize your profile to increase your ranking. Contact us today for a consultation and learn more about how we can assist you.

International Students Enhance The Diversity Of Canadian University Programs 

A recent article by Apply Board provides a comprehensive overview of the evolving trends among international student populations in Canadian universities. It particularly highlights the significant changes observed from January to June 2023. Nigerian students have emerged as the fastest-growing international student group, with a notable increase of 44% in issued study permits. Meanwhile, a contrasting trend is observed among Indian students. There has been a substantial decrease in study permit applications from India, plunging by over 40% in 2023. This downtrend indicates a shift in the preferences of Indian students, possibly due to the changing global educational landscape or domestic factors in India. 

In addition, as of September 2023, business programs constituted 36% of all student visas. Interestingly, business programs have experienced a marked increase in enrollments. They account for a significant portion of study permits, especially among postgraduate Indian students. Specifically, half of all study permits issued to postgraduate Indian students are for business programs, signifying this demographic’s robust demand for business education. The fields of Health and General Sciences have experienced a notable expansion with an increase of 51% at the undergraduate level, primarily due to the influx of students from Nigeria. Canadian universities have seen a 25% rise in postgraduate studies, predominantly fueled by students from India, Iran, and Nigeria.

Canada Expects A Significant Rise In Spousal Sponsorships For 2023

Considering the current trends in immigration, there is an expectation of a considerable increase in the rate of arrivals for spousal sponsorships for 2023. Detailed statistics provided by IRCC reveal a notable decrease in spousal sponsorship arrivals by 14.8% in November. This reduction came on the heels of an 8.7% rebound in October, with 5,155 new permanent residents. However, these numbers took an unexpected downturn in November, falling to a significantly lower 4,390. 

Despite the fluctuation, 2023 projections suggest that the Canadian Government will surpass its target. Canada expects a growth in spousal sponsorships, with a forecasted increase of 17.6% in 2023. This would elevate the total number of new permanent residents to 75,458, a considerable rise from the 64,145 noted in 2022. The geographical spread of these newcomers has been uneven across the country. Ontario, one of the most populated provinces, recorded the highest number of arrivals under this program. During the first 11 months of the year alone, 36,905 spouses settled in the province.

BC Invited More Skilled Candidates via BCPNP 

On January 30, 2024, British Columbia conducted invitation draws under the Provincial Nominee Program (BCPNP). Invitations were dispatched to qualified candidates across various sectors, including technology, healthcare, childcare, construction, and veterinary care. British Columbia invited 89 tech candidates, 49 early childhood educators (NOC 42202), 27 healthcare professionals, 29 construction workers, and up to five candidates working in veterinary care occupations. In 2023, the BCPNP issued over 1,000 candidates. 

The BCPNP is an immigration program allowing British Columbia to nominate individuals for Canadian permanent residence based on their ability to economically establish themselves in the province. The program aims to meet the province’s economic and development needs by attracting and retaining skilled foreign workers. If you want to immigrate to British Columbia and need professional assistance, consider contacting Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers. Our experienced team can guide you through the process, providing expert advice to increase your chances of success.

Two Atlantic Canada Provinces Increased The Minimum Wages 

As of January 29, 2024, two Atlantic Canadian provinces – Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick raised minimum wages. Newfoundland and Labrador have announced an increase of $0.60, which will take effect from April 1, 2024, as per the Labour Standards Regulations. This means that the minimum wage in Newfoundland and Labrador will rise to $15.60 per hour. New Brunswick has also increased the minimum wage to $15.30 per hour, a noticeable jump from the current $14.75 per hour. This change will also be effective from April 1, 2024. With this 55-cent increase, the minimum wage in New Brunswick has seen a dramatic rise of approximately 36% since 2019. 

The significance of these wage increases is profound. For the Atlantic Immigration Program, employers in Atlantic provinces must offer wages within the updated wage range. This is due to the requirement that all employers provide a valid, full-time, non-seasonal job offer, which needs to be co-signed by the foreign worker. They must also provide a personalized settlement plan co-signed by the foreign worker. As such, these wage adjustments can considerably affect the job market and immigration dynamics within these provinces.

IRCC Revealed New Financial Aid For Asylum Seekers 

On January 31, 2024, IRCC declared an additional allocation of $362.4 million towards the Interim Housing Assistance Program (IHAP) for the fiscal year 2023-2024. The IHAP aids provincial and municipal governments in addressing the housing concerns arising from increased asylum claimants. This funding will be directed towards regions experiencing high shelter demand, thereby preventing homelessness among asylum seekers. This is on top of the $212 million allocated the previous summer. Considering the pressure on communities, the government is committed to working with provinces and municipalities to effectively manage the surge in refugees.

Since 2017, Canada has given about $750 million to provinces and cities for asylum-related housing. These entities must request reimbursements, allowing the government to decide how much to contribute based on these requests and total program funding. Besides the IHAP, the government has secured temporary housing to ease shelter pressure, adjusting locations to local needs and demands. Canada has around 4,000 temporary rooms for over 7,300 asylum claimants. Through Reaching Home, Canada pledged nearly $4 billion over nine years to address homelessness. Last year, IRCC gave $2 billion to aid refugees and asylum seekers nationwide.

British Columbia Seeks Flexibility Over Ottawa’s Cap On International Students 

British Columbia’s Premier David Eby is urging the Federal Government to reconsider its cap on international students. The province seeks exemptions for high-demand fields such as truck driving, nursing, and early childhood education. Eby expressed concern about the impact on the healthcare system, childcare availability, and housing construction. The Federal Government recently placed a cap on study visas, citing unsustainable numbers of international students putting pressure on services. However, Eby worries about minimizing harm to the provincial economy, postsecondary institutions, and international students. 

The cap will maintain the current number of international students in Canada, granting visas equivalent to expiring ones. Ontario and British Columbia, with more foreign students, face bigger adjustments. British Columbia hosts 545,000 postsecondary students, nearly one-third of whom are international. These students significantly contribute to the economy. However, the Federal Government has criticized some schools, especially private colleges, for inadequate regulation and substandard education. British Columbia and Ontario plan to enforce stricter measures on the postsecondary sector.

Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers specialize in assisting individuals and families with their immigration to Canada. We guide our clients through the complex immigration process, providing expert advice on matters such as visa applications, sponsorship, permanent residency, and citizenship applications. If you are considering immigrating to Canada and need expert guidance, do not hesitate to contact us today to schedule a consultation. We are here to make your journey as smooth as possible.

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.