fbpx
at-logo-resized

Weekly Canadian Immigration News Review & IRCC Updates  June 3 – June 9 2024

By

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.

Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers present a weekly news review for the first week of June, providing the latest updates and developments in Canadian immigration. Follow our social media channels for regular updates and information to stay informed about the ever-changing immigration landscape in Canada.

Canadian Government Clarifies Measures For H-1B Work Visa Holders 

On June 5, 2024, the Canadian Government further explained the public policy measures concerning H-1B work visa holders. This followed the temporary public policy implementation by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on July 16, 2023, which sought to exempt specific US H-1B work visa holders from work permit requirements. The objective was to enable an easy process for these visa holders and their families living in the US to obtain open work permits. The policy, which had a limit of 10,000 applications and expired on July 17, 2023, is no longer open for new applications. Following the expiry of the initial policy, two new public policies were implemented on September 27, 2023, and December 16, 2023. 

These policies introduced additional measures, such as processing applications that exceeded the initial cap of 10,000, provided they were submitted within the set period. The policies also allowed family members to continue applying for H-1B open work permits beyond the initial policy’s expiry until September 28, 2024. Moreover, minor children (17 and under) of H-1B visa holders can now avoid the $150 study permit processing fee when they arrive in Canada, provided they have an open work permit and have applied for their study permit before September 28, 2024. The policies also provided work permit renewals for foreign nationals in Canada with H-1B open work permits valid for less than three years, enabling them to extend to the total three-year maximum of this permit category. This, however, is contingent on the extension application being received before December 16, 2024.

Canada Tackles Labour Shortages And Fosters Business Creation Through Immigration 

Immigration has played a significant role in addressing the labour shortages in Canada, with the number of unfilled job positions decreasing by about 39.7% over the last two years. According to Statistics Canada, the number of vacant positions dropped from 990,900 in the second quarter of 2022 to 597,725 by March of the subsequent year. IRCC states that immigration is vital for the continued growth of Canada’s labour force. This is due to factors such as an increasing aging population, lower birth rates, and a decrease in the number of students, which has limited the pool of Canadian-born workers. 

Statistics Canada reports that as of May 2021, immigrants aged 25 to 54 made up significant proportions of workers in various sectors. These include over 36% in accommodation and food services, nearly 38% in transportation and warehousing, over 34% in professional, scientific, and technical services, and over 20% in construction. Dan Kelly, CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, states that economic immigration has been crucial to Canada’s economic success. Additionally, immigrants have been instrumental in fostering business creation as they are more likely to start their businesses than Canadian-born individuals.

Canada Has Limited The Number Of Ports Of Entry For Flagpoling

Canada has imposed restrictions on the practice of flagpoling at twelve ports of entry. Flagpoling is a process that allows individuals with temporary residence permits to avail of same-day immigration services at the US-Canada border. The process involves exiting and then re-entering the country within 24 hours. Even though flagpoling can technically be carried out at any entry point, it is typically done at designated areas at land border crossings, which are marked by flagpoles for easy identification. 

However, the process, although legal, has been criticized in both the US and Canada. As reported by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), limiting this service at 12 crossing points has been taken to enhance efficiency during peak travel times and allow officers to focus on other high-priority areas such as trade facilitation, high-risk travellers, and asylum seekers. According to a statement to CBC News, flagpoling diverts resources at the border and contributes to lengthy wait times for cross-border travellers.

IRCC Increased The Minimum Income Requirement For Canadian Super Visas 

IRCC announced an update to the minimum income requirement for the Canada Super Visa on June 3, 2024. This update reflects a significant increase of approximately 6.8% from the previous year, a stark contrast to the 3.33% increase in the previous year. The revised annual gross income requirements depend on the family unit’s size. For instance, the minimum gross income for a single-person family unit has been elevated to $29,380, a surge from the previous year’s requirement of $27,514. 

The Super Visa allows parents or grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents to reside in Canada for a duration of up to five years, with the possibility of a two-year extension. This visa is a more long-term alternative to the standard six-month visitor visa, allowing families to spend more time together without needing frequent visa renewals. If you want to apply for a Super Visa, Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers are here to guide you through the application process.

Canada Sees A Decrease In Spousal Sponsorship Immigration 

Recent data from IRCC has revealed a substantial decline in immigration from spousal sponsorship. March saw a 12.8% decrease, marking the second month of falling numbers. Following a 21.7% drop in February, only 4,810 spouses and common-law partners gained permanent resident status in March, compared to 5,515 in February. The first three months of the year witnessed 17,235 individuals obtaining new permanent resident status through this program, marking a 31.6% decrease compared to the corresponding period in the previous year.

If these current trends persist, projections indicate that only about 69,300 individuals will gain new permanent resident status through this program by the end of the year, representing a 7.9% decrease from the previous year. This downward trend has raised concerns among immigration experts and advocates, who emphasize the importance of family reunification in the overall immigration process. The decreasing spousal sponsorship numbers may create long-term challenges for families, potentially leading to prolonged separations or the inability to settle in Canada as planned.

Canada’s Job Market Shows Encouraging Growth 

According to recent data from Statistics Canada, the Canadian job market saw a positive shift in March, with employment numbers rising for the second month in a row. On the other hand, the number of job vacancies dropped, reaching the lowest point since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The March data from the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours indicates an increase of 51,400 employees, a growth of 0.3%. Significant employment gains were recorded in 11 out of 20 sectors, with the healthcare and social assistance sector taking the lead by adding 11,700 jobs, an increase of 0.5%.

From March 2023 to March 2024, payroll employment in educational services rose by 31,600, marking a 2.2% increase. Other sectors, such as manufacturing and construction, also saw growth in March, adding 7,300 (0.5%) and 2,600 (0.2%) jobs, respectively. The wholesale trade sector experienced an increase of 2,600 (0.3%). In contrast, the retail trade sector experienced a slight dip in employment, losing 2,400 jobs (0.1%). At a regional level, Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Newfoundland and Labrador saw a decrease in job vacancies, whereas Prince Edward Island reported an increase of 600 vacancies (28.3%). Overall, job vacancies in Canada fell by 40,600 (6.2%) to 610,700 in March, marking the lowest level since the pandemic’s beginning.

Soaring Rents In Canada Hit Record High In May 

A recent report indicates that the average rent in Canada has surged to a new record high, causing significant financial strain for renters nationwide. In May, the average rental cost for a dwelling in the country hit a staggering $2,202, reflecting a 9.3% increase from the previous year and a 0.6% increase from the last month. This information, released in a June 6, 2024 report, shows that the average rental asking price has now surpassed $2,200.

The report, compiled by Urbanation and Rentals.ca, highlighted that the average asking price for a two-bedroom apartment in May was $2,334, a 12.1% increase from the same period last year. Similarly, the average asking rent for a one-bedroom apartment rose to $1,927.  As more and more newcomers enter the housing market, the demand for rental properties escalates. This, in turn, is driving up rental costs, making housing affordability a serious concern for many Canadians.

If you are looking to immigrate to Canada, Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers can guide you through every step of the process. With our expertise and commitment, we can help make your immigration journey smooth and stress-free. Contact us today to start your new life 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.