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Weekly Canadian Immigration News Review & IRCC Updates May 13 – 19 2024

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A founding partner of Abramovich & Tchern, Ksenia started her legal career at one of Canada’s top immigration firms, where she operated her own immigration law practice, with a focus on corporate and individual immigration applications.

Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers present weekly news updates, providing fresh perspectives on Canadian immigration policies and processes. Keep in touch with us for updates that could impact your immigration journey.

Canada Stands Out In The Global Talent Competition

Canada is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for global talent in the post-pandemic landscape. The World Economic Forum has predicted that by 2030, 4% of the world’s population will relocate, and skilled workers are targeting countries that offer a better quality of life and stronger economies. According to the Global Consulting Group, around 800 million professionals, or 23% of the global active labour force, seek work abroad, motivated by job quality, life quality, and health. Countries compete to attract these top talents, including scientists, engineers, artists, entrepreneurs, and innovators. A recent analysis by BCG identified Australia as the top choice for relocation in 2023, rising from seventh place in 2014. However, Canada has consistently ranked among the top three choices from 2014 to 2023. This is attributed to its strong economy, high living standards, excellent healthcare, and welcoming immigration policies.

Ontario’s PAL Allocation Favours Colleges Over Universities 

In Ontario, the Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) allocations’ distribution leans more towards colleges, taking up a hefty 84% of the total share. In contrast, universities received a smaller slice at just 16%. To put it in perspective, Seneca College, a well-known college in the province, secured a whopping 20,388 allocations. This number seems significant compared to larger, arguably more prestigious institutions like the University of Toronto and York University. Despite their size and prestige, these universities received far fewer allocations, with the University of Toronto netting around 6,356 and York University about 5,032. 

This approach has been the cause of considerable concern among leading experts specializing in international education trends. Earl Blaney, who specializes in Canada’s International Study Program and international student recruitment, has voiced his reservations about the effectiveness of this method. While the University of Prince Edward Island also receives the majority of provincial allocations, the allocation of resources in Nova Scotia exhibits a more balanced distribution. Nova Scotia’s resources are more evenly distributed among educational institutions, including universities, colleges, and language schools.

The Federal Government Is Developing Legislation To Reinstate ‘Lost Canadians’ Citizenship Rights 

The Federal Government has begun drafting legislation to restore citizenship rights for the so-called “lost Canadians.” Following a ruling by an Ontario court, which deemed it unconstitutional to deny citizenship to children born overseas and Canadians born abroad, the new bill is being prepared. The proposal stipulates that a Canadian parent born outside of Canada must demonstrate significant ties to the country to pass on their citizenship to a child also born abroad. This marks a stark reversal from a 2009 law that revoked automatic citizenship for children of Canadian parents born overseas. This previous law led to some Canadians working abroad being denied the right to pass on their citizenship. 

The issue also affected some border babies and indigenous children born in communities on the border who did not qualify for Canadian passports. The government has been given a deadline of June 19 to act on this matter. The proposed changes to the Citizenship Act could potentially impact over 3,500 stateless individuals currently residing in Canada. These individuals include former citizens who had their citizenship revoked due to provisions of the act that have since been repealed. However, details of the proposed changes remain vague, and concerns persist about a potential “substantial connection test,” which could require parents to prove their ties to Canada to pass citizenship to children born abroad.

Canada Faces The Financial Burden Of Asylum Claims 

Canada is grappling with significant financial strain due to a spike in asylum claims. The daily expenditure of approximately $224 per asylum seeker, covering food and accommodation, has prompted criticism. Conservative MP Lianne Rood has raised concerns that the benefits extended to claimants exceed those received by Canadian seniors. The backlog of asylum claims has hit a record high of 156,032. The Trudeau government’s Interim Housing Assistance Program, which offers temporary housing to approximately 7,000 claimants, further escalates the financial pressure with an annual cost of $557 million. 

Even with the shutdown of the Roxham Road border crossing, the number of irregular border crossings continues to be significant. By the close of 2023, 42,387 refugee claims were still pending. This has been an escalating issue since 2017, when 39,643 individuals received official refugee status, and 22,611 were turned away. These statistics underscore the increasing complexity and economic implications of the asylum seeker situation in Canada, necessitating an immediate reassessment of policies and strategic planning. The need for a comprehensive, sustainable, and humane approach to asylum seekers is undeniably pressing.

The 2021 Census Indicated A Drop In Canada’s Immigrant Naturalization Rates 

The latest 2021 Census has revealed an unexpected trend in Canada—a drop in naturalization rates among recent immigrants. This unforeseen change has led the Canadian Government to reexamine its strategies and approach to citizenship. A range of factors influence an immigrant’s decision to pursue Canadian citizenship. Key deciding factors include family income, language proficiency, and education level. Furthermore, the policies of immigrants’ countries of origin on dual citizenship also impact their decision, although their overall effect is relatively minor. I

n the quest for potential economic benefits, some immigrants consciously choose not to naturalize, thereby keeping their options open. This decision stems from various reasons, including the desire to maintain a connection with their home country or the prospect of returning if the economic conditions in their homeland improve. Despite Canada having made considerable progress in transitioning applications to a digital platform, the government may implement more measures to enhance both the efficiency and significance of the citizenship process.

Canada Acts On Violations Of Temporary Foreign Worker Rules 

Canada is taking decisive action against employers who fail to comply with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) rules. In the past year, fines amounting to a total of $2.7 million were imposed on 194 non-compliant employers. Some employers were even suspended from hiring temporary foreign workers, a move aimed at safeguarding newcomers from exploitation. Employers participating in the TFWP must meet stringent standards when hiring from overseas. They must fulfill the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirements, adhere to the terms of the LMIA decision letter and the annexes to the decision letter, and comply with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). 

Moreover, these employers must keep all relevant records for six years, starting from the first day of the employment period for which Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued the work permit. These records include documents related to the LMIA, documents related to the conditions outlined in the IRPR, and conditions outlined in the LMIA decision letter and its annexes. Employers must also promptly inform IRCC of any changes or errors with an approved LMIA or alterations in TFW working conditions, address compliance issues, and voluntarily notify IRCC. The IRCC may undertake an inspection under the IRPR if it suspects non-compliance of any kind. Past non-compliance or random selection can also trigger an inspection.

Displaced Ukrainians Call For Streamlined Permanent Residency 

Ukrainians residing in Canada, who escaped the horrors of war, are fervently urging for an expedited pathway to permanent residency. They argue that the existing programs fail to address their unique circumstances. Earlier in March 2022, Canada implemented the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program. The program was designed temporarily, allowing Ukrainians to reside within Canada’s borders. However, the program came to an end this year, leaving a significant number of Ukrainians without an option to stay. 

The existing economic immigration programs prefer candidates with fluency in English, an age limit of under 30, possession of a Canadian master’s degree, and at least one year of work experience in a relevant field. These requirements pose a significant challenge for many Ukrainians. Most of them are refugees and not young, highly skilled workers, which the current programs seem to favour. In October, Canada announced a new program offering permanent residency for Ukrainians with immediate family residing in Canada. However, this program only caters to a small percentage of Ukrainian newcomers, with a mere 7% qualifying under the new scheme.

If you are considering immigrating to Canada, Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers can guide you through the process. Our dedicated team of professionals has the expertise to navigate the complexities of immigration law, ensuring a smoother transition to your new home. Contact us today to start your journey.

Ksenia Tchern

A founding partner of Abramovich & Tchern, Ksenia started her legal career at one of Canada’s top immigration firms, where she operated her own immigration law practice, with a focus on corporate and individual immigration applications.