Weekly Canadian Immigration News Review July 10 – 16 2023


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 on Canadian immigration-related news. Follow us to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in Canadian immigration policy and law.

The new All-Program Express Entry Draw Increased the CRS Score Above 500

On July 11, 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) held a new all-program Express Entry draw and invited 800 skilled candidates. In this draw, the cut-off score was 505 points, 6 points fewer than in the previous all-program draw held on July 4. After introducing the Occupation-specific draws, the minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score required to receive an invitation to apply (ITA) has increased to above 500. This is an important development for prospective immigrants who are interested in applying to immigrate to Canada under Express Entry.

The increase in the CRS score threshold means that candidates interested in qualifying for the ITA will need to work harder to improve their score, for example, by gaining additional work experience or language proficiency. It is also worth noting that while the increase in the CRS score threshold may create additional challenges for prospective immigrants, it is a sign of Canada’s continued efforts to maintain a strong and competitive immigration system that benefits both newcomers and the Canadian economy. So far, the Government of Canada invited 65,348 candidates through the Express Entry draws in 2023.

International Students becoming Permanent Residents Boost the Canadian Economy

Increasing the number of international students transitioning to permanent residence through Express Entry is a crucial factor that could significantly benefit Canada’s economic needs and priorities. According to a recent survey conducted by the Canadian Government, a significant percentage of stakeholders, approximately 69%, agreed that increasing the number of international students transitioning to permanent residence could positively impact the economy. In comparison, 20% said it would have a positive impact. Furthermore, only 7% said it would have no impact, 2% said it would have a slightly negative impact, and less than 1% said it would have a strongly negative impact.

It is essential to note that the benefits of international students are not limited to their contribution to the workforce. International student graduates are well-suited to work and integrate into Canadian society, thanks to their familiarity with Canada’s official languages, Canadian educational credentials, and work experience. Allowing them to stay in Canada, they can contribute to the country’s cultural diversity, a vital aspect of Canada’s identity. Additionally, they can significantly boost the country’s innovation and entrepreneurship, which could create new businesses and job opportunities.

Many African Students Face Difficulties Obtaining Study Permits and Often Receive Refusals

According to the statistics provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, there has been a noticeable difference in the visa application rejection rates between African students and students from Western countries. The data shows that between 2018 and April 30, 2023, 59% of visa applications from English-speaking Africans and 74% from French-speaking Africans who wished to study in Canadian colleges and universities were rejected. Interestingly, the refusal rates for applicants from French-speaking African countries in 2022 were 66%, while for English-speaking African countries, the rejection rate was 62%. 

In contrast, students from Western countries faced significantly lower rejection rates. For instance, the refusal rates for Great Britain, Australia, and the United States were 13%, 13%, and 11%, respectively. Additionally, French applicants experienced a refusal rate of 6.7%, which is significantly lower than the rejection rate for both English and French-speaking African students. This suggests that African students face more challenges obtaining visas to study in Canada than their Western counterparts.

British Columbia Continues Holding Regular Invitation Rounds Under the BCPNP

British Columbia continues to hold regular invitation rounds under the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BCPNP). On July 11, 2023, the province invited up to 207 Skills Immigration candidates, including early childhood educators (NOC 42202), healthcare workers, and professionals working in other priority occupations. The latest draw for the BCPNP saw a minimum score requirement of 87-109 points for invited candidates. This selection criterion indicates the high standards set by the province for accepting immigrants, ensuring that only the most qualified individuals are granted entry. Moreover, the fact that 5,654 candidates have already been invited this year is a testament to the popularity of British Columbia as a destination for immigrants and highlights the opportunities and benefits that await those selected to become residents of the province.

The BCPNP allows the province to nominate candidates for permanent residence in Canada with the skills, education, and experience needed to contribute to the economy of British Columbia. Some of the key streams under the BCPNP include the Skilled Worker, International Graduate, and Entrepreneur streams. The program has been successful in attracting talented individuals from around the world to British Columbia and helping to meet the province’s labour market needs. The invitation rounds are an important part of the program, as they allow the province to select the most qualified candidates to become permanent residents of British Columbia. If you are interested in immigrating to British Columbia, Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers can help. From assessing your eligibility for the BCPNP to preparing your application and supporting documentation, our lawyers can provide the expert guidance and support you need to increase your chances of success.

Canada Eased Requirements for Hong Kong Nationals to Become Permanent Residents

On August 15, 2023, the Government of Canada removed the education requirement for Hong Kong residents applying for permanent residency under the Canadian work experience stream (Stream B). This change expands eligibility for permanent residence to more Hong Kongers with Canadian work experience and simplifies the application process, as applicants no longer need to submit proof of education. The recent extension and expansion of open work permits for Hong Kong residents also help more individuals transition from temporary to permanent residency in Canada. 

As of April 30, 2023, Canada welcomed 3,122 permanent residents under the permanent residence pathways for Hong Kong residents (2,358 for Stream A and 764 for Stream B). This measure aligns with Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, a roadmap to deepen engagement in the Indo-Pacific and increase contributions to regional peace and security, economic growth and resilience, people-to-people ties, and sustainable development. Hong Kong residents at risk of persecution who have fled to another country can seek eligibility under Canada’s existing resettlement programs, including the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program and the Government-Assisted Refugees Program.

Canada Offers New Permanent Residency Pathways for Ukrainian Nationals

On July 15, 2023, the Government of Canada announced a new pathway to grant permanent residence to Ukrainian nationals who are in Canada with temporary resident status and have been forced to flee Russia’s illegal invasion. The new pathway allows these individuals who have family members in Canada to apply for permanent residency. Spouses, common-law partners, siblings, parents, grandparents, and children or grandchildren of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident are eligible family members qualifying for this pathway.

Ukrainian nationals holding a visa under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) have until March 31, 2024, to travel to Canada under the temporary special measures. Once in Canada, temporary residents will be eligible to apply for an extended stay of up to three years through study permits and open work permits, which will be given priority. The CUAET program was launched in March 2022, allowing over 166,000 Ukrainians to travel to Canada. The new pathway announced by IRCC aims to provide a more permanent solution for those who have been displaced and offer them a chance to start a new life in Canada with their loved ones.

Canada is Still Grappling with Housing and Healthcare Crises

Canada has historically been a country known for its support of immigration. However, recent Abacus Data’s David Coletto data indicates that public opinion can shift quickly. While Canada faces housing and healthcare shortages, it still advocates for high levels of immigration, with a target of 500,000 new immigrants per year, in addition to temporary workers and international students. Although this is an admirable policy, it is important to note that it is putting a significant strain on housing availability in Canada. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation estimates that 5.8 million new homes will be needed to meet demand by 2030.

While immigration presents various challenges, it is important to acknowledge its potential benefits for a country. Immigration can help address labour shortages, contribute to economic growth, and promote cultural diversity. It is also worth mentioning that Canada has a rich history of welcoming newcomers and has successfully integrated immigrants into its society, which speaks to the strength of Canada’s values and institutions. This is something that should be celebrated. With Canada’s current challenges, it is vital to approach immigration in a balanced manner. This entails taking measures to address the shortage of housing and healthcare services while also recognizing the benefits that immigration can offer.

Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers provide personalized solutions to help clients with different immigration needs, including permanent residency, family sponsorship, work permits, study permits, and citizenship applications. We work closely with clients to understand their unique situations and provide legal advice and representation to ensure a smooth and successful immigration process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced immigration lawyers.

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.