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Weekly Immigration News Review & IRCC Updates April 1 – 7 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.

Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers present a weekly review of Canadian immigration news for the first week of April. Stay connected with us to keep abreast of the latest updates and understand how they can affect your immigration journey.

Immigration Minister Announces International Student Distribution Across Regions

On April 5, 2024, Marc Miller, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), confirmed the final distribution of study permits for each province and territory in 2024. The limit is 485,000 permits, with a 20% extension rate projection, leading to a revised goal of 364,000 approved permits. With the approval rate at 60%, the application limit is 606,000. Some groups will be exempted, bringing the final goal to 236,000 approved permits or around 393,000 applications. 

The allocation distribution was based on each region’s population, with adjustments for growth control and immigration objectives. Provinces with lower approval rates got more allocations. The total allocation is 552,095 applications, anticipated to result in 291,914 approved permits, a 28% decrease from 2023. The immigration minister also highlighted the government’s commitment to providing international students with opportunities for quality education and valuable work experience in Canada.

Canada Has Extended The CUAET To Assist Ukrainians Affected By Processing Delays

On April 4, 2024, IRCC extended some Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (CUAET) measures to overseas applicants who faced delays and received approval after February 4, 2024. They have until July 31, 2024, to arrive in Canada and apply for free inland study and work permits. Ukrainian temporary residents and their dependents can access settlement services until March 31, 2025. Financial assistance and emergency accommodation support will not be available to new CUAET holders after March 31, 2024. Ukrainians who have approved a CUAET work permit before February 4, 2024, can receive it upon arrival. However, those who didn’t apply for a work permit with their CUAET visa can’t apply for work or study permits after March 31, 2024. 

Immigration Minister Marc Miller recently affirmed that in the context of ongoing conflict with Russia, any Ukrainians who have come to Canada under the CUAET will not be asked to leave, even if their visas expire. This assurance was offered during a housing strategy announcement on March 27. Previously, Minister Miller has been open to temporarily assisting Ukrainians in Canada. From March 2022 to February 2023, Canada received over a million applications via the CUAET temporary residence program. Of these, 961,975 were approved, but only 286,752 Ukrainians have moved to Canada. Current surveys suggest that about 90% of Ukrainians hope to settle in Canada permanently.

Maintaining Canada’s Immigration Levels Is A Positive Move 

CIBC World Markets economist Benjamin Tal calls Canada’s decision to maintain its immigration targets a “step in the right direction.” Economists urge the Trudeau government to address the increase in temporary resident numbers. In 2023, Canada admitted over 400,000 permanent residents and 700,000 temporary residents. Bank of Nova Scotia economist Rebekah Young states that while the government is aware of immigration challenges, the unchanged 2026 target is more of a signal, as many immigrants are non-permanent, and their future is unclear. 

Rising prices and the housing crisis have economists questioning Canada’s plan to accommodate more immigrants. Housing is a significant issue for the next elections, as the country plans to maintain its immigration level targets at 500,000 for 2025 and 2026. While this helps address housing concerns, Canada still depends on immigrants to replace its aging population. Despite the pressure on infrastructure, immigrants and temporary students contribute to the economy by filling labour shortages and participating in education.

Temporary Residents In Canada Favour Residing In Suburban Areas Of Major Cities 

The Conference Board of Canada conducted an extensive study, revealing a noticeable rise in temporary immigration to Quebec from 2016 to 2021. The uptick was mainly due to international students and overseas workers opting for rural and suburban areas rather than busy city centers. The growth rates in these regions were impressive, with increases between 209 and a whopping 1,520 percent in rural locales like L’Erable, Charlevoix, and Temiscamingue. The makeup of the temporary immigrant population varied greatly by region. Urban zones saw a diverse blend of students, workers, and their families from across the globe, adding to the multicultural tapestry of the area. 

The study data revealed a clear preference for homes outside major urban areas. This trend towards suburban and rural living might be due to various factors, including the recent pandemic and rising housing challenges. This insight is timely, as the Federal Government is implementing an $82-billion National Housing Strategy. As part of this, $42.99 billion is already assigned for building new homes and repairing existing ones. This approach could accommodate the increasing number of immigrants settling in quieter, less urban parts of Quebec.

Canada’s Immigration Strategy Boosts Education Among Newcomers 

Canada’s immigration programs have remarkably attracted highly educated foreign nationals. This has led to an interesting demographic trend: racialized women in Canada now hold more bachelor’s degrees than any other demographic, according to data from Statistics Canada. In 2021, 48.4% of racialized women held a bachelor’s degree or higher. This figure is slightly above the 46.5% of racialized men with the same education level. Interestingly, this group also surpasses the average Canadian education level. This indicates that racialized women and men are attaining higher education levels than the general Canadian population, illustrating the success of Canada’s immigration programs in attracting highly educated individuals. 

The education gap between the racialized and the total population has risen from 2006 to 2021. To illustrate this point, only 32.9% of Canadians aged 25-64 hold a bachelor’s degree. In contrast, a significantly higher percentage, 47.5%, of racialized people within the same age group hold a bachelor’s degree. This trend indicates the increasing education gap between racialized individuals and the Canadian population. This discrepancy can be attributed to Canada’s strategic immigration policies prioritizing highly educated individuals. The success of these policies is evident in the rising education levels among newcomers, contributing to the overall increase in the education level of the racialized population.

Haitians Call On The Government Of Canada For A Special Immigration Program 

A group of Haitian Montrealers has composed an open letter addressed to the Quebec and Canadian Governments, in which they plead for the implementation of a special program dedicated to immigrants escaping the harsh realities of violence in Haiti. This critical issue concerns thousands of Haitian refugees currently residing in Quebec, a significant portion of whom are during the lengthy and uncertain process of awaiting formal recognition of their refugee status. Frantz Andre, a representative of the Comite d’Actions des Personnes Sans Statut, has made a public call for Ottawa to extend permanent residency to these refugees for humanitarian reasons and to expedite family reunification, which can often be lengthy and complicated. 

The situation is further complicated by the fact that Canada’s family-based humanitarian program, which has been providing invaluable aid to Colombians, Haitians, and Venezuelans, has reached its maximum capacity. This concerning development has spurred advocates to increase their efforts to draw attention to the issue’s urgency. They are emphasizing the precarious conditions these refugees face, who often live in uncertainty and fear while they await decisions on their status. As part of their advocacy work, these groups call for greater transparency and more resources dedicated to processing refugee applications. By doing so, they hope to alleviate some of the immense stress and anxiety these individuals face during this challenging time.

Alberta Plans to Expand the Tourism and Hospitality Stream 

Setting a bold target to more than double its tourism economy by 2035, Alberta has rolled out the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program’s Tourism and Hospitality Stream. This inventive program targets foreign hospitality workers who aspire to secure permanent residency in Canada. Despite the surging interest in the program since its inception on March 1, the province saw a noticeable dip in job vacancies. This trend was highlighted by the Alberta Hospitality and Lodging Association CEO, Tracy Douglas-Blowers, who has been keeping a keen eye on the program’s impact on the local job market. 

To qualify for this program, individuals must have a minimum of six months of full-time experience in the hospitality industry. They must also secure a permanent job offer from an employer within the province. However, the program has faced some criticism. There is a concern that it might heighten workers’ reliance on their employers, which critics suggest could potentially lead to their exploitation. This concern must be addressed to ensure the program’s success and safeguard the involved workers’ rights.

Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers are here to guide you on your immigration journey to Canada. Our dedicated team of experienced professionals can help navigate the complexities of immigration laws and procedures, ensuring a smooth and stress-free process. Do not let legal uncertainties deter you from your dreams. Contact us today and let our expertise pave your way to a 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.