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Weekly Immigration News Review & IRCC Updates February 26 – March 3 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 comprehensive weekly review of all the latest developments, updates, and changes in Canadian immigration law and policy. Whether you are a prospective immigrant, currently in the process, or simply interested in the field, follow us to learn how the latest changes could directly or indirectly affect you and your immigration journey.

Canada Held Two Express Entry Draws And Invited Around 4,000 Candidates

Last week, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) held two Express Entry draws. On February 28, 2024, Canada held the fifth all-program immigration draw of 2024 and issued 1,470 Invitations to Apply (ITA). The minimum score for this round was 534 points. On February 29, IRCC held an Express Entry draw for French language proficiency candidates and invited 2,500 francophone candidates. This draw had one of the lowest CRS scores in the history of the Express Entry system. So far, Canada invited 19,390 candidates through nine Express Entry draws in 2024.

Express Entry is an online system that Canada uses to manage applications for skilled immigrants who want to become permanent residents. It allows eligible candidates to submit a profile, and the highest-ranking candidates are invited to apply for permanent residence. If you dream of immigrating to Canada through Express Entry, contact Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers. Our immigration lawyers can guide you through the Express Entry process, provide legal advice, and help you with any challenges you may encounter.

Canada’s Study Permit Cap Alteration Will Affect International Students’ Origins 

The recent restrictions imposed on Canada’s study permit could significantly impact the diversity of its international student body. These restrictions may pave the way for colleges to focus their recruitment efforts on countries traditionally exhibiting high approval rates. The imposed 35% reduction in the intake of international students could potentially mean that educational institutions, particularly those in Ontario, might have to prioritize applications from certain countries. This is to ensure that the students who are admitted can, in fact, attend and afford the tuition fees.

High-risk applications, often received from African countries with recent enrollment growth, may be avoided. This could be because a limited number of applications are processed per province, which could result in them being deemed less desirable due to their higher risk. This shift in priorities may threaten Canadian campuses’ multicultural and diverse nature. Implementing strategies that ensure a balanced representation across countries and cultures is crucial to preserving the richness and diversity of the Canadian educational landscape.

Ontario Invited Skilled Trades Stream Candidates And Provided Updates To The OINP

On March 1, Ontario held a new draw under the Ontario Immigration Nominee Program (OINP), which targets professionals with the skills and experiences needed in Ontario’s job market. The province invited 2,583 candidates under the Skilled Trades Stream, demonstrating a commitment to bringing in talented individuals to meet the province’s labour demands. The province considered skilled trades professionals from 48 National Occupation Classifications (NOCs) in this draw. The OINP is continuously updated to serve the province’s and potential immigrants’ needs better, creating opportunities for individuals to contribute to Ontario’s economic growth while offering them a pathway to permanent residence. This year, Ontario invited 17,243 candidates under the OINP.

The OINP is a government initiative that allows foreign workers, international students, and others with the right skills, experience, and education to apply for permanent residence in Ontario. It is a popular immigration pathway that offers a variety of streams for skilled workers, entrepreneurs, graduates, etc. Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers can help evaluate your eligibility, prepare an application, and address any challenges that may arise during the application process. Our commitment to clients ensures a personalized and effective approach to achieving your immigration goals. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss your immigration options through the OINP.

McGill University Files Legal Action Against Quebec Regarding Tuition Increase For Non-Resident Students 

McGill University is suing Quebec over tuition fee hikes for out-of-province students and changes to international student fees. The school believes these measures are illegal and threaten its mission and reputation. Quebec’s decision to increase tuition for non-residents has hit English-speaking universities like McGill, Concordia, and Bishop’s hardest as they have more out-of-province and international students. The new rules do not apply to current students or those from countries with Quebec agreements, but McGill has already seen a drop in enrollment. Applications from Canadian students outside Quebec fell by over 20%, and international applications dropped by over 5%. 

Starting this fall, new rules will double the tuition fees for out-of-province students at Bishop’s, Concordia, and McGill to approximately $17,000 annually, making Quebec’s universities the costliest in Canada for non-Quebec Canadian undergraduates. These rules also apply to non-research and professional master’s programs. International students will pay a minimum of $20,000 per year, with universities allowed to charge more. McGill is requesting a court stay on these measures, arguing they violate various rights and charters, are unreasonable, were enacted following inadequate consultation, constitute an unlawful tax, and create unconstitutional barriers to interprovincial trade.

BC Invited More Skilled Workers And Entrepreneurs Under The BCPNP 

On February 27, 2024, British Columbia invited more candidates under the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BCPNP). The province invited over 190 skilled candidates in tech, healthcare, childcare, construction, and veterinary care occupations. Furthermore, the provincial government held new draws for business candidates and invited up to ten candidates in the Base Category of the Entrepreneur Stream and the Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot category. So far, British Columbia has invited 1,846 candidates under the BCPNP. Around 20 of these candidates are business candidates invited through the Entrepreneur draws.

The BCPNP is a pathway for highly-demanded overseas workers and skilled business people to gain PR in British Columbia. The program is designed to support the province’s economic growth by attracting foreign individuals who can contribute to the labour market. It is one of the several Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) across Canada, each with its eligibility criteria and application process. If you are considering applying for the BCPNP or any other PNP, Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers can guide you through the process. Contact us for more information.

Canada Released Special Measures For Mexican And Iranian Temporary Residents

Canada continues to regularly evaluate visa policies and patterns of asylum claims to ensure the robustness of its asylum and immigration systems. On February 29,  the Canadian Government streamlined the travel requirements for Mexican citizens to strengthen bonds and maintain the integrity of immigration processes. Mexican citizens possessing valid US non-immigrant visas or those who have held Canadian visas in the past can now apply for an eTA, thus eliminating the need for a visa for most. Individuals not meeting these criteria will need to secure a visitor visa. This initiative aims to manage asylum claims effectively while promoting the mobility of Mexican citizens. 

The Canadian Government has graciously extended special measures until February 28, 2025. These measures are designed to assist Iranian temporary residents in Canada and Canadian citizens and permanent residents residing in Iran. Under these considerations, Iranian nationals in Canada with valid temporary resident status can prolong their stay for work, study, or family visits without worrying about fees. They can also switch between temporary streams within Canada at no additional cost. Furthermore, Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Iran wishing to leave can continue applying for passports and travel documents free of charge.

IRCC Announced The Youth Mobility Agreement Between Canada And Finland 

On March 1, 2024, Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, announced the commencement of the Canada–Finland Youth Mobility Agreement. Signed initially on May 19, 2023, this agreement offers Canadians and Finns aged 18 to 35 the chance to work and travel in each other’s countries via the International Experience Canada (IEC) Program or its equivalent in Finland. This move, marking 77 years of diplomatic interaction, aims to fortify bilateral relationships and foster cultural exchange possibilities. 

Viewing the investment in youth as a pathway to a more globally linked community, Canada encourages cultural discovery and bonding for its young people. It extends a warm invitation to international youth to immerse themselves in the vibrant culture of Canada. In addition to personal growth, the IEC offers young individuals an opportunity to contribute to their host country’s economy, strengthening international cooperation and understanding. For Finns and Canadians, this agreement opens up new avenues for expanding their horizons, gaining international work experience, and developing a deeper understanding of a different culture.

Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers are dedicated to helping individuals and families make Canada their new home. With our experienced immigration lawyers on your side, we will guide you through every step of the immigration process. Contact us today and start your journey to a brighter future 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.