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Weekly Immigration News Review & IRCC Updates March 11 – 17 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.
a pair of reading glasses placed on a newspaper next to a laptop

Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers present a weekly review of Canadian immigration news, providing updates and insights on the latest developments and changes in immigration policies.

Canada Invited About 4,000 Candidates In The New Express Entry Draws 

On March 12 and 13, 2024, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) held new Express Entry draws. First, IRCC invited 2,850 candidates in the General Express Entry draw. The minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score in this draw was 525 – the lowest for General draws in 2024. In addition, in the Express Entry draw #289, IRCC invited 975 candidates with work experience in transport occupations. This draw also saw a lower cut-off score for the category of 430 points. Throughout 2024, Canada invited 23,215 candidates through 11 Express Entry draws.

Express Entry is a system the Canadian Government uses to manage applications for permanent residence from skilled workers. It is an efficient and fast method to immigrate to Canada, with the processing time usually taking six months or less. The system ranks candidates based on factors such as age, education, language proficiency, and work experience. If you are considering immigrating to Canada and need assistance with the Express Entry process, Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers can provide the necessary guidance. Contact us today for a consultation, and let us help you start your journey toward a new life in Canada.

Canada Experiences A Rise In Immigration In January, Setting The Stage For A Potential Record-Breaking Year 

Canada began the year with a 28% increase in new permanent residents in January compared to December. However, this figure is 6.4% lower than the same period last year. Data shows 47,660 new residents in January, up from 37,240 in December. If this trend continues, there could be 571,920 new residents in 2024, a 21.3% increase from last year’s record of 471,550. This figure would also be 17.9% more than the target of 485,000 set by Ottawa’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2023 – 2025. The plan aims to welcome 485,000 new residents in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025 and maintain 500,000 in 2026, supporting economic growth and family reunification. 

Canada’s latest immigration plan aims to welcome 1.485 million immigrants over three years. Ontario was the preferred destination for 46% of all immigrants in January, with 21,915 permanent residents settling there. Economic programs accounted for 60.5% of newcomers in Ontario, aiding 13,265 new arrivals. Family sponsorships and refugee programs brought an additional 8,245 residents. Other provinces attracted varying numbers of new residents, with notable immigration growth in Quebec and three Atlantic provinces. Ontario’s immigration level increased by 44.4% compared to December last year.

Canada Introduced The Nursing Retention Toolkit To Address Healthcare Worker Burnout 

Recognizing nurses’ considerable challenges, Canada introduced the forward-thinking Nursing Retention Toolkit program. This program is tailored to deliver support and resources to these essential healthcare workers. It concentrates on eight core aspects, showing a wide-ranging approach to tackling their problems. The toolkit suggests a variety of initiatives for employers, inspiring them to enhance nurse retention actively. Programs like this perfectly sync with Canada’s continued drive to strengthen healthcare by bringing in professionals via diverse immigration schemes. The Federal Government showed its commitment to healthcare with a $200 billion investment last year, focusing on worker retention and recruitment, two critical areas in the sector. 

Additionally, the government has committed an extra $86 million to fifteen hand-picked projects. These projects are designed to simplify foreign credential recognition for roughly 6,600 international health professionals. This effort helps these professionals overcome obstacles and boosts the healthcare system’s strength and diversity. The funding focuses on essential jobs in healthcare, such as nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, lab work, and respiratory therapy. To make the transition easier for these professionals, the grant also covers virtual exams for midwives before they come to Canada. This proactive strategy ensures that these health professionals can contribute to Canada’s healthcare system from arrival.

Canada Saw A Rise In Parent And Grandparent Immigration 

In January 2024, Canadian immigration recorded a significant increase in new permanent residents, driven primarily by the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP). According to data released by IRCC, the number of new permanent residents rose 11.6% compared to December 2023. Throughout January, 1,830 parents and grandparents were granted permanent residency in Canada through the PGP. This marked a noticeable increase from the 1,640 individuals who arrived in Canada in December. 

While there was a monthly increase, the number of new residents in January decreased by 11.6% from the previous year, as the PGP program welcomed 2,070 individuals. Ontario led the way in admitting PGP immigrants with 925 arrivals, marking a 44.4% increase from December. It is worth noting that Newfoundland, Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut did not report any new PGP residents. Interestingly, Nova Scotia experienced a 50% surge in PGP immigration, while New Brunswick saw a 50% decline, highlighting the ever-changing nature of Canada’s immigration scene.

Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program welcomes nearly 500 new residents in January 2024 

Canada’s Start-Up Visa (SUV) program is rapidly growing, with a 58.1% increase in January compared to the previous month, bringing 490 immigrant entrepreneurs as new permanent residents. Last year, the SUV saw 1,460 new permanent residents, surpassing the previous record of 575 in 2022. January’s immigration level through the SUV was 880% higher than in the same month in 2023. If this level continues, it could result in more than 5,880 new permanent residents by year-end. The SUV program, launched in 2015, has seen a significant increase in popularity. Despite a drop in immigration during the pandemic, the SUV saw a strong rebound in 2021 with 385 new permanent residents, a 48.1% increase over 2020. 

In 2022, the SUV more than doubled in popularity compared to the previous year. Ontario and British Columbia were the top choices for immigrants through the Start-Up Visa (SUV) program. Ontario welcomed 275 new permanent residents in January, while British Columbia saw an influx of 170 individuals via this program. SUV program applicants typically arrive in Canada on a work permit backed by their Canadian investor while their permanent residence application is being finalized. The SUV program recognizes angel investors, venture capital funds, and business incubators. A qualifying business must secure at least $200,000 from a designated venture capital fund or $75,000 from a designated angel investor group.

Experts Advocate For Immigration Reforms In The Construction Sector 

Canada’s immigration system must adapt to meet the growth of the construction sector and priorities, such as new housing and green infrastructure. BuildForce Canada’s report suggests principles for better accessing skilled foreign workers and addressing potential labour shortages due to construction demands and demographic changes. The report notes projected national construction growth over the next decade, driven by $450 billion worth of non-residential projects and renewed residential sector growth. A recruiting gap of over 85,000 workers by 2033 is predicted, necessitating hiring from various sources, including new permanent and non-permanent residents.

The report finds Canada’s immigration system favours university-educated applicants, which may pose challenges for construction, depending on trade-certified or competent individuals overlooked in the immigration process. The report advocates for four reform principles to bolster industries such as construction that require skilled tradespeople. These include rectifying educational biases within the Express Entry system, enhancing coordination between federal and provincial immigration policies, incorporating industry input into labour market planning, and facilitating competencies-based assessments for recognizing foreign credentials. Implementing these reforms will help address skilled labour shortages in the construction sector and contribute to Canada’s economic and societal growth.

Canada’s Spousal Sponsorship Immigration Experiences A Sluggish Beginning In 2024

Recently released data from IRCC indicated a substantial decline in spousal sponsorship approvals in early 2024. The spousal sponsorship program plays an essential role, facilitating the arrival of spouses and common-law partners into Canada as new permanent residents. January 2024 saw a significant 30.8% drop in the number of individuals admitted under the program compared to the same period in the previous year. In January 2024, 6,975 individuals arrived in Canada under this program, a marked reduction from the 10,080 admitted individuals in January 2023.

Although January started slower than last year, it improved by 15.7% compared to December 2023, indicating potential growth. Despite an initial decline, our forecasts for 2024 are optimistic. If the January rate persists, Canada will accommodate 83,700 spouses and common-law partners by year-end, an 11.2% increase over 2023’s 75,250. Therefore, despite initially showing signs of a slow start, 2024 is now forecasted to experience an upward trend in terms of overall growth. Experts predict that the sluggish beginning will be counterbalanced by a steady increase in progress as the year continues, leading to a positive outlook for the year.

Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers are your trusted partners on your journey to immigrate to Canada. Our experienced team is well-versed in immigration law and is committed to guiding you through each step of the process. With our help, you can navigate the complexities of immigration confidently. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you 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.