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Weekly Immigration News Review & IRCC Updates March 18 – 24 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, discussing the recent changes in the immigration system. Follow us to stay updated with up-to-date information and understand the impact of these changes on your immigration process.

Immigration Minister Outlines New Plans For Further In-Canada Immigration Draws 

On March 21, 2024, Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced an increase in “domestic draws” for temporary residents in Canada seeking permanent residency. These draws are permanent residence selection rounds through programs like Express Entry, based on candidates’ Comprehensive Ranking System scores, specific professional experience, or French language skills. This measure aims to manage temporary resident levels and ease pressures on critical sectors like housing and healthcare. Miller also asked provinces participating in the Provincial Nominee Program to increase their domestic draws. 

Miller’s comments suggest a shift towards targeting more permanent resident candidates already in Canada. This approach aligns with previous Canadian immigration strategies, which have often favoured candidates already in the country. Provincial Nominee Programs also target individuals who have already integrated into Canadian life. Miller’s planned shift aims to increase opportunities for temporary residents to obtain permanent residency, as the pre-immigration Canadian experience often predicts better immigration outcomes. This strategy also helps meet immigration targets without adding to existing pressures in housing, healthcare, and other sectors.

Canada Might Consider Reducing The Number Of Temporary Residents Over The Next Three Years 

Immigration Minister Marc Miller has revealed plans to include temporary resident targets in the annual Immigration Levels Plan from fall 2024. This plan determines the number of new permanent residents Canada will accept annually. He clarified that these targets are not caps, but limits may be applied in certain areas. So far, there have been no targets or caps for permits through programs like the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement. Miller believes adding temporary residents to the plan will stabilize population growth. He noted that Canada’s temporary resident volume has spiked to 6.2% of the population in 2023 and aims to reduce this to 5% in the next three years. 

Canada is striving towards stabilizing its population growth, which involves refining the selection process for new permanent residents. To this end, more domestic draws will be initiated, providing a pathway for temporary residents already in Canada to contribute to the economy. Canada is showing resilience as the labour market tightens, having regained 138% of jobs lost during the pandemic. The country’s plans include welcoming 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024, projected to increase to 500,000 in 2025 and 2026. These targets are designed to harmonize the needs of Canada’s existing population with the support we extend to newcomers.

The Limit On Study Permit Applications Might Surpass The Initially Estimated 35% 

Immigration Minister Marc Miller’s cap on study permit applications may significantly decrease the number of new international students in Canada. The cap is set at 606,250 applications, which is anticipated to result in a 40% drop in study permits from last year. The figure includes exempt students from the cap, reducing the number of new study permits to around 292,000. This cap has caused dissatisfaction among provinces, with Alberta receiving less than its population proportion, British Columbia receiving a disproportionate amount, and Nova Scotia seeing a reduction.

Certain categories of study permit applications are exempt from the cap, including current permit holders, family members of temporary residents with work or study permits, members of the Visiting Forces Act, foreign government officers, sports event participants, foreign news company employees, and spiritual leaders. Canadian colleges and universities have raised concerns about the application cap. Larissa Bezo, the CEO of the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), voiced that the cap might not be the best solution for the housing issue.

IRCC Has Provided An Update On Programs For International Students In Public-Private Colleges 

On March 22, 2024, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) released important news affecting many international students and graduates. According to the update, international students graduating from public-private curriculum licensing programs will no longer qualify for post-graduation work permits. This change will be in effect from May 15, 2024, a date earlier than the previously announced September 1, 2024. As a result, students beginning their programs on or after May 15, 2024, will not be able to apply for these permits when they graduate. 

This significant change will likely impact the career prospects of these students after graduation. However, it is important to note that these graduates are not completely without options. They can explore other types of work permits that are available to them. For instance, they can apply for a work permit that is supported by an employer’s approved labour market impact assessment. This can particularly benefit those seeking employment in occupations facing a labour shortage in Canada. This could provide a viable pathway to employment and potentially open a range of opportunities for these graduates.

The Canadian Government Denies Quebec Full Immigration Authority 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has declined Quebec Premier Francois Legault’s request for complete control over immigration. While Quebec does have greater immigration autonomy than other provinces to safeguard the French language, Trudeau has no intentions of further expanding these powers. However, Trudeau spoke positively about their discussions on healthcare, the economy, and immigration, describing them as productive. His focus is on enhancing the existing system rather than altering power dynamics, underlining the importance of cooperation and problem-solving.

The Federal Immigration Department has accelerated the process of family reunification by circumventing Quebec’s “artificially low” cap, according to Minister Marc Miller. This move indicates Ottawa’s willingness to step in on immigration matters and their reluctance to completely hand over control to Quebec. Francois Legault is set to request full immigration powers in his upcoming meeting with Trudeau, marking their first interaction since December 2022. Quebec has also revised its compensation claim to $1 billion for the expenses incurred in managing asylum seekers, to which Ottawa has agreed to contribute $100 million.

BC To Update The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program 

In January 2025, British Columbia will update the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP). The International Graduate and Post-Graduate Streams will be replaced with Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate streams. This modification is designed to make the required education level and language skills more explicit for future applicants. A higher level of education and fluency in French or English can contribute positively to the province’s economy by improving job success, boosting income, and filling essential roles. These changes support the latest measures to safeguard international students from exploitative institutions. Diploma or certificate program graduates in Canada can still qualify for other BC PNP streams. 

The minimum language proficiency level will increase across the program, except for the Health Authority stream. A minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 8 is planned for the new graduate streams. These changes aim to improve outcomes for nominees and create clearer pathways. The BC PNP intends to ensure career success for nominees and protect applicants from misleading representations of the program. The BC PNP, offering a pathway to Canada’s PR for international workers and entrepreneurs, is one of many immigration programs in BC. If you are concerned about these changes and their potential impact on your immigration plans, Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers are here to help. Contact us today to discuss your situation, and let us help you navigate your pathway to Canada.

Immigrant Women Are More Likely To Stay In A Marriage 

A recent report from Statistics Canada has highlighted an intriguing trend: Canadian-born women are almost twice as likely to divorce compared to women who immigrated to Canada. A detailed examination of the 2017 data shows that 43% of Canadian-born women chose to end their first marriages, whereas only about 24% of immigrant women made the same choice. This suggests a stronger commitment to marriage from immigrants, a particularly noticeable trend among younger generations, who consistently show lower divorce rates. To paint a clearer picture, Statistics Canada discovered that the rate of dissolved unions doubled for Canadian-born individuals at 40%. This contrasts with a significantly lower rate of 18% among immigrants born between 1965 and 1997. 

An interesting outcome of this trend is that immigrants are less likely to remarry or form a second union after their first one dissolves. In 2017, 31% of those born in Canada chose to enter a second union, compared to only 13% of immigrants who made the same decision. Looking at the broader picture, 36% of first unions ended that year. The Baby Boom generation saw the highest rate of union dissolution, with a remarkable 40% of marriages ending. This report from Statistics Canada offers insightful observations on marital unions in our current society, drawing attention to the differences in commitment levels between Canadian-born individuals and immigrants.

Whether you are navigating the complexities of the immigration process or seeking representation, Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers are here to help. We guide clients through every step of the journey to living in Canada, making the process as seamless as possible. Contact us today for a consultation and take the first step towards 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.