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Weekly Immigration News Review & IRCC Updates  March 4 – 10 2024

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A founding partner of Abramovich & Tchern, Ksenia started her legal career at one of Canada’s top immigration firms, where she operated her own immigration law practice, with a focus on corporate and individual immigration applications.

Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers present a comprehensive weekly review of updates in Canadian immigration. Follow us to understand how these changes might influence your immigration journey.

Despite Debates, Immigration Fuels Canada’s Economic Growth 

A significant increase in newcomers has largely driven Canada’s economic expansion, yet the sustainability of this approach is a hot topic. Northern Trust’s report indicates a remarkable rise in the immigrant population in 2022, leading to an unmatched population growth rate in Canada. This significant arrival, comprising 437,180 immigrants and a larger group of 607,782 non-permanent residents, revitalized key sectors such as healthcare, IT, and construction. Nevertheless, the Federal Government’s strategy has faced skepticism. The Trudeau administration’s decision to limit study permits has stirred discussions and shifted public sentiment, primarily due to concerns about the strain on public services and the housing market. 

Some propose a more dynamic immigration plan facing Canada’s ageing demographic – a common challenge among developed nations. They argue that a more proactive immigration strategy could counterbalance the ageing population and maintain the economy’s vitality. Yet, this viewpoint has its critics, and the conversation around Canada’s immigration strategy will continue to progress. Nonetheless, the impact of this influx on the labour market remains uncertain. While it offers a potential solution to labour shortages in certain sectors, it presents integration and wage suppression challenges. As such, the future of Canada’s immigration policy requires careful consideration and balanced decision-making.

International Students In British Columbia, Alberta, And Prince Edward Island Can Now Access Provincial Attestation Letters 

Commencing March 4, 2024, the British Columbia government has begun issuing Provincial Attestation Letters (PALs) to eligible postsecondary institutions. These letters are crucial for international student applicants seeking study permits within the province. This development follows the January 22, 2024, announcement by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that included a mandatory PAL with study permit applications. With this, the PAL issuance process in British Columbia is now in full swing. 

Furthermore, Alberta and Prince Edward Island have also reportedly initiated the issuance of PALs to international students. The institutions are actively acquiring PALs for international students. Prospective international students pursuing studies in these provinces should contact their respective institutions for additional information on the PAL application process. International students should note that the PAL is mandatory for study permit applications. Failure to present a valid PAL could result in the rejection of the study permit application.

Canada Launches New Initiatives For Rural And Francophone Communities 

On March 6, 2024, Immigration Minister Marc Miller unveiled innovative immigration strategies for rural and Francophone minority communities, set to launch in fall 2024. These include the Rural Community Immigration Pilot and the Francophone Community Immigration Pilot. The Rural Pilot is designed to alleviate labour shortages in smaller communities by providing permanent residence pathways for newcomers. Building on the success of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP), the Francophone Pilot aims to bolster the number of French-speaking newcomers in Francophone communities outside Quebec. 

By December 31, 2023, the RNIP granted permanent residence to 4,595 newcomers, filling labour shortages in health care, retail, and manufacturing sectors. On February 21, 2024, IRCC extended the RNIP deadline to July 31, 2024, allowing communities to recommend more candidates to help communities meet their labour needs for longer. The Francophone Community Immigration Pilot, part of the Policy on Francophone Immigration’s 2024–2028 Implementation Plan, aims to meet Canada’s targets for French-speaking immigrants per the 2024–2026 Immigration Levels Plan. 

Ontario And Alberta Held New Draws Targeting Healthcare Professionals

Ontario and Alberta invited new candidates to address the increasing demand for healthcare professionals in the provinces. The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) targeted 2,104 healthcare professionals with work experience in 43 National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes. The Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP), on the other hand, invited 33 candidates under the Dedicated Healthcare Pathway. This emphasis on healthcare professionals is in response to the ongoing needs of the provinces’ healthcare systems, which have been strained due to the global pandemic. Ontario and Alberta aim to bolster their medical resources by attracting skilled healthcare workers and ensuring quality healthcare for their residents.

The invited candidates are expected to bring valuable skills and expertise to address the increasing healthcare needs. This move benefits the province’s healthcare system and provides a golden opportunity for overseas healthcare professionals seeking to establish careers in Canada. If you are a healthcare professional looking to immigrate to Canada, Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers can assist you. We will help you understand the requirements of the different immigration programs and help you choose the one that best suits your qualifications and career goals. With Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers by your side, your dream of working in Canada is within reach.

Job Vacancies In Canada Remained Stable In December 2023 

Canada’s job vacancies remained 637,400 in December 2023, marking a third month of minimal change. This figure was 24.7% less than December 2022 and 36.5% down from a record high in May 2022. Total labour demand fell by 0.4% in December, with the job vacancy rate steady at 3.6%. There were 2.0 unemployed persons per vacancy, up from 1.9 in previous months. With a decline of 13.8%, the retail sector was the only one to decrease vacancies, offsetting November’s increase. Year-on-year, vacancies in retail fell by 40.4%, the largest decline among all sectors. 

Educational services (+3,800; +19.5%) and utilities (+1,000; +33.4%) sectors grew, while others remained stable. The healthcare and social assistance sectors had little job vacancy change at 125,900 in December 2023, with a vacancy rate of 5.1%. Ontario and Quebec saw job vacancies drop, with Ontario decreasing by 13,400 (-5.6%) to 224,200 and Quebec down by -10,700 to 138,100. Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island had job vacancy increases, while other provinces remained stable. Year-over-year, the vacancy rate fell in nine provinces, including British Columbia (5.2% to 4.2%) and Quebec (5.2% to 3.5%).

Canada Introduced A New Policy To Help SGBV Survivors From Mexico 

Canada has launched a new policy to provide a safe haven for women from Mexico who have survived sexual and gender-based violence. This policy is a response to the escalating numbers of refugees escaping from violence, mistreatment, and political upheaval across the Americas. The reach of offenders across borders often makes it difficult for these individuals to find safety in neighbouring countries. Women refugees, especially those identifying as Black, Indigenous, or LGBTQI+, are exposed to heightened risks, including kidnapping, murder, and sexual and gender-based violence during their journey to and through Mexico. 

The Canadian Government recognizes the need for a regional approach to this crisis. As part of its efforts, this temporary public policy will provide a pathway towards protection and support for these women, facilitating the resettlement of up to 100 people who identify as women and are survivors of SGBV, along with their family members. The policy will be in place for three years, during which applications will be processed per the agreement with Reed Smith LLP and CCVT. These organizations will identify the applicants, issue referral letters, and ensure access to counselling and targeted psychosocial support in Canada.

Take the first step towards your dream of moving to Canada today. Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers will provide guidance on the best immigration pathways for you, assist with application preparation, and help address any challenges that may arise. Contact Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers today, and let us help you make Canada your new home.

Ksenia Tchern

A founding partner of Abramovich & Tchern, Ksenia started her legal career at one of Canada’s top immigration firms, where she operated her own immigration law practice, with a focus on corporate and individual immigration applications.