CANADA CARING FOR CAREGIVERS

CANADA CARING FOR CAREGIVERS

The IRCC (Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada) is going to launch on June 18, 2019 two new pilot programs in support of foreign caregivers who wish to become permanent residents. Called “The Home Child Care Provider” and “Home Support Worker,” these programs will result in  work permits being issued to those who benefit from job offers and meet the criteria of a Canadian immigration program. The novelty lies in the fact that their permits will no longer be  employer-specific but rather occupation-specific, which will allow the holders to engage anywhere they get an offer for the job; as a consequence of this spectacular shift, those who want to hire internally through the new pilot programs will no longer need approval from the ESDC (Employment and Social Development Canada) in the form of a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) currently a major obstacle for most employers. In addition, family members of the holder of such a permit will also receive open work permits or study permits as the case may be. IRCC will soon publish new rules whereby those who have accumulated two years of activity in Canada through one of these pilot programs will get permanent residence with a minimum of formalities and reduced processing times. Specifically, the occupation-specific work permit is expected to be obtained within a maximum of 12 months, during which time the IRCC also checks the admissibility in principle of the permanent residence (PR) application, while the actual PR status will be granted to the holder and his / her family in up to 6 months from the time they submit proof that they have worked in Canada on the basis of that work permit. Meanwhile, candidates who have started their permanent residence applications under the old pilot programs will continue to benefit from the procedure in force at the time of the filing of their applications. Finally, the IRCC announced the extension for another three months starting on 8 July 2019 of  the provisions allowing the submission of permanent residence applications  by caregivers  who arrived in Canada after 2014 and were subject to regulations which would no longer allow them to reach this goal (see our February 2019 issue). Please note that for each of the two pilot programs launched on June 18, 2019, the IRCC has set an annual cap of 2,750 files, so time is essential if you want to benefit from them. Share

PROTECTING PEOPLE FROM ABUSE AND VIOLENCE & REUNITING FAMILIES

PROTECTING PEOPLE FROM ABUSE AND VIOLENCE & REUNITING FAMILIES

On May 31, 2019, IRCC (Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada) announced a set of measures to improve the protection of vulnerable foreign workers and newcomers facing family abuses, as well as to help new immigrants  sponsor family members whom they did not initially declare.

1) Canadian mass media frequently report situations where work permit holders are victims of abuses committed by their employers, but hesitate to complain to the authorities for fear that they will lose their jobs. So far, this fear has been fully justified because most work permits are “employer-specific,” meaning they do not entitle the holder to engage elsewhere, creating a situation similar to serfdom. Abuses can be of a variety of types, starting with physical or verbal violence (especially for domestic staff) and ending with unjustified salary reduction or charging the employee with expenses that the law compels the employer to bear. Those who suffer such abuses have the alternative of finding another employer who has to go through a lengthy and costly procedure to get work offer validation through an Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) which Employment Canada issues only after being satisfied that he/she has made sufficient efforts to hire a Canadian and failed; in short, in very few cases, the foreign worker can still work in Canada if he comes into conflict with the employer indicated on his work permit.

Starting June 4, 2019, holders of such work permits that are the target of abuse by the employer will be able to apply for an open work permit free of charge, which gives them the right to be hired by any employer. When such situations arise, employers found guilty may be sentenced to considerable fines and are included in a public list that prohibits them from  hiring other “foreign workers” in the future. Even under the current legislation, such sanctions has been applied to 160 employees found guilty. It remains to be seen whether the new provisions will not generate situations where the employer himself becomes the victim of pressure from the employees without committing any abuse, and if such a perspective will discourage or not the companies concerned from recruiting foreigners despite the current crisis of manpower in the Canadian economy.

2) Starting July 26, 2019, people in Canada who become victims of abuse by Canadian spouses or partners will be able to apply for and obtain temporary residence permits (TRPs) if they have not been able yet to obtain their permanent resident status. Such situations may arise when  people have entered Canada as visitors or students or foreign workers have formed a couple with Canadian residents who are either on the process of sponsoring them, or are simply indulging in a romantic relationship without any thought of a long-term relationship. It is important to note that the possession of a TRP should not be confused with the status of a simple visitor; as a general rule, such permits are released in exceptional circumstances to  medically or criminally inadmissible people, when the IRCC finds that there are compelling grounds for which they should be allowed to enter or remain in Canada.  The person who gets a TRP automatically receives not only the right to stay in Canada, but also medical coverage and the right to work. Such permits are usually issued for one year and are often prolonged for another year at the end of which the holder is entitled to claim permanent residence without any other condition (studies, linguistic test, etc.).

Simultaneously with the release of temporary permits, IRRC is launching another initiative to protect people who fall victim to conjugal violence in that it will accelerate the processing of applications for permanent residence based on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds that have been filed by such persons. It is an important measure because such H&C applications, when no violence is invoked, are known for their lengthy processing time. It should be noted, however, that if for the release of a TRP, with all the collateral advantages described above, is enough to invoke and prove violence, in the case of H&C cases, this violence only leads to the acceleration of the processing, not to the approval of the application as such. In order to obtain this approval, the person concerned must prove that returning to his / her country of citizenship would expose them to considerable hardship, such as a risk to their own life due to poor health assistance national systems.

3) Finally, a very positive step is going to be the launch, starting on September 9, 2019, of a two-year pilot program, through which those who have already become permanent residents or Canadian citizens can sponsor their dependents that they failed to declare when they filed their own permanent residence applications. The reasons for such an omission can be of a wide variety and are particularly common with those who have requested and obtained refugee status. However, there may be other situations, such as the case of a former client of ours who did not declare his out of wed child when he immigrated with his legitimate wife; at that time, there was a need for strong argumentation and a lot of evidence to persuade the authorities to accept the sponsorship of the child, who later proved to be a brilliant valedictorian student.

The rationale for which such a ban still exists (for a few more months) lies in the Government’s fear that the dependant could be medically or criminally inadmissible, which would have led to the denial of permanent residence for the whole family. It seems that the IRCC has decided to reconsider this position and to take the view, at least for the next two years, that the benefits for Canada are greater in the long run than the above-mentioned risk.

What it does not result from the text of the IRCC communiqué is what will happen to those who did declare their dependents but they had not been medically examined. The question is legitimate, because the outcome is the same as for the unreported dependents. Such situations are extremely frequent and occur especially when the potential sponsor requested permanent residence after divorcing and the minor child was entrusted to the other parent (usually the mother) who refuses to let him/her undergo the medical examination. Our experience show that, in such cases, the child who grows to become an adult will never forgive this refusal and this episode will motivate her/him to try and emigrate on their own. We hope that these situations will also be embedded in the next pilot program.

In conclusion, we can count on accelerating measures that have a positive effect on the electorate’s mass as the parliamentary elections get closer. In fact, just two days after the communiqué commented on in this article, the IRCC launched a new initiative called “Rainbow Refugee Assistance Partnership” to facilitate private sponsorship of refugees belonging to the LGBTQ2 community.

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FEBRUARY 23, 2019: GOOD NEWS FOR CAREGIVERS

FEBRUARY 23, 2019: GOOD NEWS FOR CAREGIVERS

Immigration Minister, Mr. Ahmed Hussen has just announced the immediate launch of two new five-year pilot programs that will allow those in the caregivers category to settle with their entire family in Canada if they receive a work permit and then file an application for permanent residence after working for two years on the basis of that permit.

These programs are designed to replace the current ones Caring for Children and Caring for People with High Medical Needs which cannot serve as a starting point for obtaining permanent residence except for the nurses who meet the very drastic criteria imposed by the Express Entry system. Other temporary foreign workers that are included in this second category, i.e. home support workers, do not meet the criteria of the Express Entry system because they occupy positions  Level C of the National Occupational Classification (NOC).

While waiting for the two new pilot programs to be launched, Minister Hussen announced the launch of an interim program starting March 4, 2019, whereby those currently in a situation where they cannot ask for permanent residence will have three months (so a very short interval) to prepare and submit applications for permanent residence based on “public policy” grounds. The conditions to be fulfilled by applicants are as follows:

1) Being in Canada on the basis of a valid work permit, or waiting for an extension.
2) Have at least 12 months of full-time experience (at least 30 hours per week) starting from November 30, 2014, either as a “home child provider” (as defined in NOC 4411, but with the exclusion of so-called “foster parents” ) or as a “home support worker” (as defined in NOC 4412, but excluding “hosekeepers”).
3) Present the results of an English or French test at least at the level of CLB 5 (beginner-advanced) at all four tested abilities. CLICK HERE to find out what this level means for the different tests that IRCC (Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada) accepts.
4) Provide evidence of having a secondary school diploma in Canada or its equivalent confirmed by an IRCC-accredited institution (CLICK HERE to peruse their list).

As you can see, candidates who want to take advantage of these three months within which they can apply for permanent residence have to collect a lot of documents, not to mention that they must immediately enroll in a language test to pass within the short range available to them.

It goes without saying that such circumstances call for qualified professional assistance.
We will come back with details when we know more about the new pilot programs.Share

JANUARY 28, 2019-THE DATE THE NEW PROCEDURE FOR SPONSORING PARENTS IS TO BE LAUNCHED!

JANUARY 28, 2019-THE DATE THE NEW PROCEDURE FOR SPONSORING PARENTS IS TO BE LAUNCHED!

On January 11, 2019, IRCC (Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada) posted the rules that will govern this procedure that will allow 20,000 Canadians (permanent residents and citizens) to sponsor their parents and grandparents. Basically, unlike the previous intake process, in 2019 the Government will provide a first-in-first-served approach, but will maintain the on-line registration of the candidates’ interest to sponsor forms.

Please click on the link below to read the details:

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/family-sponsorship/sponsor-parents-grandparents/selected.html

Since the last year more than 80 thousand potential sponsors could not file their applications because they didn’t win the lottery, it is expected that all of them and perhaps many more will rush to file on-line their  interest to sponsor forms immediately after noon, on January 28, 2019.  We still don’t have any indication as to how will IRCC prevent the system from crashing, and, more importantly, how is it going to establish the order in which those forms have been filed when almost 100,000 candidates have clicked “submit” in the very same moment.Share

SOON TO COME: IRCC INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE 2019 PARENTAL SPONSORSHIP PROCEDURE

SOON TO COME: IRCC INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE 2019 PARENTAL SPONSORSHIP PROCEDURE

As we have already indicated a couple of months ago, the Trudeau government announced in August that it would be dropping a contentious lottery system in favour of quotas, and admit up to 20,500 parents and grandparents in 2019, selected on the basis of the order they registered their on-line declarations of intention.

For the last few years the critical moment when the potential Canadian sponsors were expected to act in order to be included in the IRCC annual quotas, was the first working day of January.  It is understandable then why everybody grew more and more frustrated seeing that the end of 2018 was closing and IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada ) gave no sign of posting the new instructions.

Finally, a spokesperson for IRCC said the department issued a social media post on the last day of 2018 saying that applications would be accepted again soon; this is how the tweet in question looks:

IRCC‏Verified account @CitImmCanada 31 Dec 2018

“We understand there is much excitement about the re-opening of the Parents and Grandparents Program. Please be advised that the program will be opening in late January, not on the 2nd, but rest assured we will give you advance notice before it opens.”

We encourage you to keep watching our site for news to be posted in the very near future.Share

THE NEW SELECTION SYSTEM OF ECONOMIC IMMIGRANTS FOR QUEBEC

THE NEW   SELECTION SYSTEM OF ECONOMIC IMMIGRANTS FOR QUEBEC

During the last week of August 2018, MIDI (Quebec Ministry of Immigration) organized a webinar  for authorized immigration representatives to explain how the new system works.

As we have already announced, the selection will be based on on-line declarations of interest, based on which MIDI will establish the list of candidates with the highest scores to be invited to submit their actual applications. So, no more “first come, first served” system: invitations to apply will get not those who expressed first their interest, but those who obtain the highest scores.

Therefore, the declarations of interest should contain all the information needed to calculate the points according to the Quebec “grille de selection”.  It goes without saying that the manner of completing the declaration will be decisive in determining the score. Therefore, the fact that MIDI has created a separate “space” for authorized representatives can provide a substantial advantage to those who benefit from the services of such a representative.

Regarding the actual selection system, it seems to have been inspired by both the federal Express Entry and the  Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities Stream. Unlike those systems though, the Quebec’s one does not impose the evaluation of the candidate’s degrees and diplomas by a Canadian institution, and will not use multiple point systems to consecutively assess the applicants. Those who prefer to do it by themselves will see however that it is not easy to correctly formulate  the answers to the numerous and sophisticated questions that the new Arrima portal poses, not to mention the technical difficulties raised by the uploading of the supporting documentation.

We are at your disposal for the free evaluation of your chances of success.Share

A more convenient way to validate permanent residence from within Canada thanks to pilot project

A more convenient way to validate permanent residence from within Canada thanks to pilot project

(from Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada)

Ottawa, March 19, 2018 — As part of our initiatives to improve client service, we will be testing an option for clients to have their permanent residence (PR) validated at an IRCC office without needing to make an appointment.

This pilot project benefits clients as it offers a more flexible and convenient landing process. Clients will not need to reach out to book an appointment in advance and will have the confidence of knowing they will be able to confirm their PR during their visit.

Between March 19 and April 20, 2018, IRCC will be emailing selected clients in the Montreal, Fredericton and Halifax areas who have received their Confirmation of PR document. The email will be from an address ending in “@cic.gc.ca” and will list dates and times when clients can visit their local IRCC office to be confirmed as a PR.

Typically in order to validate your PR status you need to make an appointment at one of our offices near where you live in Canada. If you are not able to make an appointment, you may leave Canada and return through an international airport or a Canadian land border. When you arrive, an IRCC officer will interview you, and grant you entry into Canada based on the information in your visa.

Clients cannot request to be included in this pilot project. However, IRCC will determine if this landing process should be expanded to become part of the normal process for all clients based on the results of this pilot project.

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SPONSORING PARENTS AND GRANDPARENT IN 2018

SPONSORING PARENTS AND GRANDPARENT IN 2018

(From Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada)

December 22, 2017 – Ottawa, ON – Canadian citizens and permanent residents will soon be able to take the first step in applying to bring their parents and grandparents to Canada, when the Parents and Grandparents Program reopens in 2018.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced a new process in 2017 for application intake for sponsoring parents and grandparents to make it fairer and more transparent for applicants. Now, potential sponsors must first notify IRCC that they are interested in sponsoring their parents and grandparents by submitting an “Interest to Sponsor” form. Using a random selection process, IRCC will then invite potential sponsors to apply to sponsor their parents and grandparents.

Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that the “Interest to Sponsor” form will be available at noon EST on January 2, 2018. Those who wish to apply to sponsor their parents and grandparents in 2018 must first fill out this online form. It will be available until noon February 1, 2018.

To help ensure the efficiency of the system and to allow as many eligible sponsors as possible to bring their parents and grandparents to Canada, it is important that only those who meet the sponsorship eligibility requirements submit an “Interest to Sponsor” form. Additional questions have been added to the 2018 version of the “Interest to Sponsor” form to help potential sponsors self-assess whether they are eligible to sponsor.”Share

NEW RULES RAISING THE AGE LIMIT UNTIL A CHILD IS REGARDED AS DEPENDENT

NEW RULES RAISING THE AGE LIMIT UNTIL A CHILD IS REGARDED AS DEPENDENT.

The Government of Canada has changed the definition of the age of dependants from “under 19” to “under 22,” fulfilling a key mandate commitment of the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. This change will help more immigrant families stay together.  Under the new rules, children are still perceived as dependents beyond the age of 22 if they rely on their parents’ support due to physical or mental disabilities.  However, the new rules have not reactivated the old provision according to which they remain dependents until they finish their studies.

This change applies to all new applications received by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on or after October 24, 2017.

To help even more families stay together, the government has introduced a public policy that would allow for the addition or sponsorship of some children whose parents had existing applications in process on May 3, 2017, or who have applied since that time.  Based on public policy consideration sa permanent residence application for a child can be made if the:

  1. Child was 19, 20, or 21 as of May 3, 2017 (the date of final publication of the regulatory amendment) or as of date the parent’s permanent residence application was made, if received on or after May 3, 2017 and before October 24, 2017;
  2. Parent or child had a permanent residence application that was either pending on May 3, 2017 or was received on or after May 3, 2017 and before October 24, 2017 (the child must have been previously identified as “additional family” on their parent’s application);
  3. Child is not a spouse/common-law partner; and,
  4. Child is not otherwise inadmissible.

The child can be:

  1. Processed or added to an application (as a dependent child) if the permanent resident visa or Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) had not been issued at the time the Department was notified of the intention to add the child; OR
  2. Sponsored as a member of the Family Class once the parent is granted permanent residence.

Refugees and protected persons may add a child who was 19, 20, or 21 on May 3, 2017 and (not a spouse/common-law partner) as an accompanying or non-accompanying dependant on a pending application; non-accompanying dependants would be able to apply for permanent residence within the one-year window.

An application to sponsor a child who is eligible under this public and is 22 or over at time of sponsorship, must be received by the Department within one year after their parent is granted permanent residence. Children who are under 22 at time of sponsorship will be processed under the regular sponsorship regulations.

Parents who wish to apply for their child to come to Canada must notify the Department of their intention to do so by January 31, 2018, in accordance with instructions provided by the department.

For the purposes of this public policy, an application is considered to be pending up until the applicant’s departure for Canada if they are outside Canada OR until permanent residence has been granted if the applicant is in Canada.Share

Government of Canada implements new legislative changes to the Citizenship Act

Government of Canada implements new legislative changes to the Citizenship Act

October 4, 2017 – Ottawa, ON – As part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to provide greater flexibility in meeting requirements for those who wish to obtain Canadian citizenship, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced today a significant milestone in implementing changes to the Citizenship Act through the adoption of Bill C-6.

Changes to take effect as of October 11, 2017
Previous Citizenship Act Citizenship Act with Bill C-6 Amendments
Applicants had to be physically present in Canada for four out of six years before applying for citizenship. Applicants must be physically present in Canada for three out of five years before applying for citizenship.
Applicants had to file Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for four out of six years, matching the physical presence requirement. Applicants must file Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for three out of five years, matching the new physical presence requirement.
Applicants had to be physically present in Canada for 183 days in four out of the six years preceding their application. This provision is repealed. Applicants no longer have to meet this requirement.
Time spent in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident did not count towards the physical presence requirement for citizenship. Applicants may count each day they were physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person, before becoming a permanent resident, as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum credit of 365 days, within five years preceding the date of application.
Applicants between 14 and 64 years had to meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship. Applicants between 18 and 54 years must meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship.

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