Canadian immigration policy saw a number of significant changes
during 2013, with the government continuing to focus on attracting
high-skilled workers to Canada, while still ensuring that Canadian
citizens and permanent residents remain at the front of the line
for job opportunities.
New Faces and New Ministries
In July 2013, Jason Kenney was appointed as the first Minister
of Employment and Social Development (ESDC) and Minister for
Multiculturalism. Minister Kenney is recognized as the
longest-serving Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, having
held the post from 2008 to 2013. Stepping in to that
portfolio is Christopher Alexander, who served as a diplomat to
Russia and Ambassador to Afghanistan before entering politics.
Minister Kenney's new appointment reflects a strong
government interest in the overhaul of the Temporary Foreign Worker
Program (TFWP) that inspired extensive public criticism of Canadian
immigration policy throughout the year.
Constantly in flux – the Temporary Foreign Worker
Last year saw a number of very significant changes to the TFWP,
which governs the issuance of the Labour Market Opinions (LMOs)
employers are generally required to obtain before a foreign worker
can apply for a work permit. These changes were sparked by a
media firestorm surrounding the use of the TFWP to obtain work
permits for foreign nationals who entered Canada to train with a
Canadian employer before returning to their home country to
Included in these changes were:
The introduction of a new Ministry;
The proposal of new enforcement mechanisms;
The discontinuation of the Accelerated LMO processing
The discontinuation of two minimum wage variations;
The introduction of a new processing fee for LMO
Stricter and more complex LMO recruitment requirements;
Limitations on the ability of employers to recruit on the basis
of proficiency in languages other than English or
Changes to changes – the Canadian Experience
On January 1, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada
(CIC) relaxed the eligibility requirements for permanent
residence under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) to allow
applicants to apply sooner.
CIC also introduced a new language proficiency requirement that
is correlated to applicants' skill level.
Perhaps as an indicator of the success of these new eligibility
requirements, in November 2013 CIC introduced a new cap on the
number of CEC applications it would accept over the next
This cap is limited to 12,000 applications under this category,
overall. A further sub-cap of 200 applications for each
B-level NOC was also introduced. Six B-level occupations have been
completely disqualified from consideration under this category.
The year also brought a significant increase in the number of
applications that were returned or refused by CIC under this
Deciding which children are dependent – Proposed
changes to the definition of a dependent child
In response to difficulties in determining which children
qualify as dependents, CIC announced plans to re-define a
"dependent child" as one who is under the age of 19;
previously, children up to the age of 22 could be included in a
parent's application as a dependent.
CIC has yet to implement the change to the definition of a
dependent child, and has given no substantive indication of when
the changes might take place. CIC has a history of announcing
changes as effective immediately, and has now left countless
applicants wondering whether they will be able to file their
applications in time to include their children, or if they will
have to make other plans to keep their families together.
New business – Start-Up Visa Program for permanent
In April, CIC launched the Start-Up Visa program, a temporary
pilot project that will allow foreign entrepreneurs seeking to
invest in Canada the opportunity to do so as permanent
The introduction of this program is the first time a federal
investor or entrepreneur visa program has been available in Canada
since 2011, and opens the door to Canada to a new wave of business
What this all means
Last year demonstrated that CIC is standing firm on its mission
to align immigration policy with national economic and social
objectives. However, it is clear that a number of these
changes are works in progress, as some have been announced,
introduced, and repealed, all in the span of 12 months.
It has never been more important for employers to protect
themselves and their workforce by ensuring that they are compliant
with current immigration regulations. As one of the most
quickly evolving areas of Canadian law, it is prudent to consult
with professionals to ensure that your own immigration experience
is efficient and effective.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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October 12th, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 21st round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 44th overall, inviting 1518 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 484.
October 19th, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 22nd round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 45th overall, inviting 1804 applicants for permanent residence, the largest number ever. The lowest CRS score was 475, a decline from the previous draw.
September 21st, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 20th round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 43rd overall, inviting 1288 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 483.
A unique feature of the new Canada express entry immigration system is that candidates can improve their comprehensive ranking score while in the express entry pool, without submitting a new application. We review important strategies.
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