Canada: Immigration Update @ Gowlings – May 2006

Last Updated: May 25 2006

Edited by Bill MacGregor


  • About Immigration Update @ Gowlings
  • New Off-Campus Work Program
  • Post-Graduate Work Permit Program Expanded
  • Recognition of Foreign Credentials
  • Reduction in Right of Landing Fee
  • Canada - Ontario Immigration Agreement
  • PEI Eases Policies to Attract Immigrants
  • Canadian Passports to be Required for Entry to the United States
  • National ID Card Back on the Agenda
  • Amtrak Fast-Tracks Passport Rules
  • Gowlings Immigration Practice Group

About Immigration Update @ Gowlings

The ability to move personnel across borders and to recruit skilled workers from abroad is of increasing importance to many business operations. It is essential that companies and their personnel recognize and comply with applicable immigration laws. Immigration Update @ Gowlings, prepared by Gowlings Immigration Practice Group, provides information on corporate immigration matters, including new developments and changes that may affect your ability to move personnel across borders. Gowlings Immigration Practice Group offers a full range of immigration services and strategic solutions to clients. For example, we assist with executive transfers, and with obtaining business visitor status, work permits, temporary resident visas, permanent resident status and citizenship.

New Off-Campus Work Program

The Off-Campus work program allows foreign students at Canadian public post-secondary institutions to work off-campus while completing their studies. Under the program, eligible foreign students at post-secondary institutions will be able to work off-campus for up to 20 hours a week during the school year and full-time during study breaks. The work permit will be valid for the duration of the foreign student's study permit.

This program may provide a source of part-time staff for some companies. Companies may also want to consider using the program as part of a human resources plan - for example, eligible foreign students could be hired for the summer break during which time they could be assessed to determine whether to offer them employment upon graduation.

Furhter details at:

Post-Graduate Work Permit Program Expanded

The post-graduate work program allows foreign nationals studying in Canada to work in Canada for up to two years after their graduation. Previously, students were only allowed to work for one year as post-graduate workers. Foreign students are eligible for a post-graduation work permit only for employment in their field of study. They must still have a valid study permit and apply for the work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation from their institution indicating that they have met the requirements of their program. To be able to obtain a two year work permit under the program, the foreign student must have studied at an institution outside the greater Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver areas, and the location of employment must also be outside those areas. Otherwise, the foreign student would only be entitled to a one year work permit.

Canadian employers should consider this program when developing their human resources and recruiting plans.

Further details at:

Recognition of Foreign Credentials

The May 2, 2006 federal budget provided monies to go towards the creation of a Canadian Agency for Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Credentials. A goal of this initiative is to facilitate the recognition of new immigrants' foreign qualifications, training and experience so that newcomers can be integrated more quickly into the Canadian workforce.

Further details at:

Reduction in Right of Landing Fee

The May 2, 2006 Federal Budget includes a 50% reduction in the $975 Right of Permanent Residence Fee. The new Right of Permanent Residence Fee is $490 for immigrants who become permanent residents under all social, humanitarian and economic classes. The change is effective immediately. There is also a process for obtaining refunds for applicants who have submitted applications but have not yet become permanent residents.

Further details at:

Canada - Ontario Immigration Agreement

On November 21, 2005, the Canada–Ontario Immigration Agreement was signed between the Ontario and Federal governments. Under the terms of the agreement, the Government of Canada will invest an additional $920 million over the next five years in Ontario. This is the first comprehensive immigration agreement between Ontario and Canada, and it is intended to help more newcomers reach their full potential in Ontario by increasing the funding for services to help them settle, integrate and access language training.

Of interest to Ontario employers, Ontario will develop a pilot Provincial Nominee Program and a Temporary Foreign Worker agreement. These programs will give Ontario the opportunity to identify newcomers who will help meet its economic priorities and labour market objectives. Ontario employers may be able to address skills shortages by recruiting foreign nationals through these initiatives. Ontario is currently the only province without some kind of Provincial Nominee Program. The program is not yet in place - it is supposed to be developed by the end of the year.

Further details at:

PEI Eases Policies to Attract Immigrants

The Pat Binns government of Prince Edward Island has announced a new program designed to attract more immigrants to Prince Edward Island. Under the Immigrant Connections Program, new Canadians, recent immigrants and other Islanders can nominate a family member or a close friend for immigration.

Further details at:

Canadian Passports to be Required for Entry to the United States

The United State's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative will eventually require all travelers to and from the Americas – including US and Canadian citizens – to have a passport or other secure accepted document to enter or re-enter the United States. Canadians currently may enter the United States with a birth certificate and an acceptable form of photo identification. As of December 31, 2006, Canadians travelling to the United States by air or sea will be required to have a passport. As of December 31, 2007, Canadians will need a passport to enter the United States by land. Canadian companies that employ personnel who need to travel to the United States for business purposes should ensure employees obtain passports well in advance of those dates.

Further details at:

National ID Card Back on the Agenda

Sooner or later, Canadians will have to carry some form of identification other than a passport to travel outside the country, says the new federal minister of public safety, Stockwell Day. The British Commons has just adopted legislation for a government-issued national ID card and Stockwell Day suggested in an interview with The Canadian Press that such a card is inevitable for Canada.

Further details at:

Amtrak Fast-Tracks Passport Rules

New passport rules for Canadians travelling to the U.S. seem to have kicked in early at Amtrak. The rail service now requires passengers to provide passport numbers and expiry dates before buying tickets. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative — legislation setting out rules for U.S. entry — officially takes effect at the end of this year for sea and air travel, and on Dec. 31, 2007 for border crossings on land. But according to Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black, the application of existing rules has nonetheless been tightened up, so that the future laws are for all intents and purposes already in place.

Further details at:

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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