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Executive Summaries Jan 28, 2021

New Business Immigration Measures: What Your Foreign Workers Need to Know

Every month, our Immigration and Business Mobility Team monitors major news that could impact your foreign workers. Consult the January 2021 updates on business immigration.

New Obligation in Force for Travellers to Canada

Since January 7, 2021, proof of a negative result within 72 hours prior to boarding a flight to Canada, regardless of the traveller's nationality.

Watch our webinar again "International Recruitment, Cross-Border Workers and Business Travel: What's in store for 2021?".

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Former International Students: New Temporary Policy to Work, Live and Contribute in Canada

Contributing over $21 billion annually to the Canadian economy, former international students who hold or held a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) will be able to apply for an open work permit as a result of the federal government’s new policy. One of the objectives of this initiative is to attract graduates to meet pressing needs in areas where there are serious labour shortages such as health care, technology and others.

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Recent Updates on Permanent Resident Programs in Canada: “Express Entry” Programs

Updates to the permanent residence program subject to the “Express Entry” completeness check include, but are not limited to:

  • How long Express Entry applicants must apply for permanent residence electronically after being issued an invitation to apply (90 calendar days instead of 60);
  • When the 6-month processing standard begins;
  • Acceptable translation of supporting documents into English or French for Express Entry.
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Out-of-Status Foreign Nationals: Extended Exemptions from Immigration Requirements

The temporary public policy introduced on July 14, 2020 to exempt foreign nationals from certain requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) has been extended until August 31, 2021. The eligibility criteria were expanded to include foreign nationals who were in Canada from January 30, 2020 to May 31, 2021. This policy addresses two elements related to restoration objectives:

  • 1. Restoration: An exemption from the requirement to apply for reinstatement within 90 days of losing temporary resident status for all workers.
  • 2. Interim Work Authorization: Allows former work permit holders with an offer of employment to work while their applications for restoration and work permits are being processed.
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Suspension of Certain Foreign Student Program Applications

The reception of temporary selection for studies as well as the processing of the already received application from persons admitted to 10 educational institutions under audit or investigation by the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur (MES) are suspended. This suspension applies to all applications received before December 30, 2020, for which no decision had been made, until March 31, 2021. However, this decision has no impact on foreign students currently studying at these institutions and holding a valid Québec Acceptance Certificate and study permit.

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Presidential Inauguration: Several Changes to be Expected

By signing several executive orders on 20 January, Joe Biden overturned several decisions made by his predecessor, including the lifting of the travel ban for people from several predominantly Muslim countries and the reversal of plans to exclude people illegally present in the country from the 2020 census. Moreover, 6 of the 17 orders, memorandums and proclamations deal to immigration.

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Negative COVID-19 Test Requirement to All Air Passengers Entering the United States

Since January 12, 2021, a negative test is required before and after travel to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19 on U.S. soil. Air passengers are required to undergo a viral test within 3 days before their flight to the U.S. and provide the airline with written documentation of their laboratory test result or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. The airline must deny boarding to any person who fails to provide documentation of a negative test or recovery from the virus.

Since last March, the U.S. had suspended the entry of foreign nationals who had visited the U.K. in the 14 days prior to entering the country. U.S. citizens and permanent residents, certain family members and others who meet specified exceptions are now allowed to enter the United States.

  • As of December 27, all air passenger arriving from United Kingdom must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test before entering the United States.
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Important Delays to be Expected With the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service

  • Appointments for biometrics are set according to the priority of the types of services, taking into account the capacity and processing times.
  • The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service is authorized to reuse biometrics in limited circumstances. If biometric data is used, a notice will be sent to the applicant.
  • The agency is providing additional flexibility to assist applicants and claimants in several situations where the date of issuance indicated on the application, notice, or decision is between March 1, 2020 and January 31, 20201 inclusively, including the following documents:
    - Request for Evidence and Continuation of Request for Evidence (N-14);
    - Notice of intention to refuse; revoke, cancel or terminate the Regional Centres;
    - Motions to reopen an N-400, receipt of derogatory information after grant;
    - Form N-336 filing date requirements; or
    - Filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.
  • The Agency will review responses to requests and notices received within 60 calendar days of the response due date before taking any action. They shall also consider Forms N-336 or I-290B received within 60 calendar days of the date of the decision before taking any action. 

U.S. Work Visa Freeze Extended to March 31, 2021

The visa freeze originally issued in April and June 2020 to protect U.S. jobs was set to expire on December 31, 2020. However, this measure, which is extended until March 31, 2021 to prohibit entry into the country on work visas and green cards, has a direct impact on many H-1B visa holders.

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Reinforcement of French Border Controls

Since January 18, all travelers from outside the European Union will have to present a negative COVID-19 test at least 72 hours before their departure by plane, boat or train to France.

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New Work Permit Requirements for UK Nationals

As of January 1, 2021, nationals from the United Kingdom are no longer to be processed under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) except for applications received up to and including on December 31, 2020. During the transition period from January 1, 2021 until ratification of the Canada-UK Trade Agreement, UK nationals will be required to undergo a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or meet the requirements of a work permit category exempt from the LMIA.

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