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Executive Summaries Apr 29, 2022

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

Every month, our Business Immigration and Mobility team keeps a watchful eye on important news that may impact your foreign workers. Check out these April 2022 business immigration updates.

New Obligations For Employers as of May 24, 2022

On April 4, 2022, several changes take effect under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program's Employer and Workforce Action Plan, including:

  • The application exemption for low-wage seasonal positions that are currently 180 days in length is increased to 270 days and employers can now fill these jobs through the TFWP with no seasonal cap.
  • The validity period of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) will now be 18 months (rather than 6 months during the pandemic);
  • The maximum duration of a work permit in the High Wage and Global Talent streams will be three years (rather than two years). It will allow workers to gain access to permanent residency more quickly.

Also, a long-awaited new relief to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program has also taken effect to further the processing of low-skilled occupations (National Occupational Classification C level). Specifically, 65 new occupations have been added to the list of occupations qualifying for streamlined processing, which traditionally included only skilled occupations. This will provide employers to have simplified access to hiring temporary foreign workers.

However, these changes will also result in the implementation of some worker protection measures as of May 24, 2022.  This means that employers will have to cover transportation costs (airfare) and health insurance coverage and will also have to ensure workers are properly housed, for all low-wage occupations on the Streamlined Processing Occupations List, regardless of their skill level.

As of  April 30, 2022, several additional changes will go into effect:

  • The hiring limit for low-wage workers will increase from 10% to 20% for all economic sectors;
  • The hiring limit for low-wage workers in the priority sectors will be increased to 30% for a period of one year;
  • The denial of treatment measure for areas with unemployment rate is greater than 6% is revoked.

These changes are designed to address labor shortages, increase worker protections, and create a stronger workforce for the future, which means greater access to permanent residency.

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Easing of Border Measures

On April 1st , 2022, the federal government ended the COVID-19 negative test requirement for fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada.

In addition, as of April 25, 2022, even unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children between the ages of 5 and 11 who are accompanied by a fully vaccinated parent, step-parent, guardian or tutor will no longer be required to be tested for COVID prior to entry into Canada. This requirement will also be eliminated for individuals with medical contraindications to vaccination against COVID-19.

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New Measures to Address Labour Shortage

Express Entry

On April 22, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced that Express Entry selections will resume shortly and that invitations to apply for permanent residence will begin in July.

The estimated processing time for Express Entry applications has now been set at six months. In fact, on March 31st, 2022, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) updated the tracking tool to allow for real-time monitoring of processing times.

New Measures to adress Labour Shortages

  • post-graduation work permit holders expiring between January and December 2022 will be eligible for an open work permit for up to 18 months;
  • Foreign nationals with visitor status in Canada will be allowed to apply for certain types of work permits without having to leave the country, and this has been extended to February 28, 2023.

New Measures for Applicants to Permanent Residence in Canada

  • applicants will also not be required to remain in Canada while their application is being processed;
  • Applicants who applied for an open work permit while waiting for their permanent residence application to be processed will be able to obtain a work permit valid until the end of 2024, thus ensuring that all applications for permanent residence are processed before applicants have to re-apply for an extension of their temporary status;
  • to support family reunification, immediate family members of a principal applicant who are outside of Canada and who are listed on the principal applicant's application for permanent residence will be eligible for an open work permit for themselves.
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Temporary Residence: COVID-19 Program Delivery Update

All foreign nationals applying for a visa from outside Canada will be able to submit their applications electronically until March 31, 2023.

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Federal Budget 2022: Planned Changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

In the 2022 budget, the federal government proposed to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to give the Minister of Immigration special authority to select applicants based on labour market needs. Among the possible consequences is an increase in the number of points awarded to certain occupations under federal immigration programs.

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Increase in Costs to be Expected for Applications for Permanent Residence

To account for the increased costs associated with the new measures, beginning April 30, 2022, IRCC will increase fees for all permanent residence applications. This includes economic class, permit holders, family class and humanitarian class. This is the first cost increase since 2002, and it is expected that fees will increase every two years in line with inflation.

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Simplified Renewal for Canadian Passport

Since March 31, Canadians in Canada and abroad can use the simplified process to renew their expired passport, provided it was issued within the last 15 years. The simplified process is also available for people whose passports have been lost, stolen or damaged.

The new simplified renewal process makes it easier to renew a passport while maintaining the highest level of program integrity.

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Ukraine Crisis: Ukraine2Canada Travel Fund and Foil-Less Visa

On April 20, the Government of Canada announced a new Ukraine2Canada Travel Fund in partnership with Miles4Migrants, the Shapiro Foundation and Air Canada to support Ukrainians who wish to come to Canada.

The initiative's partners invite Canadians to make donations to help provide air travel to Canada for at least 10,000 Ukrainians and their families.

This program is for Ukrainian nationals and accompanying family members who hold a valid Canadian travel document and have prior authorization to travel to Canada.

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Exemption from the Electronic Travel Authorization for Permanent Residents from the United States

As of April 26, 2022, U.S. lawful permanent residents are exempt from the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) requirement. These persons must have a valid proof of status in the United States (or equivalent status document) and a valid passport from their country of nationality (or equivalent travel document) for all methods of travel to Canada.

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