USA: Trump’ Extreme Immigration Vetting ~ Longer Wait for Perm. Residency, Immigrant Workers

 

It’s now official! On August 25, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirmed that, as a part of President Trump’s “extreme vetting” directives, potential legal immigrant workers will be required to bear in-person interviews with USCIS.

This new interview requirement can apply to anyone moving from an employment-based visa to lawful permanent residency. The new mandate will also require visa holders who are relations of refugees or persons who receive asylum, to undergo an in-person interview after they apply for provisional statusa stage that precedes permanent residency.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have expressed that these interviews are “phased-in” beginning October 1, 2017. There is no additional guidance as to how long the phase-in period will be. USCIS will also take time in determining the impact that these new procedures will place on processing times.

Interviews are already a part of the immigration process, and, in the past, USCIS conducted them for ALL cases, which was their standard protocol.

However, decades past, USCIS started habitually waiving in-person interviews for employment-based cases at its field offices to avoid duplicating the efforts of USCIS Service Centers, that vetted the cases. Under this new policy, USCIS will not grant such waivers.

The added interview workload and necessary field office training will surely lengthen wait times for permanent resident applicants. Employers and staff ought to plan accordingly for these delays.

 

Supporting Article Research Sources: Mondaq, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart

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Canada: Dealing with a Global Workforce across Multiple Jurisdictions

Progressively, our BC employers are looking abroad to attract international talent into their workforces. Whether those employees are newly hired or are transferred from global affiliates or parent companies, commonplace problems arise when an employer’s workforce becomes global in scope.

Gowling WLG employment and labour law attorneys delved into jurisdictional issues that arise in managing personnel from distinctive countries, and across multiple provinces.

On November 17, 2016, the Gowling WLG employment and labour legal team presented a number of the most common and pressing issues you are likely to be challenged with, including:

  • Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs): Who is eligible, and how long can you employ them?
  • Drafting Employment Agreements for Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) and workers who function in multiple jurisdictions.
  • What happens when a dispute arises with either a TFW or operating in a multi-jurisdictional setting?
  • Best practices for handling terminations.

The video below highlights these key points, as well as other issues that can arise splendidly, and I wish to share it with you now. Please click on the image below, which directly links you to this presentation.

Specifically, the following topics are addressed from a legal perspective:

  • Medical Marijuana in the Workplace
  • Changing language in your Bonus Plans
  • Hiring a Foreign Worker
  • Managing your Global Workforce

For further information or clarification on this subject, please contact the Employment Law experts at Gowling WLG directly. Thank You.

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Supporting Article Research Sources: Gowling WLG,  Mondaq.

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NEW Express Entry Application Process Following Overhaul (Part 2 of 2)

The following significant changes are effective as of November 19, 2016:

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So, What is the Application Process After November 19, 2016?

To be considered for the Express Entry program, each applicant must first meet the requirements of Canada’s original Permanent Residency programs, including, but not limited to, the points-based Federal Skilled Worker or the Canadian experience-based Canadian Experience Class.

Step 1: Determine the Applicant’s Points under Express Entry

A wide variety of factors is considered to determine an individual’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points. The CRS profiles an applicant’s biographic background including educational achievements, work experience history, and language skills. Each Applicant will receive a numerical score from the CRS. The maximum possible number of CRS points is 1,200.

Step 2: Entering the Express Entry Pool and Rounds of Invitations

Approximately every two weeks, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) releases a minimum CRS score (the minimum threshold) to determine which of the applicants in the Express Entry pool can apply for permanent residency.

Those applicants who possess a CRS score ranking above the minimum threshold will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency. The minimum threshold score is not a static variable, therefore there is some flexibility inherent in the system that allows the Canadian government to adapt to varying economic immigration needs.

Step 3: Submitting the Permanent Residency Application within 90 days

Applicants who receive an ITA must electronically submit all of the application forms and documentation requested. As of November 19, 2016, applicants must provide ALL requested documentation and information within 90 days.

 

Supporting Article Research Sources: Mondaq, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

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ALERT: Canada’s Express Entry Permanent Residency Eligibility Requirements Overhauled (Part 1 of 2)

This alert will be relevant to organizations with a presence in Canada, or who anticipate placing talent in a Canadian workplace.

The Express Entry program is Canada’s comprehensive Permanent Residency Program launched back in January 2015.

Effective November 19, 2016, Canada has meaningfully overhauled eligibility requirements for the Express Entry Permanent Residency Program. The new requirements will increase access to the Permanent Residency program for several highly-skilled workers, and those with Canadian educational credentials.

Express Entry makes it considerably faster to become a permanent resident of Canada, although more challenging due to complex eligibility requirements, including a points-based system that ranks all eligible applicants according to factors such as skills, work experience, language ability and education.

With the introduction of November 19, 2016, Ministerial Instructions, the process remains relatively consistent, however, the calculation of points will change significantly.

A major criticism of the Express Entry program when it launched in 2015 was that it disproportionately favored certain applicants who were able to obtain Labour Market Impact Assessments or Provincial Nominee Program-based job offers.

The system does not provide additional points to applicants who studied in Canada, or who have a permanent job offer in a high-skilled position that is exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment, including, but not limited to, NAFTA Professionals and Intra-Company Transferees already working in Canada.

The changes follow the Canadian government’s announcement that it will increase the number of permanent resident visas it will issue in the 2017 calendar year.

The increase will positively impact skilled workers, immigrant families, and international students obtaining a Canadian educational credential.

Under the economic skilled worker categories, Canada seeks to increase the number of Permanent Residents under the economic category from 160,600 to 172,500.

Please see Part 2 for the NEW Application Process and Significant Changes here

 

Supporting Article Research Sources: Mondaq, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

 

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Top 10 Professions Most Desired by Canada ~ Express Entry Program

Seriously contemplating moving to Canada? If so, I have some good news to share with you!

If you have expertise in one of the most desired career categories, your move just might be fast-tracked – read on to learn more!

If the recent upset victory for President-Elect Donald Trump has you daydreaming of leaving the U.S. and moving to Canada, you may be in luck.

Canada is, in fact, looking for a few skilled men and women (actually, thousands of them).

Canada’s fast-track system for immigration called Express Entry is perhaps the quickest way for skilled workers to transition into a role in this country. The Canadian government has committed to an application processing time of 6 months in the vast majority of cases.

All applicants for Express Entry are scored based on several influences including their professional skills, work history, language ability, and education, and are then ranked against other applicants. Those in the top of the rankings are then invited to become permanent residents.

Following the launch of the Express Entry Program last year, our government reports that more than 31,000+ invitations to apply for permanent residence have been issued to a diverse range of highly skilled immigrants.

According to our government, as of January 3, 2016, the following rather surprising occupations are most frequently invited to apply for permanent residency in Canada:

  1. Food Service Supervisors
    Successful Express Entry applicants: 2,356
    Percent of invited applicants: 7.6%
  2. Cooks
    Successful Express Entry applicants: 2,295
    Percent of invited applicants: 7.4%
  3. Information Systems Analysts & Consultants
    Successful Express Entry applicants: 1,255
    Percent of invited applicants: 4%
  4. Software Engineers
    Successful Express Entry applicants: 940
    Percent of invited applicants: 3%
  5. Computer Programmers & Interactive Media Developers
    Successful Express Entry applicants: 935
    Percent of invited applicants: 3%
  6. University Professors & Lecturers
    Successful Express Entry applicants: 745
    Percent of invited applicants: 2.4%
  7. Retail Sales Supervisors
    Successful Express Entry applicants: 669
    Percent of invited applicants: 2.2%
  8. Graphic Designers & Illustrators
    Successful Express Entry applicants: 550
    Percent of invited applicants: 1.8%
  9. Financial Auditors & Accountants
    Successful Express Entry applicants: 494
    Percent of invited applicants: 1.6%
  10. Financial & Investment Analysts
    Successful Express Entry applicants: 446
    Percent of invited applicants: 1.4%

 

For your information and convenience, I attach the following video from Citizenship and Immigration Canada on how the Express Entry program and potential candidate selection process work.

 

Supporting Article Research Sources: Business Insider, Government of Canada

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

This is an important update to my earlier 2016 post on Immigration News: Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) Coming March 2016 that those travelling through Canada need to be aware of and action as required.

The Government of Canada is reminding travellers to get the appropriate travel documents before booking a flight to Canada.

Beginning November 10, 2016, visa-exempt travellers (except U.S. citizens) will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to board their flight to Canada. Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, will need a valid Canadian passport to fly to or transit through Canada.

To help minimize travel disruptions for dual Canadian citizens, a short-term measure is available to dual citizens whose second citizenship is from a visa-exempt country. These dual citizens can apply for a special authorization that will let them board their flight to Canada using their valid non-Canadian passport.

This short-term measure, which will be available until January 31, 2017, is open to dual citizens who have an imminent flight to Canada (leaving in less than 10 days) and whose Canadian citizenship can be verified by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

If approved, the authorization will be valid for 4 days from the date of travel indicated in the application. Those that are not eligible for this authorization will need to contact the nearest Government of Canada office abroad to obtain the appropriate travel document.

For more detailed information on this important update, please visit the source link noted below, as well as those within the body of this article.

 

Supporting Article Research Source: Government of Canada News

Immigration News: Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) Coming March 2016

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Beginning March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

This new eTA requirement seemingly exists because of the Canada-United States Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan, which requires that Canada and the United States establish a united approach within the screening of visa-exempt foreign nationals before they travel by air to either nation. Additionally, amendments made to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations has stimulated this new eTA requirement, which will be in effect as of March 15, 2016.

WHO REQUIRES AN ETA?

Subject to the exceptions listed below, all visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada would need an eTA. A listing of visa-exempt countries whose citizens will require an eTA can be found at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website.

Notably, citizens of the United States do not need an eTA or a visa to fly to or transit through Canada; however, all lawful permanent residents of the US must obtain an eTA once traveling to or through Canada by air.

Certain people are also exempt from the eTA requirements, and includes some, but not all, transportation crew members, accredited diplomats, members of the Royal Family including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II naturally, and certain other people traveling through Canada on the way to a final destination, such as:

  • a foreign national wanting to transit through Canada as a passenger on a flight scheduled to stop in Canada for the sole purpose of refueling and: (i) they are in possession of the documents required to enter the US, and their flight is bound for that country, or (ii) they were lawfully admitted to the US, and their flight originated therein; and
  • a foreign national wanting to transit through Canada as a passenger on a flight that, owing to an emergency or other unforeseen circumstance, is forced to make an unscheduled stop in Canada; and
  • a foreign national who seeks to transit through Canada as a passenger on a flight if the foreign national: (i) is transported by a commercial transporter and there is a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in effect between the Minister and the commercial transporter concerning the transit of passengers through Canada without a Canadian visa, (ii) holds a passport or travel document that was issued by the country of origin for the foreign national as a citizen, and that particular country is listed in the MOU, and (iii) is in possession of any visa requirements to enter the country of destination.

HOW TO APPLY

As its name implies, applying for and getting an eTA will conveniently be handled on-line. A person should log into this link on the CIC website, complete the application form, and pay a modest $7.00 processing fee.

Travelers that apply for the eTA on-line will receive a confirmation email from CIC indicating the standing of their application. The person is not required to print the eTA status confirmation. because the eTA will be automatically linked to their passport.

An eTA will be valid for 5 years from the issued date, or until the traveler’s passport (or another travel document) expires, whichever comes first. The eTA could even be canceled by an appropriate immigration officer sooner, if the officer determines that the traveler is, in fact, inadmissible.

Visa-exempt foreign nationals who file an application for either a Canadian work permit or study permit will automatically be considered for an eTA, and are not required to submit a separate application.

In terms of processing time, CIC anticipates that most travelers should receive a confirmation of their status within a few minutes. However, CIC notes that some applications may require a little more time to process. It is also quite likely, in very few cases, that CIC might ask for more information from the traveler before their application can be approved.

It is important to make it clear here that having an eTA does not essentially grant or guarantee entry into Canada. As always, that determination is left to the examining immigration officer attending the port of entry.

 

Supporting Article Research Sources: Mondaq, McMillan LLP, Citizenship and Immigration Canada

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Canadian Employers: New Fees and Compliance System – TFWs

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Beginning FEBRUARY 21, 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) would require that employers hiring temporary foreign workers (“TFWs”) that are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) process to pay a brand new fee to CIC.

The new fee for each work permit will be CAD $230 (payable on-line by employers). Employers will be compelled to offer new and additional information concerning their business and an additional form, even when TFWs are applying at a Canadian port of entry.

With this new system in motion, any foreign national exempt from an LMIA will only be able to get a Canadian employer-specific work permit if their Canadian employer has submitted the desired data, and paid the applicable fee before their work permit application is submitted, or created at a port of entry.

By implementing this fee, CIC hopes to be able to cover the costs of their new employer compliance system, which will precipitate inspections of Canadian employers that use TFWs. Non-compliance may mean administrative financial penalties, a ban from using TFWs, or possibly criminal investigation and prosecution, in the most serious cases of abuse by employers.

Open Work Permit Holders

While the CAD $230 fee is not applicable to this group of permit holders, a brand new fee of CAD $100 is going to be collected from open work permit applicants commencing February 21, 2015 (paid on-line at the time of application).

CIC is implementing this new fee to generate revenue for improved data collection and coverage on the role of open work permit holders within the Canadian labour market.

Fee Refunds

CIC will refund any of those new fees if the application submitted is later refused, or wherever the employer withdraws a job offer before the work permit is issued.

 

 

 

Supporting Article Research Sources: Dale Lessmann LLP, Mondaq

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Citizenship Fees Received another Boost on January 1, 2015

Those that choose to become Canadian citizens this year will have to pay more…why?

Well, for the second time in a year, the Conservative government has hiked the fee it charges to make someone a Canadian citizen.

The new fee for processing citizenship documents has been set at $530 as of January 1, 2015, up from the former new fee set back in February 2013 of $300.

The government has been anxious to increase our citizenship fees for some time, arguing that would-be citizens should be covering more of the associated costs with processing their applications.

In an analysis of the new fees, the Citizenship and Immigration Department says the higher fee will allow the government to recoup a majority of the $555 in costs.

The bottom line; the government estimates a total savings of $41 million it will not have to expend.

“While the analysis assumes that there will not be a significant reduction in overall demand for citizenship as a result of this fee increase, it is acknowledged that some people may have to delay their application to give them more time to save for the new fee,” the analysis says.

When citizenship-processing fees were first increased from $100 to $300 in February 2013, it was actually the first time an increase had been implemented since 1995.

The new fee structure is in addition to the $100 right-of-citizenship fee, which is recoverable if a citizenship application is not accepted.

The good news here is that anyone who applied for citizenship before January 1 2015 will pay the old fee.

The opposition felt that it was unfair to hike fees when people were waiting years to receive their citizenship, as the close of 2013 represented a backlog of close to 400,000 cases. Nonetheless, along with the new fees comes a promise by the government that they are making headway on cutting through this overwhelming pile of documents.

The Citizenship and Immigration Department also indicated that wait times for new citizens would be under one-year at some point within the next fiscal year.

NB: New fees to be paid by employers and open work permit applicants were also introduced on February 21, 2015.

 

Supporting Article Research Sources: Citizen and Immigration Dept – http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/fees/fees.asp#citizenship, The Province – http://www.theprovince.com/news/