Canada – Immigration Updates

Federal Government Reveals Strategy to Attract More Foreign Technology Talent to Canada

What has changed

As part of the Liberal government’s focus on election mandates,the government announced imminent changes to Canadian immigration policy in the technology sector that will affect employers, assignees, and their families.

Who is affected?

  • Employers hiring foreign talent in the technology sector.

What to expect

These changes will make it easier for fast-growing Canadian technology firms and multinational corporations operating in Canada to attract high level global tech talent by shortening processing times for skilled worker applications within the sector. Currently, average processing times for skilled worker applicants can take up to six months, creating delays and frustrations for many employers who require foreign assignees to commence work on planned projects within short time frames. Under the new mandate, the government proposes to establish a two-week “standard” processing time for approving visas and work permits early next year for qualifying companies. These upcoming initiatives will significantly reduce wait times for employers and help facilitate the movement of a global tech force to Canada.

In addition, the government proposes to create a “30-days-a-year” work permit which will allow companies to bring in workers to Canada on a short term basis as needed. This new type of work permit is intended for inter-company¬†work exchanges, study exchanges and to fill temporary needs that will allow companies to source foreign expertise for advisory purposes on a short term basis. The proposed changes are expected to take effect in Spring 2017.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

Government Plans to Raise Maximum Age of Dependent Children to Twenty-two Years of Age

What has changed

Under current Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, a “dependent child” is defined as “less than 19 years old, and one that depends substantially on the financial support of the parents.” The proposed legislative changes will amend the definition of dependent child to “less than 22 years of age,” thus widening the age restrictions for families applying for Canadian permanent residence.

Who is affected?

  • Families with dependent children under the age of twenty-two (22).

What to expect

This upcoming revision of the regulations reflects the government’s commitment to family reunification and indicates recognition that socio-economic and education factors that impact the decision of many young people’s decisions to remain with their nuclear families before/while entering the labour market.

Prior to August 1, 2014, the regulations allowed for all children under the age of twenty-two (22) to qualify as dependents. Changes were made by the preceding government to reduce this age limit from “less than 22” to “less than 19”, and the upcoming amendments will revert the age back “under 22” in order to reflect on the reality of family composition and factors affecting young people in current times.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

Upcoming Objectives to Include More Economic, Family Class Immigrants to Canada in 2017

What has changed

On October 31, 2016, the government revealed its plans to widen immigration policies in order to increase immigration targets to fulfill Canada’s labour needs.

The government has increased targets for the number of immigrants admitted to Canada under different economic classes in 2017 by up to 7%.

Who is affected?

  • Foreign workers looking to secure permanent residence.

What to expect

The proposed changes will include increases in permanent residents applicants under Economic classes, (such as the Canadian Experience Class, Express Entry system; the Provincial Nominee Program; skilled workers and business immigrants selected by Quebec) from 160,600 in 2016 to 172,500 selected in 2017; an increase of approximately 7.4%. Family class sponsorships for spouses and children will also see an increase to 64,000 individuals a year, up from 60,000 in 2016. Please note, the number of parent and grandparent sponsorships will remain unaffected at 20,000 applicants per year.

In addition, the Canadian Government also expects to increase the Provincial Nominee Program targets from 47,800 to 51,000, reflecting the government’s intention that the proposed immigration increases will promote innovation and growth in the Canadian economy.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

Changes to the Two-Year Conditional Spousal Permanent Residence
What has changed

The Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced its decision to repeal the conditional provision that require a sponsored spouse or partner to cohabit with their sponsor for two (2) years following their arrival in Canada in order to maintain their permanent resident status.

The government has advised that the planned implementation will occur in the spring of 2017.

Who is affected?

  • Individuals sponsoring a spouse or partner

What to expect

Previously, this provision was meant to deter applicants from making fraudulent spousal sponsorship applications. The new government recognized that these existing provisions could potentially restrict vulnerable migrants, in particular spouses that face abuse or neglect, and have mandated to repeal these regulations in order to protect vulnerable parties.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

The information above was provided by Emigra Worldwide, our global network partners, and relevant government authorities. The information herein is for general purposes only and not intended as advice for a particular matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work.