Canada – June Immigration Updates

Mobilité Francophone Program Now Open

What has changed

As of June 1, 2016, foreign nationals who speak French as their habitual language may apply for a temporary work permit under Mobilité Francophone stream of the International Mobility Program. This exemption from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is only eligible to foreign nationals who are destined to work in a province or territory outside of Quebec. The ability to communicate in French does not need to be a requirement for the job position; only for the candidate.

Who is affected?

  • Foreign nationals who speak French as their habitual language (the language they use on a daily basis)

What to expect

In order to participate, employers must provide an offer of employment to the foreign national in National Occupational Classification (NOC) levels 0 (managerial), A (professional) or B (technical) occupations. They are also required to submit an Offer of Employment through the Employer Portal before a work permit application can be made.

If an applicant is unable to demonstrate an advanced intermediate level (or above) in French through their education or work experience, they may submit a test d’évaluation de français (TEF) in order to demonstrate their proficiency in French. They must demonstrate a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark of seven (7) on the TEF in order to qualify for the exemption.

Applicants should also be able to demonstrate that they have been recruited through a Francophone immigration promotional event coordinated between the federal government and Francophone minority communities. Under this stream, employers can submit applications with offers of employment originating from participating in Destination Canada Job Fairs, contacting a Canadian Visa Office in a French speaking nation, or making a job offer to a French speaking Express Entry candidate.

Applications for a work permit must be made through the CIC online portal; applications at the port of entry are not eligible under this program. If the candidate receives an offer of employment for six (6) months or longer, the candidate’s spouse or common-law partner may be eligible to apply for an open work permit for an equivalent duration of their stay. Dependent children may also apply to accompany the candidate and study in Canada.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • If you would like to take advantage of this program, or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact Emigra Worldwide for more information on how we may be able to assist.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

Canada to Lift Visa Requirement for Citizens of Mexico

What has changed

On June 28, 2016, the government of Canada announced their intention to lift the visa requirement for Mexican citizens.

It is important to note that upcoming changes will only affect temporary visitor visas. Citizens of Mexico who wish to work or study in Canada will still need to submit an application for a work or study permit, respectively, through the regular online or Visa Application Centre channels.

The visa requirement will continue to be in effect until November 30, 2016, and, until the changes come into force, Mexican citizens must still apply for a visa to visit, study, or work in Canada.

Who is affected?

  • Mexican citizens applying for temporary visitor visas

What to expect

Citizens of Mexico should be aware that once the visa requirements are lifted, they will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly or transit through Canada. An eTA is a new entry requirement for visa-exempt all foreign nationals, except citizens of the United States, who wish to fly or transit through Canada. The eTA is electronically linked to their passport and is valid for five (5) years or until the expiry date of the passport; whichever comes first.

what you need to do
Planning ahead

  • For more information on the upcoming changes, or the eTA, please do not hesitate to contact Emigra Worldwide’s Canada office

Reminder of New Penalties for Employers who are Non-Compliant with Canada’s Temporary Work Permit Programs

What has changed

The Government of Canada has implemented Regulations which will considerably increase the liabilities and penalties faced by employers who employ foreign nationals under Canada’s temporary work permit programs (including both Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) and LMIA-exempt categories). The proposed Regulation took effect December 1, 2015, and audits and penalties under the new regime are now being assessed.

Who is affected?

  • All employers who employ foreign nationals under Canada’s temporary work permit programs

What to expect

Employers who employ Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) will continue to be subject to the possibility of an audit or inspection by government authorities to verify compliance with the conditions of Canada’s temporary work permit programs, such as receipt of wages and working conditions that are substantially the same as those set out in the job offer that supported the initial Work Permit application, and compliance with federal and provincial laws regulating employment.  Employers who are found to be non-compliant will now potentially be subject to Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) or fines, which will be assessed according to the severity of the infraction and the size of the business. Employers will also face potential program bans ranging from two (2) years to permanent bars.  Employers deemed non-compliant will continue to be placed on a publicly available list of ineligible employers.

The new Regulations also provide incentives for employers who voluntarily disclose violations.  Such employers may be issued warning letters, and be exempt from any further penalties provided the disclosed violations are rectified.

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.