Canada has reciprocal agreements with over thirty countries worldwide that allow foreigners between the ages of eighteen to thirty to travel and work in Canada for up to two years. These agreements allow youth to work overseas and employers to recruit talent under a facilitated work permit category.
Canada requires that work permit conditions must be “substantially the same” for the duration of the applicant’s work permit. Foreign workers who receive promotions, salary increases, or office transfers may require new work permits, which can often be challenging to secure in advance of the promotions. This foreign worker regulatory system creates the need for robust HR policies that recognize the special treatment of foreign employees and helps trigger early immigration petitions that will address the business needs, while adhering to the immigration compliance requirements at all times.
Permanent Resident Growth
In 2014, approximately 260,000 permanent residents were admitted to Canada. Under the new government, that number has grown to 300,000 in 2016, with a pledged increase to 340,000 permanent residents per year by 2020. We have also seen a significant reduction in processing times during this period, as some applications are finalized in as little as two to three months. This is a change from the past, when permanent residence could take up to twenty-four to thirty-six months.
Admission is a Family Affair
An inadmissible family member may make an applicant inadmissible. Applicants seeking temporary residence may be accepted if they would otherwise be admissible and if their family member is inadmissible on grounds other than security, human or international rights violations, or organized criminality. If the applicant has accompanying family members who have been charged with these offenses, the applicant may be permanently inadmissible, even for temporary residence.
Global Skills Strategy and Global Talent Stream
To facilitate the immigration process and attract global talent, the federal government has introduced two new initiatives to assist businesses in Canada. The Global Skills Strategy is a short term work permit exemption created by IRCC for highly skilled workers who do not qualify as business visitors or fall into traditional work permit categories, and are entering Canada for short stays in order to perform highly skilled functions. IRCC also introduced a two-year Global Talent Stream pilot project to provide innovative firms in Canada with greater access to unique and specialized temporary foreign workers in order to grow their operations. In order to join the GTS pilot, companies must develop a Labor Market Benefits Plan that demonstrates commitment to activities that will have lasting, positive impacts on the Canadian labor market.