Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) has been under fire of late. Temporary foreign workers sued Denny’s. Latin American tunnel diggers brought a human rights complaint against SELI. A British Columbia union complained that miners from China were taking jobs in northern B.C. And the Royal Bank’s decision to contract out received a lot of media attention. The Canadian government has responded by making seven changes to the TFWP.
Immigration Canada announced a new policy on December 15, 2012, that allows for bridging work permits. Foreign nationals who are currently working in Canada and have applied for permanent residence (under certain programs) can now apply for such a permit. This will allow them to stay and work until their permanent residence application is finalized. read more…
The U.S. and Canadian governments recently announced the signing of a visa and immigration information-sharing agreement between the United States and Canada. It will enable both countries to share information from third-country nationals who apply for a visa or permit to travel to either country. read more…
Winds of change keep blowing on Canadian immigration lands. In July 2012, we discussed several steps taken by the federal government relating to the rules and processes applicable to temporary and permanent immigration applications in Canada. More changes have been announced in the recent months. These changes aim to allow more foreigners into Canada to meet growing labor shortages. read more…
Fraud in Canadian citizenship applications has been a concern. Following an investigation by police and the Canadian border agency, the Immigration Minister announced on September 10 that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is proceeding to revoke the citizenship of 3,100 people who obtained it by fraud.
The discovery of this amount of fraud has resulted in a dramatic increase in the level of scrutiny of current applications. This also will no doubt affect future applications. There will be an impact not only on fraudulent applicants but also on honest ones. read more…
Winds of change keep blowing on Canadian immigration lands. The federal government has recently taken several steps to rationalize and centralize its operations. Here are the latest changes, announced in May and June, of interest to companies employing foreign workers in Canada:
Restructuring of the visa office network: This includes the closure of the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo, New York. It’s been a major processing center for applications for visas, work permits, student permits, and permanent residence status. Permanent residence applications are now sent to the Case Processing Pilot Office in Ottawa (CPP-O). Resident visa processing is now shared between other Canadian consulates in the United States (New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Seattle). Only two visa offices (New York and Los Angeles) will deal with all new study and work permit applications originating in the United States. Washington, D.C., will process applications for temporary resident permits and rehabilitation applications to overcome inadmissibility based on health or criminal grounds. Another significant change allows holders of a work permit who are from visa-required countries, but who reside in Canada, to apply for their new visa by mail or courier at the CPP-O. They will no longer have to deal with a visa office outside of Canada.
On February 24, 2012, a new simplified process for certain foreign workers seeking entry to the Province of Quebec was announced. Instead of applying to only seven information technology occupations, as before, the simplified process will apply to 44 occupations in a variety of fields. This is an important development not only for the American companies that want to relocate foreign employees to Quebec. It is a clear departure from the previous system. Other provinces may be interested in following Quebec’s example, to better respond to the needs of regional labor markets.
Employers who make employment offers to a foreign worker in any of these 44 occupations in the Province of Quebec will benefit from the simplified process. The main advantage is that employers do not have to prove that they tried to recruit a Canadian or permanent resident to fill the position. The list of 44 occupations has been prepared with the participation of Emploi Quebec, a Quebec government agency. It is supposed to reflect the occupations for which there is a well-known labor shortage.
Canadian employers must always ensure that their foreign employees are duly authorized to work in the country and remain so authorized during the complete period of their stay. To do so, employers can renew their employees’ work permits. But beware — these renewals are fraught with delays and technicalities. The following outlines just how diligent employers must be to ensure work permits are renewed appropriately.
Golden Rule: Initiate work permit renewal process well in advance
Temporary work permits have an expiration date and the explicit condition that their holder must leave the country by then. Should employment continue beyond the expiration date, a new work permit must be obtained. Many people think that an overstay of only a few days or weeks will not be an issue. But, Immigration Canada takes this rule very seriously and imposes significant penalties on noncompliant workers and their employers. Although a remedial “reinstatement” procedure may be available for 90 days, it remains discretionary and cumbersome. It is therefore important to make sure that all necessary steps to obtain a new work permit are taken well in advance, in light of the current lengthy government processing times.
It’s common for companies to fill executive positions in Canada and the United States with one executive. That person is based in the United States and commutes to Canada on a regular basis to provide services to the Canadian affiliate.
Since such executives are providing services to a Canadian company, they can’t qualify as business visitors in Canada. Instead, they need a work permit. Although not difficult to obtain under the NAFTA exemption for intra-company transferees (citizens from other countries in the same situation can also obtain work permits under another non-NAFTA exemption), these work permits are time limited. But on September 19, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada issued a new Operational Bulletin (OB 346) that allows employers to “recapture” the foreign workers’ time not spent in Canada.
In our December 20, 2010, article, we discussed the ways to become a permanent resident of Canada. In this article we will briefly explain how to keep this status.
In contrast with Canadian citizenship, which in principle lasts for life, permanent resident status can be lost if the person doesn’t meet the residency requirements established by Canadian law. The requirements aim at ensuring that immigrants make Canada their home. Policymakers have drafted the rules in order to avoid people obtaining permanent resident (PR) status as a matter of convenience without making a commitment to a life in Canada.