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U.S.A. Extending Ban on Green Cards and Non-Immigrant Visas Also Affected

June 23, 2020

On Monday, June 22, 2020, the Trump administration announced that it was extending a ban on Green Cards issued outside the United States until the end of the year and adding many temporary work visas to the freeze, including those used heavily by technology companies and multinational corporations.

The policy behind the freeze is to free up jobs in the American economy which has suffered because of COVID-19. It is estimated that the restrictions will free up to 525,000 jobs for Americans.

The ban, while temporary, would amount to major restructuring of legal immigration if made permanent. Long-term changes targeting high-tech workers are also being sought.

The ban on new visas also applies to H-1B visas, which are widely used by major American and Indian technology company workers and their families, H-2B visas for non-agricultural seasonal workers, J-1 visas for cultural exchanges and L-1 visas for managers and other key employees of multinational corporations.

By contrast, Canada plans on welcoming 341,000 new permanent residents in 2020, 351,000 in 2021, and 361,000 in 2022 while reducing application processing times and improving service delivery and client services at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, notwithstanding COVID-19.

For those who are/were considering American Immigration, Canada may be a more viable and attractive option right now, especially considering the current uncertainty surrounding U.S. Immigration and all of the political chaos and unrest in the United States.

Canada Announces New Immigration Stream – Agri-Food Pilot

May 15, 2020

The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced that, effective, today, Friday, May 15, 2020, Canada has begun accepting Applications for Permanent Residence under the Agri-Food Pilot.

The pilot, which runs until May 2023, will test an industry-specific approach to help employers in the meat processing, mushroom and greenhouse production, and livestock-raising industries fill ongoing labour needs for full-time, year-round employees. It will provide a pathway to Permanent Residence for many temporary foreign workers already in Canada.

A total of 2,750 Applications will be accepted annually throughout the pilot, which applies primarily to people who are already in Canada.

To apply for Permanent Residence under the Agri-Food Pilot, applicants need

  • eligible Canadian work experience in one or more of the eligible industries and occupations.  Eligible jobs for each eligible industry are listed below.

For meat product manufacturing, eligible jobs are

    • NOC B 6331 – Retail butchers
    • NOC C 9462 – Industrial butchers
    • NOC B 8252 – Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
    • NOC D 9617 – Food processing labourers

For greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production, including mushroom production, eligible jobs are

    • NOC B 8252 – Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
    • NOC C 8431 – General farm workers
    • NOC D 8611 – Harvesting labourers

For animal production, excluding aquaculture, eligible jobs are

    • NOC B 8252 – Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
    • NOC C 8431 – General farm workers

There are annual limits on the number of Applications that will be processed for each eligible occupation.  Starting on January 1 of each year, Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. This pilot will last for 3 years.

Annual limits

 

Eligible occupation Number of applications accepted per year
Farm supervisor or specialized livestock worker (NOC B 8252)

50

Industrial butcher (NOC C 9462) or retail butcher (NOC B 6331)

1470

Food processing labourer (NOC D 9617)

730

General farm worker (NOC C 8431)

200

Harvesting labourer (NOC D 8611)

300

 

  • a full-time, non-seasonal job offer from a Canadian employer in one of the eligible industries and occupations (outside of Quebec)
  • to meet or exceed the language requirements (CLB 4, which is the equivalent of 4.5 in Listening, 3.5 in Reading and 4.0 in each of Speaking and Writing on the General IELTS)
  • to meet or exceed the educational requirements (the equivalent of a Canadian High School/Secondary School Diploma)
  • to have settlement funds (if applicable)
  • to maintain temporary resident status (if already in Canada)

If you believe you qualify for this new category of Immigration and are interested in obtaining legal assistance to apply, please send us a message through the Contact Us page on our website.

Canada Remains Open to Immigration while U.S. Threatens to Suspend Immigration

April 21, 2020

On Monday, April 20, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump said that he will sign an executive order temporarily suspending Immigration to the United States as the nation battles the health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a tweet sent out late Monday night, President Trump wrote:  “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”

By contrast, Canada continues to welcome immigrants, notwithstanding COVID-19.  As was mentioned in our blog of March 13, 2020, on Thursday, March 12, 2020, The Honourable Marco E.L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), tabled the 2020‒2022 Immigration Levels Plan in the Canadian House of Commons. Canada plans on welcoming 341,000 new permanent residents in 2020, 351,000 in 2021, and 361,000 in 2022 while reducing application processing times and improving service delivery and client services at IRCC.

Of those who will become permanent residents of Canada over the next few years, in 2020, 88,500 to 100,000 immigrants will be Express Entry applicants; in 2021, 89,300 to 100,000 immigrants will be Express Entry applicants; and, in 2022, 88,800 to 100,600 immigrants will be Express Entry applicants.

To quote the Minister:  “Our immigration system benefits all Canadians by strengthening the middle class, keeping families together and building strong and inclusive communities. This increase in immigration levels supports a system that will help Canadian business create good middle class jobs and grow the economy while ensuring Canada continues to meet its humanitarian obligations around the world.”

Furthermore, as was mentioned in our blog of March 18, 2020, on Sunday, March 15, 2020, IRCC released new instructions for those affected by COVID-19. Like other countries, Canada is working diligently to halt the spread of the virus; however, IRCC is adopting new policies and procedures to minimize any disruption to Immigration processing and to help applicants who are affected in any way by COVID-19. Most importantly, IRCC confirmed that the intake of new Permanent Residence Applications will continue.

For those who are/were considering American Immigration, Canada may be a more viable and attractive option right now, especially considering the current uncertainty surrounding U.S. Immigration and all of the political chaos in the United States.

Update on 2020 Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship Program

March 27, 2020

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced, today, Friday, March 27, 2020, that the launch of the annual call for expressions of interest to apply to sponsor parents and grandparents will be delayed.  It was anticipated that the program would reopen in the upcoming weeks; however, because IRCC is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has put a temporary hold on accepting new Applications.

Applicants from previous years who already received an Invitation to Apply will continue to have their Applications processed by IRCC.  As for new Applications, IRCC has indicated that they are committed to opening the 2020 program as soon as possible and will share any updates once they become available.  Abrams & Krochak will continue to post those updates on this blog as soon as they are announced.

Some Canadian Immigration Government Fees to Increase April 30, 2020

March 23, 2020

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will be increasing some Government fees, effective April 30, 2020 and every two (2) years, thereafter, in accordance with the cumulative percentage increase to the Consumer Price Index for Canada, published by Statistics Canada, for the two (2) previous years, rounded to the nearest five (5) dollars.

A.  EXPRESS ENTRY (FEDERAL SKILLED WORKER CLASS/FEDERAL SKILLED TRADES CLASS/CANADIAN EXPERIENCE CLASS)

  1. Principal applicant processing fee will increase from 550 CAD to 825 CAD
  2. Spouse or common-law partner of principal applicant processing fee will increase from 550 CAD to 825 CAD
  3. Dependent child of principal applicant processing fee will increase from 150 CAD to 225 CAD

B.  BUSINESS CLASS (SELF-EMPLOYED/START-UP VISA)

  1. Principal applicant processing fee will increase from 1,050 CAD to 1,575 CAD
  2. Spouse or common-law partner of principal applicant processing fee will increase from 550 CAD to 825 CAD
  3. Dependent child of principal applicant processing fee will increase from 150 CAD to 225 CAD

C.  FAMILY CLASS (SPONSORSHIP OF A SPOUSE/PARTNER/DEPENDENT CHILD or PARENT/GRANDPARENT)

All processing fees will remain the same.

D.  RIGHT OF PERMANENT RESIDENCE FEE

Will increase from 490 CAD to 500 CAD.

Abrams & Krochak’s Response to COVID-19

March 18, 2020

Abrams & Krochak’s top priority is to ensure the health and safety of both its staff and its clients while continuing to provide clients and potential clients, alike, with the highest level of service.

Like you, we are continuously monitoring information from all levels of government and official health organizations and have adopted the following steps for business continuity.

With the exception of Mr. Abrams, our office continues to be fully staffed and we have implemented stringent cleaning protocols, including the provision of hand sanitizers throughout our office.  However, for the protection of our staff and our clients, we have temporarily suspended in-person meetings.  You should know, however that, as a firm, we have invested in technology to ensure that our staff can work remotely if the need arises and, as always, we will respond to your e-mail inquiries within one (1) business day.

We have instructed our staff that if anyone feels unwell, he/she is to work from home or rest until he/she is fit to return to the office.  Likewise, we have asked our staff to work from home and follow Health Canada recommendations if he/she experiences symptoms of COVID-19 or has come into contact with someone awaiting test results.  Furthermore, we have instructed staff members to self-isolate if he/she has contracted the virus or come into contact with someone who has tested positive or who has returned from international travel.

As for Mr. Abrams, in support of public health recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19, he has chosen not to commute to the office and, instead, to work from home effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020 until further notice even though Abrams & Krochak remains fully operational and will continue to do so.

If you have any questions arising from an Immigration assessment that you received from Mr. Abrams after completing one of our Online Eligibility Assessment Questionnaires:

Express Entry (Federal Skilled Workers Program/Federal Skilled Trades Program/Canadian Experience Class)
Business Immigration
Spousal, Partner or Dependent Child Sponsorship
Parent or Grandparent Sponsorship

OR you wish to contact our office for the first time, please do NOT telephone.  Instead, please send Mr. Abrams an e-mail to either jabrams@akcanada.com or askus@akcanada.com or fill out our Contact Us form. Mr. Abrams will respond to your inquiry by return e-mail within one (1) business day.

If you are an existing client of Abrams & Krochak and have questions related to your file, please send an e-mail to info@akcanada.com.

Even though Mr. Abrams will be working from home, he remains ready and available to assist you. As the COVID-19 situation evolves and the advice of medical authorities is updated, he will review his decision to work remotely from home. Until then, you can expect to receive seamless, uninterrupted, quality service from both him and from Abrams & Krochak in a timely fashion.