Canadian Open Work Permits for U.S. H-1B Specialty Occupations Visa Holders
July 16, 2023
Starting today, Sunday, July 16, 2023, Canada will offer open work permits to any individuals in the United States on an H-1B Specialty Occupations visa. Canada’s strategy is to lure away highly-educated foreign nationals in the United States who are frustrated by the U.S. immigration process. In essence, Canada is capitalizing on a growing sense from international students and professionals that settling permanently in the United States is too slow and difficult.
The new recruitment strategy, which Canada unveiled at a North American technology conference held in Toronto last month, is designed to appeal to out-of-work foreign tech-sector workers in the U.S. whose immigration status is now in jeopardy after a recent series of layoffs.
Without the fast-track program, they would either need to apply for entry under the regular Canadian process or get a Canadian employer to obtain a work permit for them.
The program will last for either one year or until the cap of 10,000 applicants has been reached. This cap is on principal applicants and does not include family members.
If you are an H-1B Specialty Occupations visa holder and are interested in applying for a Canadian open work permit, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain more information about the program and Abrams & Krochak’s related services and legal fees.
Faster Spousal Temporary Resident (Visitor) Visa Processing Times; New Open Work Permit for Spousal and Family Class Applicants
May 26, 2023
Today, Friday, May 26, 2023, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced new measures to strengthen family reunification, which include:
- faster temporary resident visa (TRV) processing times for spousal applicants
- new and dedicated processing tools for spousal TRV applicants
- a new open work permit for spousal and family class applicants
- open work permit extensions for open work permit holders expiring between August 1 and the end of 2023
Minister Fraser announced that, going forward, most TRV applications will be processed within 30 days, and applicants will benefit from processing measures specific to their circumstances as spouses and dependants.
Once in Canada, spouses, partners and dependants are now able to apply for and receive an open work permit as soon as they submit a complete permanent residence application under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class (SPCLC) or other family class programs.
Finally, Minister Fraser announced that spousal applicants, along with other open work permit holders, whose open work permits expire between August 1 and the end of 2023, will be able to extend their work permits for an additional 18 months.
Canada Announces New Immigration Programs/Initiatives for Ukrainians Fleeing War
March 3, 2022
On Thursday, March 3, 2022, the Government of Canada announced the following:
As part of the Government of Canada’s response to the war in Ukraine, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is introducing new immigration streams for Ukrainians who want to come to Canada temporarily or permanently.
For Ukrainians who want to come to Canada temporarily, IRCC will create a Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel, available for individuals fleeing Ukraine. There will be no limit to the number of Ukrainians who can apply. This is the fastest, safest, and most efficient way for Ukrainians to come to Canada and eliminates many of the normal visa requirements. All Ukrainian nationals will be able to apply through this new path, and, pending background check and security screening, their stay in Canada could be extended by at least 2 years. IRCC aims to have the extended pathway open for applications in 2 weeks, and, in the interim, encourages Ukrainians to apply through all existing programs, and their Applications will be prioritized.
IRCC will also quickly implement a special family reunification sponsorship pathway for permanent residence for Ukrainians who have immediate and extended family members in Canada. IRCC will develop the details of this program in the coming weeks, including by working with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.
All Ukrainians who come to Canada as part of these measures will be eligible to apply for open work permits, making it easier for employers to quickly hire Ukrainian nationals.
This announcement follows an earlier announcement on February 24, 2022, which reads as follows:
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is taking additional steps to support Ukrainians and people residing in Ukraine, and to make it easier and faster for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their accompanying immediate family members to return to Canada.
As part of the Government of Canada’s response, IRCC has taken the decision to prioritize applications for new and replacement travel documents for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members. Over a month ago, IRCC implemented measures to priority process citizenship grant applications for adoption, as well as permanent and temporary residence applications for people with a primary residence in Ukraine who want to reunite or travel with family, study, work, or start a new life in Canada. Ukrainian nationals currently in Canada on a temporary basis can apply to extend their status as a visitor, student or worker.
In addition to prioritizing applications, IRCC is launching a package of new immigration measures, including the following:
- Establishing a dedicated service channel for Ukraine enquiries that will be available for clients both in Canada and abroad at 613-321-4243, with collect calls accepted. In addition, clients can now add the keyword “Ukraine2022” to the IRCC Web form with their enquiry and their email will be prioritized.
- Implementing urgent processing of travel documents, including issuing single-journey travel documents for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who do not have valid passports.
- Updating a Web page to provide current information on measures; this page will include content in Ukrainian for ease of reference.
- Ensuring that Ukrainians currently in Canada are able to extend their stay or stay longer in Canada by prioritizing the renewal of work and study permits, and extending a policy that allows individuals to apply for a work permit from within Canada. This policy would allow temporary residents who receive a job offer to remain in Canada and start working while they wait for their work permit application to be processed.
IRCC will issue open work permits to Ukrainian visitors, workers and students who are currently in Canada and cannot go home, so they can stay longer if they wish. IRCC will waive fees, retroactive to February 22, 2022, for certain travel and immigration documents, such as Canadian passports, permanent resident travel documents, proofs of citizenship, visitor visas, and work and study permits. Further details will be made available in the coming weeks as these measures launch.
IRCC has also taken steps to increase operational readiness in the region, including relocating staff, moving additional supplies and equipment, such as mobile biometric collection kits, in anticipation of an increased volume of requests, and adjusting operations in offices across their global network to ensure service continuity for Ukraine. Online options are available for most applications.
If Abrams & Krochak can assist you or your loved ones with any of the aforementioned Applications, please let us know by e-mail at email@example.com and we will send you full details regarding our fees and services.
Lawyer versus consultant? Immigration data shows visa applicants have best shot with former
December 10, 2018
The following article appeared in the Sunday, December 9, 2018 edition of the Toronto Star newspaper. Its contents have been reproduced in their entirety. The article offers some interesting insights into the advantages of using the services of a Canadian Immigration lawyer over those of a Canadian Immigration consultant; however, we leave it up to our readers to draw their own conclusions.
By NICHOLAS KEUNG Immigration Reporter
Sun., Dec. 9, 2018
Foreign nationals who prepare their own Canadian visa applications are nearly as successful in being accepted as those who spend money on a consultant to do the job.
But chances of success are much higher if they hire an immigration lawyer to help get their study, work or visitor visas, according to immigration data obtained under an access to information request.
Canada received 342,154 temporary resident applications in 2017, the data shows. While 86 per cent of applicants declared themselves as self-represented, 6 per cent were represented by consultants and another 5 per cent by lawyers. The remaining 3 per cent hired Quebec notaries or used “non-remunerated” representatives.
Overall, 18.9 per cent of the applications were rejected. Those who prepared their own applications had a 19.3 per cent refusal rate, slightly higher than the 18 per cent among those who paid a consultant to do it.
In contrast, only 10.4 per cent of applications prepared by a lawyer were rejected. The refusal rates for applications prepared by Quebec notaries and unpaid representatives were 13.1 per cent and 10.1 per cent respectively.
Marina Sedai, chair of the immigration section of the Canadian Bar Association, said she wasn’t surprised lawyers had the highest success rate.
“Canadian lawyers’ rigorous education, legal analysis skills, and high ethical standards enforced by an effective regulator, have long been understood to result in better outcomes,” Sedai said.
“Lawyers’ culture of the law being a calling rather than a business means that although lawyers will often take the tough cases, they will also protect clients by advising them against hopeless cases.”
When it comes to the lower success rate for consultants, lawyers are quick to point out that group has lower educational requirements and a less robust regulatory regime than lawyers. For their part, consultants say the immigration data is too general and doesn’t give the full picture.
“It is based on the flawed assumption that all applications are equally complex. In reality, applications completed by unpaid representatives may be far simpler, thus having a much higher chance of success,” said the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants in a statement to the Star.
Currently, licensed immigration consultants must meet a minimum language requirement and graduate from an accredited immigration practitioner program, which takes about a year to complete full time. While only about 1,000 lawyers practise immigration law, there are five times more licensed consultants in Canada.
“Immigration lawyers typically have completed a four-year bachelor’s degree before undergoing a very competitive process for admission to law school. Law school degrees take three years to complete and are also no cakewalk. Then there is the bar admissions course which must be passed, the articling process, etcetera,” said Toronto immigration lawyer Ravi Jain.
“Many immigration consultants have only completed online courses at a community college. The education and training is just not comparable.”
The immigration consultants’ association, which has more than 2,000 members, said it’s pleased more people are using consultants and believed that’s due to the generally higher fees charged by their lawyer counterparts.
Regulatory bodies for lawyers and consultants do not mandate how much their members can charge clients, but fees can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Jain, who is also vice chair of the bar association’s immigration division, said the success rate for lawyers would likely be even higher if not for the fact lawyers often take up very difficult and complex cases.
“A lot of my clients come to me after they have gone to a consultant or tried on their own,” Jain said, adding many are reluctant to lodge a complaint against their former consultant and prefer just to have him reapply.
“It’s much more difficult to obtain approvals when applications have already been refused,” he added.
Minister Announces Improvements to Spousal/Partner Sponsorship Application Process
December 7, 2016
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Minister, The Honourable John McCallum, made an announcement today, Wednesday, December 7, 2016, regarding improvements to the Spousal/Partner Sponsorship Application Process. Among the improvements are:
- processing times for all spousal/partner applicants, inside and outside Canada, will be cut from 24 to 12 months
- a simplified guide (reduced from 180 to 75 pages in simpler language)
- one checklist (not clear whether visa office checklists will be removed)
- one relationship questionnaire
- medical, criminality and security screening to be done after applying (no longer up front)
- a new application kit for use by all spousal/partner applicants. Applicants will no longer have to choose between two different kits depending on whether they live in Canada or outside Canada. All applicants will use the same application kit. Since some applicants may have already started filling out their application using the current kit, IRCC will continue to accept new applications using the current kit until January 31, 2017. After this date, only applications using the new kit will be accepted. Applicants are strongly encouraged to begin using the new kit, which is easier to use and understand, as soon as it is available on December 15, 2016.
- along with the new 12-month processing commitment, IRCC will extend its pilot program which gives open work permits to eligible spouses or partners who are being sponsored and are in Canada, giving them the freedom to work while their applications for permanent residence are being processed. This pilot program ensures applicants are able to work, provide for their families and contribute to the Canadian economy while waiting for their applications to be processed. The pilot, currently slated to end on December 22, 2016, will be extended until December 21, 2017.
These changes are to be online on December 15, 2016.
The Minister will be making another announcement tomorrow, Thursday, December 8, 2017 around the 2017 intake process and application kits for the Parents and Grandparents class and the announcement will be posted on our website just as soon as it becomes available.