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Category Archives: Coronavirus

Glimpse of Canadian Immigration 2021

Canadian government is set to achieve new heights of immigration in its history in turn boosting the country’s post-pandemic economy. IRCC is actively issuing invitations to candidates through Express Entry under Canadian Experience Class and Provincial Nominee Class.

By far, Canada has rolled mats for over 80,000 new immigrants in the first quarter of 2021. IRCC has also implemented new strategies to expedite processing of Permanent residency applications after experiencing processing delays in the last quarter of 2020.

On 14th April, Canada declared a new way to get permanent residency for international student graduates and essential workers who are effectively contributing to Canada’s economy. Francophone and bilingual candidates outside Quebec also got their own dedicated pathway.

This program came as a ray of hope for 90,000 temporary workers, international graduates, and healthcare workers. The response towards this new public policy has been quite encouraging. Out of three categories international graduates reached a noticeable admission of 40,000 applications in merely 25 hours after opening the online portal. Other two categories (essential workers & health care workers) are yet to reach their caps. Thus, workers employed in essential and healthcare occupations can still make the best of this opportunity.

Further, Canada may raise the preset caps on these pathways as the Immigrant-focused financial recovery plan is at the forefront of Canada’s post-pandemic goals. Before making a final decision, IRCC will thoroughly review the outcome of the program by examining the quality of applications submitted by applicants and frequency of reaching the cap of 90,000 admissions.

Besides creating a pathway for temporary residents to obtain permanent residency, Immigration minister Marco Mendocino is focused towards “Modernizing Canada’s Immigration System”. Currently, Canada’s immigration system is packed down by paperwork and is outdated. In recent developments, the application intake system has been modernized and now many applications can be submitted online, and applicants are able to track progress in their application.

Canada has recently provided approximately $430 million from its federal budget to establish a new digital platform called GCMS (Global Case Management System). This system will be used to save time and increase efficiency in processing of immigration applications.

Canada has added new office space and hired more employees at the Case Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia as an effort to process more applications and reunite families faster. The increased capacity will help the IRCC to return to the one-year standard for family class immigration applications for outland spousal, common-law, and conjugal sponsorship, dependent children, adopted children, and other relatives.

IRCC has introduced and extended various policies to navigate the halt caused by COVID-19 pandemic. A temporary policy allowing foreign nationals who are in Canada on visitor status with a valid job offer to apply for an employer-specific work permit was introduced on August 24, 2020, and later extended until August 31, 2021.

Another policy established on July 14, 2020, to exempt foreign nationals from certain requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) was also extended till August 31, 2021. Under this policy foreign nationals (former workers, students, and visitors) were exempted from the requirement to apply for restoration within 90 days of losing temporary resident status.

A new policy was introduced to help former international students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic while living in Canada, allowing them to obtain open work permits valid for up to 18 months. Government estimated policy to benefit 52,000 Post Grad Work Permit holders, and policy is set to expire on July 27, 202. 

With introduction of new programs and steps towards expediting processing of applications, Canada is fully set to meet its preset target of welcoming 401,000 immigrants.

Canada’s ability to return to more normalcy would significantly increase after easing travel restrictions. The public health and safety divisions of the federal government and provincial governments are planning to lift quarantine for returning Canadians and Permanent Residents by early July 2021. IRCC will be able to consider Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Federal Skilled Trade Program (FSTP) candidates once Canada returns to normalcy. We can also expect Canada to welcoming more foreign nationals from overseas and a return to all-program Express Entry draws in the last quarter of 2021.

If you need help, Contact Can X Immigration for services like Express Entry, Family Sponsorship, Provincial Nomination, Business Class, Humanitarian & Compassionate Grounds, Citizenship, PR Card Renewal, LMIA, Work Permit, Live-In-Caregiver, Postgraduate Work Permit, Study Visa, Study Permit Extension, Visitor Visa, or Super Visa.

The Impact of Processing Delays on Canadian Businesses

Canada is facing a growing skilled labor crunch and industries are struggling to find qualified workers. The increased processing times of immigration pathways is a problem that is closing doors to new growth and leaving employers open to risk.

According to a survey conducted by The Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC), “Unless addressed, increasing processing times are likely to have a negative impact on business operations within the next year.”

A total of 26 organizations that rely on access to international talent to meet talent needs and fill skills gaps were surveyed. Participating organizations were from technology, manufacturing, government /health care/ education, natural resources, and construction/engineering services. 44 % of participating organizations report using economic immigration programs to access temporary residence workers.

Primarily, 74% of participating companies used Express Entry and CUSMA professional pathways to hire foreign nationals while 67% used PNP immigration pathways. All participating organizations agreed to the importance of international talent to their businesses, while 70% strongly agreed to their contributions.

In the survey, as an impact of processing impediments 83 % of organizations stated that canceled and or delayed projects are the most common consequence of the delays, almost two-thirds expect the delays to result in lost revenues and 30% stated they had to face penalties for not meeting contractual obligations. The unprecedented labor shortage is forcing organizations to hire ill-suited candidates, resulting in foregone opportunities that impede businesses’ ability to compete.

This lack of skilled labor and halt in the international mobility of temporary foreign workers is increasing the labor market gap, businesses are facing a labor shortage and the demand for skills across many sectors is on the rise. The survey sheds light on global talent access via immigration and international mobility programs, the top three skills accessed are 93% of skilled workers, 85 % executive management, and 67 % engineering staff. Nonetheless, the demand for non-degreed professionals and technical staff is growing, though the lack of education makes it difficult to access their talent.

The survey also highlighted that apart from ongoing challenges faced by IRCC, the continued closure of Consulates, High Commissions and VAC abroad has had a great impact as temporary foreign workers cannot complete biometrics in their home country.

With a dearth of new talent pools and retiring workforce, Canada should take actions to expedite processing of applications. The survey questioned respondents if they would pay an additional fee for expedited processing of applications and 89% of respondents said they would be willing to pay between 10% and 25% above current processing fees for expedited processing as for Skilled labor shortage has become the most pressing need of their organizations.

Coming Soon: More permanent residency pathways for temporary residents in Canada

Canada may offer more permanent residence pathways to temporary residents (e.g. international students, temporary foreign workers, and asylum seekers) who are currently in the country.

In 2020, COVID-19 pandemic has turned the tables around the world, may it be developed, developing or underdeveloped economies. Every country is having a hard time keeping their economies afloat, given travel restrictions and disruption in supply chains globally.

The Coronavirus pandemic is affecting birth rates worldwide and high-income countries like Canada are expected to see declining fertility rates, resulting in a smaller population size and rapidly increased greying of Canada. Canada has been feasting on immigrants for years as they compensate for the negative economic and fiscal impact created by the aging population and decline in birth rates. This will have a strong impact on the labor market and to ensure long-term economic recovery, the federal and provincial governments need to keep immigration ️as a priority to support this decline.

COVID-19 has impacted pre-determined immigration level targets of Canada, both permanent and temporary residents have dropped significantly, along with this unemployment is prevalent and the economy is falling. To support the economy and to meet the necessary labor market needs in terms of workforce availability, Canada needs immigrants as their impact on Canadian economy is profound.

Helping temporary residents become permanent residents will address Canada’s needs to respond to COVID-19 and will benefit Canada in the long term because candidates who already have Canadian experience tend to have strong labor market outcomes. Temporary residents like international students and temporary foreign workers already possess Canadian work experience, have already settled in, and have high English or French language ability, which leads to quicker labor market integration, solving economic and labor market needs.

Canada reaffirms their ongoing commitment towards immigration especially international students and global talent as Canada continues to count online study at DLI towards eligibility for PGWP between May 2020 to April 2021. During the tenure of post-graduation work permit, international students gain necessary Canadian work experience to qualify for permanent residency through economic immigration programs.

Immigrant-focused financial recovery plans should be at the forefront of Canada’s post-pandemic goals to offset the temporary decline in immigration and to ensure long term recovery.

Survey: What Canadians think about family reunification during pandemic?

Canadian Immigration policy has been an integral component of the nation’s development, and debates in this area have consistently been framed in terms of deciding which immigrants should be included or excluded as part of expanding Canadian social framework. Over the past year a paradigmatic shift has occurred within the Canadian immigration, which has increasingly pushed for a stronger emphasis on the preferential entrance of economic migrants.

The Canadian Government is committed to keeping families together whenever possible by various generous family reunification programs like Family Class Sponsorship programs where in Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents are eligible to sponsor family class members who wish to immigrate to Canada through programs such as spousal and common-law partner sponsorship, parent and grandparent sponsorship, parent and grandparent Super Visa and dependent child sponsorship.

A survey of 1,531 Canadians was conducted by Association of Canadian Studies which reveals that amid COVID-19 large numbers of Canadians support family reunification as one of the core immigration priorities over economic immigrants and expanding the refugee program. This is evident as nearly 36% of respondents stated that priority should be given to family members of people residing in Canada.

Canadians are affirmative about the role of immigrants in the recovery of Canada’s economy, as 61% Canadians agreed that immigration will support economic development, while 22% said that it would have a negative effect and 18% Canadians were not aware about the facts and stated that they cannot decide. Coast to coast among various provinces 67% of respondents from Atlantic Canada state that immigration would benefit while on the contrary 26% of the prairie provinces respondents were of the view that immigration would have a negative effect on the country’s economy and 22% respondents did not respond.

Alberta respondents were the most supportive of family reunification followed by 42% Atlantic Canada and 36% Ontario. The least support of combined 28% was demonstrated by respondents from Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Between 2016 and 2020, Canadian respondent’s support towards prioritizing economic class immigration stayed constant at 27%, while support for refugee class witnessed a drop of 13% as it fell from 29% to 16% among these years.  Manitoba with 70.2%, Saskatchewan at 68.6% and Quebec with 67.6% recorded the biggest decline among other provinces in admission of new immigrants in the second quarter of 2019 and 2020.

Canadians feel that IRCC should focus on expanding family reunification programs rather than making efforts towards attracting and admitting economic newcomers through the Federal Skilled Worker Program and Federal Skilled Trades Program, as well as by expanding the Provincial Nominee Programs, for investors, entrepreneurs, and self-employed.

Canadians feel that the Government is not working towards family reunification, and many family members are separated due to delay in processing of applications and travel restrictions during this pandemic. They suggest the proliferation of family reunification programs, as the current immigration strategy raises questions about the fairness, equity, and direction of Canada’s current approach to immigration for building the nation. In March, Immigration level plan for 2020-2022 was announced where economic class and refugee class levels were scheduled to increase yearly, but family class immigration was settled with a target of inviting 91,000 new immigrants.

COVID-19 has negatively affected the Canadian economy and immigration has faced the worst hit. All immigration programs are facing a cut back, but family class sponsorship has faced a set down of 78% in the second quarter of 2020 as opposed to last year. Along with this refugee resettlement witnessed an exponential fall of 85% and 52% drop back was noted in economic class immigration.

The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled policymakers to re-evaluate what kind of immigrant workforce the country needs, as people who were previously not considered as highly skilled or essential, are deemed as the front line workers today. Various internal and external factors should be considered when thinking about the future of Canada’s immigration system post coronavirus pandemic such as demographics, economy, labor market, politics, processing capacity and capacity to integrate newcomers.

Lately, Canada’s immigration minister stated that they viewed immigration as a crucial step to supporting the country’s post-coronavirus economic recovery after a meeting where they discussed the importance of attracting immigrants to rural Canadian communities and role of international students in Canadian economy.

Canada : Life Science leadership during COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 has disrupted the world and has slowed down the global economy. Canadian government has done a commendable job by focusing on COVID-19 containment and immediate relief by collaborating with health organizations and other authorities. IRCC has stated that Canada’s priority has been one of protection and preparation: protecting people’s health and safety while preparing business for a smooth transition to recovery. This successful response to coronavirus has showcased the strong relation among life science and professional health care management in the country.

The Canadian life sciences sector is a vital contributor to Canada’s innovation economy, and one of the country’s fastest growing industries participating towards medical innovations that will enhance the health-care delivery and patient care in Canada and around the globe. This Canadian sector comprises occupations within research, development, and manufacturing. This sector includes small and medium-sized companies developing diagnostics, bio pharmaceuticals, pharmaceuticals, and medical appliances, as well as international companies with research, development, and production operations in Canada, serving both domestic and international markets.

British Columbia has one of the largest bio technologies and life sciences sectors in Canada. The province plays an important role in the growing global life sciences industry. There are 310 life sciences organizations in British Columbia with estimated employment of 14,000 people contributing $1.03 billion to provincial GDP growth. The BC life sciences sector includes a broad range of companies, government agencies, healthcare research organizations and academic partners.

In parallel with Canadian government initiatives, there are various companies contributing towards development of products and services to curb COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these companies are:

Thornhill Medical is a medical device innovator company based in Toronto. This company has been producing and delivering revolutionary portable ventilator systems in large quantities to health care facilities across Canada.

Roche is a global company pioneering in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics of advanced science. They are the world’s largest biotech company focused on personalized healthcare. This company created a COVID-19 antibody test which will help determine if a patient has been exposed to coronavirus and if the patient has developed antibodies. This test is supporting the country’s economic recovery and is recognized as a significant contributor to Canada’s testing capability.

Hexoskin is a smart shirt company based in Montreal. Since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic this company has been working with the government and health systems in the US, UK, and Canada to support health care services. They have been successful in developing a high-tech shirt that monitors COVID-19 patient’s vital signs from the comfort of their home. Hexoskin supports hospitals by freeing up space and easing the burden on staff via installing patient-monitoring systems in hospitals and setting up own telehealth teams.

Medicago is a company rooted with a long track record of innovation and perseverance. They are situated in Quebec and have successfully created a nominee for a coronavirus vaccine using their innovative plant-based technology. They were the pioneer in Canadian clinical trials of any COVID-19 vaccine.

Sona Nanotech Inc. is a medical device company based in Halifax. Sona has been awarded a $4.1 Million grant by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as per the NGen Initiative to accelerate COVID-19 test development. They are creating a ground-breaking antigen test to detect the presence of COVID-19 beforehand, rather than detecting antibodies after infection which can be used at point of care and deliver results in as little as 10 minutes.

Quantum Silicon Inc. is an Alberta based company, applying nanotechnology in electronics to develop faster and more energy-efficient technologies by manipulating matter at the atomic scale. Their CEO states the importance of government incentives in building a stronger industry.

Although there are hundreds of jobs available in the Canadian life science sector, Canada is struggling to meet labour demand needs and requires highly skilled foreign individuals and innovative entrepreneurs in search of investment opportunities or ways to expand their existing business abroad.

Canadian government is trying to help bridge the labour gap by providing pathways for skilled foreign workers to live and work in Canada. Two of these pathways include the Express Entry System and the Provincial Nominee Programs which not only made the immigration process easier but also fast-tracks the visa process, allowing newcomers to immigrate to Canada with their families in as little as 6 months.

Incentives provided by the Government

The government implemented various incentives to support Life science development in Canada, such as:

  • Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), which provides funding to large projects with an objective to stimulate innovation for a better tomorrow in Canada. SIF brought forward projects to fight against COVID-19 and this program was expanded by additional funding to support the clinical trials for COVID-19 related vaccines and therapies.
  • The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED), which gives tax credits and refunds to eligible companies in Canada and is the country’s largest R&D tax credit program. Some examples include operations research, data collection, engineering, testing, psychological research, or design.
  • The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), which funds research in universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions.
  • Genome Canada, which is responsible for providing large scale investment to help develop new tech and create solutions to challenges faced on a national scale.
  • Mitacs is a non-profit research organisation that funds technology-specific internships and fellowships through Canadian universities by partnering with Canadian academia, private industry, and the government.
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), a funding agency supporting innovative improvements in the health care sector.
  • Canada Brain Fund (CRF), which supports and funds Canadian brain science.

Along with these strategies, comes the Global Skills Strategy, which allows Canada to enrich its skilled workforce by bringing in highly skilled individuals from abroad. This strategy was developed by IRCC to help employers find highly skilled workers faster and bring them to the country within 2 weeks.

The Start-up Visa Program gives foreign investors the opportunity to start or invest in a business anywhere in Canada. Through this program applicants are also able to get permanent residency in Canada, provided they meet government requirements.

Canada is an ideal place for nanotech companies to invest and expand as life science sector is supported by a booming group of academia, world-class talent, government support and investors from around the world. Innovation in life sciences requires a collaborative ecosystem of partners such as hospitals, research centres, universities, technology incubators, start-ups, scientists as well as multinationals – and every day they are collaborating in Canada.

Canada’s life sciences businesses are among the most lucrative sectors where companies with global footprint are investing. This is because Canada offers a qualified workforce and is globally rated at the top for having the most educated workforce in the world, with over 55 per cent of its population possessing a tertiary qualification. Along with this Canada is the only country in the world, able to trade freely with every G7 nation. This free trade boosts opportunities to increase investment revenue by offering preferential market access to more than 1.5 billion consumers in 51 countries.

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