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Category Archives: COVID-19

Express Entry: IRCC invited Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates

Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) invited 3,343 candidates to apply for Canadian permanent residence in Express Entry draw which took place on July 23, 2020. The cut-off CRS score in this draw was 445 targeting only Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates. IRCC) has now issued a total of 57,700 Invitations to Apply (ITA’s) in 2020 through the Express Entry system.

Current cut-off CRS score of 445 is a decrease of 14 points from the previous all program draw on July 8, 2020.   Yesterday, IRCC issued 557 ITA’s to Express Entry candidates nominated through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). The minimum CRS score for these candidates was 687. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) Candidates receive an additional 600 points in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which is usually sufficient to trigger an invitation to apply (ITA) at the next round of invitations.

Calculate your CRS score with IRCC’s CRS calculator

Express Entry is the application process for skilled workers in Canada or Overseas who want to settle in Canada permanently. Interested Candidates are required to submit an online application to express their interest by creating Express Entry (EE) profile and, providing information about their skills, work experience, language ability, education and some other details. After submitting the profile, candidates get a score to determine their place in the pool using the point-based system called Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS system considers skills, work experience, language ability, education and other factors (e.g. having a sibling in Canada, Canadian education or a valid job offer in Canada, etc.) to award points. Highest ranking candidates from Express Entry pool are regularly invited to apply for Canadian Permanent Residence. Express Entry manages applications for permanent residence under these federal economic immigration programs:

Nearly 110,000 new permanent residents were admitted through Express Entry in year 2019

A total of 109,595 principal applicants and their family members were granted permanent residence through express entry in 2019, compared to 92,229 in 2018. This represents a year over year increase of 19%. The CRS cut off ranged from 438 to 475 in 2019, making an average score of 461. In 2018 the average score was 442. This increase in average CRS cut-off score demonstrates that the express entry pool became more competitive last year. This increase was partially due to a larger pool size, as well as the increased number of candidates selected through a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). PNP recipients automatically receive an additional 600 CRS points toward their overall score.

How minimum CRS score will fluctuate in next draws?

Despite COVID-19 pandemic, total number of ITA’s issued this year so far exceeds the number of invitations issued at the same time last year.  As per Government of Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2020-2022, Canada aims to welcome 341,000 new permanent residents in 2020, 351,000 in 2021, and 361,000 in 2022. Federal Skilled Worker Program candidates represented the largest proportion of all individuals admitted in 2019 with 58,173 admissions, followed by candidates in Canadian Experience Class (30,230) Provincial Nominee Program (20,014) and Federal Skilled Trades (1,178). After coronavirus travel restrictions, IRCC began to hold PNP and CEC specific draws. First all-program Express Entry draw took place on July 15, 2020 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

We had speculated that IRCC will hold program specific draws in consecutive draws and this is evident from today’s draw when only CEC candidates has been invited. There are several factors and reasons (e.g. unemployment rate, travel restrictions, closure of visa processing offices etc.)  why government is preferring CEC and PNP candidates during this pandemic. Unemployment rate in Canada is historically high, and it will be challenging for a new immigrant to find a job in today’s job market, and get settled in new country. Government’s may prefer to restrict influx of new permanent residents coming outside from country. However, to meet the immigration target for  this year, the Government will prefer to invite candidates who are already in Canada.

IRCC may continue to invite only CEC candidates in consecutive draws. This may be good for several candidates in Canada having low CRS scores. Candidates qualified under CEC & having low scores still have an opportunity to get an ITA in coming months.

Contact us for consultation, assessment or assistance!

IRCC invited only PNP candidates in latest express entry draw

A total of 557 candidates who had already received an additional 600 points with a provincial nomination were invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence in the Express Entry draw which took place on July 22, 2020. The cut-off CRS score in this draw was 687 which is lowest CRS requirement for a PNP-specific draw so far in 2020. This is the 9th PNP specific draw since Canada implemented travel restrictions in March this year for stopping spread of coronavirus. IRCC has now invited 54,357 candidates so far this year.

The candidates who received an ITA in this draw had previously received provincial nominations and were awarded an additional 600 points toward their overall score. This means candidates who received an ITA would have needed a CRS score of at least 87 for their human capital without the provincial nomination.

Express Entry is the application process for skilled workers in Canada or Overseas who want to settle in Canada permanently. Interested Candidates are required to submit an online application to express their interest by creating Express Entry (EE) profile and, providing information about their skills, work experience, language ability, education and some other details. After submitting the profile, candidates get a score to determine their place in the pool using the point-based system called Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS system considers skills, work experience, language ability, education and other factors (e.g. having a sibling in Canada, Canadian education or a valid job offer in Canada, etc.) to award points. Highest ranking candidates from Express Entry pool are regularly invited to apply for Canadian Permanent Residence. Express Entry manages applications for permanent residence under these federal economic immigration programs:

The Provincial Nominee Class (PNC) allows provincial and territorial governments to choose immigrants according to the economic needs of the province or territory. Nine Canadian provinces and two territories have provincial nominee programs which:

  • establish its own standards and processes by which it chooses its nominees,
  • try to nominate those candidates who would be most likely to settle effectively into the economic and social life of the region.

PNC has two (2) steps

  1. First apply to the province or territory where you want to live and be nominated
  2. After a province or territory nominates you, you must apply to IRCC for permanent residence. An IRCC officer will then assess your application based on Canadian immigration rules.

Each participating province and territory have at least one immigration stream that is connected to the Express Entry system and allows it to nominate Express Entry candidates for permanent residence in that province or territory. Express Entry candidates who are nominated by a province or territory receive an additional 600 points toward their CRS score, moving them to the front of the line for an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Contact us for consultation, assessment or assistance!

Canadian immigration pathways for tech workers

Canada’s tech sector has been booming in the recent years. Technology is evolving rapidly, and Canada has quickly established itself as a leader in the emerging IT sector. More and more tech workers are immigrating to Canada in search of new employment opportunities and there is no secret why?

Canada offers various ways to immigrate as a tech talent, including programs which offer Canadian permanent residency. Even with the advent of coronavirus pandemic, this sector remains strong with companies actively recruiting talent around the globe.

Canada is helping to make it easier for businesses in the technology sector to recruit top talent. Whether candidates wish to move to Canada on a permanent or temporary basis, the following are key options are to consider:

Express Entry

Express Entry is a system used by the Canadian Government to manage Canadian permanent residence applications for filling labor gaps through certain economic immigration programs. It is an extremely popular option for global tech talent looking to immigrate to Canada. Tech workers are the main occupational group of immigrants who move to Canada through Express Entry.

If you are a tech worker who has not lived in Canada before, the best option for being eligible for Express Entry is through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). The FSWP accounts for nearly half of all individuals who obtain an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) applications are assessed based on an applicant’s ability to become economically established upon immigration to Canada. This is a key category in Canada’s Express Entry (EE) immigration system.

Minimum program requirements: To qualify under this program, the applicant must:

  • Have at least one year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in the past 10 years in a skilled occupation (National Occupational Classification skill lever 0, A or B); or Qualify for an  Arranged Employment in Canada (AEO) with a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for a full-time, permanent job offer from a Canadian employer;
  • Get a minimum level of CLB 7 or NCLC 7 for first official language in all 4 language areas (Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening). To get points for the second official language, you must meet the minimum level of CLB 5 or NCLC 5 in all 4 language areas;
  • Have a Canadian educational or Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)for a foreign education.
  • In addition to fulfilling eligibility and points requirements, applicants must show that they have sufficient settlement funds to support themselves and their dependents after arrival in Canada

Important Points

  • The applicant(s) must obtain at least 67 points based on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) immigration selection factors. The selection factors are as follows:

Education: 25 points | Language: 28 points | Work Experience: 15 points | Age: 12 points | Arrange Employment: 10 points | Adaptability: 10 points

  • The applicants must plan to reside outside the province of Quebec. The province of Quebec selects its own skilled workers through a unique immigration system.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Furthermore, the next best option for tech talent to immigrate to Canada is PNP. The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) allow Canadian provinces and territories to nominate individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada and are interested in settling in a particular province.

Provinces and territories (PTs) that operate a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) can nominate candidates through the Express Entry pool, in addition to nominating foreign nationals to the existing paper-based process. PT nominations made via Express Entry are called “enhanced nominations” and enable each PT to increase its annual nomination space. Enhanced nominations are processed online and are subject to the six-month or less processing standard (in 80% of cases).

 Minimum program requirements: To qualify under this program, the applicant must:

Important Points

  • Candidates who have a PT nomination receive an additional 600 points in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which is usually sufficient to trigger an invitation to apply (ITA) at the next round of invitations.
  • PTs have direct access to the Express Entry pool through a dedicated portal that allows them to view and nominate candidates in the pool.
  • Once a nomination has been issued by a PT and accepted by a candidate, it cannot be cancelled in the candidate’s Express Entry profile. Should the candidate change their mind, or the PT withdraw the nomination after acceptance of the nomination, the candidate must cancel their Express Entry profile and submit a new profile in their online account.

Tech is a significant area of need, which is why some provinces operate tech worker streams, the most notable programs are offered by the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.

The Ontario Tech Pilot is for workers who have experience in one of six tech occupations and have crated their Express Entry profile. In 2020 Ontario has held two Tech Pilot draws, including one during the pandemic, in May, under which over 700 candidates received invitations for a provincial nomination.

The demand for talent in B.C.’s tech sector is increasing faster than supply. British Columbia Tech Pilot invites immigration candidates to apply for a provincial nomination on an almost weekly basis if the candidates have a job offer in one of 29 tech occupations. In 2020, the province has held 14 tech draws, including earlier this month, with over 1,500 people receiving provincial nominations so far this year.

Start-Up Visa

The Canadian government also operates the Start-up Visa program. This program grants permanent residence to immigrant entrepreneurs while assisting them to become established in Canada. It is a popular option for tech talent and has significantly different selection criteria from other skilled worker programs.

The program encourages immigrant entrepreneurs to grow their companies in Canada. Under this program successful candidates need to be endorsed by a Canadian government designated entity such as an angel investor, venture capital firm, or business incubator, who are in turn responsible for supporting the entrepreneur’s success once they come to Canada.

Eligibility requirements of the program: To be eligible for the Start-up Visa Program, the applicant must:

  • Have a qualifying business
  • Get a letter of support from a designated organization
  • Meet the language requirements
  • Bring enough money to settle
  • Pass Canadian security and medical clearances
  • Plan to settle in a province other than the Province of Quebec 

Qualifying Business: A qualifying business means you created a business that meets the following conditions:

  • At the time you get a commitment from a designated organization:
    • Each applicant holds 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time (up to 5 people can apply as owners)

and 

  • Applicants and the designated organization jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time
  • At the time you receive your permanent residence:
    • You provide active and ongoing management of this business from within Canada
    • An essential part of the operations of the business happens in Canada
    • This business is incorporated in Canada 

Designated Organization

The applicant must get a letter of support from a designated organization. Designated organizations are business groups (venture capital funds, angel investor groups, and business incubator organizations) that are approved to invest in or support possible start-ups through the Start-up Visa Program. Successful applicants are required to secure a minimum investment for their Canadian start-up. If coming from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, the investment must be at least $200,000 CAD. If coming from an angel investor group, it should be at least $75,000 CAD. Applicants do not need to secure any investment from a business incubator. However, applicants must be accepted into a Canadian business incubator program.

Applicants are not required to invest any of their own money. If their Canadian start-up is unsuccessful, individuals granted permanent residence through this program will retain their permanent resident status. 

Language Requirements

The applicant must meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French in all four areas (speaking, reading, listening & writing). 

Enough money to settle in Canada

The Government of Canada does not give financial support to new start-up visa immigrants. An applicant is required to give proof that he/she has the sufficient money to support themselves and dependents after their arrival in Canada. 

Global Talent Stream 

Apart from permanent residency programs, Canada offers many temporary resident pathways for tech workers who are looking for a faster pathway to migrate before submitting a permanent residence application or do not wish to settle permanently in Canada. Immigration programs such as the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) are meant to support the process of temporary residents seeking permanent residency in the country.

One of the more notable temporary visa options is the Global Talent Stream. It enables Canadian employers to hire tech talent and bring them to Canada in about a month. The Global Talent Stream is one component of Canada’s Global Skills Strategy which has facilitated the arrival of over 40,000 tech workers to the country since 2017. 

IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON CANADIAN IMMIGRATION

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a major impact on travel to Canada, but the country is still enabling temporary visa holders to enter the country for work. Invitations to successful immigration candidates are also progressing since Canada is planning to welcome them into the country once the pandemic has subsided. As a holistic view, Canada remains open to global tech talent who wish to call this country their new home.

With so many tech jobs and immigration opportunities, you may be unsure of where to start? Contact us and book a consultation!

Major changes to help international students

Canada aims to attract more international students as they contribute to economic and social development of the country. Canada hosted over 640,000 international students prior to the start of COVID-19 pandemic.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has stated that it will help international students with the following reforms:

  • IRCC will prioritize study permit processing for students who have submitted a completed application online.
  • In the light of COVID-19 pandemic, they have launched a temporary 2 stage approval process for international students, who wish to begin their Canadian education program online this fall and, cannot submit a completed study permit application by September 2020.
  • IRCC is also allowing international students to begin their Canadian studies online while they are in their home country and will consider that time count towards their Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)eligibility, only if they have submitted a study permit application and if at least 50 per cent of the program is completed in Canada.

Reason to help international students

Canada covets international students and IRCC acknowledges that COVID-19 pandemic is creating uncertainty for international students to begin their programs for the Fall 2020 academic year, so they are rolling out measures to facilitate study permit process. These measures will assist students to commence their studies this fall at a Canadian designated learning institute.

How to get a pre-approval for a study permit?

IRCC will provide an approval-in-principle for study permits if students pass the first stage. The two-stage assessment process will be applied to applicants at all levels of study whose program is starting in the fall semester or earlier and who submit, or have already submitted, a study permit application online on or before September 15, 2020.

At the initial eligibility stage, officers will assess:

For the admissibility stage, before a final decision is made, officers will review the following:

After receiving final approval for their study permit, students will be able to travel to Canada.

Mutual benefits

IRCC has made several temporary policy changes to support and reassure international students as international student attraction is beneficial to both, the students and to the Canadian economy.

International students attain world class education in Canadian learning institutes, with hands on academic learning and a highly dynamic approach. After completing education, students can gain a PGWP and gain work experience which will help to obtain permanent residency through Express EntryProvincial Nominee Program (PNP), and many other pathways.

According to IRCC, in year 2018 Canada accommodated over 650,000 international students at the post-secondary education level in the year 2019 and over 60,000 former international students become immigrants each year.

International students contribute $22 billion annually to support the Canadian economy which in turn facilitates 170,000 jobs in Canada.

How Can-X can help?

  • Each study program has different set of requirements. We help clients in selecting suitable courses and/or programs based on their educational background, interest and long-term goals.
  • We help clients in getting a letter of acceptance from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada.
  • We prepare and submit the student visa application on the behalf o the client.

Want help in student visa application process! Please contact us for assessment & more information.

Work permit levels in Canada remain steady post COVID-19 outbreak

The number of work permits issued to TFWs in Canada appears to have been affected by coronavirus closures. The year started off strong where a total of 32,995 work permits were issued in January 2020 but, after the novel coronavirus pandemic in March total number of work permit went down to 19,650.

The work permit number increased to 29,900 in April which again dropped to 25,125 in May, 2020. The drop in May work permits is typically in part due to less Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) permits.

These new permits issued to TFWs post COVID-19 outbreak include permits issued to people who were eligible to work in Canada through the

  • Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) or
  • International Mobility Program (IMP)

The TFWP allows Canadian employers to hire foreign talent when no Canadian worker could fill the job vacancy. It is mainly used to admit seasonal agricultural workers to Canada, but also covers other sectors while IMP, which meets Canada’s broad economic and social needs, includes the Global Talent Stream (GTS), and the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

Tech workers who either work for designated companies or are being hired in highly skilled occupations can apply under GTS.

International students can use the PGWP to gain up to three years of Canadian work experience, which is highly valued in an application for permanent residence.

General eligibility requirements for Work permit. No matter where you apply, you must

  • Prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires. You can include many supporting documents to support this claim. For example: your family ties, employment etc.
  • Show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada and to return home. You can include your financial documents.
  • Obey the law and have no record of criminal activity (IRCC may ask you to provide a police clearance certificate)
  • Not be a danger to Canada’s security,
  • Be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed,
  • Not plan to work for an employer listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers.
  • Not plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages, and
  • Give the officer any other documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country. 

Work Permit from outside Canada

To come to Canada as a temporary foreign worker, you must get a work permit. In general, you need to apply for a work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) before you come to Canada. You must apply to a visa office outside Canada if you need a visa to enter Canada or if you need to have a medical exam before you come to Canada. You need to get a job offer and some other documents from a Canadian employer before you apply.

Work Permit from inside Canada

You can apply for a work permit from inside Canada if you are currently in Canada and

  • Have a valid study or work permit, or your spouse or parents have a study or work permit
  • Have graduated from a program at a Canadian university, community college, CÉGEP, publicly funded trade/technical school, or other eligible school.
  • Have a temporary resident permit that is valid for six months or more,
  • Have applied or been included in an application for permanent residence from inside Canada (you will have to pass certain stages in the main application process to be eligible for a work permit)

Work Permit at the port of entry

You may apply for a work permit on arrival at a port of entry (POE) in Canada if the following applies

  • You are exempt from the requirement for a temporary resident visa and your job falls within the International Mobility Program (i.e., you are not required to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment [LMIA]);
  • You are exempt from the requirement for a temporary resident visa and your job falls within the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (i.e., you are required to obtain an LMIA) and a positive or neutral LMIA has been issued by the time you arrive, and your employer has completed all of the steps for your type of work permit
  • You are a national or permanent resident of the U.S., Greenland or Saint-Pierre and Miquelon regardless of whether your job falls with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program.
  • You will not be working as a live-in caregiver or as a seasonal agricultural worker

In addition to the above, you must have completed your immigration medical examination, if required, before your arrival. If you’re a citizen of an eTA-required country, you’ll need to get an eTA if you plan to fly into Canada. IRCC recommends that you apply for your work permit before you travel to Canada.

Work permits based on skill types

High Skilled Work Permits

High skilled work permits are obtained in an occupation under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level 0, A or B.  Generally, for skilled work permits, applicant need to have 1-3 years of experience depending upon the occupation and in certain cases only relevant education can fulfill the job requirements. Applicants also need to prove their English or French language skills to meet the job requirements.

Low skilled work permits

Low skilled work permits are obtained in an occupation under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level C & D. Low skilled work permits require maximum of high school education or job specific training. Applicants also need to prove their English or French language skills to meet the job requirements.

Low skilled work permits under agriculture stream

Low skilled work permits under agriculture stream generally do not require any specific language skills, education and experience. You still need to meet all general eligibility requirements for work permit.

Under low skilled work permits, generally employers pay return airfare, ensure that affordable and suitable accommodation is available, provide temporary medical insurance coverage, register workers with provincial workplace safety insurance plans, sign an employer-employee contract.

How Can-X can help?

  • We can help foreign nationals and foreign workers to apply for Canadian Work Permit which authorizes them to legally work in Canada.
  • We can apply for approval of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) on behalf of employers.

Contact us for assessment and more information!