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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.

Canadian immigration policy ranked fourth in the world

The Migration Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) released its international scorecard, which ranks the immigration policy performance of 52 countries across five continents, after measuring eight areas of integration policies through categorical Principal Component Analysis. The top five countries hitting the international benchmark are Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Canada, and New Zealand.

Canada stood fourth and received a score of 80, in recognition of its comprehensive, immigrant-friendly policies that emphasize equal rights, opportunities, and security for the newcomer’s future. Canada ranked sixth overall in the last MIPEX index held in 2015. Due to improvements in access to healthcare for asylum seekers and improvements to the 2017 Citizenship Act, the overall score of Canada increased by two points.

According to MIPEX research report, integration policies come into view as one of the strongest factors shaping both the public’s willingness to accept and interact with immigrants and the immigrants own behavior, sense of belonging, participation in the job market, and educational opportunities.

Anti-discrimination policies are the greatest strength of Canada according to the report. This is because Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom encompasses multiculturalism supportive policies, and world-leading laws which result in high level of awareness, trust, and discrimination reporting.

Canada gained points as permanent residents can have the opportunity to attain citizenship, and gain voting rights faster than other countries. However, lack of permanent resident representatives in policy-setting bodies led to deduction in points as people without citizenship status, such as permanent residents, have limited opportunity for political participation at the local or national level. The report also states that Canada is less experimental in local democracy consultative structures.

The report mentions Canada’s family reunification policies as “favorable” and highlights that greater obstacles are faced by adult children, parents, and grandparents to reunite in Canada as opposed to top ten countries.

Canada’s Labor market mobility has room for improvement and potential to learn from other countries, as limited health care facilities can be availed by migrants without legal documents. Canada also lost points as permanent residency pathway is lengthy and frustrating process for most of the temporary foreign workers.

Canadian education system fetched points for its multicultural education policies that ensure safety, security, and equality in academic institutes. Canada faced limitations as better representation is needed across the curriculum, teaching profession, and higher education.

New online PR confirmation portal expedites process for newcomers

In the interest of public safety during the coronavirus pandemic, Canada is using a new online portal to confirm permanent resident status. This new electronic process was introduced in October on a trial run, to expedite the landing process for new permanent residents.

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited developed this new, secure portal for Canada. This portal is different from an IRCC account and applicants can access the portal using supported browsers like Chrome, Firefox, or Edge.

This secure portal offers services to share personal information, declare that applicant is in Canada, confirm address, submit recent photo for PR card, and access proof of permanent resident (PR) status. This portal does not offer services to check the status of application.

In this new electronic portal, everyone has their own separate account profile, with distinctive username and passwords. This portal can be accessed only by the applicant, representatives cannot use the portal on behalf of the applicant. 

Working of the portal

Step 1 

If an application is approved by IRCC, they contact the applicant via email to invite the applicant to use the new online portal. The principal applicant needs to submit their own email address and all email addresses of other members in the application.

Step 2

After receiving these details, IRCC will create an account for the applicant as the portal does not allow applicants to create a profile for themselves.

Step 3

Then the applicant will confirm the details mentioned in the account. Later IRCC will send another email with a link to the portal and guidelines on how to sign in the account, with a unique username and temporary password.

Step 4

Applicants can now login for the first time and create their own password. Applicants could confirm that they are currently in Canada, update home or postal address, and upload digital/ scanned photos.

Step 5

IRCC will review and accept the photo if it meets the requirements. Applicants can check if the photo is accepted or not on the portal. If the photo is returned, the applicant can resubmit a new photo into the portal. Common reasons for photos to be returned are dark pictures, flare, improper visibility of facial features, and wrong format.

Step 6

Once the photo is accepted, applicants will receive a Permanent Resident card within one week at their mailing address inside Canada.

If any issue arises throughout the PR card process, IRCC will contact the applicant directly. If the applicant is unable to login the portal, they can contact IRCC via email mentioned in the invitation message.

Canada: Most desirable destination for prospective immigrants

Survey conducted by WES unveiled the changing interest and intention of immigrants as the pandemic unfolds. The survey confirmed that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, prospective immigrants gained interest in immigrating to Canada between April and August 2020. This was evident as the number of immigrants interested in moving to Canada grew from 38% in April to 46% in August.

Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences beyond the spread of the disease itself, ranging from challenging the healthcare system to the falling economy. The study revealed that prospective immigrants expect worsening of economic conditions and the rise in unemployment in their home country to be worse than in Canada. Aggregated responses highlight that 49% of respondents are inclined to immigrate to Canada due to the economic recession in their home country, while other 32% state worsening of economic situations in their home country has no impact on their decision to immigrate.

Nearly, 80% to 81% of respondents stated that COVID-19 will negatively impact the economic conditions in their home country.  Prospective immigrants are more willing to endure an economic downturn in Canada than in their home country, as 48% of respondents indicated a recession in Canada will have no impact on their immigration choice, while interestingly 22% stated that their interest would increase in Canadian immigration irrespective of economic fallout.

According to research conducted by Financial services provider Remitly using Google search data, Canada is the most desirable place to live on Earth. People from 29 countries wish to immigrate to the true North, due to friendly locals, beautiful scenery, safety, low unemployment, and high immigration options. Despite travel restrictions causing severe disruption in international mobility, hopeful immigrants do not seem to be reconsidering their immigration plans and timelines. Additionally, the WES survey gained insights that immigrants are less likely to delay their immigration plans to Canada. Among 480,822 respondents, 32% stated delaying their immigration plan in June, while this number fell to 12% in August despite the prevalent crises.

Canadian government’s commitment to recovery and resilience can be driving immigrants towards Canada. Among all applicants who opt WES for credential evaluation, the majority are Indian citizens, followed by citizens of Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, United States, and The Philippines. Furthermore, India stands out as the top country of citizenship for immigrants who received an ITA through Express entry in 2019.

Canada needs newcomers as their impact on the Canadian economy is profound; immigrants support the economy and meet the necessary labor market needs in terms of workforce availability. Immigrant-focused financial recovery plan should be at the forefront of Canada’s post-pandemic goals to ensure long term recovery.

Common reasons for visa refusal

Canada has many immigration programs, each different set of rules, regulations, and assessment criteria. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) facilitates the arrival of immigrants to Canada and provides clarity with reference to immigration program requirements. Despite the transparency, it is evident that applicants make mistakes which result in application refusal. Here are some common reasons for Canadian visa refusal: 

Inconsistent history

Applicants are required to list a detailed travel history, personal history, employment history, and/or educational history for applications like permanent residency and temporary residency. Depending on your nationality, if a person has not traveled outside of their home country before, chances are their application will be comparatively weaker. 

Tip: The history should not account for any gaps with unexplained details, no matter the length of the gap. You should also include short vacations/travels under the travel history section. For personal history, periods of time when you were unemployed or were applying for higher studies should still be accounted for. You should make sure that dates align properly, with no overlapping. 

Failure to provide proper and accurate supporting documents

All immigration program and visa office have a different list of required documents, in different formats, to be provided with the immigration application. To increase the chance of positive outcome, applicants must include supporting documents. A common mistake many applicants make is providing the wrong format of documents, a simple mistake and unmentioned details in the documents can delay the application process. 

Tip: Make sure that all information you provide in your immigration process to Canada must be accompanied by evidence, which includes income tax, payment receipts, proof of employment, marriage, and birth certificates, passports, school transcripts, and many more. The documents that are not in Canada’s official language (English or French) must be translated by a certified translator before being sent to the IRCC. For paper-based applications, applicants have an option of sending copies of the required documents, but sometimes an original document (e.g. Police Clearance Certificate, IELTS or CELPIP certificate, etc.) and a certified copy is required. 

Insufficient funds

Proof of funds is a letter of documentation that certifies that the applicant has sufficient funds (money) for the respective application. The amount of funds varies based on the number of people accompanying the applicant, type of application, and the length of stay. Lack of funds depicts the inability of the applicant to survive inside Canada. 

Tip: Apart from making sure you have adequate funds; applicant must also pay attention to the source of funds. Canadian government assesses the accumulation of funds, their source, and non-consistent deposits into your bank accounts can raise concerns. 

Misrepresentation

Presenting incorrect or misleading information to the Canadian government may lead to a delay in the application or even cause it to be rejected. Applicants could also be barred from applying for Canadian immigration for several years. Be extremely careful with providing information and documents. 

Tip: Make sure that the document you submit are authentic as your application may be refused due to and you may face difficulty in reapplying, due to lack of credibility. It is advisable to be honest about the details of your application, including employment history and any medical or criminality issues with the principal applicant or accompanying family members.

Failure to meet standards

Health: Applicants are required to undergo a medical examination for Canadian Immigration. If the medical results reflect serious health conditions that may be transmitted to others or may create a burden on Canadian taxpayer, then it may lead to visa refusal.

Security: If the applicant has a criminal background, then additional documentation and security check will be conducted by Canadian Immigration officers and the chances of application approval is low. The type of crime, and tenure of the sentence along with other factors will be assessed before deciding on the application.

Status: Canada operates on the Global Case Management a system that facilitates information exchange between most countries around the globe. If the applicant has a history of illegal stay, overstay, deportation from Canada or other countries, it may lead to application refusal. Disobeying the conditions (e.g. stay longer than allowed, or work or study without the proper permits) on the permit/status are considered a serious offense in the Canadian Immigration system. 

Tip: Hire a certified professional to represent you in your immigration application. It will help you to optimize your chances of success in the visa application process, by assisting you on your eligibility, reviewing all the necessary supporting documents, and submitting it to the Canadian government on your behalf.