Saturday, August 29, 2009

Limited validity period for Labour Market Opinions

Background
Not all labour market opinions (LMOs) issued by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) have a date by which they must be used to apply for a work permit (WP). In order to ensure that LMOs represent an accurate assessment of current labour market conditions and to provide a sound basis for the evaluation of WP applications, HRSDC will no longer be issuing LMOs without expiry dates.
Current status
As of May 19, 2009 HRSDC has established a maximum period of six months during which an LMO may be used to apply for a WP. This six month period is defined by the LMO expiry date.
General guidelines
The LMO expiry date is the date by which a WP application must be received by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) or the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). If an application is received after the LMO expiry date, it is deemed to have expired and can no longer be used to support a WP application. These applications will be returned as incomplete.
Information now included in the LMO
The LMO expiry date is indicated in the Annex to the LMO under “Opinion Expiry Date”.
In FOSS, CAIPS and CPC systems, the LMO expiry date will be recorded in the “Offer Valid From and To” field and is for a maximum period of six months. The date indicated in the “Offer Valid To” field is the date by which the worker must use the LMO in order to apply for a WP.
Note: These instructions supersede Section 6 of FW 1. Specifically, the “Offer Valid To” date (LMO expiry date), will no longer be extended. Applicants initiating a WP application at a port of entry are required to have a valid LMO expiry date. CBSA will finalize applications that have already been initiated overseas even if the LMO expiry date has past: the missions will have ensured that the LMO expiry date was still valid at the time of the initial application receipt.
The LMO expiry date should not be confused with the LMO duration of employment or the WP expiry period (which may be longer in duration depending on the employment situation). The LMO expiry date determines if the LMO is valid at the time the WP application is submitted, whereas the work duration in the LMO is the timeframe of work that the employer has requested and to which HRSDC has agreed. The duration of the WP is still at the discretion of CIC /CBSA .
In the event that an expired LMO is received in support of a WP, it will be treated as an incomplete application and the application will be returned. In the case of expired LMOs, employers will be required to apply for a new LMO if they still wish to hire a temporary foreign worker (TFW). HRSDC is no longer granting LMO extensions, so a new LMO application will be required in every case.
Additional notes
In certain cases where an employer has specific timelines for a short employment opportunity, HRSDC/Service Canada may issue LMO confirmations that expire in less than 6 months.
The LMO expiry date does not affect the processing time needed by CIC after the LMO is submitted with a WP application. The WP may be issued after the LMO expiry date, as long as the application was received before the expiry date.
Additional details for overseas procedures
WP applications received with an expired LMO should be treated as incomplete applications and returned to the applicant.
Missions working with and without Visa Application Centers should develop a process that will allow them to identify TFW applications received with an expired LMO. If the application is intercepted before a file is created it can be returned as an incomplete application as per section 10 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. TFW files created with an expired LMO will also be considered incomplete and will be returned to the applicant with a refund of fees paid. Old procedures outlined in RIM 07-010 will not apply in this case. HRSDC will no longer extend an expired LMO.
Exception
LMO expiry dates of six months will apply except in the processing of live-in caregiver applications in Quebec. In Quebec, applicants first apply for an LMO and then, upon receipt of the LMO and before applying for a WP, must apply for the certificat d’acceptation du Qu├ębec (CAQ). Due to the timelines associated with the CAQ, these LMOs will always be valid for 3 months following the issuance of the CAQ, regardless of the LMO expiry date. Service Canada will indicate in Canada Immigration Center notes (FOSS and CAIPS), that “the LMO is valid for three months after the CAQ is issued”. Officers can refer to the date the CAQ was issued to determine if the request for a WP was made within three months of that date.
Transition period
As of November 28, 2009, any LMOs issued before May 19, 2009 with an opinion expiry date of more than six months will be considered to have expired. Therefore, as of November 28, 2009, applications with an LMO containing an opinion expiry date of more than six months after the issuance will be returned as incomplete and the TFW may advise their employer to seek a new LMO. This change is posted on the HRSDC TFW program website. In addition, HRSDC will be posting a more explicit notice on the website homepage and sending advisories to industry groups, employer associations and other groups such as the Canadian Bar Association and the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants, to notify them of this change.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Immigration Fraud

Government of Canada to prevent immigration fraud through international cooperation
Ottawa, August 21, 2009 — A new international initiative puts Canada at the forefront of worldwide efforts to identify and combat immigration fraud, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney and Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan announced today.
Under this landmark initiative, Canada, the United Kingdom (U.K.) and Australia will be able to share the fingerprint information of asylum seekers and foreign nationals facing deportation, including dangerous criminals. This will improve our ability to identify foreign nationals who are seeking to enter Canada and who are trying to hide their past from authorities.
Under the partnership, Canada will be able to securely and confidentially check fingerprints with those stored in Australian and U.K. databases.
The initiative was developed under the Five Country Conference (FCC) – a forum for immigration and border security – between Canada, Australia, the U.K., the United States and New Zealand. The United States will be joining the initiative shortly, and New Zealand is considering legislation to join in the near future.
“Canada has had a long-standing collaborative relationship with the FCC countries and I am pleased that we are building on this partnership,” said Minister Kenney. “Through this initiative, we are tackling identity fraud and abuse of our immigration and refugee programs, while at the same time ensuring that Canada continues to welcome genuine refugees.”
“Along with our international partners, we are making a commitment to ensure the safety and security of our respective countries,” said Minister Van Loan. “This is one way that we are balancing Canada’s priority of economic prosperity while using innovative ways to enhance border security.”
Information sharing among FCC countries will allow Canada to:
Better identify fraudulent claimants, ensuring that we are more successful in confirming the identities of genuine refugee claimants;
Improve our ability to detect people who misrepresent themselves;
Protect public safety by removing those who are found to be inadmissible to Canada; and
Protect Canadians from violent foreign criminals.
The benefits of information sharing have already been demonstrated by partner countries in previous trials. In one case, an asylum claimant in the U.K. was found to have previously been fingerprinted on arrival in the United States while travelling on an Australian passport. Australia subsequently confirmed that the individual was an Australian citizen wanted on criminal charges. This resulted in his deportation to Australia, where he is now in jail.
Each country involved in this initiative has employed a number of safeguards to protect privacy and has completed a comprehensive privacy impact assessment. To view Canada’s privacy impact assessment summary, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website at www.cic.gc.ca.
CIC is undertaking this initiative in partnership with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and with the assistance of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
CIC, the CBSA and the RCMP are also leading a five-year project to introduce biometrics into Canada’s temporary resident program. The project, announced in the 2008 budget, will cover visitors who require visas or work or study permits and is scheduled to be rolled out between 2011 and 2013. The Government of Canada is moving toward eventually using biometrics for all foreigners entering the country.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Northwest Territories Nominee Program

News Release
Government of Canada signs first-ever immigration agreement with Northwest Territories
Ottawa, August 5, 2009 — Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney today announced the signing of an agreement to help attract new immigrants to the Northwest Territories. Minister Kenney made the announcement with his territorial colleagues, Education, Culture and Employment Minister Jackson Lafferty and Industry, Tourism and Investment Minister Bob McLeod.
“I am very pleased to announce the very first nominee agreement with the Northwest Territories today,” Minister Kenney said. “This pilot initiative will better extend and strengthen the benefits of immigration for the Northwest Territories and allow it to bring in the immigrants it needs faster. Provincial nominee programs are an important part of our government’s focus on ensuring that our immigration system aligns with labour market needs.”
The Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP) is operated by the Government of the Northwest Territories through an agreement with Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The program will help strengthen the Territories’ economy by attracting qualified individuals to fill critical labour shortages and promote business development.
“This program will allow us to encourage the migration of skilled workers to the Northwest Territories,” Minister Lafferty said. “Foreign workers can assist us in building a strong, balanced and diversified economy that will benefit all Northerners.”
Individuals nominated by the territorial government are eligible to have their application processed on a priority basis for permanent residency through Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Final authority rests solely with CIC to issue permanent residency.
Applicants can be nominated for permanent residency under one of four program categories:
Skilled Worker
Critical Impact Worker (Service and Hospitality Sector Occupations)
Entrepreneur Business
Self-Employed Business
The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment is responsible for the Entrepreneur and Self-Employed Business categories of the program. “Entrepreneurship is important in developing the Northwest Territories’ economy. This program is a new way of bringing entrepreneurs into the Territory,” Minister McLeod said. “We will all benefit from the arrival of entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and experiences.”Beginning today, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment will be delivering the NTNP at its service centres. This is a three-year pilot program.