Rising Express Entry Scores
Candidates waiting in the Express Entry system to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence could have very well been disheartened in the first half of 2019. Although on January 30, 2019, candidates who had a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 438 were issued an ITA in the general round of invitations, this particular round appears to be an outlier.
Excluding the three general rounds of invitation held in January 2019, candidates who had a CRS score of less than 450 would not have received an ITA so far this year. Moreover, since June, candidates with a CRS score of less than 460 did not receive an ITA. The general round of invitations with the highest CRS score required was 470, which occurred on May 29, 2019.
These numbers stand in sharp contrast to the general rounds of invitations in the latter half of 2018, in which Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued an ITA to those candidates with scores between 439 and 450 points. Still, in the thirteen general rounds of invitation that have occurred in 2019, IRCC has issued at least 3,350 ITA per round. If you wish to determine your eligibility to apply under the Express Entry system and/or discover ways to increase your CRS score, please schedule an appointment with Green and Spiegel LLP.
Contentious Launch of Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program
The launch of this program at the beginning of the year was highly anticipated. As a major linchpin to the family reunification policy, the Government announced that a higher quota of applications would be accepted in comparison to 2018 and, in addition, that the random lottery system used to select sponsors last year would be replaced by a first come, first served system.
On January 28, 2019, at 12:00pm EST, IRCC estimates that more than 100,000 Canadian citizens and permanent residents across the country raced to complete an online form for indicating interest in sponsoring a family member. Within approximately 10 minutes, however, the quota of 27,000 submissions had been accepted and the system closed much to the frustration of thousands of Canadians. Evidence suggests that some people were not even able to open the online form and fairness issues have come to light.
IRCC nonetheless invited the fortunate and potential sponsors on April 24, 2019 to submit applications for permanent residence for their parents or grandparents. As of now, these applications have been submitted and IRCC will continue to process the applications.
While there will, undoubtedly, continue to be a huge demand for this Program moving forward, it is unclear at this point what changes IRCC will make to the 2020 Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program, if any, in response to the specific fairness concerns and widespread frustration surrounding the implementation of this year’s Program. Should you wish to explore other temporary resident options to bring your loved ones to Canada, such as applications for a Temporary Resident Visa or Super Visa, do not hesitate to contact Green and Spiegel LLP to schedule your consultation.
New Options for Caregivers
With the existing caregiver programs scheduled to close at the end of 2019, IRCC has used the first few months of the year to launch one interim pathway for caregiver program and announced two new pilot projects. These new options are designed specifically to give caregivers a clear pathway to obtain Canadian permanent residence status and resolve underlying concerns with the existing programs.
The interim pathway for caregivers was initially launched from March 4 until June 4, 2019, although IRCC has confirmed the interim pathway will reopen from July 8, 2019, for another three months. According to IRCC, the purpose of the interim pathway is to support caregivers who do not meet the requirements of the previous caregiver programs set to expire at the end of 2019. General requirements for the interim pathway can be found here.
IRCC has also launched the Home Child-Care Provider and Home Support Worker pilot programs, which opened for applications on June 18, 2019. Some of the most welcome changes in the new pilots include occupation specific work permits, rather than employer specific work permits, to address concerns about vulnerability, and the fact that caregivers may request open work permits for their spouses and study permits for their children. Moreover, a Labour Market Impact Assessment is not required.
Enhanced Leniency for Post-Graduate Work Permit Applications
The beginning of 2019 ushered in significant policy changes for foreign nationals who submit an application for a Post Graduate Work Permit Program (PGWP) after they complete their studies in Canada. Generally speaking, the PGWP program has allowed foreign nationals who have graduated from certain Canadian post-secondary schools to subsequently obtain an open work permit and gain Canadian work experience, which is, in most cases, necessary for the foreign nationals to apply for permanent residence.
IRCC announced changes to the PGWP program on February 14, 2019. Most significantly, students now have an extended timeline to submit their applications for a PGWP: the previous deadline to submit the application has been extended from 90 days to six months from the first of the date that the student’s final marks are issued or the date formal written notification of program completion is received. Also, students, at the time of applying, no longer necessarily need to hold valid study permits and the definition of what constitutes a break from studies has been broadened.
For a more detailed analysis of the PGWP program changes, please visit our website here. You can also schedule a consultation with our office if you any have questions about the PGWP program.
Future IRCC Objectives: The Federal Government’s 2019 Budget
On March 19, 2019, the Federal Government announced this year’s budget, which allocates over $200 million toward Canadian immigration matters. The additional funding will ensure the following objectives are met: enhancing the responsiveness of the IRCC Call Centre; ensuring that the Global Talent Stream remains permanent; increasing IRCC’s ability to more quickly process Canadian visitor visas, work and study permits; improving the complaints procedure and processing capacities for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and; protecting newcomers and applicants wishing to employ the services of Immigration Consultants. For more detailed analysis on the budget, please refer to our website here.