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Canadian Immigration Law Updates – November 2016

CETA and Labour Mobility

The Canada-European Union: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (“CETA”) was signed on October 30, 2016. Once in effect, the mobility provisions of CETA will facilitate temporary entry into Canada for foreign nationals of its 28 signatory countries, including the United Kingdom. Under Canada’s International Mobility Program (“IMP”), CETA will provide additional temporary entry options for key personnel, contractual service suppliers, independent professionals, and short term business visitors. Eligible applicants are exempt from the LMIA requirement.

CETA sets out three main categories for temporary entry: (1) Key Personnel (business visitor for investment purposes, investors, and intra-corporate transferees), (2) Contractual Service Suppliers and Independent Professionals, and (3) Short-term Business Visitors. The key provisions of these categories are summarized below.

  1. Key Personnel (“KP”)

This category includes the intra-corporate transferee (ICT) category, which will facilitate the entry of senior personnel, specialists and graduate trainees. The KP category also includes Business Visitor for Investment Purposes and Investor categories.

  1. Contractual Service Suppliers (“CSS”)

Under this category, the relevant agreement or service contract must specify the services to be provided by CSS applicants for a one year period. The applicant may only apply for a maximum one year period, even if the applicable contract is valid for a longer period. The applicant must also have been employed by the company for at least one year in the preceding three year period, and must have at least three years’ experience within the relevant industry.

  1. Independent Professionals (“IP”)

This category covers foreign nationals who are engaged in the supply of a temporary service in Canada. The professional must possess at least six years of experience in his or her respective industry, and must have a university degree or other qualification. Similar to CSS applicants, applicants are only permitted to apply for the initial 12 month period of the applicable service contract, even if the contract is valid for a longer period.

  1. Short-term Business Visitors (“BVs”)

Short-term BVs are exempt from the requirement to obtain a work permit. Foreign nationals may apply under this category provided that: they are not engaged in the selling of goods or services to the general public; there is no remuneration from a Canadian source; and they are not engaged in the supply of a service, except as provided in Appendix D of CETA.

The list of approved services under Appendix D includes the following activities: meetings and consultations; research and design; marketing research; training seminars; trade fairs and exhibitions; sales; purchasing; after-sales service; commercial transactions; tourism personnel; and translation/interpretation services.

The newly signed CETA will create new opportunities for Canadian employers that wish to hire foreign personnel, as well as overseas corporations and service suppliers within the EU. The agreement has yet to be ratified by each individual member state. It is anticipated that CETA will be fully ratified in approximately two years, and a provisional agreement may come into effect in the interim.

 

Visa Requirement Changes for Romania, Bulgaria, Brazil and Mexico

Citizens of Romania, Bulgaria, Brazil and Mexico currently require temporary resident visas in order to travel to Canada.  This requirement is being lifted, to varying degrees, to allow travelers from these countries to instead obtain Electronic Travel Authorizations (eTA) in order to fly to or transit through Canada by air.

Applications for an eTA can be done online, cost CAD$7.00, and take only minutes to complete.   The eTA is electronically linked to the traveler’s passport and is valid for five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.

Individuals seeking to work or study in Canada will still require a permit to do so.

Citizens of the above countries who are also lawful permanent residents of the U.S. with alien registration cards (Green Cards) already require an eTA, in place of a visa.

Mexico: Starting December 1, 2016, Mexican citizens will no longer require a visa to travel to Canada.  They will instead require an eTA to fly to or transit through Canada by air.

Brazil: Starting May 1, 2017, Brazilian citizens who have held a Canadian visa in the past 10 years or who currently hold a valid United States (U.S.) non-immigrant visa will no longer require a visa to travel to Canada.  Instead, they will require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to or transit through Canada by air.

Romania and Bulgaria: Starting May 1, 2017, Romanian and Bulgarian citizens who have held a Canadian visa in the past 10 years or who currently hold a valid United States (U.S.) non-immigrant visa will no longer require a visa to travel to Canada.  Instead, they will require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to or transit through Canada by air.

Starting December 1, 2017, this category will be expanded, and the visa requirement lifted for all Romanian and Bulgarian citizens, who will require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada, in place of a visa.

 

Canada’s Immigration Plan for 2017

On October 31, 2016, the Government of Canada released its Immigration Plan for 2017, together with its 2016 Annual Report on Immigration.  It notes that immigration will soon account for all net labour force growth, as the number of retirements outpaces the number of Canadian youth joining the labour market.

The Immigration Plan calls for a target of 300,000 immigrants to be admitted to Canada on a permanent basis, consistent with 2016 numbers. The breakdown of 2017 targeted admissions, as compared to last year, is as follows:

 

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Temporary resident applicants will continue to be processed according to demand.  The number of individuals admitted into Canada in 2015 as temporary residents was as follows:

  • Temporary Foreign Worker Program: 73,111
  • International Mobility Program: 176,772
  • International Students: 125,783
  • Temporary Resident Visas (new and extensions): 1,307,409
  • Temporary Resident Permits (new and extensions): 10,333
  • Public policy exemptions: 1,063

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