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Four New Developments in Canadian Immigration Law

Chris Alexander – The New Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Chris Alexander is Canada’s new Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.  He replaces Jason Kenney, who is the new Minister of Employment and Social Development (formerly Human Resources and Skills Development). Mr. Alexander, who was elected to the House of Commons for the riding of Ajax-Pickering in 2011, served as diplomat for 18 years and has worked at the Canadian Embassies in Moscow and Afghanistan. He was the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Afghanistan from 2005 to 2009, and has authored a book entitled ‘The Long Way Back: Afghanistan’s Quest for Peace,’ published in 2011.

The New Canadian ePassport

Canada’s new enhanced ePassport is now available to all Canadians! As of July 1, 2013, CIC commenced the issuance of the ePassport which is valid for a period of 5 or 10 years for first time applications and renewals. The redesigned 36-page passport costs $160 and is equipped with several security features, including an embedded electronic chip for fraud prevention. Children’s passports are issued for a maximum period of 5 years.  Citizenship and Immigration Canada now has primary responsibility for Passport Canada, which was previously under the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

New Changes to the Labour Market Opinion Application Process

Effective July 31, 2013, Service Canada introduced a number of significant changes to the labour market opinion in addition to the many changes introduced since April 2011. These latest amendments to theImmigration and Refugee Protection Regulations have introduced a new language assessment factor in the issuance of a labour market opinion. As a result, only English and French can be identified as a job requirement in advertisements and LMO requests, unless it can be demonstrated that another language is essential for the position.

Additionally, employers will now be required to make greater efforts to hire Canadians before they will be eligible to apply for temporary foreign workers. Employers must now advertise an available position for a minimum of four weeks before applying for an LMO, and must continue to actively seek qualified Canadians to fill the position until the LMO has been issued. Employers must also advertise on the national Service Canada Job Bank website and utilize at least two other recruitment methods consistent with the advertising practices for the occupation.

A new LMO application form has also been released, including additional questions that are intended to assist program officers in assessing the impact to the Canadian labour market and curb the practice of using foreign workers in Canada temporarily to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs.

Another change is that an application fee of CAD$275.00 must be paid for each position requested in order to cover the cost of the processing of the application.

Conditional Permanent Residence

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has announced the implementation of ‘Conditional Permanent Residence’ affecting spouses, common-law, or conjugal partners who have been married for two years or less and have no children in common with their sponsor. The condition stipulates that the sponsored spouse and their sponsor cohabit in a conjugal relationship for a period of two years from the day the sponsored spouse obtains permanent residency. Applications received on or after October 25, 2012 are subject to this new condition.

For more information please contact Jacqueline Bart & Associates.