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Immigration Update

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Announces Change to the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program

On December 14th, 2020, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced a change to the work experience requirement under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program.

Previously, applicants under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program were required to demonstrate a minimum one year of continuous full-time work experience within the three years preceding their application. Applicants under this program are still required to demonstrate at least one year of eligible work experience, however the experience relied upon no longer needs to be continuous. Applicants can now use a combination of several periods of short-term work experience within the three years preceding their application to meet this requirement. This change is intended to ensure that applicants are not penalized for breaks in their employment history, as many people have suffered layoffs or work interruptions due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada also announced that the first two (2) permanent residence applications under this program were recently approved. Both applicants are practical nurses working in the city of Sault Ste. Marie.

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program is a community-driven program, intended to attract new immigrants to smaller communities and drive economic growth in those communities. Applicants to the program require an offer of employment from an employer in one of the participating communities. As of this date, the following communities are participating in the program:

• North Bay, ON
• Sudbury, ON
• Timmins, ON
• Sault Ste. Marie, ON
• Thunder Bay, ON
• Brandon, MB
• Altona/Rhineland, MB
• Moose Jaw, SK
• Claresholm, AB
• Vernon, BC
• West Kootenay (Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Nelson), BC

Canada signs new, expanded Youth Mobility Agreement with Italy

On December 11, 2020, the Government of Canada signed a new bilateral youth mobility agreement with Italy. This agreement expands upon the existing youth mobility agreement between the two countries, which will increase opportunities for Italian and Canadian youths between ages 18 and 35 to gain work experience in each others’ countries.

Key changes include:
• Increasing the duration of open working holiday permits to 12 months
• Allowing candidates to participate in the program twice, for a total of 24 months
• Addition of two new professional (employer-specific) work permit streams: International Co-op and Young Professionals

These changes provide Italian youths with greater opportunities to gain valuable work experience in Canada, which may contribute to their overall professional development or future permanent residence. The expanded agreement will come into effect once ratified by both countries.

The new agreement does not affect the temporary COVID-19 travel restrictions that remain in effect. At this time, only approved candidates with valid and active job offers can travel to Canada under the youth mobility program.

Express Entry Update

Today, December 23rd, 2020, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued a new round of invitations to apply for permanent residence under the Express Entry system.

A total of 5,000 candidates were invited to apply for permanent residence in today’s draw. The draw invited candidates who qualify under all Express Entry categories, including the Canadian Experience Class, Provincial Nominees, Federal Skilled Trades, and the Federal Skilled Worker Class. The minimum score selected was 468. This is the lowest minimum score we have seen for an all program draw in the 2020 year to date.

This is the fourth consecutive draw in which IRCC has invited 5000 candidates to apply. Given the increased number of candidates invited to apply in recent draws, this is the third consecutive draw in which the minimum score selected has been under 470. Today’s draw indicates that IRCC remains committed to inviting an increased number of candidates to apply for permanent residence in the 2021 year.