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Canada Immigration Update

Babel Immigration Law celebrates our Three Year Anniversary! 

We are celebrating three years in business; three years of believing in a vision to provide high quality boutique immigration legal services to Canadian and US businesses, their employees and their families. And we have been busy! We have added staff, locations and practice areas.

More than two of those years have been during a global pandemic, which has taught us many lessons about the overarching importance of having secure immigration status, and the impact on families and businesses of interruption to international travel. Immigration is at the heart of family reunification and it keeps our economy running.

We are enjoying our physical office space in Oakville, and have room to meet with clients in Toronto (First Canadian Place), in the heart of Mississauga's business community, and downtown Hamilton. 

We couldn't be happier with the continued growth, and want to say a huge thank you to our clients, colleagues and friends who have support this growth over the past years. 

Here's to many more! 


Post-Graduate Work Permit Holders - Still no Extension Policy 

In April 2022, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced that Canada was going to extend post-graduation work permits for recent international graduates and for those whose permits already have or will expire this year, and that the extension would provide for an additional open work permit for 18 months. At that time, the Minister indicated that details were going to be made available 'in the weeks ahead.' This announcement was re-iterated in June and expanded to include those whose work permits expired between September-December 2021, with an indication that the program would open to applicants in early July. As of today, this program has not been announced, and there is no mechanism for post-graduate work permit holders to apply for the additional open work permit for 18 months. 

The impact of the delay in activating this program is being felt by employers and foreign students alike. It is not yet clear whether individuals who have left Canada will be included, nor whether unlawful work done while waiting for the new work permit will be forgiven. 

To read more:

US Immigration Update 

USCIS Extends COVID-19 related Flexibilities 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is extending certain COVID-19-related flexibilities through October 23, 2022. Under these flexibilities, USCIS considers a response received within 60 calendar days after the due date for requests or notices issued between March 1, 2020 and October 23, 2022 for the following types of requests: 

  • Requests for Evidence (RFE)
  • Continuation to Request Evidence
  • Notices of Intent to Deny
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke
  • Notices of Intent to Rescind 
  • Notices of Intent to Terminate regional centers
  • Notices of Intent to Withdraw Temporary Protected Status and 
  • Motions to Reopen certain N-400 application 

To read more:

USCIS Updates Guidance for O-1 Petitions with a Focus on STEM Fields  

On July 22, 2022 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services updated its policy manual to provide further guidance on supporting evidence for a petition for an O-1A nonimmigrant of extraordinary ability with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. 

An O-1 visa is a nonimmigrant (temporary) worker visa granted to an alien of possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. This additional guidance will help petitioners and applicants to strengthen their requests for this highly discretionary work permit, and also adds transparency to the assessment process by USCIS. 

To read more:

Express Entry Update July 2022 - We're Back! 

In July 2022, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship resumed draws from the Express Entry pool of candidates. The first all-category draw was on July 6, 2022. 1500 invitations to apply were issued to candidates in the Express Entry pool with the minimum CRS score of 557 or higher. A second draw occurred on July 20, 2022 with 1750 invitations were issued to applicants with CRS points of 542 or higher in all categories.

While it is wonderful news to again see applicants under our main economic immigration categories (Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades) be invited to apply for permanent residence, we are so far only seeing very small numbers of applicants be invited, and the CRS scores required to be invited remain very high. A highly skilled applicant with CRS points in the mid 400s, who would previously have been considered to be quite competitive in the Express Entry system, is likely to need to continue to wait for an invitation for some time.

As of July 18, 2022 there are just over 60,000 applicants in the pool with points between 451-500. If the Minister continues to invite 1500-1750 people every two weeks, it could still be a long time before many highly qualified candidates are invited to apply. 

Candidates who are waiting for invitations to apply, or relying on a future Open Bridging Work Permit (filed after a PR application is submitted) are encouraged to maintain their temporary status while waiting to be invited to apply. 
To read more:
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