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Canada Immigration Update

IRCC announces new measures to address Canada's Labour shortage 

On April 22, 2022 the Minister of Immigration Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced that Express Entry draws will resume in early July 2022. This follows comments made that candidates could expect to see invitations in 'spring' 2022. The anticipated re-start on the issuance of invitations to apply is welcome new to many. This comes after what will be nearly 10 months of no draws for Canadian Experience Class applicants and over 2.5 years of no draws under the Federal Skilled Worker and Skilled Trades categories. 

The Minister also announced a new temporary policy that will give recent international graduates an opportunity to stay in Canada longer. Starting at some point in 'summer 2022' post-graduate work permit holders whose work permits expire between January and December 2022 will be eligible to request an additional open work permit for up to 18 months. No specific instructions have been released on this planned program. There have been calls for the Minister to expand eligibility for those whose work permits expired in the Fall 2021. We await further instructions on this program from IRCC. 

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New partnership to help Ukrainians come to Canada 

On April 20, 2022, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced a new Ukraine2Canada Travel Fund, which is being launched in partnership with a number of local settlement organizations and Air Canada. 

The program allows Canadians and Canadian companies to donate Aeroplan points to the Travel Fund. There is also a mechanism for donating cash, with the goal of bringing at least 10,000 Ukrainians and their families on flights to Canada. 

Ukrainians and accompanying family members with valid Canadian travel documents who have been approved for travel to Canada are eligible to apply. 

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US Immigration Update 

New Risk-Based Approach for Conditional Permanent Residence Interviews 

On April 7, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a policy update to adopt a risk-based approach when waiving interviews for conditional permanent residents who have petitioned to remove the conditions on their permanent resident status. This new approach is expected to increase efficiencies and processing times, while maintaining a focus on identity fraud and national security.

This will be a relief to many couples who applied for permanent residence before they were married for two full years. 

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Temporary Protected Status for Ukraine and Sudan  

On April 18, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced an 18 month designation of Ukraine and Sudan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States. Eligibility under the Ukraine designation requires continuous residence in the United States since April 11, 2022 and continuous physical presence in the US signed the designation.

To be eligible under the Sudan designation, individuals must demonstrate their continuous residence in the United States since March 1, 2022 and continuous physical presence in the U.S. since the designation date. 

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Uniting for Ukraine 

On April 21, 2022, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced United for Ukraine, as a key step towards fulfilling President Biden's commitment to welcome Ukrainians fleeing war in their country. The program provides a pathway for Ukrainians and their immediate family members to apply to travel to and remain in the US for a two year temporary period. Uniting for Ukraine requires a supported in the U.S. who will provide financial support for the individual/family during their stay in the U.S. Temporary work authorization will also be available. 

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Express Entry Update April 2022 

There have been no draws from the Express Entry pool for Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Workers or Federal Skilled Trades applicants in April 2022. This marks another month without draws from the main economic immigration categories.

With the Minister's announcement this month, there is growing anticipation about long-awaited invitations to apply and a resolution for so many whose goal it is to apply for permanent residence. However, it is not clear how frequent the draws will be, nor the level of points that will be considered 'competitive' and result in an invitation to apply. It is also not clear whether invitations will be issued in all categories equally, or if there will be a continued focus on in-Canada applicants. 

The absence of draws from the Express Entry pool has created much uncertainty for foreign workers in Canada and their employers, as many would have been planning a transition to permanent residence in the short/medium term. Particularly affected are the international students who hold post-graduate work permits and other open work permit holders. 

Employers and candidates would do well to consider refreshing their profiles under Express Entry and also considering whether it may be beneficial to extend existing work permits and/or look for employer-specific work permit options for employees on open work permits, who may not benefit from the points awarded for Arranged Employment. It may still be critical to have access to those points in order to have an expectation of being invited to apply for permanent residence.' 

After many months of no draws, the Express Entry pool is overflowing with highly qualified applicants waiting for an invitation to apply. We expect that when the draws resume, unless significant numbers of invitations are issued in these classes, that the CRS points required to recieve an invitation to apply will be higher than we have seen in several years. 
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