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Canada Immigration Update

IRCC announces measures to support those affected by the situation in Ukraine

As part of the Government of Canada's response to the situation in Ukraine, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has taken the decision to prioritize a number of applications for Ukrainian/Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents and their family members. 

This action includes prioritizing citizenship grant applications for adoption, as well as permanent and temporary residence applications for people with a primary residence in Ukraine who want to reunite to travel with family, study, work or start a new life in Canada. Additionally, Ukrainian nationals currently in Canada as temporary residents can apply to extend their status as a visitor, student or worker. 

In addition, IRCC is established a dedicated service channel for Ukrainian enquiries by phone (613-321-4243) and through IRCC's webform using the keyword Ukraine2022. Urgent processing for travel documents, including issuing single-journey travel documents for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who do not have valid passports. 

IRCC will issue open work permits to Ukrainian visitors, workers and students who are currently in Canada and cannot go home, and will waive fees for certain travel and immigration documents. Further details of  these updates are expected to be released shortly. These measures also include increasing operational readiness in the region, including the use of mobile biometric collection kits, in anticipation of an increased volume of requests. 

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Canada announces 2022-2024 Levels Plan for Immigration

Minister of Immigration, Sean Fraser tabled the 2022-2024 Levels Plan in February. The stated goal of the plan is "to ensure Canada has the workers it needs to fill critical labour market gaps and support a strong economy into the future." To support this goal, Canada aims to welcome immigrants at a rate of 1% of Canada's population, including 431,645 permanent residents in 2022, 447,055 in 2023 and 451,000 in 2024. The plan also includes action to modernize Canada's immigration system, including reducing inventories and creating predictable processing times for applicants. Highlights of the plan include: 

  • Overall admissions of permanent residents of 1.14% of the Canadian population by 2024 
  • Economic Class immigrants will make up 60% of the total 
  • A focus on vulnerable populations including granting permanent residence to refugee claimants working in health care during the pandemic 
  • Support for global crises through humanitarian immigration to those facing persecution 
  • Talent retention for those already in Canada in, including applicants under the TR to PR pathway, launched in 2021

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US Immigration Update 

H-1B Cap Registrations for FY 2023 begin on Tuesday, March 1, 2022 

At noon EST On March 1, 2022, USCIS will begin accepting H-1B cap registrations for employment in FY 2023. Employers will have until noon EST on Friday, March 18, 2022 to register foreign nationals for this year's H-1B cap.

The H-1B program allows employers in the U.S. to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor's degree or higher in the specific specialty. H-1B specialty occupations may include fields such as architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law theology and the arts. 

The H-1B classification has an annual numerical limit (cap) of 65,000 new statuses/visas each fiscal year. An additional 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a master's degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education are exempt from the cap. 

Employers who are considering supporting eligible candidates in this hears H-1B cap registration process should prepare well in advance, and be prepared for possible technology slowdowns, as there is expected to be a high demand on the USCIS online filing system between March 1-18, 2022. 

USCIS introduced an electronic registration process for the H-1B cap in 2020, with the stated goal of streamlining processing. Once the registration process has closed, the H-1B selection process will be run by USCIS on properly submitted electronic registrations, and those who are selected from the registrants will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. 

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Express Entry Update February 2022 

There have been two draws from the Express Entry pool in February 2022. Both were for applicants in the Provincial Nominee Program. The first draw was on February 2, 2022 and saw 1070 invitations issued to applicants with CRS points of 674 or higher. The second draw was on February 16, 2022 and saw 1082 invitations issued to applicants with CRS points of 710 of higher. 

Minister Sean Fraser tabled the 2022-2024 Levels Plan in February and indicated that there will be a re-start to draws from the regular skilled economic streams 'in the near future.' 

The pool of Express Entry candidates has continued to grow throughout the Fall 2021 and Winter 2022. There have been no invitations issued to candidates in the Canadian Experience Class since September 2021, and no invitations issued to candidates in the Federal Skilled Worker or Federal Skilled Trades classes since March 2020.  Employers and individuals in Canada waiting for an invitation should strongly consider independent applications to extend temporary resident status in Canada while waiting for an invitation to apply. 

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program Update 

On February 24, 2022the Ontario Immigration Nominee Program issued Notifications of Interest to targeted candidates in the Express Entry system with comprehensive ranking systems scores between 455 and 600, whose IRCC profiles were created between February 22, 2022 and April 29, 2021.

Also on February 24, 2022, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program issued targeted notifications of interest to candidates who may qualify for Ontario's Express Entry Skilled Trades stream. 

On February 22, 2022, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program issued notifications of interest to candidates who may qualify for Ontario's Express Entry Human Capital Priorities stream. Candidates with a comprehensive ranking system score between 455 and 600 with work experience in the following National Occupations Codes were included in the targeted draw: 
  • NOC 0114 – Other administrative services managers
  • NOC 0122 – Banking, credit and other investment managers
  • NOC 0124 – Advertising, marketing and public relations managers
  • NOC 0125 – Other business services managers
  • NOC 0211 – Engineering managers
  • NOC 0311 – Managers in health care
  • NOC 0601 – Corporate sales managers
  • NOC 0631 – Restaurant and food service managers
  • NOC 0711 – Construction managers
  • NOC 0731 – Managers in transportation
  • NOC 0911 – Manufacturing managers
  • NOC 1121 – Human resources professionals
  • NOC 1122 – Professional occupations in business management consulting
  • NOC 2161 – Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries
  • NOC 3012 – Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
  • NOC 3211 – Medical laboratory technologists
  • NOC 3231 – Opticians
  • NOC 3233 – Licensed practical nurses

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