In May, 2016, there have been several updates regarding Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) operating procedures and two (2) Express Entry draws with higher score thresholds and a lower number of invitations issued.
The list below summarizes the changes as well as the potential impact on applications submitted to IRCC:
i. On May 2nd, IRCC has provided new instructions on how names are recorded or changed on a citizenship certificate. Specifically, the instructions have now been removed from the IM 1 Manual (Procedures for Establishing Name Records in CIC Systems), and is substituted by a new web link accessible by clicking here. This continues IRCC trend in replacing Immigration manuals available online and providing a web-based summary on its enhanced website. The updated instructions provide a great opportunity for applicants with two-part names (i) transliterations, and (ii) names which indicate a familiar relationship, to review how to correctly apply for Citizenship applications.
ii. On May 6th, IRCC issued 799 invitations under Express Entry for candidates meeting a Comprehensive Ranking System score of at least 534 points in the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian Experience Class and Provincial Nominee Program categories.
iii. On May 12th, IRCC had issued a program delivery update to the medical instructions for excessive demand on health and social services. The changes pertain specifically as to how assessments are conducted in cases involving special education services and the cost threshold for health and social services. The focus of such assessments will be on diagnostic and behavioural indicators compared to the baseline education needs of other students rather than focusing on cost assessments as is the norm for other type of medical inadmissibility cases. The new instructions are targeted to those applicants requiring special education services, including school-aged children diagnosed with autism, deafness, legal blindness, intellectual disabilities or other significant behaviour or psychiatric disorders.
iv. On May 17th, IRCC issued clarifications on the definitions used in work permits issued for Charitable or religious work. The additional clarifications specify that it is not mandatory for a foreign worker to be part of, or share the beliefs of the particular community where they will work. A more generic definition of camp with a charitable purpose has also been provided, for work permit applications made by Camp counsellors.
v. On May 18th, IRCC issued 763 invitations under Express Entry for candidates meeting a Comprehensive Ranking System score of at least 484 points, in the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian Experience Class and Provincial Nominee Program categories.
vi. Also on May 18th, the Unique work situations category has been expanded to include work permits for interns with international organizations recognized under the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act. Specifically, embassies and consulates in Canada will now be able to apply for Open work permits to fill any intern positions available within their organizations. These work permits will be subject to the CAD$100 – Open Work Permit Holder Fee, but will be exempt from Offer of Employment requirement. In Quebec, such work permits will also be exempt from the Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) requirement.
vii. On May 26th, detailed instructions were issued regarding the processing of Permanent Residence (PR) applications from live-in caregivers. These instructions outline the roles and responsibilities of each office in the assessment of such applications. These instructions seek to clarify eligibility assessments, required documentation, admissibility, additional procedures for Quebec applicants, and final decisions. These instructions are designed to streamline the application process, and also highlight that incomplete applications will simply be returned, with no further action taken by IRCC. Currently, the live-in caregiver path to permanent residency takes an estimated 49 months in processing times.
viii. On a lighter note, also on May 26th, IRCC has issued an update regarding the clerk’s dress code for citizenship ceremonies. These instructions cover what type of robe the clerk can wear, as well as clothing underneath the robe.
ix. Lastly, on May 30th, clearer guidelines were issued with respect to applications for permanent residence from protected persons. Specifically officers are urged to use their discretion in allowing ample time for the applicant to provide information to a request, and to extend the time available for the applicant to attend a landing interview. Procedures now require that IRCC officers are to send a letter, should the principal applicant fail to attend landing interviews.
The month of May 2016 has seen several important updates referring to processing of PR applications. Additionally, compared to April 2016, the Express Entry rounds of invitations have shown that higher CRS scores are required, while at the same time lower number of invitations are issued. While PR options may seem to be more difficult to obtain, regulations regarding temporary entry seem to be more lax, such as in the case of interns working for foreign mission and other unique work situations.
Dale & Lessmann LLP invites you to contact our experienced Immigration Practice Group for further discussions on how these Canadian immigration updates might impact your temporary or permanent residency applications.