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May 1, 2017 – Canada has abolished the family sponsorship immigration condition that required sponsored spouses and partners to live with their sponsor for two years to keep their Canada immigration status.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada says the move is being taken to tackle concerns with many people choosing to remain in abusive relationships because they are afraid of losing their permanent resident status.

The rule change applies to any family sponsorship immigration candidate previously subjected to the previous requirement and all new spouses and partners being sponsored as permanent residents.
Basic Requirements For Family Sponsorship

To be a sponsor:

You must be 18 years of age or older.
You and the sponsored relative must sign a sponsorship agreement that commits you to provide financial support for your relative, if necessary. This agreement also requires the person becoming a permanent resident must make every effort to support her or himself.
You must provide financial support for a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner for three years from the date they become a permanent resident.
You must provide financial support for a dependent child for 10 years, or until the child turns 25, whichever comes first.

Two-year Rule Abolished for Spousal Sponsorship in Canada immigration authorities say 100,000 immigrants have been subject to the rule since it was introduced by the former Conservative government in 2012.

“We’re doing away with a measure that could have made a bad situation worse by possibly making people feel they needed to stay in abusive situations just to keep their status in Canada,” said Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen.

“Removing conditional permanent residence is another example of the government’s commitment for family reunification to make it easier for immigrants to build successful lives in Canada”.

The previous rule targeted couples who had been together for two years or less and had no children in common.
Canada Family Sponsorship: Who Can Be Sponsored?

Spouse.
Common law partner.
Conjugal partner.
Dependent children.
Parents.
Grandparents – (Additional conditions apply)
Brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces, granddaughters or grandsons who are orphaned, under 18 years of age and not married or in a common-law relationship.
Another relative of any age or relationship, but only under specific conditions.
Accompanying relatives of the above (for example, spouse, partner and dependent children).

The move was meant to deter people from using sham marriages or relationships to immigrate to Canada.

Although spouses and partners who were victims of abuse were on paper exempt from the rule, in reality many felt forced to stay in relationships to keep their status.

This imbalance in status left the sponsored person in a vulnerable position, many stakeholders said.

An IRCC statement said: “Even though there was an exception to the condition for people in such situations, it is possible a victim may not have been aware of it or may have chosen to stay in the abusive relationship for a number of reasons.

“Those could include the fear of coming forward, the perceived challenge of proving the abuse or neglect, fear of needing to continue to live with their alleged abuser, or fear of having their status revoked and being removed from Canada if the exception was not granted.”

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News Release

From Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

May 3, 2017—Ottawa, ON – The Government of Canada has published regulatory changes to increase the maximum age of a dependent child which will allow more families to stay together. This change showcases the Government’s commitment to family reunification.

The new age limit of “under 22” will come into effect this fall, on October 24, 2017, raising it from the current “under 19” requirement. The increased age will apply to new applications for all immigration programs under Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, including for refugees. Children who are 22 years of age or older and who rely on their parents due to a physical or mental health condition will continue to be considered dependent children.

A higher age limit will have more positive social and cultural impacts by keeping families together. It will also better address humanitarian and safety concerns by enabling more family members of refugees to qualify as dependants. Increasing the age limit will also help to enhance Canada’s economy by making it a destination of choice for skilled immigrants who want to keep their families together.

Family reunification is a key immigration commitment of the Government of Canada. The Government has made a number of important changes to uphold this commitment. Regulations were recently published to eliminate the conditional permanent residence measure in recognition that most marriages are genuine and to reduce the vulnerability of spouses in the immigration program. Access to the parent and grandparent program was improved with changes to the 2017 application process to make it fairer and more transparent. In 2016, the number of parent and grandparent sponsorship applications accepted each year for intake was doubled to 10 000 applications, and the Government announced processing times for most sponsored spouses and partners would be reduced to 12 months.

Quotes

“Raising the age of dependants lets more families stay together. This will bring economic and social gains to our country as it enhances our attractiveness as a destination of choice for immigrants and refugees.”

– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

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Ministerial instructions

As a result of public policy considerations as determined in Ministerial Instructions, we may refuse to process your Labour Market Impact Assessment application for:

Low-wage positions in accommodation and food services and retail trade sectors

Low-wage positions in Accommodation and Food Services and Retail Trade sectors (except for those with specific Yellowknife postal codes):

  • in an economic region with an unemployment rate of six percent or higher (as defined by the Program-specific Statistics Canada data used by Service Canada for the purposes of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program)
  • in the Accommodation and Food Services sector (North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code 72) or Retail Trades sector (NAICS codes 44-45)
  • classified under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes 6541, 6611, 6622, 6711, 6721, 6731, 6732, 6733, 7611 and 8612
Yellowknife postal codes

Low-wage positions at or above the current cap

Low-wage positions, if you are at or above the current cap on the proportion of low-wage temporary foreign workers for the same positions at the same work location.

High-wage occupations in the province of Alberta

If the position you are looking to fill with a temporary foreign worker is included in the list of occupations, we will not process your application. The Government of Alberta’s Employer Liaison Services helps employers learn about options for hiring Albertans and Canadians first. For more information and assistance, contact Alberta Labour.

List of occupations

Management occupations
NumberNational Occupational Classification CodeTitle
1 0112 Human resources managers
2 0211 Engineering managers
Business, finance, and administration occupations
NumberNational Occupational Classification CodeTitle
3 1225 Purchasing agents and officers
4 1523 Production logistics co-ordinators
Natural and applied sciences and related occupations
NumberNational Occupational Classification CodeTitle
5 2131 Civil engineers
6 2132 Mechanical engineers
7 2133 Electrical and electronic engineers
8 2212 Geological and mineral technologists and technicians
9 2231 Civil engineering technologists and technicians
10 2233 Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technicians
11 2261 Non-destructive testers and inspection technicians
Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations
NumberNational Occupational Classification CodeTitle
12 7202 Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
13 7231 Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
14 7237 Welders and related machine operators
15 7241 Electricians (except industrial and power system)
16 7242 Industrial electricians
17 7251 Plumbers
18 7271 Carpenters
19 7301 Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
20 7302 Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
21 7311 Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
22 7312 Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
23 7322 Motor vehicle body repairers
24 7511 Transport truck drivers
Occupations in manufacturing and utilities
NumberNational Occupational Classification CodeTitle
25 8222 Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling and services
26 8232 Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers
27 8412 Oil and gas well drilling and related workers and services operators
28 8615 Oil and gas drilling, servicing and related labourers
29 9232 Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators

In-home Caregiver positions

In-home Caregiver positions, where there is a live-in requirement, that:

  • are classified under the NAICS as a Private Household (NAICS 814)
  • are classified under the NOC codes 3012, 3233, 4411 or 4412
  • have been advertised and indicated on the Labour Market Impact Assessment application as being sought to fill positions, where there is a live-in requirement

Exceptions to this refusal to process

High medical needs clients

If you are seeking to hire an in-home caregiver with a mandatory live-in requirement for high medical needs clients (e.g. people with disabilities, seniors, individuals with chronic or terminal illnesses), you must submit either:

Exceptional circumstances

You must submit the completed Rationale For Possible Exemption for Exceptional Circumstances section of the Schedule G – In-home Caregivers (EMP5601). The rationale must include:

  • a clear explanation of why live-in care is required
  • how frequently the situation necessitating live-in care occurs
  • to what degree you can influence this frequency
  • a description of what other options were explored in order to meet the need for care and why they were deemed not viable
  • how you will ensure fair working conditions for the in-home caregiver, despite the live-in requirement

Previous revocation

We may refuse to process your Labour Market Impact Assessment application for any position if you have had an application revoked in the past two years for having provided false, misleading or inaccurate information.

Processing fee

You will not be charged the processing fee, if we had to refuse to process your Labour Market Impact Assessment application or if you are an ineligible employer. In addition, a letter will be sent to you with the reason why your application was not processed.

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The Government of Canada is releasing a new spousal sponsorship application kit on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website on December 15, 2016. The new application kit will make it easier and faster to apply through the spousal sponsorship program at 12:00 p.m. (noon) Eastern Standard Time. As part of the new application process, applicants will not have to provide certain information up front, such as medical examination results.

The changes to the kit will include the following:

  • A new application kit for use by all spousal applicants. Applicants will no longer have to choose between two different kits depending on whether they live in Canada or outside Canada. All applicants will use the same application kit.

    Since some applicants may have already started filling out their application using the current kit, IRCC will continue to accept new applications using the current kit until January 31, 2017. After this date, only applications using the new kit will be accepted.

    Applicants are strongly encouraged to begin using the new kit, which is easier to use and understand, as soon as it is available on December 15, 2016.

  • To help clients through the application process, a brand new “Basic Guide” has been developed. This guide summarizes the applications process and gives clients a clear explanation of what they need to do to apply.

    If applicants need more detailed information, they can consult the “Complete Guide”, which has been improved. Right now, there are several different application guides for sponsors and applicants. These have been combined into one document that is shorter and easier to understand.

  • One new Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation form has been developed. Right now, the sponsor must complete a sponsorship evaluation form, and the sponsor and applicant may also complete either one or two additional relationship questionnaires, depending on whether the applicant lives in Canada or outside Canada. These will all be merged into one form to be completed by both the sponsor and the person they are sponsoring and will be the same for all spousal applicants.

  • To help clients make sure their application is complete, four new document checklists will be available, depending on who is being sponsored. These will replace the current 14 checklists. Applicants will select the appropriate checklist depending on who is being sponsored (i.e., a spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner or dependent child). The new checklists clearly summarize all the forms and documents that must be included with the application and will help applicants determine what specific information will be needed for their application.

    All new applications that are received using the new application kit must include all the required documents listed on the checklist. This will ensure more efficient and timely processing by eliminating the additional processing time that results from back-and-forth between IRCC and clients while the Department waits to receive required documents. If an application is received that does not have all the required forms and documents on the checklist, IRCC will not accept it for processing and will return the application to the applicant.

For a general overview of the changes, view this graphic.

Source: IRCC update

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Liberals Lift Visa Requirement for Mexicans

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the removal of visa requirements for Mexican citizens entering Canada. Trudeau instructed Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion in a mandate letter made public last Friday to lift the Mexican visa requirement.  It is expected this to take effect in March 2016.

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto said that Trudeau confirmed the commitment during a recent meeting with Canada's new prime minister at the G20 summit in Turkey.

The policy was imposed by the Conservative government in 2009 to reduce the number of Mexicans seeking asylum in Canada. The requirement had become a source of tension between the two countries.

According to Trudeau's mandate letter to Dion it is essential to "support the minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship in lifting the Mexican visa requirement." Another top priority is to "work with relevant ministers, including the ministers of international trade and environment and climate change, to prepare for the North American Leaders Summit in Canada."

The Mexican president also said he and Trudeau discussed the trilateral annual summit between the prime minister of Canada, and the presidents of Mexico and the U.S., which Canada was set to host by year's end.

Originally scheduled for February 2015, the summit was postponed indefinitely by the Conservative government. The decision to push back the summit came due to the looming general elections in Canada as well as a decision by the U.S. president on the pending approval of TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

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