This year is the second full year of the Express Entry system of processing permanent residence applications in Canada, which was launched by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC” – formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada “CIC”) in January 2015. There are some important developments and reminders for 2016 which we wish to bring to your attention. In addition, we highlight other recent developments with respect to provincial nominee and skilled worker programs and new entry requirements for Canada.
In light of the various developments and reminders we discuss in this newsletter, global mobility advisers, immigration counsel, and globally mobile employees coming to Canada need to stay informed and take action to foster proper compliance with the rules and mitigate the risk of penalties and other sanctions.
This newsletter covers several aspects of Canada’s work permit and immigration programs that employees coming into Canada and their employers need to consider to facilitate work in Canada and travel into and out of Canada.
Also, there are some important deadlines and due dates noted, which require attention and timely action by employers and/or employees.
Express Entry profiles are valid for 365 calendar days. Applicants who created profiles in early 2015, but who have not yet received an Invitation to Apply (“ITA”) for permanent residency (“PR”), should consider proactively withdrawing their current profile and creating a new one in order to avoid being excluded from the pool of candidates for any period of time. Consequently, the applicant is always in the pool and eligible for a draw. (For prior coverage of the Express Entry program, see Flash International Executive Alert 2014-105, November 21, 2014.)
1. Corporate Stream: This stream is directed toward established international corporations looking to expand into Ontario, or to buy an existing business in the province. Up to five (5) “key staff’ of the foreign corporation can be nominated by the OINP.4
In order to qualify, foreign corporations must:
Requirements for the key staff seeking nomination:
2. Entrepreneur Stream: This stream is directed toward foreign entrepreneurs (owners, or senior managers) and can support the nomination of up to two business partners.5 The minimum investment required is C$500,000 outside of the Greater Toronto Area (“GTA”) and for the ICT/Digital Communications Sector (anywhere in Ontario), or C$1 million inside the GTA. Entrepreneurs and/or business partners are required to fund at least the minimum investment. External financing plans from recognized banks, or an institutional investor, can be relied upon to fund the investment beyond the minimum.
Each entrepreneur and business partner has to have a minimum amount of business experience, must hold a minimum of 33-percent equity in the business, and the investment must have the effect of creating at least two new jobs for Canadian permanent residents or citizens per nominee.
Applicants to the Entrepreneur Stream can submit an ‘Expression of Interest’ (“EOI”) to the OINP, and are ranked based on a point system, which has five selection factors. The highest ranked applicants (out of a maximum 160 points) will receive an Invitation to Apply to be nominated under the Stream. Draws from the pool of interested applicants will occur in 120-day intervals.
In both categories, there are a number of investment opportunities that are excluded from consideration (e.g., existing franchises in the GTA). Each involve multi-step processes and the requirement to fulfill a Performance Agreement.
The British Columbia PNP is expected to re-open both the Skills Immigration and Express Entry British Columbia categories in early 2016. It is anticipated that further information on program requirements will become available soon. British Columbia is expected to create a new points-based intake system to prioritize high-impact applicants and help occupations and skills to be aligned with British Columbia’s labor market needs. (For prior coverage, see GMS Flash Alert 2015-106, September 9, 2015.)
In October 2015, the British Columbia government introduced Bill 39, the Provincial Immigration Programs Act. If passed, this Act will introduce new inspection authority to assess applications or determine compliance with the Act. The Ontario Immigration Act was passed in May 2015; it is not yet known when it will become law, although this is expected shortly. The new Act will give the OINP broad powers of inspection to establish compliance by employers and applicants with statements made in support of applications.
As of January 4, 2016, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program has resumed intake of new paper-based applications, after the temporary pause in processing which began on November 16, 2015.
The Alberta PNP intake is due to start on January 27, 2016. The Alberta PNP paused its intake of applications in August 2015.
As of January 5, 2016, the application process for the Quebec Skilled Worker is online.6 Applicants who are in Quebec as temporary residents, or who have a validated offer of employment in Quebec, can now apply. All other applicants may apply during the next intake period (January 18 - March 31, 2016). According to recent guidelines issued by Quebec’s Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Diversité et de l'Inclusion (MIDI), candidates have until January 25, 2016, to create their account in the secure space “Mon projet Québec.” After this date, it will not be possible to create a new account for the upcoming application intake period. Furthermore, between January 26 and February 15, 2016, candidates who have a Mon projet Québec account may access it to complete the application for a Quebec Selection Certificate/certificat de selection du Québec (CSQ).
Canadian Permanent Residents must carry and present their valid PR card or Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) – as well as a valid passport – when entering Canada by commercial carrier.7 As processing times can be in excess of five months for PR card renewals, employees may need to consider applying for a PRTD to facilitate travel. Starting on March 15, 2016, Electronic Travel Authorization (“eTA”) will be required for all visa-exempt non-U.S. nationals entering Canada as foreign nationals for work or other temporary purposes.8 Applicants approved for Permanent Residence but have not yet activated their Confirmation of Permanent Residence, must obtain an eTA to allow entry after March 15, 2016, if they are not yet granted PR status by that time. (For prior coverage, see GMS Flash Alert 2015-058, April 30, 2015.)
Trends and Observations Regarding Express Entry
Things to Consider
1 To learn more, click here.
2 For further information, click here.
3 For further information, click here.
4 For additional information, click here.
6 For additional information, click here.
7 To learn more, click here.
8 To learn more, click here.
9 To learn more, click here.
10 To learn more, click here.
Please note KPMG LLP (U.S.), the U.S. member firm of KPMG International, does not offer immigration services.
This article is excerpted, with permission, from “Canadian Permanent Residence – 2016 Forecast,” in e-Alert (2016/1), a publication of the KPMG Law LLP, a KPMG International member firm in Canada
For assistance with immigration-related matters pertaining to Canada, please contact your local qualified immigration counsel*, or the following immigration professional with the KPMG International member firm in Canada:
Howard Greenberg, Partner-Immigration, KPMG Law, Canada
Tel.: +1-416-943-0288 x224
* KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not provide any immigration services.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Canada.
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