How has Canadian immigration law changed in 2016 and what changes to immigration law are on the horizon?
Express Entry Program
The Express Entry program began in January, 2015. It is used to manage immigration applications for permanent residence for those in the federal skilled workers program, federal skilled trades program and Canadian Experience Class. If you created a profile in 2015, you must create a new one once the original one has expired. One of the lesser known details about the Express Entry System is that candidates can be recruited through Provincial Nominee Programs or PNP to all provinces except for Quebec. Each province or territory has its own criteria for the PNP. To be nominated under a territory’s PNP, you must meet the region’s requirements and the minimum criteria for Express Entry for the national program. The provincial and territorial entry requirements change from time to time based on what groups they are actively recruiting, such as students, investors, skilled laborers and semi-skilled laborers. Consult with a Calgary immigration lawyer to find out whether you are eligible to enter the country through Alberta’s PNP or should apply through one of the national immigration streams.
In 2016, Canada doubled the number of visa applications for sponsored parents and grandparents, from 5,000 to 10,000 per year.Another change to the family immigration rules is the addition of points to someone’s Express Entry Application if they already have siblings in Canada. The maximum age of dependents being brought to Canada has been increased back to the old limit of 22. This makes it easier for immigrants to bring their teenagers to Canada, including those old enough to attend university.
The Canadian Experience Class Program is changing to make it easier for international students who attend Canadian universities to become Canadian students. And their time in university in Canada will count toward their Canadian Citizenship residency time credit. The 50% credit for time spent in Canada for international students is a restoration of the prior standard before it was eliminated by the conservative government. Documentation and Paperwork Requirements Extensive proof of actual residence in Canada will be required to show that applicants were physically present in Canada for at least half the year each of four years within the six year qualifying period. Applicants between 14 and 64 must meet basic language and knowledge requirements. One change that many are unaware of is the need of adult applicants to declare their intent to live in Canada once they become citizens.
One of the changes to Canadian immigration law regards who can provide representation or advice to potential immigrants. Only Calgary immigration lawyers, notaries, paralegals and other Canadian legal professionals like members of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council may provide citizenship applicants with legal representation or advice. This requirement came about in response to many third party intermediaries seeking to make money off those applying for Canadian citizenship while failing to fully understand the law, taking money from the desperate in return for filling out forms incorrectly or filling out forms fraudulently in order to secure visas that were sometimes later revoked. Always seek the advice of an experienced Calgary immigration lawyer when you want to apply for a visa or residency.