Winds of change keep blowing on Canadian immigration lands. In July 2012, we discussed several steps taken by the Federal government relating to the rules and processes applicable to temporary and permanent immigration applications. More changes have been announced in the recent months. These changes aim to allow more foreigners into Canada to meet growing labour shortages.
New Bridging Open Work Permits for certain Permanent Residence (“PR”) applicants
Since December 15, 2012, foreign nationals currently in Canada with a valid work permit and a PR application in process in one of the Federal Economic Programs, are now eligible for a Bridging Open Work Permit that will allow them to maintain their status and continue working in Canada until a final decision on their PR application is made.
This benefit was already in place for some foreign workers nominated under a Provincial Nominee Program and for applicants under one of the In-Canada Classes (such as Live-in Care Givers or Spouses and Common law partners of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident). In June 2012, it was extended to applicants destined for Québec and holding a Québec selection certificate.
With this recent change, all applicants can now benefit for this Open Work Permit allowing them to work for any employer in Canada and exempting their Canadian employer from the standard Labour Market Opinion process. Such permits will be valid for a period of one year, within which the PR applications should normally be finalized. They will be granted only if an application is filed (1) while the foreign national is in Canada, (2) he or she has a valid work permit expiring within four months and (3) a positive eligibility decision on the PR application has been issued.
Global Launch of Electronic Applications for Temporary Residents
Since December 15, 2012, applicants around the world have the option of submitting their application for temporary status online. This applies to temporary resident visas, study or work permits and visitor extensions, whether the applicant is already present in Canada or residing abroad. At present, the new “e-Apps” system is not mandatory. Until further notice, paper applications will still be accepted at the In-land Processing Center or at Canadian visa offices abroad.
In case an applicant does not meet the requirements to use the new system, he or she will be directed to a paper application at the time of preparation. At present, the system does not allow filing of Temporary Resident Permit applications (a special permit granted to overcome a medical or criminal inadmissibility ground).
This change should hopefully reduce processing times. But it is still too early to tell.