Canada and U.S. Immigration Update by Melissa M. Babel
As we head into the 'dog days' of summer and closer to fall, many of the trends we have discussed in previous issues of this publication continue to be relevant. The Canada-US border remains largely closed to non-essential travel until at least September 21, 2020, processing times are high across many application streams, and many embassies, consulates and Visa Application Centres remain closed or with limited scope of service. Nonetheless, many application processes, in particular those that attract candidates already living and working in Canada and the U.S. continue unabated.
Canada: This month I had the pleasure of speaking to my friend and colleague Mark Loeffler about trends in Canadian immigration and how they may impact our economy, in particular the housing market, in the short and medium term. The link to the complete interview on the Youtube channel 'The Mark Loeffler Experience' is below.
USA:After many months of warnings about the possible furlough of up to 70% of the staff of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"), it was announced this week that the furlough will not go ahead as anticipated August 30, 2020. The agency expects to maintain operations through the end of fiscal year 2020. In the press release from August 25, 2020, USCIS indicates that anticipated operational impacts include: "increased wait times for pending case inquiries with the USCIS Contact Center, longer case processing times and increased adjudication time for aliens adjusting status or naturalizing." For the full announcement, please see: https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-averts-furlough-of-nearly-70-of-workforce
We look forward to seeing you soon in our new offices at 1300 Cornwall Road, suite 201, Oakville, Ontario.
In August we have seen four (4) rounds of invitations under the Express Entry system ranging across all categories.
On August 5, 2020, IRCC conducted the second 'open' draw (no category specified) of 2020. Similar to what we saw in July, this round of invitations opened a pathway to permanent residence for Federal Skilled Workers, who have been excluded from most draws since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with IRCC limiting invitations to those in the anadian Experience Class and Provincial Nominee programs. This round saw 3900 invitations were issued to candidates with CRS scores of 476.
The following day, on August 6, 2020, IRCC conducted a draw for the Federal Skilled Trades, 250 invitations were issued to applicants in this category with CRS scores of 415 and above. The Federal Skilled Trades category includes applicants with skills in the listed trades, including the construction trades, maintenance and equipment operation traders, manufacturing supervisors, chefs, cooks, butchers and bakers.
On August 19, 2020, 2020 IRCC conducted a draw exclusive to the Provincial Nominee Class and issued 600 invitations to candidates with a CRS points of 771 and higher. The following day, August 20, 2020 IRCC conducted a draw exclusive to the Canadian Experience Class and issued 3300 invitations to candidates with a CRS points of 454 and higher.
Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program ("OINP) has a busy August
The Ontario Provincial Nominee Program ("OINP") has had a very active August. In a repeat performance from July, the OINP opened and closed its Employer Job Offer: International Student Stream on the same day, August 19, 2020. The program was highly anticipated by Ontario employers, and had been closed for many months. Within hours of opening, the program had received its full internal registration limit of 1250 applications.
On August 26, 2020 the OINP issued targeted notifications of interest to candidates in the Express Entry pool who qualify for the Human Capital Priorities Stream. The list of occupations that were included in the targeted draw include a number of professions in the financial sector, business management consultants, registered nurses, allied primary health practitioners and dietitians.
Just today, August 27, 2020, the OINP issued 21 invitations to applicants in the Entrepreneur Stream. This program is for entrepreneurs from outside Canada interested in starting a new business or buying an existing business in Ontario.