Canada holds two Express Entry within five days

Two new Express Entry draws occurred in less than a week.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) held an Express Entry draw inviting 3,232 to apply for permanent residence yesterday, five days after sending out 668 invitations to candidates with provincial nominations last Friday.

The March 23 draw exclusively invited Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates with a minimum required Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) of 467.

The March 18 Express Entry draw, on the other hand, specifically targeted Provincial Nominee candidates. The minimum required CRS for that draw was 720.

Canada has issued 22, 600 invitations to apply (ITA’s) and held seven Express Entry draws so far this year.

The fact that IRCC held two draws so close together illustrates Canada’s commitment to meeting the immigration targets announced in the 2020-2022 immigration levels plan, despite the special measures put in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Canada introduces program to fast-track study permit processing from Nigeria

The number of Nigerian international students studying in Canada is increasing every year, and now Canada is introducing a new pilot program intended to help expedite the study permit application process.

The Nigeria Student Express (NSE) pilot is for Nigerians who have been accepted to a Canadian post-secondary institution, according to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Eligible candidates need to have been accepted to a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree program, or a post-graduate diploma course.

Canada is aiming to shorten study permit processing for Nigerians from an average of eight weeks to 20 days through the NSE.

Canadian government can now verify how many days immigrants and visitors stay in the country

Canada’s federal immigration ministry has been able to track the movements of travellers entering and leaving the country by land since February 2019.

The number of days a foreign national stays in the country is relevant to applications for work permits, study permits, visitor visas, permanent residence status, and Canadian citizenship.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been able to obtain traveller information from the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) through the Entry/Exit Program.

When travellers cross the U.S. border from Canada, their basic information is sent to CBSA in the form of an “exit report.”

IRCC can now access traveller information for “the administration and enforcement of immigration and citizenship programs,” according to the CBSA webpage.

Basic information collected at the border includes:

  • Full name;
  • Date of birth;
  • Nationality or citizenship;
  • Sex; and
  • Travel document information including type, number and issuing country.

The Entry/Exit Program is expected to be extended to air travel in June 2020.

What is the purpose of the Entry/Exit Program?

IRCC will have access to traveller information in order to verify residency requirements such as those in applications for Canadian citizenship and permanent residence, the government webpage says.

They will also be able to tell whether foreign nationals have overstayed their allowable period of admission to Canada.

The information will facilitate IRCC’s investigations into a person’s entitlement to a Canadian travel document, as well as support investigations of possible fraud related to immigration, citizenship, passport and travel document programs.

In addition, IRCC will be able to verify that sponsors and partners reside in Canada for inland family class programs.

IRCC will also verify whether or not a refugee claimant came to Canada using their travel documents.

How will the information be used

IRCC says entry and exit information will be used for application types across all lines of business in immigration, citizenship and investigations.

Immigration

Temporary residence

Information gathered through the Entry/Exit Program can be used to determine if a foreign national has previously exceeded their period of stay in Canada.

IRCC will use entry and exit information for the following temporary residence application types:

  • temporary resident visas;
  • temporary resident permits;
  • visitor records;
  • work permits and work permit extensions;
  • study permits and study permit extensions; and
  • electronic travel authorizations (eTAs).

“As air carriers begin sharing their data (2020 to 2021), overstay indicators will begin appearing within the Entry/Exit search results for temporary residents who have overstayed their allowable time in Canada,” the IRCC webpage says. “This will prompt IRCC officers to make an informed determination on select temporary residence applications.”

Permanent residence

IRCC will use entry and exit information for the following permanent residence application types:

  • permanent resident cards;
  • permanent resident travel documents;
  • overseas refugees; and
  • family class sponsorships.

Data collected for these application types will track the periods of time immigration candidates spend in and outside Canada. Applicants must be in Canada for at least 730 days in every five year period in order to qualify for permanent residence.

Exit and entry data will be used to assist the IRCC in checking for the potential loss of permanent resident status, and misrepresentation. It will also assist in verifying foreign police certificates.

Inland refugee claims

IRCC will use entry and exit data to investigate the travel history of in-Canada asylum seekers, and verify information provided by claimants.

Records that show inconsistencies on the claimant’s application could prompt further investigation.

Citizenship

Those applying for Canadian citizenship must also demonstrate physical presence in the county for at least 1095 days within the five years immediately preceding the date of application.

The information will also be used to assist in cases where Canadian citizenship may be revoked.

Investigations

Citizenship revocation investigations

Entry and exit data will be used to determine whether or not the candidate has made a false statement about their residence in Canada for the purpose of acquiring citizenship.

Passport investigations

The information will be used to facilitate investigations into an individual’s entitlement to Canadian passport services. Data may be used to validate travel history, and may be used to determine whether a passport may be refused or revoked in case of misuse, or fraud.

Traveller rights

Travellers have the right to request a copy of their personal travel history. If they find an error in their file, they may ask CBSA to correct it.

If a request to correct travel information has been made, IRCC officers are notified and are able to obtain the most up-to-date information from CBSA.

IRCC is required to comply with the Privacy Act. Officers are not authorized to disclose entry and exit information unless it is necessary for the administration of the Immigration Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and is covered under a memorandum of understanding or similar information-sharing agreements.

CBSA has information-sharing agreements with the Royal Canadian Mountain Police (RCMP), Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Processing time for applications to federal Self-Employed Persons Program now down to 22 months

The processing time for applications to Canada’s Federal Self-Employed Persons Program is now down to 22 months — a major improvement from the seven years it was taking just a few years ago.   

The Self-Employed Persons Program allows eligible individuals with relevant experience in athletics or arts and culture to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

The program covers a wide range of professions, from practising artists and athletes to behind-the-scenes occupations such as choreographers, set designer, coaches and trainers.

Librarians, archivists, conservators and curators, and freelance journalists are also eligible, among numerous other professions.

Experience is considered relevant if the candidate is a performer who has taken part in cultural activities or athletics at a world-class level or he/she has been a self-employed person in cultural activities or athletics.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says candidates are considered “world-class” if they are known internationally or are performing at the highest levels of their discipline.

Candidates must also be capable of making what the Government of Canada considers “a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life” of the country.

The significance of one’s contribution is determined by the visa officer processing the individual’s file and IRCC says it “becomes relative” when applicants meet the experience requirements and there is a reasonable expectation that they will be self-employed.

“For example, a music teacher destined for a small town can be considered significant at the local level,” IRCC explains. “Likewise, a freelance journalist who contributes to a Canadian publication will meet the test.”

IRCC says the inclusion of this requirement is intended to deter “frivolous applications” and should not bar qualified self-employed persons from applying.

Interested candidates must also meet or exceed a minimum score under the program’s selection criteria in order to be considered for immigration as a self-employed person.

For complete details on eligibility requirements for the federal Self-Employed Persons Program, visit this dedicated page.

Quebec will impose a test of values ​​on immigration candidates

As of January 1, 2020, foreign nationals and their family members who wish to settle in Québec will have to pass a test on the democratic values ​​and values ​​of Quebec as defined by the province’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

The information concerning the test of values ​​was published today in the Gazette officielle du Québec.

Candidates must “correctly answer a minimum of 75% of the evaluation questions” that they must complete within 60 days of submitting their application for a Québec Selection Certificate (CSQ).

If they do not reach this threshold of 75%, they can resume the test. Candidates who fail a second time may choose to participate in a course administered by the Quebec Department of Immigration.

Dependents under the age of 18 or persons with a medical condition will be exempted from this certification process.

Details on the type of questions that will be asked in the exam, the evaluation criteria or how candidates can prepare for the test have not been provided.

Those selected by Quebec must then submit an application for permanent residence to the federal government, which conducts a medical and criminal background check.

In order to be considered for a CSQ, the first step is to submit a declaration of interest via the online platform Arrima.

The ministry reviews Expressions of Interest and invites candidates who meet specific criteria based on the needs of the province’s labor market to apply for a CSQ.

The government of the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) of the province came to power in October 2018 with the promise of temporarily reducing the number of immigrants admitted to Quebec and imposing a test of values ​​and skills in French.

The CAQ said that these measures are necessary to ensure a better integration of immigrants into Quebec society.