The HR Space: Canadian Immigration Process Changes

Author:Ms Isabelle Dongier
Profession:Fasken Martineau

The HR Space is edited by Louise Béchamp, Karen M. Sargeant and Brian P. Smeenk.

Winds of change keep blowing on Canadian immigration lands. The federal government has recently taken several steps to rationalize and centralize its operations. Here are some of the latest changes announced in May and June 2012, of interest to companies employing foreign workers in Canada:

Restructuring of the visa office network: This includes the closure of the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo, New York. It has been a major processing center for applications for visas, work permits, student permits and permanent residence status. Permanent residence applications are now sent to the Case Processing Pilot Office in Ottawa ("CPP-O"). Resident visa processing is now shared between other Canadian Consulates in the United States (New York, Los Angeles, Detroit and Seattle). Only two visa offices (New York and Los Angeles) will deal with all new study and work permit applications originating in the USA. Washington, D.C. will process applications for temporary resident permits, and rehabilitation applications to overcome inadmissibility based on health or criminal grounds. Another significant change allows holders of a work permit who reside in Canada but are from visa-required countries, to apply for their new visa by mail or courier at the CPP-O. They will no longer have to deal with a visa office outside of Canada. Centralization of Temporary Foreign Worker Units in Toronto, Ontario and Montreal. Effective July 1, 2012, the units at Vancouver, Calgary and Moncton are closing. Requests from employers for Labour Market Opinion exemptions will be centralized in Montreal (for Quebec and the Maritimes) and in Toronto (for Ontario and the center and western provinces). Time will tell how this will impact the processing times (currently of one to two weeks). Labour Market exemption for work permit renewal of Quebec Selection Certificate ("CSQ") holders currently working in the province of Quebec: Temporary foreign workers in Canada who need a work permit renewal can now benefit from a Labour Market Opinion Exemption for up to two years if they have been issued a CSQ, in the skilled worker category. This benefit was already available for workers based in other provinces who have been nominated for permanent residence under a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)...

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