Amidst the Canadian law firms and regulated Canadian immigration consultants who understand and can advise you on Canadian immigration matters, there are also endless travel agencies and foreign companies offering immigration services, including faceless, nameless websites offering their services in Canadian immigration without revealing who is going to prepare the application.

Foreign lawyers can be legitimately practicing law in their native country, but they are not permitted to practice Canadian immigration law as per the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA); the same applies to travel agencies or any other entity or individual who has no official authorization to represent you regarding Canadian immigration law.

Risks of being represented by unlicensed professionals

Being represented by unlicensed professionals comes with many risks.  One of the most problematic is misrepresentation; these unprofessional companies like to take shortcuts and distort or conceal the facts, which may lead to misrepresentation, and thus a 5-year bar for you, the applicant, as the applicant is the one responsible for mistakes on his or her application.

Rules aren’t the only thing they have limited regard for, either. They just fill out the forms, but they do not advocate for your benefit; they submit your application on your behalf as if it is you who is submitting. Their lack of a proper understanding of Canadian immigration laws and guidelines also means that any advice or assistance they do give you may not be trustworthy. They don’t know enough to tell you what you should do. Do these travel agencies and nameless companies really advocate on your behalf?

Who makes the misrepresentation and when?

The applicant is, of course, ultimately responsible for his or her own misrepresentations.   If a procedural fairness letter was sent to what is allegedly your email address (but is actually an email created by your unlicensed representative — let’s say your travel agency), and that letter never reaches you, thereby making you unable to rebut the concerns that an immigration officer may have, it would not be legally defensible that you didn’t know that a travel agency is not permitted to represent you.  As a result, you would be barred for 5 years.

Also, you must disclose if you have received assistance in preparing your application from a person who is compensated or receives a benefit as a result of such assistance. Failure to declare such assistance may result in the refusal of the application or you may be found inadmissible to Canada, as you have not disclosed this fact. If you pay someone to act as your representative, they must meet the requirements for authorized representatives, as listed below.  “Ghost consultants” have no knowledge on how to address the issues that immigration officers might have raised.  The result? Refusal of your application, or worse — a 5-year bar.  Is it worth risking your future?

So who can represent you?

Only Canadian lawyers in good standing with their respectful law society, regulated Canadian immigration consultants (RCICs), and Quebec notaries are eligible to assist in immigrating to Canada for payment (direct or indirect).

Because of the issues with unauthorized representatives, Bill C-35, An Act to Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), came into force on June 30, 2011. The bill created a new offence by extending the prohibition against representing or advising (or offering to represent or advise) immigration applicants or potential applicants to include all stages connected to an application or proceeding, including those prior to the official application being made, and puts penalties in place for those who violate this ruling.  And by using the services of someone who isn’t authorized, you, the applicant, might be found to have misrepresented yourself on your application, as you did not disclose that you retained and paid for the services of an organization or an individual that does not fall under one of the three categories permitted to represent for a fee.

The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (“ICCRC”) is responsible for regulating the activities of the immigration consultants who are its members and who provide immigration advice and representation. ICCRC operates at arm’s length from the Government of Canada. Membership is granted only to those individuals who have demonstrated their knowledge and ability to advise and represent people who seek to immigrate to Canada.

Always check if your representative is a licenced Canadian immigration consultant. The risks to your future are too great otherwise. The representatives at Milmantas Immigration are all members of ICCRC, and we are here to help if you need assistance with a Canadian immigration matter.  If you need help handling an immigration application, contact us

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Translation of supporting documents for immigration to Canada

Individuals submitting their applications for immigration to Canada must ensure that all supporting documents issued in a language other than English or French are accompanied by an official translation, regardless of your immigration category, be it a temporary or permanent resident application.

This also applies to multilingual documents containing text in English and/or French, such as the European Criminal Record Check, ID cards, driver’s licence, etc.. wherein just several or even one single word is in another language, as it might be an officer’s discretion to return or refuse your application.

IRCC does not accept translations done by you, the applicant, family members, or your legal representative, be it a consultant, a lawyer, or a notary, regardless, your representative may be a certified translator.

Documents written in a foreign language must be:

  1. translated by a certified translator and
  2. accompanied by an affidavit or a declaration signed by a translator and/or stamped by the translator who translated the document

Please note that some provincial nominee programs may have their specific translator’s affidavits, and therefore, you need to ensure that the translation meets these specific requirements.

If documents are translated in Canada

Applicants should use the services of a certified translator who is in good standing with their provincial or territorial organization. The translator’s certification can be confirmed by a seal or stamp that shows the translator’s membership number of the association. In Ontario, such an association is called the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO). Every province has its own professional translation association.

Documents translated by a non-certified translator

Whether the translation was conducted by a certified translator or in situations where the translation cannot be provided by a certified translator, for languages such as Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and other nations with a very small population in Canada, in either case, the translation must be accompanied by an affidavit/declaration wherein the translator swears to the accuracy of the translation.

SOMETIMES, the translator is required to swear that the translation is a true rendition of the source document in front of a commissioner authorized to administer oaths.

Who can swear an affidavit?

In Canada:

  • a notary public
  • a commissioner of oaths
  • a commissioner of taking affidavits

Outside Canada:

  • a notary public, or equivalent

Translations done outside Canada.

Each country may have different requirements for the translation of documents. Therefore, the translations need to meet the requirements of that country. Regardless, it MUST be accompanied by a translator’s affidavit or a declaration.

Unacceptable affidavits and declarations

Rippled textile flag of Canada close up

About Canada

Canada is a federation composed of ten provinces and three territories, which may be grouped into regions: Western Canada, Central Canada, Atlantic Canada, and Northern Canada (the latter consists of the three territories Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut).

Provinces have more autonomy than territories and each has its own provincial or territorial symbols. The provinces are responsible for most of Canada’s social programs: health care, education, and welfare.

Provinces & Territories

www.hellobc.com – British Columbia
www.travelalberta.com – Alberta
www.sasktourism.com – Saskatchewan
www.gov.mb.ca – Manitoba
www.ontariotravel.net – Ontario
www.bonjourquebec.com – Quebec
www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca – New Brunswick
www.novascotia.com – Nova Scotia
www.tourismpei.com –Prince Edward Island
www.explorenewfoundlandandlabrador.com – Newfoundland and Labrador
www.nwt.worldweb.com – North-West Territories
www.nunavuttourism.com – Nunavut
www.travelyukon.com – Yukon Territory

Inscription fraud

About Fraud

Beware of Immigration Fraud!

You’ve decided that you want to immigrate to Canada to make a better life for yourself and your family. During a consultation, you discover that you do not have enough points, and in order to obtain a higher score so you can immigrate to Canada under the Express Entry system, a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is required.

An LMIA is initiated by a Canadian employer from within Canada and is issued by Service Canada. In addition to your Express Entry application, an LMIA is also often necessary for a work permit. The employer needs to prove to the Canadian government that the company is unable to locate a Canadian permanent resident or citizen to fill the position. It is a complicated, lengthy and fairly costly process that companies often do not wish to go through, as the employer is required to provide financial documents to Service Canada, pay the required salary, advertise for one month in accordance with the requirements established by the government, and submit an application for the LMIA to Service Canada. The employer will also most likely be interviewed by Service Canada to ensure that the job offer is genuine. Because of all these challenges, some employers are reluctant to go through the process and instead try to meet their employment needs within Canada.

And that is when unassuming and trusting individuals may get ripped off by those selling fake LMIAs. This happens in various countries where companies are involved in the immigration business but are not licenced, acting instead as unauthorized “ghost” consulting firms. Be vigilant. Protect your investment, your savings and your future from bogus promises and fraudulent individuals. Fraud is a criminal offence in Canada.

Identity theft is another form of fraud to watch out for. Once you’re in Canada, criminals involved in identity theft may pose as immigration officers. They may call you and require you to meet them, threatening that you will be deported if you refuse to meet with them and pay them money. They usually schedule their meetings close to immigration centers. Don’t be scared. Protect yourself and call the police, and refrain from engaging in further conversation.

Be cautious about immigration services with suspiciously low prices. Fees that are much lower than the market rate and easy-entry programs are attractive, but if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. They may be selling you services for an immigration program that doesn’t exist! In addition to fake LMIAs, be on the alert for other false documents, such as visas for made-up programs.

Do not be deceived by advertisements that quote very low fees. You need to question what kind of service such a company is going to provide for so little money. Properly preparing an application for a client requires professional knowledge and time. Individuals that charge low fees are usually not authorized to represent you to IRCC, and the low fees are just there for them to make some quick, easy money.

There’s no need to take our word for it. A little research will bring up real-life cases where would-be immigrants have become victims of fraudsters.

Don’t be the victim of a scam; contact a licensed immigration professional. We’re here to help with your LMIA, work permit and permanent residence, and we’ll do it the right way!

Language Assessment

Planning to Immigrate to Canada?

One of the mandatory requirements under the Express Entry management system is the results of the language test, conducted by a designated language-testing agency approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). There are three IRCC-approved language test facilitators: CELPIP and IELTS for English, and TEF and TCF for French.

It has been established that knowledge of one of the official languages of Canada plays a major role in the economic and social success and integration of immigrants to Canada.

Therefore, IRCC has made it mandatory that applicants to most immigration categories meet the minimum language requirements.  Language tests are also mandatory for applicants whose native language is English or French, as the test score results are the only way to allocate language points to the applicant.  Your language test results must be less than two years old on the day they are received by IRCC.

Language Requirements for Different Immigration Programs

The language requirements are different depending on which immigration program you are applying for, as the language skills you’ll need will differ depending on whether you are hoping to immigrate to Canada as a skilled professional, a tradesman, as a business person, or through a provincial nominee program.

An applicant needs to achieve the required score in every ability: reading, writing, listening and speaking, as an overall score is not enough for immigration purposes. If an applicant lacks 0.5 of a point in one ability, then it means that the applicant is not eligible and thus needs to improve their language skills.

Should I Choose IELTS or CELPIP? 

Your choice depends upon the availability of testing centers in your country.

IELTS has testing centers located in over 140 countries, while CELPIP has test centers at multiple locations across Canada, test sittings in Dubai, UAE, and New York, USA.  Please register as early as possible to avoid lengthy waiting times.

The Cost of Taking a Test

The fee may be about $300.00CAD per test; fees should be clarified with the specific test center where you intend to take the test.

Both facilitators offer free sample tests, upon completion of which you will be able to decide if you should register for a preparation course. The higher the score, the more points you will gain under the Comprehensive Ranking System under Express Entry. Because of this, you may find that you want to improve your language skills even if the practice tests show that you will probably pass.

English Language Test

CELPIP — Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program — www.celpiptest.ca

You must take the “CELPIP-General” test to support your immigration application.

IELTS — International English Language Testing System —www.ielts.org

IELTS has test centers all over the globe.  You must take the “General Training” test.

French Language Test

TEF — Test d’évaluation de français  — www.francais.cci-paris-idf.fr

TEF is only available in French.

You must submit results from these TEF tests as proof of your French language skills:

  1. TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du français, including: https://www.ciep.fr/tcf-canada
  2. compréhension de l’écrit
  3. compréhension de l’oral
  4. expression écrite
  5. expression orale

Language Test for Students

Applicants planning to study in Canada are also required to meet the language requirements to successfully study at Canadian educational institutions.  Potential students from countries where English is not the primary language of instruction are required to provide an English language proficiency examination test result.  As a rule, tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of the submission of your application.

A minimum overall band score of 6.5 is usually required for the academic (NOT general) IELTS test.  Some universities require an overall score of 7.0. Therefore, you will need to contact the educational institution of your choice in order to clarify the language requirements.

If you intend to study English or French as a Second Language, preliminary test results may not be required, as you will be required to take a  test later to be placed in a group at your level.

Be prepared so that the best language test results can bring you closer to your dreams in Canada.

Which province do you want to immigrate to?

Canada is a federation composed of ten provinces and three territories, which may be grouped into regions: Western Canada, Central Canada, Atlantic Canada, and Northern Canada (the latter consists of the three territories Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut).

Provinces have more autonomy than territories and each has its own provincial or territorial symbols. The provinces are responsible for most of Canada’s social programs: health care, education, and welfare.

Provinces & Territories

www.hellobc.com – British Columbia
www.travelalberta.com – Alberta
www.sasktourism.com – Saskatchewan
www.gov.mb.ca – Manitoba
www.ontariotravel.net – Ontario
www.bonjourquebec.com – Quebec
www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca – New Brunswick
www.novascotia.com – Nova Scotia
www.tourismpei.com –Prince Edward Island
www.explorenewfoundlandandlabrador.com – Newfoundland and Labrador
www.nwt.worldweb.com – North-West Territories
www.nunavuttourism.com – Nunavut
www.travelyukon.com – Yukon Territory

language-for-immigration

I want to immigrate to Canada, do I need to know English? I want to study in Canada, do I still need to know English?

Planning to Immigrate to Canada?

One of the mandatory requirements under the Express Entry management system is the results of the language test, conducted by a designated language-testing agency approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). There are three IRCC-approved language test facilitators: CELPIP and IELTS for English, and TEF and TCF for French.

It has been established that knowledge of one of the official languages of Canada plays a major role in the economic and social success and integration of immigrants to Canada.

Therefore, IRCC has made it mandatory that applicants to most immigration categories meet the minimum language requirements.  Language tests are also mandatory for applicants whose native language is English or French, as the test score results are the only way to allocate language points to the applicant.  Your language test results must be less than two years old on the day they are received by IRCC.

Language Requirements for Different Immigration Programs

The language requirements are different depending on which immigration program you are applying for, as the language skills you’ll need will differ depending on whether you are hoping to immigrate to Canada as a skilled professional, a tradesman, as a business person, or through a provincial nominee program.

An applicant needs to achieve the required score in every ability: reading, writing, listening and speaking, as an overall score is not enough for immigration purposes. If an applicant lacks 0.5 of a point in one ability, then it means that the applicant is not eligible and thus needs to improve their language skills.

Should I Choose IELTS or CELPIP?

Your choice depends upon the availability of testing centers in your country.

IELTS has testing centers located in over 140 countries, while CELPIP has test centers at multiple locations across Canada, test sittings in Dubai, UAE, and New York, USA.  Please register as early as possible to avoid lengthy waiting times.

The Cost of Taking a Test

The fee may be about $300.00CAD per test; fees should be clarified with the specific test center where you intend to take the test.

Both facilitators offer free sample tests, upon completion of which you will be able to decide if you should register for a preparation course. The higher the score, the more points you will gain under the Comprehensive Ranking System under Express Entry. Because of this, you may find that you want to improve your language skills even if the practice tests show that you will probably pass.

English Language Test

CELPIP — Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program — www.celpiptest.ca

You must take the “CELPIP-General” test to support your immigration application.

IELTS — International English Language Testing System —www.ielts.org

IELTS has test centers all over the globe.  You must take the “General Training” test.

French Language Test

TEF — Test d’évaluation de français  — www.francais.cci-paris-idf.fr

TEF is only available in French.

You must submit results from these TEF tests as proof of your French language skills:

  1. TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du français, including: https://www.ciep.fr/tcf-canada
  2. compréhension de l’écrit
  3. compréhension de l’oral
  4. expression écrite
  5. expression orale

Language Test for Students

Applicants planning to study in Canada are also required to meet the language requirements to successfully study at Canadian educational institutions.  Potential students from countries where English is not the primary language of instruction are required to provide an English language proficiency examination test result.  As a rule, tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of the submission of your application.

A minimum overall band score of 6.5 is usually required for the academic (NOT general) IELTS test.  Some universities require an overall score of 7.0. Therefore, you will need to contact the educational institution of your choice in order to clarify the language requirements.

If you intend to study English or French as a Second Language, preliminary test results may not be required, as you will be required to take a test later to be placed in a group at your level.

Be prepared so that the best language test results can bring you closer to your dreams in Canada.

Avoid a Refusal

Often, we wonder why is it that we need professional help to do something we can do ourselves? I will simply follow the instruction manual and complete the task myself. After all, the instruction manual is provided for a reason.

While in most circumstances you can execute your own DIY project to desired results (while saving a few bucks), yet what if you were told that your future depended on it and you only get 1 chance to do it right? What would you do then? Consider the fact that the risk isn’t just about the effort or time you put into it, a negative outcome will lead to a financial loss along with a lost opportunity you only had one chance to grab.

Immigration Applications

Immigration applications are one such scenario. Yes, you do get an instruction guide and most of the times you may hit the nail on the head, but even a tiny error could result in extensive delays or in more critical scenarios – a long term ban.

As the saying goes, there’s more to it than meets the eye; similarly, in matters concerning immigration to Canada, many issues that an immigration officer may consider when making a decision aren’t addressed in the guide or checklist at all.

The fact that most people do not know is that an immigration officer would rather rely on guidelines set out in the Program Delivery Instructions, than the instruction guide available on the web.

Consider this – have you ever received or known someone who has received a visa refusal stating – ‘’lack of ties to country of origin’’, even when the applicant shared details of ownership of multiple properties, financial holdings, business undertakings of not just themselves but their entire families? Or how about – lack of employment prospects in their home country” despite them submitting official letters from their current employers stating that their positions will be held for them while they studied.

Mistakes Happen

The recent episode of the work permit refusal of Steve and Melanie Whitlow is proof enough that even the slightest error could open doors to significant delays, refusals and the painstaking immigration appeals process.

In a recent scenario, Steve and Melanie Whitlow, moved to B.C. from Wisconsin as part of B.C.’s PNP. While applying for an extension to their work permits, they failed to include the necessary Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemption number from her employer. A small error, a mere oversight as she states. But it led to denial of their extension.

Such errors, although minor, yet unnoticeable to the untrained eye could be the make or break factor for your Canadian immigration application.

As a result, they lost half of their combined income because, the husband became ineligible to work in Canada legally. Although, the wife was able to appeal and get her permit re-instated, the husband’s case is still pending review. Thus, the cumulative stress and loss of income is far more than the RCIC’s professional fee.

These issues aren’t limited to study permits or work permits. Applicants are always at a disadvantage when dealing with Canadian Immigration on their own, because the power and knowledge are both in the hands of the government, and the officer reviewing an application has far less to gain or lose than the applicant. The immigration officer is part of the system that the applicant is trying to work with and therefore knows how to navigate the system, while the applicant is a newcomer to the maze of Immigration forms and lists.

Seek Representation

One way to help level the playing field is to seek representation. A regulated Canadian immigration consultant (RCIC) can provide legal knowledge and support through this difficult process, making dealing with Canadian Immigration less stressful and helping to improve the chances of success. With many years of experience, we know what to anticipate from Immigration officials, and we build your case based on its individual merits, going beyond the checklist provided by Immigration in order to successfully advocate on your behalf.

If you’re intending to come to Canada as a worker, a student or are planning to permanently immigrate to Canada and need help submitting an application, contact us.

Significant Jump in Immigration Target Numbers for the Next Three Years — to More than 400,000 per Year

On October 30, 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced plans to increase Canada’s immigration targets over the next three years. The new targets are as follows:

  • 401,000 permanent residents in 2021 (previously 351,000)
  • 411,000 permanent residents in 2022 (previously 361,000)
  • 421,000 permanent residents in 2023

Such a drastic increase in immigration targets to welcome more than 1.2 million newcomers in three years is part of the Canadian government’s plan to boost economic recovery and job creation, which suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Coronavirus caused a sizeable slump in 2020 immigration numbers — and though files are being processed, the global travel restrictions and border closures led to a dramatic decrease in the number of new permanent residents — 128,430 between January and August. It is evident the target of 341,000 is not going to be reached by the end of this year. Reduced processing capacity also contributed to the slump. Thus, the increased numbers are meant to compensate for the shortfall.

As a part of the economic recovery plan, 60% of the new arrivals will be part of the economic class, the highest increase, followed by the family class and refugees. Increases are being implemented across the board, in Express Entry, PNPs, pilots and in Quebec (which sets its own immigration targets and plans to welcome 47,500 new immigrants in 2021.)

To adapt to a rapidly changing environment, IRCC has adopted a digital transformation approach to increase the capacity of Canada’s immigration system.

Another highlight is further development of innovative and community-driven initiatives to mitigate varied labour market and demographic needs across Canada. As part of this commitment, to spur the growth of French-speaking communities outside of Quebec, additional points for Francophone candidates in Express Entry are now granted.

Over the next two years Canada will accept up to 500 refugees through the new Economic Mobility Pathways Project, an innovative system allowing qualified refugees to apply for permanent residence through existing economic immigration pathways. This comes right after the recently announced pathway to permanent residency for eligible asylum claimants on the front lines of the pandemic providing patient care between March 13 and August 14, 2020 in health care institutions.

“Our plan will help to address some of our most acute labour shortages and to grow our population to keep Canada competitive on the world stage,” announced the Hon. Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada.

[2021-2023 Immigration Targets – Canada – table]

2021 2022 2023
Overall Planned Newcomer Admissions (PR) 401,000 411,000 421,000
Economic Federal High Skilled 108,500 110,500 113,750
Federal Business 1,000 1,000 1,000
Economic Pilots: Caregivers; Agri-Food Pilot; Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot 8,500 10,000 10,250
Atlantic Immigration Pilot 6,000 6,250 6,500
Provincial Nominee Program 80,800 81,500 83,000
Quebec Skilled Workers and Business 47,500 To be determined To be determined
Total Economic 232,500 241,500 249,500
Family Spouses, Partners and Children 80,000 81,000 81,000
Parents and Grandparents 23,500 23,500 23,500
Total Family 103,500 104,500 104,500
Refugees and Protected Persons Protected Persons in Canada and Dependents Abroad 23,500 24,500 25,000
Resettled Refugees – Government-Assisted 12,500 12,500 12,500
Resettled Refugees – Privately Sponsored 22,500 22,500 22,500
Resettled Refugees – Blended Visa Office-Referred 1,000 1,000 1,000
Total Refugees and Protected Persons 59,500 60,500 61,000
Humanitarian and Other Total Humanitarian and Other 5,500 5,500 6,000

Family Class immigration numbers will also increase, though not so drastically: to 103,500 in 2021 and 104,500 by 2023, with spouses, partners and children making up 80,000 of those immigrants in 2021, and parents and grandparents increasing to 23,500.

Last but not least, numbers of admitted Refugees and Protected Persons will also grow through the next three years. The plan is to admit 59,500 refugees in 2021, rising to 61,000 by 2023.

How does this change the immediate future of immigration? Will EE points drop?

We predicted that the points will not drop and facts have proven us right:

The number of new ITAs in EE have grown over the past months; however, the points remain high — the last all-program draw, on November 5, had a pass mark of 478, seven points higher than the previous draw. A subsequent FST draw had 436 as the lowest pass mark.

There are several reasons for stagnating profiles of out-of-Canada candidates with less than 470 points:

  • Additional points allocation to the Francophone candidates;
  • International students getting bonus points for Canadian education credentials graduate in high numbers and enter the job market, earning Canadian experience for extra points;
  • Language testing centres reopen all over the world, ushering in a wave of new test takers;
  • CERB is being doled out indiscriminately, leading to a short-term labour shortage in many low-wage NOC B occupations, where employers are forced to apply for LMIAs, thus boosting the score of their FN employees;
  • Restrictive policies on immigration in the US led to an influx of IT workers through the Global Talent Stream.

Milmantas Immigration specializes in strategic immigration planning, devising an individual tailored strategy leading to permanent residency for every interested candidate. Do not hesitate to contact us to start your first steps towards your immigration goals.

Quebec: new pilot projects and changes to immigration programs coming in 2021

On Wednesday, October 28, 2020, the Quebec government announced details of three new permanent immigration pilot programs it is planning to launch in 2021 to alleviate labour shortages in the province.

The three new pilots are:

  • the pilot program for personal support workers;
  • the pilot program for workers in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), information technology (IT) and visual effects;
  • the pilot program for workers in food processing.

Full text of the regulation project is published on October 28, 2020 in the Gazette officielle du Québec, which also announces a 45-day consultation period to collect comments from stakeholders on these programs before their official launch.

Changes have also been announced in the regulations pertaining to the Entrepreneurial Program, Self-Employed Program and Collective Sponsorship of Refugees.

New pilots are designed to “attract and retain people whose skills meet the specific needs of the Quebec labor market” and will last for five years.

Under the PSW pilot up to 550 principal applicants will be selected per year, and their family members will be also eligible for Quebec selection certificates under this program.

The pilot program for the food processing sector workers will provide a pathway to permanent immigration for 550 temporary foreign workers.

550 principal applicants will also be selected under the pilot for those working in artificial
intelligence, information technology and visual effects areas, evenly split between these areas. The aim is to both retain the temporary foreign workers already working in these areas in Quebec and to attract international talent.

Here is a brief summary of what is new in the business programs:

Self-employed applicants – the quota is set to 50 permanent selection applications for the period from November 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021.

Entrepreneurs – Stream 1 (a new business set up with the assistance of a business incubator or accelerator) will see a maximum of 25 applications that will be accepted between November 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021.

Entrepreneurs – Stream 2 (an independent business set up or purchase) is suspended for the next year to allow sufficient time to review it and introduce further changes.

Note, however, there is no limit to applications submitted by self-employed candidates and entrepreneurs in Stream 1 who demonstrate upper intermediate to high proficiency in oral expression and oral understanding or French.

The selection criteria for Regular Quebec Skilled Workers declaring their interest to immigrate to Quebec through “Arrima”, Quebec’s immigration application management system, have also been updated and are now in effect until November 1, 2021.

In addition, Quebec government has introduced changes and a new admission period for applications under the Private Collective Sponsorship of Refugees Abroad Program. A maximum of 750 sponsorship applications of groups of two to five people will be allowed to be submitted between April 6 and May 5, 2021. Sponsorship applications will now have to be submitted online in order to be randomly selected through a draw later on.

According to the government press release, no new refugee sponsorship applications made by designated organizations, both in Montreal and outside the city will be allowed: a temporary ban is introduced until November 1, 2021. This decision has been taken in order to complete the criminal and administrative investigations because of “serious allegations which question the integrity” of certain refugee protection organizations, and introduce changes into the program, if necessary.

Planning to immigrate to Quebec? Contact us for assistance and further information via info@milmantasimmigration.com or fill out this questionnaire.

Pilot COVID-19 testing at Alberta border could reduce 14-day quarantine period to 48 hours if traveller tests negative

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced an upcoming pilot project at two border crossings in Alberta where international travellers coming to Canada by land or air may choose to be tested for COVID-19 at the border, which would cut the mandatory self-isolation period from 14 days to about 48 hours, given the test comes back negative. The pilot is a joint project between the province of Alberta and the government of Canada.

The voluntary pilot testing option, a first of its kind in Canada and an important step in facilitating international travel, will be offered starting November 2 at the Coutts land border crossing in southern Alberta and the Calgary International Airport. All travellers who decide not to participate in the pilot are still subject to the standard 14-day quarantine.

It is expected the pilot will be used by Canadian citizens returning to Canada through the province of Alberta and by foreign workers deemed “essential” — truckers, those working in health care and other workers exempt from the imposed federal travel ban.

Once the test proves negative, travellers will be permitted to end their quarantine, providing they follow up with a second test in 4-5 days at a community pharmacy taking part in the pilot program.

Some local medical professionals, while supporting the idea of testing to reduce the quarantine period, are voicing their concerns about using the pilot at the Canada–US border, given the huge infection rates and lack of safe precautions south of the border. However, participants will be further monitored closely for symptoms and will be required to commit to following strict preventive health measures, such as wearing masks in public and avoiding high-risk behaviour. 

Kenney further noted that the pilot project will be expanded to Edmonton International airport early next year if it tests well in Calgary. It is not clear when it will be rolled out to the rest of Canada.

Calgary Airport Authority president Bob Sartor called this trial an “innovative, government-approved, science-based testing trial” and a “lifeline that airports and airline partners need to instill confidence in air travel once again.” Calgary-based airline WestJet, which had to cancel its routes to Atlantic Canada under the weight of the pandemic and 95% business loss, is also anxiously looking forward to its success. 

The number of COVID-19 cases is rapidly rising in Alberta again, but Premier Kenney confirmed Thursday that the Alberta government has so far been quite successful at keeping public restrictions to the minimum while managing to achieve impressive results, and the province plans to keep it that way in order to avoid shutting down the hospitality industry. He further said that the dual goal of the provincial government is to “protect both lives and livelihoods” in Alberta, especially at a time when the economy is being impacted by the energy price collapse. 

It is important to note that the pilot program, while a definite step forward to ease restrictions for many foreign workers and their employers, only applies to Canadian residents and foreign nationals who are already allowed to come to Canada.
 
“There are no changes now at the border to be clear,” said the Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu. 

If you are planning to come to Canada, either temporarily or permanently, Milmantas Immigration can help you prepare a complete, persuasive application that meets all requirements. To get started, contact us at info@milmantasimmgiration.com.