CANADA: IMMIGRATION UPDATE

Dec 21, 2020 | Global

This article discusses new pilot projects and other efforts to allow in professionals; programs reopened for certain entrepreneurs and self-employed persons; updated immigration targets in Québec and Canada; and designated learning institutions reopening to international students.

More Québec Selection Certificates (CSQs) for IT, AI, VFX professionals; Food Processing; Entrepreneurs; Self-Employed Persons; Caretakers

Immigration Québec announced on October 28, 2020, a set of three new pilot projects intended to allow professionals in certain industries to apply for a Québec Selection Certificate (CSQ)—unfortunately, with extremely small annual quotas. It appears that these pilot projects will be administered through the ARRIMA pool of applicants. Overall, the pilot projects have multiple and extremely specific eligibility criteria. While they are interesting especially for non-francophone employees, French speakers should evaluate if it may be less burdensome to apply through the existing PEQ program. Immigration Québec has not announced the processing delay target for these pilot projects.

The pilot projects, which will come into effect in early 2021 and will be valid through 2025, include (1a) Professionals in the Artificial Intelligence Industry, (1b) Professionals in the Information Technology and Visual Effects Industries, (2) Workers in the Food Processing Industry, and (3) Patient Service Associates.

In addition, the CSQ program for certain entrepreneurs and self-employed persons was reopened, with an even smaller quota.

Updated Immigration Targets in Québec

On October 29, 2020, the Québec government released its immigration targets for 2021. As the target for 2020 has not been reached (30,500 immigrants are expected instead of 44,500 projected), 7,000 spots will be carried over to 2021. The plan for 2021 is to welcome between 44,500 and 47,500 immigrants to Québec. Approximately 20,000 will be reserved for CSQs in the skilled worker class (ARRIMA, PEQ, Pilot Projects).

The targets for 2021 include currently pending applications with the Québec and federal authorities. In light of the important inventory of backlogged permanent residence cases pending since 2019, an improvement in processing delays is not expected for Québec -bound permanent residence applicants. Some practitioners recommend applying for the CSQ or permanent residence as soon as one is eligible, to minimize the number of work permit renewals required until permanent residence is granted.

Update: Immigration Targets for Canada

The federal government recently released its three-year plan for immigration levels, with the highest targets in Canadian history:

  • 2021—401,000 immigrants
  • 2022—411,000 immigrants
  • 2023—421,000 immigrants

These are the highest recorded numbers in more than a century. The last time Canada aimed at more than 400,000 immigrants was in 1913.

COVID-19: Designated Learning Institutions Reopening to International Students

As of October 20, 2020, some designated learning institutions (DLIs) are now able to reopen to international students who are not currently in Canada and who:

  • Have, or have been approved for, a study permit
  • Are traveling to Canada for a non-discretionary or non-optional purpose

To be able to reopen to international students who are not currently in Canada, DLIs must have a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by their province or territory that meets certain requirements, including a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for international students and other elements. Students should contact their schools directly with any questions about the schools’ readiness plans.

For more information, see https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19/students/approved-dli.html

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AT A GLANCE

An employment law for the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) free zone is expected to go into effect on January 1, 2020.

The law is meant to make the immigration and employment process more flexible for employers in the ADGM, covering topics such as the provision of employment contracts, employment termination and an expanded definition of “employee”.

Employers should ensure that their internal policies comply with the new law.

INDIA: Overseas Citizenship of India Card Applicants Subject to New Travel Restriction

AT A GLANCE

Foreign nationals of Indian origin seeking to apply for an Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Card must now have lived in India or any third country for six months prior to submitting their application, where previously, foreign nationals could apply immediately after arrival.
OCI Card applicants can no longer travel internationally until their OCI Card application is submitted. If they leave the country, the six-month period resets and they must again not travel for six months to apply for an OCI Card.