Author: Melissa Babel (B.A. (Hons) LL.B, Barrister and Solicitor, Babel Immigration Law)
Canada Immigration Update
NEXUS – New interview option coming – Spring 2023
On January 25, 2023, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that they are moving forward with a new option to increase the enrollment capacity for new and renewing NEXUS members. The new enrollment option for air travelers is expected to be available by Spring 2023 and will include CBSA interviews at reopened airport enrollment centers in Canada and separate CBP interviews at Canadian airport preclearance locations for applicants departing for the United States. This is welcome news for many Canadians who have been waiting for renewals of NEXUS or the ability to apply at a Canadian airport.
National Occupation Classification 2021: Changes and Updates
In November 2022, we were introduced to the new NOC 2021, which included restructuring and adding groups across broad occupational categories and the Training, Education, Experience and Responsibility categories. This new system also referred to as TEER, introduced a 6-category system for entry into an occupation.
Changes to the Global Talent Stream
As of December 22, 2022, the Government of Canada introduced an updated list of occupations eligible under the Global Talent Stream program, which now includes applicants qualified in civil, electrical and electronics, mining, aerospace engineering, and electrical/ electronics engineering technologists and technicians.
As Canada continues to work towards an economic future, this news has been received with open arms by highly-skilled foreign workers looking for a pathway into Canada.
IRCC Approves a new English language test for Canadian Immigration
As of February 1, 2023, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced that a third option for English language testing, will be able to be used to confirm language skills. The Pearson Test of English (PTE) will be acceptable along with the IELTS and CELPIP as credibly approved English language tests for Canadian immigration applications. A launch date as to when this testing criterion will be acceptable has yet to be announced by IRCC; but is expected in late 2023.
U.S. Immigration Update
Newly Redesigned Green cards and Employment Authorization Documents
On January 30, 2023, USCIS announced the new and improved design of the Permanent Resident Card, also called the “Green Card,” along with Employment Authorization Documents “EAD’s”. The goal of these changes is to limit the threat of document tampering, counterfeiting and fraud.
Physical changes include improved detailed artwork, tactile printing, enhanced optically variable ink, secured holographic images on the front and back of the cards, a layer-reveal feature with a partial window on the back photo box and data fields displayed in different places than on previous versions.
USCIS emphasized that individuals still currently holding the previous model of the cards can still use them until their validity period
USCIS Automatically Extends Green Cards for Naturalization Applicants
As of December 12, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has updated its policy to allow automatic extensions on Green Cards for permanent residents who have applied for naturalization.
Ultimately this extension will apply to any lawful permanent resident who filed Form N-400 on or after December 12, 2022. Lawful Permanent Residents who filed for naturalization before December 12, 2022, the date this policy came into effect, will not receive a Form N-400 receipt notice with the extension. Those with expired Green Cards must maintain valid evidence of their lawful permanent residence status and must still file Form I-90.
These changes were implemented in response to the heightened processing times and in recognizing that USCIS is striving to improve efficiency by reducing the number of ADIT stamp appointments.