Author: Melissa Babel, B.A. (Hons) LL.B, Barrister and Solicitor at Babel Immigration Law
Express Entry Update May 2022
The Federal government’s budget bill includes new authority for the Minister of Immigration to invite applicants based on occupation and work experience. This approach is familiar in the Provincial Nominee Programs, including in Ontario, but is a departure from the Federal government approach for the main economic immigration categories (Canadian Experience Class and the Federal Skilled Worker Class). It is expected that experience in ‘in-demand occupations’ will become a factor for an invitation and may displace the approach of inviting applicants with the highest Comprehensive Ranking System (“CRS”) points to apply first.
This change is expected to impact the Express Entry selection process by introducing more control for the Minister in the selection of skilled immigrants, as well as an element of subjectivity in the selection of which occupations are prioritized. At the same time it will likely take away some of the predictability for invitations that were based solely on points, which can be calculated objectively.
We expect that draws will resume in July 2022 at levels similar to the pre-pandemic approach to Express Entry between July-September 2022, and for the changes to the selection process to begin in the Fall 2022.
International Mobility Program Plus (IMP+): Open work permits for Quebec Selection Certificate holders outside Quebec
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has announced a new work permit category call the International Mobility Program Plus (IMP+). This is an open work permit category with a numerical cap of 14,700 for 2022.
The category allows applicants for permanent residence who intend to reside in Quebec to apply for an open work permit, which in turn will allow them to work for almost any employer in the province of Quebec.
The goal is to allow applicants for permanent residence in the province of Quebec to move to that province and start working sooner and will help to address key labour shortages in that province.
Alberta lifts restrictions on hiring new temporary foreign workers
As of May 1, 2022, the Alberta government lifted restrictions on hiring new temporary foreign workers with job offers in the province. This change eliminates the ‘refusal to process’ list for new Labour Market Impact Assessments for certain identified occupations in the province. The move is understood to be in response to the need for skilled workers for sectors of the Alberta economy that are experience labour shortages.
U.S. Immigration Updates
USCIS to Implement Premium Processing for certain previously filed EB-1 and EB-2 immigrant applications
Beginning on June 1, 2022 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting requests for Premium Processing (Form I-907) for certain petitioners who have a pending I-140 petition under the EB-1 and EB-2 classifications. Premium processing is a key tool for employers and applicants looking to secure immigrant status in an otherwise very delayed processing system. The increased access to premium processing includes E13 multinational executives and managers and E21 professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking a national interest waiver.
New Risk-Based Approach for Conditional Permanent Residence Interviews
On April 7, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a policy update to adopt a risk-based approach when waiving interviews for conditional permanent residents who have petitioned to remove the conditions on their permanent resident status. This new approach is expected to increase efficiencies and processing times, while maintaining a focus on identity fraud and national security.
This will be a relief to many couples who applied for permanent residence before they were married for two full years.