Author: Melissa Babel (B.A. (Hons) LL.B, Barrister and Solicitor, Babel Immigration Law)
Canada Immigration Update
An ambitious Levels Plan for Canadian Immigration
On Tuesday, November 1, 2022, The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced Canada’s 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan. This multi-year plan has one of its primary focusses the needs of Canadian business to attract and foreign workers to fill positions in key sectors including health care, skilled trades, manufacturing and technology. Furthermore, the Government is expecting an increased focus on attracting newcomers to small towns and rural communities to help manage anticipated social and economic challenges.
In 2021, Canada welcomed over 405,000 newcomers and is optimistic to surpass those numbers with this new strategy. The new plan is set to see targets of 465,000 permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025.
Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program Update on the Entrepreneur Pilot:
The OINP Pilot program, Entrepreneur Success Initiative, was announced in 2021 as part of an initiative to help build Ontario’s economy. The program’s goal is to help entrepreneurs establish and grow businesses across the province, providing services such as:
Identifying business creation and succession opportunities outside the GTA
- Marketing the Entrepreneur Stream and Business opportunities.
- Supporting, Matching and Helping qualified entrepreneurs develop high-quality expressions of interest and mechanisms to establish a new business.
- Helping registrants with an invitation to apply in submitting a high-quality application.
This initiative is set to be administered for two (2) years and will help support 100 new applicants.
U.S. Immigration Update
Labour Department PERM: Prevailing Wage Processing Updates
As of October 31, 2022, the Labour Department announced updates to processing times for permanent labour certification applications and prevailing wage determination requests.
PERM applications filed in February 2022 commenced the adjudication processes, and the department is currently reviewing applications filed in December and earlier. Appeals for reconsideration are also under review for applications filled in May.
Based on the current trends, PERM processing times have taken longer, with the average processing times for adjudication being 249 days, while audit reviews are 368 days.
Addressing The U.S. Visitor Visa Backlog
On November 17, 2022, the Department of State announced efforts to address the current backlog and wait times for visitor visas to the United States, with a goal of nearing pre-pandemic processing trends.
Current updates show that the median wait time for a tourist visa (B1/B2) appointment is approximately two (2) months. There are also options available for applicants with dire travel needs, as they can apply for an emergency appointment.
To help alleviate the backlog, efforts have been made in the past year to help reduce appointment wait time, many of which include waiving in-person interviews where possible and processing more visas with fewer consular officers. These changes have been implemented to increase efficiency and manage applicants’ expectations.