In 2018, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued out Invitations to Apply to for Permanent Residence in Canada to Express Entry Candidates who have a Comprehensive Ranking System score of 440 points and above.
One major alteration that was made in the Express Entry system last year was a shift in the number of days an applicant has to apply electronically for a permanent residence after being given an Invitation to Apply. Applicants were formerly being given 90 calendar days to apply electronically for Permanent Residence, but it was reduced to 60 calendar days afterward.
In the annual report on Immigration presented by the IRCC to the Parliament last year, highlights were given on what to expect from Express Entry this year. One of the things mentioned was that in 2021, there would be a significant increase in the number of Permanent Residents admitted to the country. The plan for this proposal is to increase the number from the 2018 target of 310,000 to a total of 330,800 in 2019. This number would again increase in 2020 to 341,000, and 350,000 in 2021.
Despite a large number of admissions for Permanent Resident expected in the future, it would be futile for applicants to think that the minimum ranking score would be reduced from 440 points.
Foreigners who are applying for a Canadian work visa, Temporary Resident Visa, Study Permit, Temporary Resident Permit or Permanent Residence would be required to thumbprint and provide their photographs.
This requirement was introduced on board on the 31st of July for applicants from Africa, Middle East, and Europe. However, on the 31st of December foreigners from America, Asia and Asia Pacific were added to that list.
The validity period of a biometric is 10 years, and the cost of application is 85 CAD for each person. Point of submission of biometric can be at specific ports in Canada, but most often than not, a biometric is to be submitted in a Visa Application Center outside Canada. At the end of 2018, a total of about 152 Visa Application Centers in 102 countries across the globe were counted. The IRCC mentioned that new centers would spring up to take care of the increase in the number of applicants for a Canadian visa.
Free Trade Agreement
On the 30th of November, an agreement was signed by the United States, Canada, and Mexico to replace the existing trade agreement (North American Free Trade Agreement - NAFTA). This new agreement which is called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) has not yet been effected into action although it was being deliberated for over 15 months. In the new agreement, it is stated that business visitors coming into Canada under NAFTA and temporary workers who hold a NAFTA work permit is free to keep using it.
In the 16th chapter of NAFTA code, business persons are sub-divided into four different classes; investors and traders, intra-company transferees, professionals, and business visitors. The USMCA did not make any changes to this chapter which was drafted about 24 years back. Critics are of the opinion that revisions should have been made to the new agreement regarding the existing market and with the aim of boosting economic development.
Also, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP), which was effected on the 30th of December last year, makes provisions for citizens of the countries involved in the agreement to enter and stay in Canada for business purposes temporarily. The most outstanding agreement under the CPTPP is the Labour Market Impact Assessment which exempts Mexicans and Australians from the possibility of a work permit. Free Trade Agreement makes trading easier among the involved countries.
Increase in average medical cost threshold
When a foreigner applies the IRCC to either come in or stay in Canada temporarily or permanently, the IRCC requires that they undergo a thorough medical examination routinely. If a person is applying for Permanent Residence, the medical examination would be mandatory. In a case where such an applicant (or even his or her dependent) is found to have health conditions that might be more than the country's average per capita cost threshold, the applicant can be disqualified.
More than three times that amount increased the average cost threshold which was formerly given at 6,655 CAD per annum on the 1st of June, 2018 to 19,812 CAD per annum.
This development is excellent news as applicants with health conditions have lower chances of being denied access to the country.
Cannabis Act and Impaired Driving Act
The Cannabis Act, which is also called Bill C-45 holds up a disciplined and legal structure that governs the production, sales, and purchase of Cannabis in Canada. The use of Marijuana was legalized in Canada on the 17th of October, 2018.
Bill C-46, which is the Impaired driving Act was made effective on 18th December 2018. In the new legislation, a lot of significant changes have been made to the Criminal code and various Acts, and the impaired driving penalties have been changed too. A foreigner living in Canada who is convicted of impaired driving could be denied admission or sent out of the country. However, if the foreigner leaves outside Canada and is convicted of impaired driving, he or she would be required to provide evidence of proper rehabilitation before getting into the country.
Parents and Grandparents sponsorship program
The IRCC had earlier announced in August last year that there will be an increase in the number of Parents and Grandparents sponsorship applications accepted in 2019, from what was accepted in 2017. This decision confirms the IRCCs objective of reunifying more families in the years to come.
The targeted number of applications to be accepted under this program is 20,000, and IRCC has decided to use the approach of 'first come, first served' to select this number, instead of the controversial method of random selection which was used last year.
Since this announcement was made in August, no additional information has been released on the matter although Canadians are eager to know. IRCC only mentioned that there would be an 'Interest to Sponsor' form available online. With that, prospective sponsors can inform the IRCC of their desire to sponsor their parent(s) and/or grandparent(s). One major factor that guarantees an applicant’s eligibility as a sponsor is their financial status.
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