3.3.16

Changes to Canadian Citizenship Act Will Allow Immigrants to Apply Earlier and More EasiChanges to Canadian Citizenship Act Will Allow Immigrants to Apply Earlier and More Easily

Changes to Canadian Citizenship Act Will Allow Immigrants to Apply Earlier and More EasiChanges to Canadian Citizenship Act Will Allow Immigrants to Apply Earlier and More Easily


In a move that is likely to be of great benefit to immigrants to Canada who ultimately wish to obtain Canadian citizenship, the Liberal government of Canada has proposed a range of sweeping amendments to the Citizenship Act. These changes will allow people who have made the decision to immigrate to Canada to apply for and obtain citizenship sooner and more easily than is now the case.

Among the proposed amendments is a reduction in the amount of time permanent residents have to live in Canada in order to become eligible to apply for citizenship, from four out of six years to three out five years. Moreover, certain applicants who spent time in Canada on temporary status would be able to count a portion of this time towards the three-year requirement. The proposed amendments would also repeal the intent to reside provision and remove language proficiency requirements for certain applicants.

In addition, the new legislation would repeal a contentious provision that revoked citizenship from dual Canadian citizens convicted of terrorism, treason or espionage. With a majority government in place, it is expected that the proposals will become law in the near future.

Background


In June, 2014, the previous Conservative government of Canada brought into law the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act (also known as bill C-24). This controversial legislation allowed the government to revoke citizenship in certain cases, and made eligibility requirements for immigrants more onerous than had previously been the case.

The now-governing Liberal Party of Canada, which came into office last November, made a public pledge in its election manifesto to ‘repeal the unfair elements of Bill C-24 that create second-class citizens and the elements that make it more difficult for hard-working immigrants to become Canadian citizens.’

Only a few months into its term of office, the government is now acting on its word.
Canada encourages new immigrants to consider becoming naturalized citizens and join the Canadian family. With Canadian citizenship, an individual may obtain a Canadian passport, vote in elections, stand for public office, and leave and re-enter Canada freely without being beholden to the residency obligations faced by permanent residents.

What is changing?


The proposed changes to the Citizenship Act run the full gamut of the act, from how an individual may become eligible for citizenship to the rights bestowed once citizenship is conferred on the person.

Repeal of revocation provision

Current act: Authority to revoke citizenship for certain acts against the national interest of Canada. These grounds include convictions of terrorism, high treason, treason or spying offences, depending on the sentence received, or for membership in an armed force or organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada.
Proposed amendment: Repeal national interest grounds for revocation.

Repeal of intention to reside provision

Current act: Applicants must have the intention to reside in Canada if granted citizenship.
Proposed amendment: Repeal intent to reside provision.

Physical presence in Canada

Current act: Physical presence for 4 out of 6 years before the date of application.
Proposed amendment: Physical presence for 3 out of 5 years before the date of application.

Counting temporary status

Current act: Time spent in Canada as a non-permanent resident may not be counted.
Proposed amendment: Applicants may count each day they were physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum of one year of credited time.

Less burdensome annual physical presence requirement

Current act: Minimum of 183 days physical presence in 4 of the last 6 years.
Proposed amendment: Repeal the minimum 183 days physical presence in 4 of the last 6 years.

Fewer people need to prove language proficiency

Current act: Applicants aged 14-64 must meet language requirements and pass knowledge test.
Proposed amendment: Applicants aged 18-54 must meet language requirements and pass knowledge test.

Canadian income taxes

Current act: File Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for four taxation years out of six years, matching physical presence requirement.
Proposed amendment: File Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for three taxation years out of five years, matching proposed new physical presence requirement.

Conditional sentence now a bar

Current act: Time spent serving a conditional sentence order can be counted towards meeting physical presence requirements. Convicted individuals who are serving conditional sentence orders (sentences served in the community with certain conditions) are not prohibited from being granted citizenship or taking the oath of citizenship.

Proposed amendment: Time spent under a conditional sentence order cannot be counted towards meeting the physical presence requirements; and those serving a conditional sentence order are prohibited from being granted citizenship or taking the oath of citizenship.

Canadian citizenship oath

Current act: Provision prohibiting applicants from taking the oath of citizenship if they never met or no longer meet the requirements for the grant of citizenship, but does not apply to applications received before June 11, 2015.
Proposed amendment: Provision prohibiting applicants from taking the oath of citizenship if they never met or no longer meet the requirements for the grant of citizenship also applies to applications still in process that were received prior to June 11, 2015.

New provision to counter fraud

Current act: No explicit authority for citizenship officers to seize fraudulent documents related to the processing of applications.
Proposed amendment: Authority to seize documents provided during the administration of the Citizenship Act if there are reasonable grounds to believe they are fraudulent, or being used fraudulently.

Quebec Announces Two Future Intake Periods for Skilled Worker Immigration Program

Quebec Announces Two Future Intake Periods for Skilled Worker Immigration Program



The Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP), one of the few remaining Canadian immigration programs operating on a first-come, first-served basis, will have an application intake period this coming June. Following this, another intake period will take place. Both of these intakes will receive up to 5,000 applications from individuals interested in settling in one of Canada’s most vibrant and diverse provinces.

Through the QSWP, successful applicants and their families may obtain Canadian permanent resident status after receiving a Quebec Selection Certificate/certificat de selection du Québec (CSQ) from the government of the province of Quebec, home to the city of Montreal.

The announcement that two future intake periods will take place — with both intakes accepting a larger number of applications than expected — should benefit individuals who have already created an account in the secure online space Mon projet Québec, as well as those who did not create an account earlier this year.

The Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI), the government ministry overseeing immigration to Quebec, has announced the following updated schedule for the QSWP:

  • Up to 5,000 applications will be accepted from June 13 to June 20, 2016. This intake period will be restricted to the approximately 41,000 candidates who had created a Mon projet Québec account in January. Last month, thousands of individuals who had already created an account in the Mon projet Québec system attempted to log in to the system in order to submit their application, but the site was inaccessible due to server failure. Mon projet Québec is not scheduled to open for new registrations before the June intake period.

  • When this number is reached, applicants who do not currently have an account may create one with a view to applying to the QSWP during the next intake period, the dates of which will be established later. During this period, the MIDI will receive up to 5,000 applications.
According to the Quebec Minister of Immigration, Kathleen Weil, these measures send a clear message to people who have had to deal with the failures of the system.
“I think they will see that there is a willingness to recognize the difficulty they [the candidates] experienced . . .  My priority is the immigration candidates themselves,” said Ms. Weil.

How does the QSWP work?

The QSWP is a points-based immigration program, where points are awarded for an applicant’s area of training, work experience, age, language proficiency, prior relationship with Quebec (through visits or family), the human capital factors of the applicant’s spouse or common-law partner (if applicable), and whether or not the applicant has a validated job offer in Quebec.

If an individual satisfies the minimum point requirement based on these factors, he or she may then gain additional points for any accompanying dependent children and proof of financial self-sufficiency. Candidates should be aware that a job offer is not required for eligibility under the QSWP.

Applicants should also note that they may be awarded points for French proficiency, though it is not an eligibility requirement for the program. Applicants who do not have knowledge of French, but who have strong credentials in other areas, may still be eligible to apply.

From first-come, first-served to a new Expression of Interest system

For the time being, the QSWP operates on a first-come, first-served 
basis, and this will remain the case for the June intake period.
Quebec’s Minister of Immigration recently tabled a bill that, if passed, would likely result in Quebec implementing an economic immigration system similar to the Express Entry system currently used by the government of Canada, whereby candidates must make an ‘Expression of Interest’ before being invited to apply based on their credentials. Once, as is expected, this bill becomes law, economic immigrants to Quebec will not be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Rather, they will need to be invited to apply to the program based on labour market needs, having already made an ‘Expression of Interest’ in immigrating to the Canadian province of Quebec.

Accordingly, the upcoming application intake periods may be the last of their kind — a way to apply for immigration to Canada through an economic immigration program without having to first be invited to apply.

Preparation is key

“I am glad that the Quebec Minister of Immigration has instructed her department to reschedule the application intake period for the Skilled Worker Program for this June. This should give them the time they need to sort out the teething issues that have plagued the Mon projet Québec system since its inception. Moreover, the fact that more applications may be accepted for processing than was initially planned is only right and proper, given the circumstances,” says Attorney David Cohen.

“There is also positive news for individuals who did not manage to create an account earlier this year. These individuals may have thought that their chance at applying to this program had passed, but now we know that the MIDI plans on reopening the system for the second intake period. On this basis, individuals interested in immigrating to Canada who do not wish to be at the whim of immigration programs that involve expressions of interest and invitations to apply, and who also wish to have everything done online, should look seriously at preparing an application for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program.”

17.1.16

Mon projet Québec online management system is launched in anticipation of January 18 reopening

Mon projet Québec online management system is launched in anticipation of January 18 reopening

Étudier et vivre au Québec

Mon projet Québec: your access to immigration services online

The use of the Mon projet Québec secure space is now mandatory for anyone submitting an application for a Certificat de sélection du Québec (Québec selection certificate) under the Regular Skilled Worker Program.

With the goal of giving candidates the opportunity to create their Mon projet Québec account and complete the application for a Québec selection certificate for the next application intake period, this period has been adapted in order to give candidates more time.

Therefore:
  • candidates will have until January 25, 2016, to create their account in the Mon projet Québec secure space;
    • after this date, it will no longer be possible to create a new account for the current application intake period;
  • from January 26 to February 15, 2016, candidates who have a Mon projet Québec account will be able to access it to complete the form Application for Selection Certificate online;
  • starting February 16, 2016, it will be possible to submit the application and pay the related fees. The application intake period will end on March 31, 2016.

The Ministère will receive a maximum of 2800 applications during this period.

Access Mon projet Québec to complete your online application.
Once you have created your account in the secure space, you will be able to:
  • complete your application online for a Certificat de sélection du Québec;
  • make your payment online;
  • follow the status of your application online;
  • make changes to your application online, if necessary;
  • access personal electronic messaging.

13.12.15

Inviting In-Demand, Skilled Immigrants to Canada

Inviting In-Demand, Skilled Immigrants to Canada

First round of Express Entry candidates invited to fill labour market needs and contribute to Canada’s economic growth

February 2, 2015 — Ottawa — Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today announced that the first round of top-ranked candidates from Canada’s Express Entry system is already helping to fill demonstrated and verifiable gaps in Canada’s labour market.
On Saturday, January 31st, 779 skilled workers, including professionals in natural and applied sciences, and industrial, electrical and construction trades, were invited to apply for permanent residency in Canada. Each of these candidates declared that they already have a valid job offer or provincial nomination.
Under Express Entry, skilled workers who want to apply to Canada’s key economic immigration programs are able to create an online profile and express their interest in coming to Canada permanently.
Candidates who are accepted into the pool are ranked according to various factors, including language proficiency, education and work experience. Each is a leading indicator of one’s likelihood of integrating fully and quickly into Canadian society and making an optimal contribution to the economy.
Canada will regularly invite the highest-ranking candidates from the pool to apply to immigrate. With most applications being processed in six months or less, candidates will be able to contribute to Canada’s economy and job market more quickly than ever before.

Quick facts

  • Express Entry will manage applications for three federal economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program and the Canadian Experience Class.
  • Provinces and territories will be able to use the Express Entry system to select a portion of candidates for their Provincial Nominee Programs.
  • Once candidates have been invited to apply for permanent residence, they will need to submit a complete application and will have to meet eligibility and admissibility requirements such as health and security checks. Candidates will have up to 60 days to submit their application online.

Quote

“Express Entry is already getting impressive results in its first month. The fact that everyone who was invited to apply for permanent residence in this round of invitations already has a valid job offer or provincial nomination shows that Express Entry is working to fill Canada’s existing labour market gaps.”
“With Express Entry, highly skilled candidates with a high chance of success in Canada are invited to apply for permanent residence, bringing them to Canada more quickly and easily than ever before.”
Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister
Quebec Opens new Option to Immigrate to Canada through Skilled Worker Program

Quebec Opens new Option to Immigrate to Canada through Skilled Worker Program


Canadian and Quebec flags for article on immigration to Canada through Quebec
New first-come, first-served pathway to Canadian permanent residence will receive up to 6,300 applications - 

The Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) has reopened, with potential applicants from around the world moving quickly to prepare and submit an application as early as possible during the current application cycle, which began on November 4, 2015.

News of the reopening of the QSWP was reported last week by CICNews, who notified readers that the program operates on a first-come, first-served basis.  This aspect marks the QSWP as a more assured and straightforward way of obtaining Canadian permanent residence compared with the federal economic immigration programs that are processed through the Express Entry selection system. If an applicant is eligible for the QSWP and submits a complete application within the timeframe set by the government of Quebec, he or she may have a clear path towards Canadian immigration. 

The application cycle for the QSWP will be split into two periods. The first, which will run from November 4 to December 15, 2015, will accept up to 3,500 postal applications only. This intake period is currently open. The second intake period, which will run from January 18 to March 31, 2016, will process up to 2,800 applications online. - 

Quebec Skilled Worker and Federal Skilled Worker: What are the differences?

The QSWP and Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Class are fundamentally different programs that both result in the same end result: Canadian permanent residence. Because the methods, timelines, processes, and selection factors are different, potential applicants may see added value in one program over the other.

 Indeed, potential applicants may benefit from pursuing Canadian permanent residence through both programs simultaneously, thereby increasing their chances of obtaining Canadian permanent resident status. According to the governments of Quebec and Canada, candidates can apply under the QSWP and submit an Express Entry profile, as long as they withdraw one when either a Quebec Selection Certificate/certificat de selection du Québec (CSQ) or Invitation to Apply (ITA) is issued. 

The QSWP may be an enticing option for individuals who wish to make an application to immigrate to Canada without having to be invited to apply, as well as individuals who are in the Express Entry pool and wish to increase their chances of successfully immigrating to Canada. The following table outlines some of the major differences between the QSWP and the FSW Class. 




Quebec Skilled Worker
Federal Skilled Worker
Is the program first-come, first served?
Yes
No
Is the program managed through Express Entry?
No
Yes
Is there a pool of candidates?
No, the program operates on a first-come, first-served basis
Yes, the Express Entry pool
Is there a points system?
Yes
Yes, both for eligibility and in the Express Entry pool
Do candidates need to submit an online profile?
No
Yes
Do candidates need to receive an Invitation to Apply before applying?
No
Yes
Is French proficiency a requirement for the program?
No, but points may be awarded for French
No, but points are available for French
Is language testing mandatory?
No, but up to 22 points are available for English (6) and French (16) proficiency
Yes, candidates must prove language proficiency in English and/or French
Is there a ranking system for eligible candidates?
No
Yes, the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)
Is a job offer required in order to make an application?
No
No
Can a job offer help an applicant become eligible to make an application?
Yes, points are available for a validated job offer in Quebec
Yes, points are available for initial eligibility and under the CRS
Is there an Area of Training list?
Yes, and up to 16 points may be awarded for a candidate’s Area of Training
No
Is there an occupation list?
No
No, but candidates must have at least one year of work experience in a skilled occupation (NOC 0, A or B)
Is there an adaptability interview?
No
No
Can candidates apply to both the QSW and the FSW?
Yes, as long as they withdraw one when either a CSQ or ITA is issued
Yes, as long as they withdraw one when either a CSQ or ITA is issued
Where should applicants intend on landing in Canada?
Quebec
Any province or territory except Quebec
Does an application to the program eventually lead to Canadian permanent resident status?
Yes,  successful candidates first receive a CSQ, then apply to CIC for permanent resident status
Yes, successful candidates obtain permanent resident status
Can permanent residents live and work in any Canadian province or territory?
Yes
Yes
Is the program currently open?
Yes, as of November 4, 2015
Yes
Are there any government fees for creating a profile?
There is no profile stage
No
Are there any government fees for submitting an application?
Yes
Yes
Is there a cap/limit on the number of applications to be accepted?
Yes, up to 6,300 applications may be accepted
No
Is there an established intake period?
Yes, from November 4 to December 15 for postal applications, and from January 18 to March 31, 2016 online
No, eligible candidates may create an online profile at any time. CIC performs regular, ongoing draws from the pool
What are the expected processing times?
Unknown, though processing times may be reduced due to the removal of the adaptability interview stage
CIC aims to process applications within six months of submission








































































The QSWP: a points-based program

The QSWP is a points-based program, where points are awarded for an applicant’s area of training, work experience, age, language proficiency, prior relationship with Quebec (through visits or family), the human capital factors of the applicant’s spouse or common-law partner (if applicable), and whether or not the applicant has a validated job offer in Quebec. If a candidate is awarded sufficient points for these factors, he or she may then gain additional points for any accompanying dependent children and proof of financial self-sufficiency. Moreover, a job offer is not required for the QSWP.

Applicants should also note that they may be awarded points for French proficiency, though it is not an eligibility requirement for the program. Applicants who have little or no French proficiency, but who have strong credentials in other areas, may still be eligible to apply.


An applicant apply without an accompanying spouse or common-law partner must score at least 49 points, while an applicant applying with a spouse or common-law partner must score at least 57 points. Once a CSQ has been issued, applicants must then successfully complete medical and security examinations conducted by the federal government in order to be granted permanent resident status. Potential applicants to the QSWP should note that they should have the intention to reside within the province of Quebec.

An exciting Canadian immigration option

“There are a number of positives to take from the reopening of the Quebec Skilled Worker Program. First and foremost, it could be one of the last of its kind, a way to apply for and obtain Canadian permanent residence on a first-come, first-served basis,” says Attorney David Cohen.

“In addition, with two intake periods during this application cycle — the first one by postal applications, then early in 2016 online —applicants may have two kicks at the can. The fact that a postal intake period will precede the online processing period is a welcome bonus for potential applicants, as it gives them an opportunity to submit an application quickly before the online system is launched. I would therefore encourage eligible candidates for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program to collect the necessary documents and have them reviewed as soon as possible, so that they can maximize their chances of success and achieve their Canadian immigration goals.”

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