Canada: Improvements to Express Entry program and international mobility programs announced

Several planned changes were announced for the Express Entry and International Mobility programs at the annual Canadian Bar Association Immigration Section Conference in Vancouver. Key changes and findings are discussed below.

Express Entry Program Changes

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officials announced the following plans and facts about the Express Entry program:

  • The IRCC Minister announced that he would be seeking to make it the first choice of employers to sponsor skilled workers, as opposed to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
  • Extra points are proposed for university graduates under the Express Entry program, which would increase their chances of being awarded permanent residence.
  • 50% of all Express Entry applications met the processing standard of six months, while most applications were finalized within three to four months. 

International Mobility Program Changes

A new voluntary disclosure form is available for employers to make changes to Offers of Employment under the International Mobility Program (IMP). Going forward, employers may use this form to disclose employment term changes instead of submitting a new Offer of Employment, which requires another application fee. Employers will still be subject to inspections and audits regardless of voluntary disclosure.

Also, it was announced that 300 inspections had been initiated under the IMP and 125 had been completed, with the goal that 25% of employers would eventually be inspected.

Other General Changes

The maximum age to qualify as a dependent will be raised from 19 to 22, but the official change will likely not take place for over a year.

Lastly, IRCC will issue guidelines on penalties associated with violations of the IMP later this month.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Employers should be prepared for further guidance regarding the new penalties associated with immigration violations.

Foreign workers with dependants should benefit from an increase in the age of qualifying dependants.

Employers hiring foreign workers under the IMP should be prepared for inspections and should contact their immigration professional.

Stuart Beaty

Celsium, Birmingham, UK