Caregivers Pathways

Caregivers will now have access to new pathways to permanent residence
From: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

News release
Launching 2 new 5-year caregiver immigration pilot programs
February 23, 2019—Toronto, ON– Caregivers will soon have access to 2 new 5-year caregiver immigration pilots that will replace expiring and ineffective pilot programs. The new pilots will allow caregivers to come to Canada together with their family and provide a pathway to permanent residence.

Caregivers will also soon have greater flexibility to change jobs quickly, and barriers that prevent family members from accompanying caregivers to Canada will be removed, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen announced today.

Under the new pilots, applicants will be assessed for permanent residence criteria before they begin working in Canada. Once the caregiver has their work permit and 2 years of work experience, they will have access to a direct pathway to become a permanent resident.

These pilot programs will replace the Caring for Children and Caring for People with High Medical Needs pilots and include:

Occupation-specific work permits for caregivers, providing the ability to change jobs quickly when necessary.
Open work permits for spouses/common-law partners and study permits for dependent children, to allow the caregiver’s family to accompany them to Canada.
In addition, the Minister also launched the Interim Pathway for Caregivers, which will be open from March 4, 2019, until June 4, 2019.

This interim program is being launched after hearing directly from caregivers and interested parties that the previous changes made in 2014 were not well understood. Many caregivers began working for families in Canada, only to find out later that they were not going to qualify for permanent residence under an existing program.

To address this issue, the Interim Pathway for Caregivers will provide those caregivers an opportunity to stay in Canada permanently. The interim program will have modified criteria compared to the current pilot programs and offer a pathway to permanent residence for caregivers who, in good faith, have come to Canada and are providing care to Canadians, without a clear pathway to permanent residence.

The Government of Canada continues to be committed to family reunification and eliminating backlogs across all immigration streams. In 2017, the Government committed to eliminating 80% of the caregiver backlog and reducing the processing time from its peak of more than 60 months. To date, the Government has reduced 94% of the backlog and reduced the processing time to 12 months.

Quotes
“Caregivers provide care to families in Canada that need it, and it’s time for Canada to care for them in return. We are providing them with both the opportunity to bring their family members here and access permanent residency to demonstrate our commitment.”

– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Quick facts
In October 2017, there were about 9,000 cases, representing 24,000 caregivers and their family members, in the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) backlog. Today, there are now only 495 cases left to be processed, representing 2,655 people in all, a reduction of 94 percent.

The processing time for new applications from those who were grandfathered into the LCP is 12 months instead of the peak of 60 months previously.

Applications under the Caring for Children and Caring for People with High Medical Needs pilots continue to be processed in 6 months or less.

Both the Home Child Care Provider Pilot and the Home Support Worker Pilot will launch later this year and have a maximum of 2,750 principal applicants each, for a total of 5,500 principal applicants, per year. Spouses/common-law partners and dependent children will not count against the limit.

(more…)

Canada's New Biometric Rule

Canada’s new biometrics rule will soon apply to temporary and permanent resident applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific, and the Americas
From: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

News release
December 28, 2018, Ottawa, ON—Canada is expanding its biometrics collection program. Starting December 31, 2018, nationals from countries in Asia, the Asia Pacific and the Americas will need to give their fingerprints and photo (biometrics) when applying for a visitor visa, study or work permit, or for permanent residence. This same rule has applied to applicants from countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa since July 31, 2018.

Having biometrics makes it easier for immigration and border services officers to stop individuals who pose a risk to the safety and security of Canadians. It also helps officials verify travelers’ identities, makes processing applications easier and simplifies entry for legitimate travelers.

The biometrics requirement adds a new step in the application process. Applicants need to go in person to give their biometrics. Most will do this at a visa application centre (VAC) before they come to Canada.

The Government of Canada has been taking steps to make the biometrics process as smooth as possible. This includes expanding its worldwide network of VACs: there are now 152 VACs in 103 countries and allowing applicants to go to any VAC in any country they are legally allowed to enter. If already legally in the United States, applicants can go to one of 135 Application Support Centers.

The Government of Canada continues to closely monitor the impact of requiring biometrics to ensure that the level of service available meets the needs of applicants. Canada will be providing periodic biometrics collection services in specific locations as needed. More information on additional services will be announced at a later date.

There are also facilitative measures for those who make repeat visits to the country. For example, those coming to visit, study or work temporarily will only need to give their biometrics once every 10 years.

The Government of Canada takes its privacy obligations very seriously and has been working with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to protect applicants’ personal information when collecting, using and sharing biometric information. Canada’s policies are based on the best practices of international partners, who are increasingly relying on biometrics.

Quotes
“Collecting biometrics from most foreign travelers coming to Canada makes sense on so many levels: it strengthens the integrity of our immigration system while helping protect the safety and security of Canadians. Not only does biometrics collection give us a reliable, accurate tool to establish a traveler’s identity, but it also improves our ability to process applications and the entry of people upon arrival in Canada”.

—The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Quick facts
More than 70 countries are using biometrics in their immigration programs.

Biometrics have been required from applicants in support of temporary resident visa, work permit or study permit applications from 29 visa-required countries and 1 territory since 2013.

Some exemptions to biometrics expansion include:

Canadian citizens, citizenship applicants (including passport applicants), or existing permanent residents children under the age of 14 and applicants over the age of 79 (there is no upper age exemption for asylum claimants) heads of state and heads of government cabinet ministers and accredited diplomats of other countries and the United Nations, coming to Canada on official business U.S. visa holders transiting through Canada refugee claimants or protected persons who have already provided biometrics and are applying for a study or work permit temporary resident applicants who have already provided biometrics in support of a permanent resident application that is still in progress Visa-exempt nationals coming to Canada as tourists do not have to give their biometrics. However, they will need to give biometrics if applying for a study or work permit, or for permanent residency.

New and improved intake process

New and improved intake process for sponsorship of parents and grandparents to launch on January 28, 2019
From: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

News release
January 11, 2019 – Ottawa, ON – Today, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, announced the Parents and Grandparents (PGP) Program interest to sponsor form will be available to potential sponsors starting at noon EST on January 28, 2019.

The launch of the 2019 PGP Program will include a new and improved intake process. The Government of Canada has listened to and addressed concerns from clients and stakeholders about the previous intake process and has taken steps to provide the first-in-first-served approach for 2019. This approach will further enhance the client experience by keeping the application process fair for all while remaining an easy-to-access electronic method for applicants.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will accept interest to sponsor submissions for a limited time and then invite potential sponsors to submit a complete application, in the order their submissions were received until the 2019 cap of 20,000 complete applications is reached.

Interested potential sponsors are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the new intake process for 2019, as other improvements have been made. These include a requirement for potential sponsors to upload a copy of a status in Canada document when submitting their interest to sponsor form.

The interest to sponsor form has also been enhanced from previous years to include features that will help IRCC detect duplicate submissions and potential fraud.

Potential sponsors should submit an interest to sponsor form as soon as possible once it’s available online, after confirming that they meet the necessary minimum income requirements. The onus is on potential sponsors to ensure they are eligible before submitting an interest to sponsor form.

As a family reunification program, the PGP Program gives Canadians and permanent residents the opportunity to have their parents and grandparents to come to Canada to live permanently. Given the continuing interest in the program, IRCC has increased the annual cap on applications it will accept in 2019 to 20,000 – 4 times the number of applications accepted in 2015. This increase was made possible by an over 80% reduction of the application backlog and processing times that have been shortened from 7 to 8 years, to about 2 years.

Quotes
“Family reunification is an immigration priority for the Government of Canada. It supports Canada’s economic prosperity and it further strengthens our communities. Parents and grandparents often help care for children, increasing their parents’ ability to work and study, and to make meaningful contributions to their communities. In reuniting Canadian citizens and permanent residents with their parents and grandparents, not only do we help these families to succeed – doing so also benefits our entire country”.

– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Quick facts
The PGP Program continues to be very popular, with continued high volumes in the interest to sponsor process. In 2018, after removing duplicates, we received 93,836 interest to sponsor forms.

Consistently high admissions levels for parents and grandparents over the last few years has allowed the government to eliminate the application backlog. The application inventory has dropped from a peak of 167,000 people in 2011 to just over 28,000 people in October 2018.

Once invited, potential sponsors will have 60 calendar days from the date of their invitation to ensure IRCC receives their complete application for sponsors

New Visa Application Centres

New Visa Application Centres open in Asia-Pacific, the Americas, Europe and Africa
From: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

News release
November 2, 2018 – Ottawa, ON – Canada is expanding its biometrics collection program and is now taking steps to prepare for December 31, 2018, when nationals from countries in Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas will need to give their biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) when applying for a visitor visa, study or work permit, or for permanent residence.

Collecting biometrics provides many benefits: It stops those who pose a risk to the safety and security of Canadians, while also helping officials better manage applicants’ identities, facilitating application processing, and simplifying entry for travelers with legitimate identities.

As most applicants need to give their biometrics before they come to Canada, the Government of Canada is expanding its worldwide network of Visa Application Centres (VACs) to make services more accessible to a wider audience. Today, new VACs have opened in the following locations:

In the Asia Pacific: Bali, Indonesia; Melbourne, Australia;
In the Americas: Mendoza, Argentina; Porto Alegre and Recife, Brazil; Cali, Colombia; Santiago, Chile; and Bridgetown, Barbados;
In Europe: Lyon, France; and Vienna, Austria.
Canada has successfully rolled out of the first phase of biometrics expansion for nationals from countries in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, who have been required to give their biometrics since July 31, 2018. Since this first phase of biometric expansion, Canada also opened the following VACs:

Athens, Greece; Kigali, Rwanda; Stockholm, Sweden; Berlin, Germany; and Tel Aviv, Israel. Some of these VACs replace the temporary biometrics collection service locations that were opened in Europe to support the first phase of biometrics expansion.
By December 31, 2018, there will be 152 VACs in 103 countries, including a new VAC in Antananarivo, Madagascar, and Cape Town, South Africa. More VAC openings will be announced at a later date.

The Government of Canada will closely monitor the impact of the biometrics collection requirement to ensure that the level of service available meets the needs of applicants.

To make it as convenient as possible to give biometrics, Canada is allowing applicants to go to any VAC in any country they are legally allowed to enter, or, if already legally in the United States, to one of 135 U.S. Application Support Centers.

Canada is also increasing capacity at existing VACs, including the 12 VACs in China, 10 in India and 2 in the Philippines, to ensure they continue to meet the needs of biometrically-required applicants.

The Government of Canada takes its privacy obligations very seriously, and safeguards have been built into policies, procedures and technical systems. These policies are based on the best practices of international partners who are increasingly relying on biometrics.

Quotes
“Biometrics is recognized as one of the most reliable ways to identify people and are used by more than 70 countries for immigration screening. As we prepare to roll out the next phase of biometrics expansion, which will affect our largest volume of applicants, we will continue to work closely with other governments, partners, and stakeholders to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.”

– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Quick facts
VACs are privately owned, third-party service providers located around the world that are authorized to provide Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) visa applicants with specific administrative support.

VACs offer support to applicants before, during and after their temporary resident application is assessed by an IRCC officer. VAC service agents can be reached by phone and email, or in person, to answer questions in local languages. VACs are also authorized to collect biometrics from applicants.

In order to better serve the needs of clients in countries in Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas, applicants will need to make an appointment to give their biometrics at a local VAC. Appointments will be available within 5 business days from the date the request is made. This will allow applicants to select a time that is most convenient for them and reduce the wait time at the VAC.

Some exemptions to biometrics expansion include:

Canadian citizens, citizenship applicants (including passport applicants), or existing permanent residents
Visa-exempt nationals coming to Canada as tourists;
Persons under 14 years old and over 79 years old (there is no upper age exemption for asylum claimants);
U.S. nationals making an application for a work, study or temporary resident permit;
Cabinet ministers and accredited diplomats of other countries and the United Nations, coming to Canada on official business; and
Heads of state and Heads of Government, regardless of the purpose of travel.