• Business Immigration Update
  • December 6, 2010 | Authors: Andrea F. Baldwin; Janet M. Thompson-Price
  • Law Firms: Stewart McKelvey - Halifax Office ; Stewart McKelvey - Saint John Office
  • Canadian immigration law and policy, particularly as it pertains to temporary foreign workers, continues to evolve and change.  Highlights of some recent changes that may be relevant to your business are summarized below.

    International Graduates from Across Canada now Qualify for Nomination in Nova Scotia

    Nova Scotia employers wishing to hire an eligible international student who graduated within the last two years from a provincially recognized post-secondary institution anywhere in Canada can now support that employee’s immigration to Canada under the International Graduate Stream of the Nova Scotia Nominee Program.  Before this change was introduced, the program was only available to international students who graduated from a college or university in Nova Scotia. 

    The Residency Obligation for Permanent Residents Working for Canadian Companies Abroad

    In order to maintain permanent resident status in Canada, foreign nationals must comply with a residency obligation.  That is, they must be present in Canada for at least 730 days in a five-year period.  Permanent residents who work abroad for a Canadian employer may still satisfy their residency requirement provided they work full-time for a qualifying Canadian business.  Paragraph 61(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations defines a Canadian business as a corporation incorporated under the laws of Canada or of a province that has ongoing operations in Canada.  Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) recently published a bulletin that offers guidance for assessing compliance with the residency obligation of permanent residents working abroad.  The bulletin clarifies that qualifying non-profit organizations are corporations for the purpose of subsection 61(1).  The bulletin also underscores that an entity which serves primarily to facilitate compliance with the residency obligation is not considered a Canadian business for the purposes of satisfying the residency obligation.  Lastly, the bulletin provides examples of acceptable documentation that may be considered when assessing whether an organization is sufficiently “Canadian” so that employees working abroad will be able to comply with their residency obligation.  Some of the examples provided are articles of Incorporation, annual reports, corporate notices of assessment, an applicant’s job description and proof of payment of an applicant’s salary. 

    What This Means to You

    Canadian citizens are not required to meet a residency obligation to maintain their status as citizens.  The residency obligation only applies to permanent residents.  Canadian employers may therefore wish to be mindful of the residency obligation before sending employees, who are permanent residents, abroad to work for a significant period of time.

    New LMO Exemption for Foreign Medical Residents and Medical Research Fellows

    Foreign medical residents and medical research fellows are now able to obtain a work permit to complete their training or research in Canada without their Canadian employer first obtaining a labour market opinion (“LMO”) confirming that their employment will have a positive or neutral impact on the Canadian labour market.  This LMO exemption was implemented because Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has determined that foreign medical residents and fellows do not take away employment or training opportunities from Canadians or permanent residents and the transfer of skills and knowledge from foreign medical fellows is a significant benefit to Canadian universities and the field of medical research in Canada.

    Fewer Foreign Workers Will Now Require Immigration Medical Exams

    Foreign workers and long-term visitors from Mexico, Croatia, Saudi Arabia and 42 other countries and territories can now enter Canada without first being required to undergo an immigration medical exam unless they will be working in an occupation in which the protection of public health is essential.  This change follows a review of the three-year average tuberculosis incidents of countries and territories around the world and will improve cross-border mobility to Canada.  Mexicans applying for temporary residence in Canada are expected to account for the bulk of those applicants who will benefit from this change which will reduce the cost and time required to apply for admission to Canada.