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Family Sponsorship Program for Ukrainians Opening in October

by Ronalee Carey Law

September 2023

Starting October 23, 2023, Canadian family members can sponsor their Ukrainian family members for permanent residence. The Ukrainian family member must be in Canada with temporary resident status to be eligible. (They cannot be without legal status in Canada.) Siblings, parents, grandparents, and grandchildren of Canadian citizens and permanent residents qualify for the program. Spouses and common-law partners are also mentioned in IRCC’s news release, though these individuals were always eligible to be sponsored and did not need a special pathway. 

More details about the new pathway will not be available until closer to the program launch. There will be no government processing fees, and the pathway is to remain open for one year.

 Will other pathways be launched for Ukrainians who do not have a family member to sponsor them? I recently gave a presentation through Ottawa’s Jewish Family Services’ Settlement Services to Ukrainian CUAET work permit holders looking to apply for permanent residence. The head of settlement services for JFS attended and stated that within her network, there were rumours that a new pathway may be announced ‘in the fall.’ However, the government will need to carefully balance public pressure in Canada to provide a permanent solution to those Ukrainians currently living with temporary status in Canada with its diplomatic relations with Ukraine. IRCC will not want to be accused of ‘brain drain,’ poaching Ukraine’s skilled workers. As quoted in a recent article, Ihor Michalchyshyn, CEO of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, stated, ‘We want to, generally, encourage the eight to 11 million people that fled to go back and rebuild.’

2023 Parents and Grandparents Program Opens October 10th - No New Applicants Being Accepted

by Ronalee Carey Law

September 2023


IRCC has announced the re-opening of the Parents and Grandparents Program for 2023. Yet again, applicants will only be selected from the pool of submissions from 2020. Those not selected in 2020, 2021 or 2022 will be eligible for random selection.

IRCC has not said how many applicants remain in the pool of submissions from 2020, only that there are enough that randomized selection will be needed to choose the 24,200 potential sponsors.

This will be of great disappointment to new applicants. We do not know if IRCC will accept new applications in 2024. The 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan anticipates accepting approximately 34,000 new permanent residents through this program in 2024, which includes principal applicants and their spouses/parents and dependent children.

In 2019, the Canadian Bar Association recommended a weighted lottery system so that applicants not selected in previous years would be favoured while still allowing new applicants to participate in the lottery.  IRCC cannot continue shutting out new applicants and must provide transparency about their plans for future lotteries.

Temporary Foreign Workers Can Now Study Without a Study Permit

by Ronalee Carey Law

August 2023

Earlier this month, IRCC announced a new public policy that allows some temporary workers to study without a study permit.

This announcement solves a problem I first wrote about in June 2021: Post-Graduation Work Permit Holders Wanting to Become Licensed to Practice Their Profession Are Thwarted by IRCC’s Rules. PGWP holders needing to take licensing courses and examinations who benefit from the new study permit exemption will no longer be shut out from entering their professions.

However, there are significant concerns with the new policy. It only applies to some temporary workers. There is inconsistency in IRCC’s documents about who is eligible.

The program delivery update states the following foreign nationals are eligible:

  • who hold a valid work permit issued on or before June 7, 2023, or
  • who submitted an application to renew a work permit under section 201 of the Immigration and refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) on or before June 7, 2023, and are authorized to work as per paragraph 186(u) of the IRPR

The instructions state the same, but also that the authorization is valid until:

  • the work permit referred to in (1) or associated with the application referred to in (2) expires
  • the work permit application referred to in (2) is refused
  • this public policy expires (June 27, 2026) or
  • the public policy is revoked

However, another IRCC webpage, Public policy allowing some work permit holders to study without a study permit states to be eligible, you must have:

  • a valid work permit that was issued on or before June 7, 2023, or
  • a letter authorizing you to work while we process your work permit extension application

The letter must have been issued on or before June 7, 2023.

If you applied for a work permit after June 7, 2023, you’re not eligible for these measures.

The requirement to have a letter authorizing you to work dated on or before June 7th is not mentioned in the other two IRCC web pages. This is quite confusing.  Regardless, even though the policy is (currently) valid until June 27, 2026, anyone who applies for a work permit today would need to apply for a study permit, making it of limited utility.

High costs of tuition are another concern. Former international students will be well aware of the high tuition imposed on foreign nationals, which is significantly higher than what domestic students pay. However, for other foreign workers, there may be sticker shock. Work permit holders do not pay domestic tuition rates.

However, my biggest concern regards section 15(7) of the Ministerial Instructions respecting the Express Entry system, which states: a period of employment during which the foreign national was engaged in full-time study is not to be included in calculating a period of work experience.

This restriction is not well known. I often get inquiries from international students who have acquired Canadian work experience and think they can apply for permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class before graduation. I am concerned that foreign workers who take advantage of this new policy and study in addition to working will also be caught. With so much competition for permanent residence programs, I can see how a foreign worker would want to add another educational credential to increase their Express Entry score or to make them eligible for a provincial nominee program. But if studying full-time ‘cancels’ any work experience gained, the foreign worker may be doing themselves a disservice.

Calling all H-1B Visa Holders Come to Canada!

by Ronalee Carey Law

July 2023

Please note, this program has now closed.

On July 16th, IRCC will begin accepting applications for three-year open work permits for holders of H-1B (USA) visas. The first 10,000 applicants will be accepted.

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