Canadian Government is taking action to facilitate trade and travel with Mexico

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Yesterday, the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship Canada announced a new program to facilitate trade and travel with Mexico.

Between January and April 2014, visitor visas, study and work permits issued to Mexican visitors, students and workers, are reaching a 20 percent increase from the same period last year. the Canadian Government is taking real action to make Canada’s close tourism ties with Mexico even closer.

CAN+ Program

Mexican nationals who have traveled to Canada or the United States within the last 10 years will be eligible for expedited visa processing named “Can+Program”. The Can+program will be a new option to make it easier for Mexican travelers to visit Canada.

A six-month pilot of the CAN+ program delivered real results: the CAN+ will reduce the Visa processing times for Mexican Travelers to 10 days or less.

Express Programs to Mexican Nationals

Citizenship and Immigration Canada also offers three “Express” programs that help Mexican business people, tourist groups and students come to Canada faster:

Business Express

This program allows business traveler from Mexico to apply for visas that will be issued within days with a near-perfect approval rate for applicants who registered in the program.

Travel Express 

This program offers a fast, simplified visa application process for tourists who use travel agencies registered with the Canadian Embassy.

Mexican Student Pilot

This pilot program designed for Mexican students, which fast-tracks the processing of study permits with a near-perfect approval rate for students who study at participating Canadian educational institutions.

Quotes:

“Our government is opening the door to economic growth while protecting the integrity of Canada’s immigration system. By making the CAN+ program permanent, our government is making it easier and faster for Mexican travellers to come to Canada to do business, visit family or friends, or bolster Canada’s tourism industry. This will further strengthen relations with our valued NAFTA partner and will help foster economic growth in both our countries.” Said Minister Alexander, Immigration and Citizenship Canada.

Original Announcement from CIC: http://goo.gl/GpGU7Y

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Work while you study in Canada

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Did you know that while you study you may be eligible to a work permit? Yes, you can work while you study in Canada in certain programs.

Did you know that your possibilities to immigrate to Canada increase at the end of your studies? Yes, they definitely increase!!!

Contact us!!!
info@bellallianceglobal.com

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Labour Market Opinion (LMO) Facts – An Overview!

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Note: the Labour Market Opinion is now being transformed to the new Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), to check out for more details regarding this change, see: New Labour Market Impact Assessment

If you’re looking for a job opportunity in Canada, you may have heard about the Labour Market Opinion (LMO). What exactly is a LMO? Do you and your employer need a LMO for your prospective job offer?  Let’s review the facts about the Labour Market Opinion.

 

A LMO is an application made by Canadian employers for an “Opinion” from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) to confirm that “reasonable efforts” to recruit Canada citizens or permanent residents for the position(s) have been made and that there are no qualified, willing and able Canada citizens or permanent residents for the position(s).

 

The purpose of the LMO is to ensure that there really is a shortage of Canadians or permanent residents willing and able to do the job, and therefore that hiring a temporary foreign worker will not have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market.

 

If the job offer is genuine and if the employment of the foreign national is likely to have a neutral or positive effect on the labour market in Canada. The Approval of a LMO comes in the form of a “Confirmation” from Service Canada. Although a foreign national may be identified on the Labour Market Opinion, the confirmation pertains to the Job position, not the foreign national. When the LMO application approved, employer will receive a positive LMO. This LMO is provided to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and communicated to the employer.

 

What if I got a “Neutral” LMO? HRSDC/Service Canada determine whether the entry of a TFW would likely have a positive or neutral impact on the Canadian labour market. This wording was intended to emphasize the benefits to employers of having access to TFWs, in contrast to the former approach which emphasized the negative impact (e.g. the focus was on potential loss of job opportunities for Canadians). Whether a decision is based on an assessment that the impact is positive or neutral, the outcome is the same in practical terms: a positive LMO is issued.

 

Work permits exempt from an LMO

There are some regulatory authorities to issue a work permit to a worker who does not require an LMO. Including :

 

  • Workers covered under international agreements:Professionals, traders, investors and business people coming to Canada to work under certain international agreements.
  • Participants in exchange programs:People whose employment in Canada will provide similar employment to Canadians abroad, such as participants in youth exchange programs, teacher exchange programs or other reciprocal programs.
  • Spouses
    • Spouses and common-law partners of certain foreign students who are studying full-time.
    • Spouses and common-law partners of certain skilled foreign workers.
  • Workers, their spouses/common-law partners or their dependents who are eligible for a work permit through an active pilot project
  • Workers nominated by a province for permanent residence:A person who has been nominated by a province for permanent residence and has a job offer from an employer based in that province.
  • Entrepreneurs and intra-company transferees:Some types of entrepreneurs, workers transferring within a company, and other types of workers who will provide significant benefit to Canadians or permanent residents by working in Canada.
  • Academics and students: Certain academics and students.
  • Co-op students: Foreign students who are studying in Canada and who need to do co-op work placements as part of their program of study.
  • Religious workers: People doing charitable or religious work.
  • Others: Certain people who need to support themselves while they are in Canada for other reasons such as the refugee determination process.

As of April 29th 2013, the government introduced several changes to the Labour Market Opinion Process. Check our Blog to see Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program .

 

Tips for Applying for an LMO

If applying for an LMO, here are some tips:

  • Plan as far in advance as possible when hiring temporary foreign workers. Do a needs assessment to determine if you will need to hire in the next 6 to 12 months.
  • Apply for the LMO ASAP! Once you identify a need, even if it’s not for several months, start the LMO process. It can take 2-3 months for HRSDC to make a decision on an LMO.
  • Recruit more than the minimum. Employers must recruit for at least 14 days. Don’t just meet the minimum. Recruit longer and on more sites than what HRSDC requires.
  • Once an application is submitted, be prepared for a call from HRSDC. HRSDC will contact the employer in most cases and expect the employer to respond immediately to their voice message or email. If an employer fails to respond within days, HRSDC may refuse the application.

For more information and the application for a LMO, please contact us.

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Work During your trip to Canada: International Experience Canada

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It’s a dream of many…an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity too good to miss! If you have ever wanted to live, travel and work in Canada, here is a perfect opportunity to make your dream come true.

 

International Experience Canada is a temporary Work Permit program for young people aged 18-35 who are from one of the countries that have a bilateral reciprocal youth mobility arrangement or agreement with Canada. Couldn’t find your country from the list? No worry, you also have a chance to connect with one of the recognized organizations  for other travel and work opportunities in Canada.

There are three categories under IEC program:

  • The Working Holiday Program gives adults between 18 – 35 years the opportunity to travel and work in Canada for one or two years
  • The Young Professionals Program gives adults between 18 – 35 years the opportunity to gain professional work experience
  • The International Co-op Program is for students to gain work experience related to their studies.

What you can do after IEC ?

Extend your stay in Canada as a Temporary Worker: with a valid job offer, and a positive LMO, you would be able to extend your work permit beyond your IEC permit. You’ll have a chance to continue gaining your work experience in Canada, or looking for more opportunities in Canada for your future career contribution.

Live in Canada permanently: Temporary foreign worker in a skilled occupations would be able to apply under Canadian Experience Class for permanent residency after at least 1 year work experience in Canada. For more information about CEC program, please contact us

Over 415,000 international participants have traveled and worked in Canada under IEC. Read some of their stories to learn about their experience

There is a quota every year for each program in each country, you can check here to see if you missed this year. If you did, be prepared to apply next year!

Contact us for more information about International Experience Canadian

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Retaining Skilled Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada

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Employers, have you surveyed your staff recently and found you have at least one or more skilled temporary foreign workers in your workplace? Close to 200,000 temporary foreign workers enter Canada every year. In 2010, 25% of those entered British Columbia. Often employers are only in tune with the status of their temporary foreign workers if a labour market opinion is required, or the employer supported their provincial nominee application. However, there are many temporary work permit programs available to foreigners without requiring a job offer from a Canadian company. These workers come to Canada, successfully find jobs on their own, or perhaps through contacts, and can very well be successfully retained if both employers and employees were aware of the options to extend their temporary work permit or apply for permanent residency.

Often it is the employee that comes to us seeking advice of how to stay. Our clients inform us their employer is keen to retain them, but are unaware of the employee’s options or believe immigration is too complicated of a process to go through (we hope by educating them and employers we meet that more employers will proactively seek advice as well). Yes, immigration policies and programs change frequently, and right now, it feels almost weekly. And processing times more often increase than decrease. However, Canada and especially the provinces are focusing heavily on the current and future labour shortage challenges and the need to improve efficiencies to the immigration process. Programs that are seeing improvements include those meant to help employers retain skilled employees. So, employers and employees, here are some options:

Extending a temporary foreign work permit

Obtain Accelerated Labour Market Opinion

In April 2012, Service Canada introduced the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion (LMO) program. If you are a company that has applied and received a positive LMO in the last two years, you may qualify to receive an LMO within 10 business days. For more information, visit our blog Accelerated Labour Market Opinion Announced

Service Canada Labour Market Opinion Variations

To meet immediate demand of labour shortages, there are several variations for applying for an LMO. For a list of these variations, visit HRSDC LMO Variations. One important variation to highlight is for international graduates on post-graduate work permits. With a valid job offer, the employer does not need to go through the regular recruitment efforts before applying for an LMO. More information for Post-graduates can be found here.

International Experience Canada Youth Workers

Approximately 30 countries participate in this international young workers program, allowing youth from 18 to 35 to gain work experience in another country for at least 1 year. Participating countries include Canada, Ireland, Australia, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Spain and Mexico. Under this program, there are three streams – youth mobility program; young professionals; and international coop program. A job offer is required under the young professionals program. Canada allows youth of some countries to apply for extensions of the youth mobility work permit or to re-apply under a different stream. Rules vary for each country, but this could be an option for employees wanting to work longer. To view the list of participating countries and the requirements, visit Participating Countries

Applying for Permanent Residency

When there is a permanent job offer, currently an employee’s best option for permanent residency is through a provincial nominee program. Every province has its own provincial nominee program. For British Columbia, there is the strategic occupations steam for workers. Under this stream, workers with a full-time, permanent job offer can apply as:

  • Skilled Workers
  • International Graduates (Pilot project for post-graduate students is available until March 2013, which does not require a job offer)
  • Healthcare workers
  • Semi-Skilled and Entry level workers

At the federal level, the skilled professionals stream allows applicants to apply for permanent residency with a valid permanent job offer approved by Service Canada. While this is another option to retain employees, there are several benefits to the provincial nominee program rather than going through the skilled professional stream. In most provinces, these include:

  • Exemption from needing a labour market opinion
  • Exemption from meeting the federal economic point system
  • For some streams, a language test is not required
  • Greater flexibility to occupation and wage requirements
  • Better access to program officers when there are questions or concerns related to an application
  • Faster processing times

These are not the only programs available, but we want to highlight that options do exist. For others, visit our Work in Canada or Immigrate to Canada Page. We stress the importance of employers and employees looking into these options in advance, at least 3 to 6 months prior to the employee’s temporary work permit expiring. When an employer identifies the temporary foreign worker is an employee to keep, it is a good time to start the conversation. It does happen, albeit rarely, that a worker comes to us one month prior to their work permit expiring and asks what can be done.  This is not an ideal scenario and best avoided by planning in advance.

We encourage employers and temporary foreign workers to contact us to discuss the immigration process for their employees in more detail.

 

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Accelerated Labour Market Opinion Initiative Announced

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As of April 25th, employers and their representatives can apply for an accelerated Labour Market Opinion, called the A-LMO. This is good news for the many employers and foreign workers who have often been waiting up to 5 months for an LMO to be approved.

HRSDC’s goal is to improve the integrity of the temporary foreign worker program and labour market outcomes; as well as respond to employers’ needs efficiently and in a timely manner. We couldn’t agree more that initiatives like these are needed.

This new Initiative applies to employers hiring temporary foreign workers in higher skilled positions such as: management, professional and technical occupations from the NOC list. For now, the Initiative does not apply to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, the Agricultural Stream and occupations in the film and entertainment sectors.

To be eligible, employers must:

  • have been issued at least 1 positive LMO in the previous 2 years;
  • have a clean record of compliance with the Program within the last 2 years;
  • not have been the subject of an investigation, infraction or a serious complaint; and
  • not have any unresolved violations or contraventions under provincial laws governing employment and recruitment.

If the employer is deemed eligible, the employer can apply through a paper or an online system and receive an LMO within 10 business days.  For more information, visit the HRSDC site or contact us!

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