IRCC planning more self-service options online

IRCC planning more self-service options online

IRCC planning more self-service options online

IRCC planning more self-service options online

IN the next 12 months, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) say it is planning improvements to offer clients more self-service options online.

New initiatives will be implemented, such as the expansion of online applications and adding new functionalities to clients’ online accounts. It will continue to improve how it communicates anticipated processing times, so they make more sense to clients, according to an IRCC press release on Monday.

Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, highlighted some of the substantial improvements that IRCC claims it has made over the past year.

IRCC claims it has been able to reduce backlogs significantly and make family reunification a priority, thanks to a historic multi-year immigration levels plan. For example, the Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP) inventory was reduced from a high of 62,000 in May 2014, to less than 12,000 by April 2018. IRCC is on track to meet its 2017 commitment to process at least 80% of the remaining LCP backlog by the end of 2018 and is processing new LCP permanent residence applications within 12 months.

IRCC also recently began using an improved method to estimate processing times for some new permanent residence applications.

In addition, IRCC claims it reduced the spousal sponsorship inventory from a high of 75,000 to 15,000 as of December 31, 2017, and is processing new spousal sponsorship applications within 12 months. To help spouses further, it extended the Open Work Permit Pilot for spousal sponsorship applicants and simplified the guides and checklists.

IRCC also made changes to the Citizenship Act that give more flexibility to citizenship applicants to meet the requirements for Canadian citizenship and encourage more immigrants to take the path to citizenship.

This year, IRCC says it also helped workers and students. In June it celebrated the successful first year of the Global Skills Strategy, which has supported Canada’s economy and benefited 10,000 highly skilled workers and more than 100 employers. It also launched the Student Direct Stream to help students from China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam get their study permits faster.

Other substantial improvements include:

– IRCC partnered on new initiatives to better support Francophone immigration, such as the creation of a new Francophone Immigration Policy hub to support the Action Plan for Increasing Francophone Immigration Outside of Quebec. It also improved Francophone immigration services at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

– It changed its medical inadmissibility policy to ensure that its immigration policies better reflect the importance that the Government places on the inclusion of persons with disabilities.

– IRCC increased its presence in China, with seven new visa application centers.

– To continue supporting clients applying from overseas, IRCC plans to add additional visa applications centers internationally in 2018 and 2019.

– It changed the definition of the age of dependants from “under 19” to “under 22”, to enable more families stay together in Canada.

– The IRCC invested in an innovative pilot project to employ up to 1,300 newcomers in sustainable, long-term jobs in the hotel industry.

– It continues to meet the six-month processing time for Express Entry applications in the Federal Skilled Worker Program and Canadian Experience Class.

Hussen said: “IRCC has made great progress in the past few years with these larger initiatives that will positively impact many of our clients. But what we’ve learned in speaking to our clients is that sometimes even tiny interventions in the journey can have a big impact. We are committed to improving our programs and are rethinking the way we provide services. We know that we can do things better and we are committed to doing that.”

Posted in Alberta, Atlantic Canada, Canada, Canada Open Work Permit, Canada PNP, Denmark, Express Entry, Immigration, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Toronto, Tourist Visa, Visa and Immigration, Work Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Outrage as the UK excludes India from relaxed student visa rules

Outrage as the UK excludes India from relaxed student visa rules

Outrage as the UK excludes India from relaxed student visa rules

Outrage as the UK excludes India from relaxed student visa rules

The UK government has caused outrage with its decision to exclude Indian students from a new list of countries considered “low risk” in order to facilitate an easier visa application process to UK universities.

In changes to its immigration policy tabled in Parliament yesterday, the UK Home Office announced a relaxation of the Tier 4 visa category for overseas students from around 25 countries.

On a list already covering countries like the US, Canada and New Zealand, the Home Office has added on the likes of China, Bahrain and Serbia as countries from where students would face reduced checks on educational, financial and English language skill requirements to study at British universities.

The changes, which come into effect on July 6, aim to make it easier for international students to come to study in the UK.

However, India has been left out of this new expanded list, which means Indian students applying for similar courses will continue to face rigorous checks and documentary requirements.

Lord Karan Bilimoria, Indian-origin entrepreneur and President of the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), described the move as an “insult” to India and another example of Britain’s “economically illiterate and hostile attitude to immigration”.

“I consider this another kick in the teeth for India… This sends entirely the wrong message to India, to exclude it from these Tier 4 measures. The government has simply got it wrong,” said Bilimoria, while welcoming the overall visa relaxation measures introduced by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Bilimoria, the founder of Cobra Beer and founding-chair of UK India Business Council (UKIBC), added, “It is completely hypocritical that this is announced at the same time that Britain is talking about doing a post-Brexit free trade agreement (FTA) with India. If this is the way they treat India, they can dream on about an FTA with India”.

“India has always been one of Britain’s closest allies and an emerging global economic superpower. Excluding India from this list is myopically short-sighted and is damaging what has always been a special relationship between our countries,” he said.

The National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK also expressed disappointment at India’s exclusion from the list, which it said effectively categorises Indian students as “high risk”. The representative body for Indian students in the UK said it was unfair that Indian students should be treated differently from Chinese or other nationals on the list.

“It is important to note that today’s announcement makes no change to the process of application for Indian students, but it is the perception of this message among Indian students that worries us. And, this raises another question – will China continue to get even more favorable actions while India gets the rhetoric,” questioned Sanam Arora, president of NISAU UK.

According to the latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) data, India is among the top three countries from where overseas students come in to study at UK universities, after China and the US. While Indian students registered a hike of 30 percent to hit 15,171 Tier 4 visas last year, the numbers remain a far cry from around 30,000 six years ago.

The latest development will add to growing concern within Indian government circles, given that ministers and diplomats have repeatedly highlighted the need for a more welcoming immigration regime for Indian students.

Last week, Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Y K Sinha, held a meeting with the UK’s minister for universities, Sam Gyimah, during which he once again raised the issue of “smoother and greater student and faculty mobility between the two countries”.

“It is unfortunate that in the last six years we have seen a steep drop (in Indian student numbers). What should be troubling universities here is that Indian students are now going in much greater numbers to the US, Australia – even France and Germany,” Sinha has said in the past.

The UK Home Office said in order to make it easier for students to come and study in the UK’s world-leading education sector; it has expanded the list of countries from which students will be able to benefit from a streamlined application process.

“Students from an additional 11 countries, including China, will be able to provide a reduced level of documentation when applying for their Tier 4 visa,” the Home Office statement notes.

On being asked why India had been omitted from this expanded list, a spokesperson said, “We welcome Indian students who want to come to the UK to study at our world-leading educational institutions. We issue more visas to students from India than any other country except China and the USA.”

The Home Office stressed that 90 percent of Indian students who apply for a UK visa get one, a figure up from 86 percent in 2014 and 83 percent the year before that.

It added, “In addition, the proportion of Indian students coming to study in the UK at a university has increased from around 50 percent in 2010 to around 90 percent in 2016. Indian student visa applications are up 30 percent on last year. We continue to have regular discussions with the Indian government on a range of issues including on visas and UK immigration policy,” it said.

Posted in Study Abroad, UK, Visa and Immigration, Work Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BC PNP invites Skills immigration and Express Entry BC candidates

BC PNP invites Skills immigration and Express Entry BC candidates

BC PNP invites Skills immigration and Express Entry BC candidates

BC PNP invites Skills immigration and Express Entry BC candidates

A total of 405 invitations to apply for a provincial nomination were issued this week to candidates under the Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC streams of the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program in an invitation round that took place on August 8.

If a candidate obtains a successful nomination under the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) Express Entry BC: Skilled Worker and Express Entry BC: International Graduate categories, he or she will receive an additional 600 points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) toward their Express Entry profile.

The portion of candidates invited to apply for a British Columbia provincial nomination under the BC PNP Skills Immigration Stream categories will have their applications for Canadian permanent residence processed outside the Express Entry system.

Generally, candidates applying for immigration under the BC PNP require an indeterminate, full-time job offer from an employer in the province. However, candidates applying under the  BC PNP Tech Pilot with job offers in one of the 29 occupations are required to have a job offer that lasts for at least one year (365 days).

Individuals interested in applying for immigration to Canada under the Skills Immigration must first create an online profile with using the BC PNP’s online system and submit a complete registration form. Applicants’ profiles are then assessed and are assigned a score based on various factors, such as education, work experience and other factors.

The minimum scores for each category in the August 8 draw were as follows:

Date of draw BC PNP Category Minimum Score Required Number of ITAs Issued
August 8, 2018 EEBC – Skilled Worker 87 405
EEBC – International Graduate 91
SI – Skilled Worker 82
SI – International Graduate 91
SI – Entry Level and Semi-Skilled 65

British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)

British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province, is a hub of cultural diversity and economic growth.

Home to the country’s third-largest city, Vancouver, British Columbia is also one of the most diverse provinces in all of Canada. British Columbia’s economy focuses on a strong natural resources sector, with an emphasis on forestry and mining. Its natural environment, with expansive forests and a unique coastal climate, is renowned as one of the most beautiful in Canada, and indeed the world.

The BC PNP is British Columbia’s Provincial Nominee Program. Through this program, prospective immigrants with the skills and experience targeted by the province may receive a British Columbia Provincial Nomination Certificate, which will allow that foreign national to apply for Canadian permanent residence with processing times that are faster than other Canadian immigration classes.

Posted in Alberta, Atlantic Canada, British Columbia, Canada, Canada PNP, Dependent Visa, Express Entry, Immigration, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment