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Changes to Canadian Work Permit Categories for Television/Film and Performing Arts

Film photo

The Canadian Department of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) has announced two new Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exempt work permit categories for foreign nationals working in television and film or the performing arts.

Starting on February 17, 2016, the two new LMIA exemption categories will allow for certain foreign nationals to apply for a work permit without first having to apply to the Temporary Foreign Worker program for an LMIA. These work permit categories will now be governed under the International Mobility Program.

Television and Film (C14 Exemption – Significant Benefit)

Foreign nationals working in the TV and Film industry who hold positions that are essential to a TV or film production may be eligible to apply for a work permit directly at the port of entry (for TRV exempt nationals) or to a Canadian visa office abroad without first obtaining an LMIA. This new exemption will allow Canada to continue to attract high value TV and film productions to Canada, creating significant economic benefits and opportunities for Canadians. This exemption will apply to both Canadian productions and foreign productions.

To qualify, the positions must be considered to be “high wage” and are often unionized. In British Columbia a high wage position is considered to be an amount above $22.00 /hour and in Ontario, high wage is an amount over $21.15. See all provincial wage thresholds at: http://www.esdc.gc.ca/en/foreign_workers/hire/median_wage/index.page

Employers will be required to file an “Offer of Employment for LMIA Exempt Work Permits” with IRCC and pay a compliance fee of $230 before the work permit application is made. The Offer of Employment must be filed in advance and proof of filing will be required for the foreign national to make their work permit application.

To support the work permit application, the production must provide a support letter outlining some general information in relation to the production, a statement that the foreign worker and the position to be held by the foreign worker is essential to the production, and details on the economic benefit of the production to Canada (including the number of Canadians created by the production, the estimate budget to be spent in Canada and a statement confirming that the production satisfies the criteria for federal or provincial tax credits or is the recipient of federal or provincial funding). The production must also provide a letter of support from the applicable union.

For further details, please see: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/tools/temp/work/opinion/imp-c14.asp

Performing Arts (C23 – Reciprocal Employment)

Foreign nationals working as key creative personnel and talent associated with non-profit performing arts organizations involved in theater, opera, orchestras, and dance may be eligible for this LMIA exempt work permit. This new exemption will allow for foreign nationals to apply for work permits in the performing arts if they can demonstrate reciprocal opportunities for Canadians outside of Canada in the same discipline. A one to one ratio of reciprocity does not have to be proven, rather a general statement affirming that reciprocity has been known to exist with an explanation of how the organization plans to allow for opportunities for Canadians outside of Canada.

Employers will be required to file an “Offer of Employment for LMIA Exempt Work Permits” with IRCC and pay a compliance fee of $230 before the work permit application is made. The Offer of Employment must be filed in advance and proof of filing will be required for the foreign national to make their work permit application.

To support the work permit application, the performing arts organization will be required to provide a support letter outlining the reciprocity for Canadians abroad in the specific discipline, a copy of the job offer to the foreign national, and confirmation of the organization’s funding support from the Canadian government or applicable parliamentary council for the arts.

For further details on the performing arts LMIA exemption and reciprocity letters, please see: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/tools/temp/work/opinion/imp-c23.asp

Foreign Funded Commercials Filmed in Canada – Business Visitor

Another change that IRCC announced this week applies to essential personnel (including producers, directors, actors, technicians, etc.) entering Canada to shoot a foreign funded commercial or advertisement in Canada. This exemption falls under the Business Visitor category and therefore does not require an application for a work permit. The entry as a Business Visitor for filming commercials (or print advertising) is limited for entry to Canada for a very short duration (under 2 weeks).

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Changes to Canadian Work Permit Categories for Television/Film and Performing Arts

New Entrepreneur Immigration Program opens in British Columbia, Canada

opendooroptions

British Columbia’s Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) reopened its doors for business immigrants to Canada on July 2, 2015. In a landscape of unfriendly federal business immigration programs and preference for employer-driven individual immigration programs, the new BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration program is extremely attractive for prospective business immigrants to Canada.

The appeal

  • No minimum English language skills required
  • No age restriction
  • Minimum of 33 percent business ownership only
  • Low thresholds for minimum net worth (CA$600,000) and investment (CA$200,000)
  • Low initial registration fee of CA$300

Looking closer

It may sound too good to be true, because it probably is. BC PNP is attracting as many applications as it can so it can choose the best. In fact, BC PNP will now have a Pool of applicants competing to get as many points (maximum 200) as possible—however, only 200 applicants are accepted into the Pool each month. BC PNP will then make periodic draws from the Pool to award applicants holding the highest scores with an Invitation to Apply for the Entrepreneur Immigration program. So while the bar seems to be set low, applicants will need a competitive score to be successful.

A competitive score can come from increasing individual points as much as possible for each category:

Points category Points
Experience 24
Net Worth 12
Personal Investment 30
Jobs 36
Adaptability 18
Business Concept 80
Total 200

 

This could mean having greater management experience, higher net worth, significant investments, English language skills or even choosing a better business. For instance, an eligible business for the Business Concept must, at minimum, contribute to the province’s economic growth. However, there is also a list of business types that offer significant economic benefits and those would presumably be more valuable on the points system.

Other requirements for the program, like its predecessor, include:

  • Business or management experience;
  • Active management of a new or improved existing business located in British Columbia;
  • Intention to reside in British Columbia; and
  • Introduction of at least one full-time job for a Canadian or permanent resident.

Undoubtedly, the BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration program will reopen doors of opportunity for prospective business immigrants to Canada.

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New Entrepreneur Immigration Program opens in British Columbia, Canada

LMIA Exempt Work Permit Applications – New Procedure

Effective February 21, 2015, there will be changes to the work permit application process for categories that are currently exempt from obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and employer specific. The changes follow amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations focused on employer compliance in the employment of foreign workers.

As a result of the regulatory amendments, most work permit applications will now require a 2 step process:

Step 1. Either an LMIA application to Service Canada OR a new procedure involving an application form to be submitted to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for LMIA exempt categories (Form IMM 5802 – Offer of Employment to a Labour Market Impact Assessment Exempt Foreign National) with an additional $230 employer compliance fee.

Step 2. Work permit application.

This new procedure is applicable to all LMIA exempt work permits that are employer specific including work permit extension applications, visa office applications, port of entry applications. The new procedure will apply to most LMIA exempt work permit applications including work permits under NAFTA, intra-company transfers, PNPs, signficant benefit, etc. (Note: step 1 is not required for open work permit applicants, however, open work permits will be subject to an additional $100 privilege fee).

The new IMM 5802 Form and online fee payment (through their current CIC online fee payment site) will be available on Wednesday, February 18, 2015. The new form will require general corporate information about the employer (including contact information), the terms of the offer, information supporting the LMIA exemption and an attestation by the employer on the terms of the offer of employment.

Third party representatives will be able to submit the IMM 5802 Form for employers as long as the employer contact has signed a Use of Rep form (IMM 5476). The process requires that the IMM 5802 be completed by employers and submitted with the $230 payment to CIC.

Once the IMM 5802 Form is submitted to CIC, a confirmation will be generated by CIC. This confirmation along with a copy of the IMM 5802 Form and the $230 fee payment must be provided to the foreign worker to make an application for a work permit (i.e. at the visa office, online or at POE etc.)

There is not an advance “adjudication process” for the IMM 5802 Form before the work permit application is processed. For example, although proof that the IMM 5802 Form was submitted is required for an applicant to apply for a work permit at the POE, it was indicated that this could be done 5 minutes prior to arriving at the port of entry, as long as the applicant had a copy of the submitted IMM 5802 Form and payment confirmation with their work permit application.

There will also be a process for receiving a refund of the $230 employer compliance fee (and $100 privilege fee) if a work permit application is refused

More information will be posted by CIC this week and the link to the CIC site can be found at: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/tools/temp/work/admissibility/specific.asp

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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LMIA Exempt Work Permit Applications – New Procedure

Critical employment issues facing multi-national employers

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Last week Dentons held its program on employment issues facing multi-national companies. For your convenience, the program can be viewed in it’s entirety by visiting the event page.

Dentons event

If you are interested in receiving additional information on Dentons’ Employment practice and/or have topic suggestions for future seminars, please contact Jennifer Gonzales-Frisbie, Business Development Manager, at jennifer.gonzales‑frisbie@dentons.com.

We hope to see you at our next program.

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Critical employment issues facing multi-national employers

One week away: Critical employment issues facing multi-national employers

Labour-2-(ThinkStock)

With one week left, click here to register for our CLE program on Critical Employment Issues Facing Multi-National Employers.

December 10, 2014
04:00 PM – 07:00 PM EDT
1221 Avenue of the Americas
50th Floor
New York, NY
United States

Dentons Global Employment and Labor group is pleased to invite you to an interactive program bringing together Dentons lawyers from around the globe to present on several critical employment issues facing multi-national employers. The three-panel program will be followed by networking cocktails where you will have an opportunity to mingle and connect with professionals in the industry.

Panel topics and speakers:

Moderated by Brian Cousin

Privacy Panel (4:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.):
Andy Roth (US), Barbara Johnston (Canada), Michael Bronstein (UK), Katell Deniel-Allioux (France),Todd Liao (China by video), Neil Capobianco (US)

Global Mobility Panel (5:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m.):
Matt Schulz (US), Michael Bronstein (UK), Todd Liao (China by video)

Restrictive Covenants Panel (6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.):
Richard Scharlat (US), Adrian Miedema (Canada), Michael Bronstein (UK), Katell Deniel-Allioux (France), Todd Liao (China by video)

Register Now

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One week away: Critical employment issues facing multi-national employers

Canadian government removes visa requirements for Chilean nationals

On November 22, 2014, the Canadian government announced the removal of the requirement for Chilean nationals to obtain temporary resident visas to travel to Canada. As such, Chileans may now travel on valid passports to Canada for business and pleasure travel without the requirement of first applying for a travel visa to enter Canada. Coupled with the Canada –Chile Free Trade Agreement and the fact that Chilean nationals do not require medicals, Chilean nationals will be eligible to apply for work permits at the port of entry, including Chilean Professionals as outlined in the Canada-Chile FTA: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/tools/temp/work/international/chile.asp

This announcement is a welcomed development for employers seeking skilled workers to Canada and promoting greater global mobility.

Canadian government removes visa requirements for Chilean nationals

Critical employment issues facing multi-national employers

Labour-2-(ThinkStock)

December 10, 2014 04:00 PM – 07:00 PM EDT    

McGraw-Hill Conference Space    

1221 Avenue of the Americas 50th Floor

New York, NY United States

Dentons Global Employment and Labor group is pleased to invite you to an interactive program bringing together Dentons lawyers from around the globe to present on several critical employment issues facing multi-national employers. The three-panel program will be followed by networking cocktails where you will have an opportunity to mingle and connect with professionals in the industry.

Panel topics and speakers:

Moderated by Brian Cousin

Privacy Panel (4:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.): Andy Roth (US), Barbara Johnston (Canada), Michael Bronstein (UK), Katell Deniel-Allioux (France), Todd Liao (China by video), Neil Capobianco (US)

Global Mobility Panel (5:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m.): Matt Schulz (US), Michael Bronstein (UK), Todd Liao (China by video)

Restrictive Covenants Panel (6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.): Richard Scharlat (US), Adrian Miedema (Canada), Michael Bronstein (UK), Katell Deniel-Allioux (France), Todd Liao (China by video)

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Critical employment issues facing multi-national employers

NINETEEN IS THE NEW TWENTY-TWO: AMENDING THE DEFINITION OF “DEPENDENT CHILD” IN THE CANADIAN IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION REGULATIONS

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On August 1, 2014, the Canadian government amendments to the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, changing the definition of a “dependent child”, came into force. Under the old definition, a dependent child was considered a child under the age of 22 and financially dependent on their parents. Under the new definition, a dependent child must now be under the age of 19. Additionally, the exception for full-time students, under the old definition, was removed. This means children that are 19 or older, still financially dependent on their parents, and who are full-time students will not be processed as a dependent child in the Canadian immigration process.

The amendments have no impact on children who are dependent on their parents because of mental or physical conditions, they will continue to be treated as dependent children under the Canadian immigration process regardless of their age.

The amendments were made to reflect the provincial definitions of “age of majority”.

Dependent children who are full-time students and who are 19 or older may still apply to come to Canada but will be assessed on their own merits. They can apply as foreign students or through various economic and immigration programs that Canada has.

Any application submitted prior to August 1, 2014, when the amendment came into force, will continue under the old definition. Additionally, there are transitional measures that will allow certain applicants to continue the multi-step application using the old definition. The transitional measures apply to applicants who commenced the multi-step permanent resident immigration programs prior to the amendments taking effect. The transitional measures will apply to the certain groups, including:

  • Provincial Nominee Program applicants;
  • Applicants who have applied under one of Quebec’s economic programs;
  • Live-in caregivers;
  • Refugees abroad and refugee claimants;
  • Quebec humanitarian cases;
  • Parents or grandparents whose sponsorship applications were received before November 5, 2011; and
  • Privately sponsored refugees whose sponsorship applications were received before October 18, 2012.

For a dependent child entering a multi-step permanent resident immigration program, they will have their age “locked in” at the first formal step of the immigration program. This means that the age of a dependent child will be considered under 19 for entire immigration process if they were under 19 at the time they started the formal process of an immigration program regardless of whether they are under 19 when the submit their immigration application.

The official government notice can be found here.

For more information, please contact Dentons Canada LLP Immigration group.

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NINETEEN IS THE NEW TWENTY-TWO: AMENDING THE DEFINITION OF “DEPENDENT CHILD” IN THE CANADIAN IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION REGULATIONS

Canadian Government Revamps the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

With the government’s focus on “Canadians First” for Canadian jobs, the requirements to hire temporary foreign workers were revamped to make the hiring of foreign workers, and in particular low skilled / low wage foreign workers, more difficult for employers.

For employers that utitlize labour market opinions (now known as labour market impact assessmentsLMIA), one of the biggest changes is the increased application fee that is now $1000 per position (up from $275) with the potential of an additional $100 “privilege fee” to be added. For those employers wishing to employ “high skilled / high wage” foreign workers, a Transition Plan will need to be submitted with LMIA applications. For those employers wishing to hire “low skilled/ low wage” foreign workers, the ability to hire foreign workers will be tied to the unemployment rate in the region they wish to hire the foreign workers and there will be caps placed on the number of such applications an employer can request. The duration of LMIAs issued for such workers in Canada will also decrease to one year increments.

For employers that utilize the LMIA exempt work permit categories (now known as International Mobility Program) including work permits under international agreements such as NAFTA or GATS, there will be additional application fees that will take effect in the summer of 2015. These include the Employer Compliance fee of $230 for employer specific work permits and $100 privilege fee for open work permits. There will also be a requirement for employers to submit these job offers directly to Citizienship and Immigration Canada (CIC), however, the logistics of this requirement are still not known for those foreign workers eligible to apply at the port of entry. The provincial agreements with the Canadian government which have allowed for specific positions in certain provinces to be LMIA exempt will also be phased out and/or reassessed early next year.

The government will ensure employer compliance to the foreign worker programs with frequent audits and investigations by Service Canada (ESDC), CIC and Canada Border Services Agency and the government will heavily sanction employers found to be abusing the system.

Although more specific details will be provided in the coming weeks on the practical implications of the programs, a detailed summary of the changes can be found on the Government of Canada’s website at: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=859859&_ga=1.156784699.1455899918.1369168661

Stay tuned for more details to come…

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Canadian Government Revamps the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

You May Not Be That Specialized – New guidelines for assessing Intra-company Transfer – Specialized Knowledge work permits

knowledge

On June 9, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced expanded guidelines for immigration and border service officers to follow when assessing work permit applications under the intra-company transfer – specialized knowledge category.  What’s Different?

  • Changes in interpreting what qualifies as “specialized knowledge”
  • Minimum wage requirement as set by Employment and Skills Development Canada (ESDC)

Specialized knowledge means that applicants must have both a high degree of proprietary knowledge and advanced expertise. This includes abilities that are unusual and uncommon in the industry and within the company, knowledge and skills that are difficult to transfer to another person but are required by the Canadian business, expertise that would be difficult to recruit for in the Canadian labour market and knowledge that only a small percentage of the company’s employees would hold.

To find the minimum mandatory wages please go to ESDC’s www.workingincanada.gc.ca site where low, median and high wages are listed for occupations using the Canadian National Occupation Classification (NOC). The mandatory minimum wages to be paid to intra-company transfers – specialized knowledge workers will be the median wages listed for each NOC occupation on this site. Please note that although the mandatory minimum wages do not apply to those applicants under NAFTA or other Free Trade Agreements with Canada, wages will be a factor that is considered by officers, as wages paid can be an important factor when assessing the expertise of a specialized knowledge worker.

Please note that the changes are effective immediately. CIC’s full Operational Bulletin can be found at: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/manuals/bulletins/2014/ob575.asp

As more pressure is placed on Canadian employers to look to the Canadian labour market before hiring foreign workers, we anticipate greater scrutiny and further changes to the temporary foreign worker program in the coming months.

 

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You May Not Be That Specialized – New guidelines for assessing Intra-company Transfer – Specialized Knowledge work permits