Latest Immigration News feb 19, 2024

The Government of Canada held an Express Entry draw for agriculture and agri-food occupations

On February 16, 2024, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) held a new occupation-specific Express Entry draw and issued 150 Invitations to Apply (ITA) to candidates working in Agriculture and agri-food occupations. This was the third Express Entry draw of the week. In round #285, the cut-off score was 437, 51 points more than in the previous draw for this category. The tie-breaking rule for this round was January 29, 2024, at 03:32:58 UTC. As of February 11, 2024, there were 211,273 profiles registered in the Express Entry pool. This year, Canada issued 15,420 ITAs through Express Entry draws.

IRCC invited over 5,000 candidates under the IEC

Over the last week, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) held new draws in the pools of International Experience Canada (IEC). From February 12 to February 18, Canada invited 5,269 young foreigners to apply for an IEC open work permit. As of February 18, there were 30,284 candidates registered in the pool, waiting for the invitation. In this round, there were 479 ITAs for Australia, 16 ITAs for Austria, 81 ITAs for Belgium, 186 ITAs for Chile, 12 ITAs for Costa Rica, 5 ITAs for Croatia, 44 ITAs for the Czech Republic, 20 ITAs for Denmark, 10 ITAs for Estonia, 922 ITAs for France, 258 ITAs for Germany, 19 ITAs for Greece, 16 ITAs for Hong Kong, 319 ITAs for Ireland, 136 ITAs for Italy, 409 ITAs for Japan, 1,038 ITAs for Korea, 7 ITAs for Latvia, 21 ITAs for Lithuania, 2 ITAs for Luxembourg, 65 ITAs for the Netherlands, 126 ITAs for New Zealand, 8 ITAs for Norway, 45 ITAs for Poland, 31 ITAs for Portugal, 21 ITAs for Slovakia, 5 ITAs for Slovenia, 13 for Spain, 16 ITAs for Sweden, 8 ITAs for Switzerland, 158 ITAs for Taiwan, and 773 ITAs for the United Kingdom. In 2024, Canada issued 42,022 ITAs under the IEC Program.

Canada enacts policies to make housing and groceries more affordable

A recent Leger poll revealed that 83% of 1522 newcomers in Canada are struggling with the rising cost of living. Similarly, Statistics Canada found that over a third of newcomers spend more than a third of their pre-tax income on rent. To address this, the federal government announced new affordability measures, including an additional CAD 99 million to the Canada Housing Benefit (CHB) to help low-income renters, bringing the total to CAD 325 million for 2023-2024. Other measures include the $4 billion Housing Accelerator Fund to boost housing production, the Canadian Mortgage Charter for mortgage relief, and the Tax-Free Home Savings Account, allowing first-time buyers to save CAD 40,000 tax-free for a downpayment. The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry also announced research into corporate practices impacting grocery prices, tripling funding for consumer affairs research on ‘shrinkflation’ and ‘stimulation.

Canadian provinces and territories updated work permit requirements for business candidates

Provinces and territories have updated their work permit support letters to confirm that the applicant has a genuine business and a viable business plan and that their business will provide significant cultural, social, or economic benefits to the region in which they plan to reside. This helps officers focus on R200 requirements, including the applicant’s intention and ability to perform the work and their departure from Canada when their stay ends. The instructions have been updated to detail the significant benefit review by provinces and territories and the resulting support letter. The Quebec government is also extending the Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) work permit duration for entrepreneurs or self-employed people from 2 to 3 years.