Express Entry Immigration – The First 8 Months
Express Entry is an immigration system implemented by Canadian immigration authorities (“CIC”) on January 1, 2015 which manages skilled worker applications under Federal Economic programs. This includes the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Skilled Trades Program, the Canada Experience Class and certain parts of the Provincial Nominee Program.
Through the end of August 2015, CIC conducted 15 draws, issuing 18,905 invitations to apply for permanent residence. Read whether express entry is a success or failure.
How does express entry operate?
Colin Singer: Under Express Entry, qualified applicants across many occupations are invited to submit their profile to an Express Entry Pool and to the Canada Job Bank.
Employers across Canada are encouraged to review the Canada Job Bank and provide a job offer to the candidate of their choice.
Applicants with an approved job offer or those selected by a province or with “Provincial Nomination” are considered a “match” and will be invited to formally apply for Canadian permanent residence.
The profiles of the remaining applicants will be ranked for consideration without a “sponsor” or hiring employer. Using a point system according to a number of selection factors such as Age, Education, Language, Experience and other factors, the highest ranked candidates will be considered for their potential “human capital” contribution to Canada.
Immigration authorities will then decide which of the highest ranked applicants will be invited to apply for permanent residence, through periodic draws. Candidates who are issued invitations (ITA’s) are given a delay of 60-days to perfect their application.
It appears candidates who were selected during the first draws had very high comprehensive ranking scores. Why is this?
Colin Singer: We believe that during the initial stages, CIC aimed to set the bar as high as possible. It wanted to showcase its new Express Entry Immigration system as a successful program that brings candidates to Canada with a strong likelihood of integrating fully and quickly into the Canadian labour market.
Studies show that applicants with a valid job offer (LMIA) or having Provincial Nomination (PNP), have the highest chances of meeting these objectives. During the first 4 draws only applicants with an LMIA or Provincial Nomination received ITA’s. It is no surprise that CIC set the bar as high as it could for the first series of draws.
Candidates who were selected from subsequent draws still had strong comprehensive scores. What does this mean?
Colin Singer: We can observe that after the first 4 draws, the minimum CRS scores averaged 465 in 10 of the 11 subsequent draws, through the end of August 2015. The lowest CRS score was 451. Many candidates received an invitation without LMIA or PNP nomination.
Annual levels for 2015 have been raised to between 260,000 – 285,000 which will represent Canada’s highest immigration levels in 5 years. Canada’s annual admissions this year will derive significantly from the Express Entry system. Beginning in 2016, the majority of economic class admissions to Canada will derive from this system.
We expect that in order for CIC to reach its annual immigration levels, CRS scores will significantly decline into the 300’s in future draws. This will favor candidates without an LMIA or PNP.
Under express entry, are candidates required to obtain a job offer from a “sponsor” Canadian employer?
Colin Singer: A qualified job offer (LMIA) from an employer in Canada is a significant benefit but it is not a requirement.
Is express entry the only way to immigrate to Canada?
Colin Singer: There are many other streams of immigration that do not fall under the Express Entry system. Each of the provinces promotes its own immigration programs (PNP’s) outside of Express Entry. Quebec also has a robust skilled worker program and a Quebec Experience Program which does not fall under the Express Entry system.
Family sponsorship applications are also excluded from the express entry system.
Temporary immigration programs such as the temporary resident visa, work permit and study permits are also excluded from the system. Candidates must follow the procedures for applying under such programs and not the Express Entry system.
Is express entry a success?
Colin Singer: As immigration lawyers and licensed recruiters on behalf of Canadian employers through our in-house recruitment enterprise – (www.grnmontreal.com), we know that most small and mid-sized employers are reluctant to take on the task of direct recruitment. As well, employers with pressing hiring needs will unlikely wait a period of 6 months or longer for a candidate to begin employment under express entry.
The Canada Job Bank under express entry may become a marginal or secondary source of potential candidates for recruiters. At best, this could account for a modest number of applicants selected by employers each year.
For candidates without a job offer from a Canadian employer or PNP nomination, immigration authorities will gradually lower CRS scores to meet its annual immigration levels.
The Federal Skilled Worker Program will continue to represent the largest number of Economic Class immigrants to Canada.
Express Entry is a success to the extent that the inventory of potential candidates and the processing of applications for permanent residence by immigration authorities are easier to manage than previously.
How is immigration.ca positioned for Canada’s express entry immigration system?
Colin Singer: We strongly believe that employment recruitment and individualized search consulting assistance is an important consideration for all immigrant applicants to Canada as well as Canadian employers. In 2007, we acquired Global Recruiters of Montreal (www.grnmontreal.com) an independently owned franchise of Chicago based Global Recruiters Network. GRN Montreal provides search consulting expertise that applicants and employers require. We provide all our immigration clients with invaluable, search consulting services from our in-house trained recruiters. We regularly provide search consulting and immigration services to Canadian employers.
We believe our clients have the best chances to succeed in their immigration projects under under Canada’s Express Entry immigration system.
Express Entry – The Numbers*
- 36.57% – Percent of active candidates in the Express Entry Pool relative to the number of Express Entry Profiles submitted.
- 61% – Percent of applications for permanent residence received by CIC relative to the number of invitations issued.
- 87% – Percent of active candidates in the Express Entry Pool with CRS scores of 300-450.
- 21% – Percent of invitations issued to Indian Nationals representing the first source country of nationality.
- 19% – Percent of invitations issued to Philippine Nationals representing the second source country of nationality.
- 7% – Percent of invitations issued to United Kingdom Nationals representing the third source country of nationality.
- 16% – Percent of applicants admitted to Canada annually under the Quebec skilled worker program.
- *Statistics compiled through July 6, 2015 from data issued by CIC
Colin R. Singer is immigration counsel for www.immigration.ca and Managing Partner of Global Recruiters of Montreal. He is one of Canada’s foremost senior corporate immigration attorneys. Colin is internationally recognized as an experienced and recommended authority on Canadian immigration and foreign recruitment. In addition to being licensed human resources professional, he is a licensed Canadian lawyer in good standing with the Quebec Law Society for more than 25 years and is authorized by the Canadian government in all immigration matters.
Interested employers: Kindly contact us here to receive further information.
Interested candidates: Find out whether you qualify to Canada by completing our free on-line evaluation. We will provide you with our evaluation within 1-2 business days.
Tegan Wong-Daugherty was struggling to find the right town to raise her children in—so she decided to build her own. Alongside her husband, Wong-Daughtery bought roughly 130 acres in New Brunswick for $130,000, built a house, and began giving the rest of the land away.
The couple is at the forefront of a new movement sweeping across Canada, where small towns are giving away free land in a bid to shore up their own populations. At least 10 communities are currently offering land for $10 or less for those willing to put down roots.
The Rural Municipality of Pipestone, in South western Manitoba, is selling plots of land for $10. Over the past five years, 24 lots have been sold in the four towns within the municipality of 1,500 residents.
“All these new families have been great for our tax base,” says Tanis Chalmers, manager of economic development for Pipestone.
A few conditions come along with the sale of the land: a home needs be built within a year and a $1,000 down payment is required, although $990 of that is returned when the house is built. Pipestone also offers tax incentives to encourage new residents: up to $6,000 for building a new home, $4,000 for buying an existing home and $32,000 for opening a business.
The $10 land, as well as the tax incentives, motivated Chad and Danielle Hack to move to Reston, the largest of the towns in Pipestone, last July.
“There’s a school and a good daycares in Reston and they’re going to be putting in a splash park. My wife and I couldn’t be happier about raising our girls in a community with so many young families,” says Chad Hack.
However, for the most part, small-town Canada is dying. Eighty-one per cent of Canadians live in urban areas, and that number is increasing by 1.22 per cent annually, one of the highest rates in the developed world.
In Woodrow, Sask., the town that once numbered 400 has dwindled to about 15 people. In many cases, tiny towns just can’t provide basic amenities such as access to high-speed Internet and drinkable water.
One place that is defying the odds is the town of South Knowlesville, N.B., which didn’t exist six years ago but today boasts a population of about 25 people. It’s the town founded by Wong-Daugherty and her husband in 2010. So far they’ve given away five lots, and they hope to give away another eight.
“Our community isn’t for everyone. The growing season is quite short and the blackfly season is quite long, but for those who are the right fit, this is the best place in the world,” says Wong-Daugherty.
For those looking to revive old towns instead of building new ones, the key is encouraging business. Mundare, Alta., population 855, had commercial lots in the heart of downtown sitting empty for years when the town council decided to sell them for $1. This led to the building of a real estate office and daycares.
New businesses have a ripple effect—rejuvenating the downtown and encouraging more growth.
One of the world’s most popular wealth-migration schemes, Quebec’s Immigrant Investor Programme, has failed to reach its target of applications for the first time, as wealthy Chinese look for alternatives to Canada’s turmoil-plagued millionaire-migration systems.
The application window for the 2014 intake was pushed back three times until March 2015, to give applicants more time to satisfy strict new documentation rules regarding wealth and income sources.
Quebec’s immigration ministry said last week that instead of the target 1,750 household applications, which would typically represent about 6,400 immigrants, only 1,400 applications, were received before the window closed. That was down 74 per cent compared to 2013, when 5,389 mostly-Chinese applications were received in a two-week application window, easily surpassing the same target.
Ministry spokesman Jonathan Lavallée said the 1,400 included 908 applications from mainland Chinese millionaires and 17 from Hong Kong permanent residents; this too fell short of the 1,200 cap for all of China.
Lavallée said the 2015 application window had been increased to five months, “A longer intake period was established to allow more time for potential investors to prepare their application and find a financial intermediary who will sign their investment agreement.”
The Quebec IIP has long been popular, but even more rich Chinese switched their attentions to the scheme after Ottawa froze its federal IIP in 2012 then shut it down entirely last year. This helps explain the 2013 rush for Quebec applications.
From 2002 to 2014, approximately 65,151 wealthy immigrants and family members were approved under the Quebec IIP from, out of which two-thirds were from mainland China. However, about 90 per cent later leave Quebec for elsewhere in Canada.
But experts assert that the onerous documentation requirement introduced last year had turned off some rich Chinese from applying to the QIIP.
Canada’s wealth-migration systems have been in flux since 2010 when a flood of thousands of applications by mainland millionaires at Canada’s Hong Kong consulate forced the freezing and ultimate cancellation of the federal IIP.
The scheme devised to replace the federal IIP, the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital scheme, has proven to be a failure.
Despite the relatively low number of 2014 applications to the QIIP, a backlog of past-years’ applications will ensure the flow of rich immigrants to Canada under the scheme for years. As of January 2015, there were 3,415 backlogged QIIP household applications, while approvals for QIIP visas had risen by over 60 per cent from last year.
However, some rich Chinese were looking for alternatives, in particular the US EB-5 wealth-migration scheme, requiring a US$500,000 investment.
According to a group of economists who study business cycles, Canada is not in a recession. Members of the Toronto- based C.D. Howe Institute’s Business Cycle Council said a “resilient” labour market is offsetting falling gross domestic product and energy investment.
“The council defines a recession as a pronounced, pervasive and persistent decline in aggregate economic activity,” the group said in a statement drafted after a July 22 meeting. The figures available to that date “didn’t provide evidence that Canada had entered an economic downturn.”
The stakes around using the word recession to describe the drop in output linked to an oil shock are higher now because Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his political opponents are gearing up for an Oct. 19 election.
Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz cut interest rates for the second time this year and declined to comment on whether the economy had entered a recession in the first half of the year.
According to Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the weakness looks like a recession.
The group, which published its first paper in October 2012, aims to be “an arbiter of business cycle dates in Canada,” according to its website.
Interim Chairman Finn Poschmann likened the work to the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research’s business cycle dating committee. The panel members also include Philip Cross, Statistics Canada’s former chief economic analyst, Eric Lascelles, chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada Global Asset Management and Stefane Marion, chief economist at National Bank of Canada.
The council isn’t waiting for Statistics Canada’s next report on gross domestic product report, due July 31, because the monthly indicator will not change anything,
Labour market indicators have countered poor GDP and trade data. Canada’s unemployment rate has remained at 6.8 percent in the five months through June, and is down from 8.7 percent in 2009 during the last recession.
In 2015, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government passed a draconian Anti-Terrorism Act which has had a negative effect over Canadians’ constitutional rights. Here are a half-dozen ways:
- The new law defines threats to the “security of Canada” so broadly that it gives Ottawa the power to secretly define almost any activity as a threat. This impedes freedom of expression and freedom of association.
- The law authorizes Federal Court judges to issue warrants from secret hearings letting Canada’s spy agency violate Canadian law and the Constitution.
- With its overbroad and legally vague provision banning the advocacy or promotion of “terrorism offences in general,” the law criminalizes constitutionally protected free speech and other communications.
- The law lets Canada’s spies, the RCMP and border agents share our personal information with other government agencies without our knowledge, putting personal privacy and data at risk.
- The law makes it easier to detain people on security certificates by allowing the government to withhold information from the special advocates who defend their interests.
- Officials are allowed to add people to the no-fly list on mere suspicion.
It is reasons such as these that the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression are putting up challenges. They have just asked Ontario Superior Court to declare these and other unsavoury aspects of the law unconstitutional.
The Harper government has failed to justify the need for so hugely flawed a set of laws. “It creates broad and dangerous new powers, without commensurate accountability, and this can result in serious mistakes,” warns Sukanya Pillay, the CCLA’s executive director.
After the recent attack on Parliament and other outrages, no one suggests that Canadians should be blind to the threats we face. But Ottawa spends $6 billion a year on security services, prisons and the like. The authorities don’t lack the tools, the budgets or the staff to keep us safe. We shouldn’t have to surrender our rights as well.
Before the new law was passed the police neutralized the so-called Toronto 18 who wanted to bomb targets in Toronto, the VIA Rail/Amtrack plotters and the duo who planned to bomb the British Columbia legislature, to cite just three high-profile cases. All of this was achieved without criminalizing free speech, co-opting judges or jailing people on mere suspicion.
Source: The Star
In a 2-1 ruling, the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned a decision that would allow 1.4 million Canadians who have been studying, working and living abroad the right to vote.
The two justices that voted to uphold federal voting restrictions based their entire ruling on a new argument put forward by the federal government about the social contract. They argue that the social contract is a citizen’s right to elect a Member of Parliament to represent them and their obligation to obey the laws that are enacted.
According to Chief Justice George Strathy and Justice David Brown, “permitting non-resident Canadians the right to vote would allow them to participate in making laws that affect Canadian residents on a daily basis, but have little to no practical consequence on their daily lives. This would erode the social contract and undermine the legitimacy of the laws.”
Both justices rely heavily on a new argument of a highly theoretical nature as valid grounds for taking away the fundamental right of citizens to vote. Interestingly, both justices were appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2013 and 2014 respectively by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government.
“Non-residents have the same obligation to obey the laws that affect them as do residents. Non-residents pay Canadian income tax on their Canadian income, and property tax on any real property they may own in Canada,” said dissenting judge, John Laskin, who was appointed by Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s government in 1994.
The so-called “social contract argument” is not mentioned in the application where the judge ruled that the voting ban is unconstitutional, nor in the stay motion which was heard last year. This argument has nothing to do with why Parliament extended and restricted voting rights for Canadians abroad.
Analysis of parliamentary debates, committee reports and members’ statements revealed that in discussions on enfranchising Canadians residing abroad, parliamentarians expressed discomfort not knowing the exact number of Canadians abroad, how connected they are to Canada, or whether the elections will be decided by people who have been away for 25 years or more.
The paranoia over the idea that expatriates have differing loyalties or that the expatriate votes will somehow completely change the tide of an election in any given year is not backed by evidence. Analysis of voter turnout of expatriates in the past five federal elections in Canada found that expatriate voter turnout is very low.
Voter turnout among Canadians abroad has also decreased over time. While these data may establish that a very small percentage of Canadians abroad vote, this does not mean they should be denied the right to vote. There are other problems that likely contribute to the low turnout such as the fact that Canadian parties do not outreach to expats and that voting abroad is a difficult process.
In prior elections, expatriate votes have had minimal ability to influence the outcome of Canadian elections, but with over 2.9 million Canadians abroad they are a significant constituency that should not be dismissed and ignored. With polls suggesting a tight three-way race in the general election on October 19, expatriates might have made a difference in closely contested ridings.
It is impossible to know how Canadians abroad vote because Elections Canada lumps their votes with prisoners and military members who use special ballots. While the votes of expats, prisoners and military members lumped together show strong support for conservative candidates, it is possible that the expats among them vote differently.
Americans living outside of the country have the right to vote no matter how long they have been abroad, providing they pay taxes. The right to vote expires in the United Kingdom after 15 years abroad. This is three times longer than what Canada permits even though Canada is part of the Commonwealth.
Australian citizens abroad are allowed to vote so long as they intend to return to Australia within six years. In New Zealand, there is a three-year limit but the clock is reset every time citizens visit the country.
The five-year limit in Canada is an arbitrary number and is unnecessarily difficult. Canadians need to resume residency to regain their right to vote abroad.
The right to vote is a fundamental right of citizenship that is protected by the Charter and does not depend on place of residence. The five-year limitation does not conform to the 21st-century demands of globalization. While there is currently an NDP-sponsored bill to repeal the provision that limits voting rights for Canadians abroad as unconstitutional, it is possible that the judgment of two Ontario appellate judges could be overturned on appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The million-plus Canadians who have been living outside the country for more than five years have been denied the right to vote.
The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld federal voting restrictions in a 2-1 ruling saying non-residents do not live with the consequences of their votes on a daily basis, so it would therefore harm Canada’s democracy to let them cast a ballot.
It would “erode the social contract and undermine the legitimacy of the laws,” Chief Justice George Strathy said for the majority, joined by Justice David Brown.
The challenge to voting restrictions was brought by Gillian Frank, a former Canadian Forces member from Toronto who has lived in the United States for 13 years and is pursuing postdoctoral studies, and Jamie Duong, who left Montreal for high school in Vermont and now works at Cornell University. Both have family in Canada and say they would return if they could find suitable jobs in their fields.
In an interview, Prof. Frank, a visiting fellow at Princeton University’s Center for the Study of Religion, said he left Canada after his advisers at York University told him he would have better job opportunities in Canada with a U.S. degree.
He and Mr. Duong brought the challenge after being unable to vote in the last federal election. The ruling makes it unlikely, but not impossible, that they and other non-residents will be able to vote in the October election. Lawyers for the two non-residents could still ask the courts to block the effect of the court ruling, pending an appeal to the Supreme Court. A lower court had ruled in their favour, striking down restrictions as a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ Section 3 guarantee of the right to vote to all citizens. The federal government had appealed.
The Court of Appeal’s ruling revealed a deep breach over voting rights between the two judges in the majority and the dissenting judge, Justice John Laskin. They disagreed on almost everything – from the government’s objective to the effect on non-residents of being unable to vote.
The majority said the voting restrictions are temporary, do not speak to the non-residents’ “worthiness” as citizens and could be regained if they return to the country. They said, therefore, that the court should relax its standard of review and defer to the government’s choice. They said that voting restrictions based on residency go back many years in Canada and that strengthening the social contract was the implicit purpose of the residency requirement.
In dissent, Justice Laskin said the ruling has the effect of turning non-residents into ‘second-class citizens.’
“We live in a global community,” he wrote, and the Charter’s framers intended voting rights to be protected.
He also said the government “invented” the goal of protecting the social contract only after a Superior Court judge struck the law down last year. Even if that were the goal it would not justify putting a limit on a right that the Supreme Court has extended even to federal prisoners. He called voting a “core democratic right” and said “judicial scrutiny of the government’s justification should be exacting.”
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has released a report criticising the Canadian government for its failure to fulfill its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
In what is seen as a damning indictment of the Conservative government, the seven-page report, titled, “Concluding observations on the sixth periodic report of Canada”, says that Canada’s treatment of immigration detainees violates international human rights law. The report also raises concerns on missing and murdered aboriginal women, Bill C-51, and gender equality.
Experts say the report is further proof of how far Canada has fallen under the Conservative government. Under its tenure Canada has gone from being a global leader in the protection of human rights to a country that repeatedly violates them.
One of the main concerns raised by the UN committee in the report relates to Canada’s mandatory detention of migrants and asylum-seekers. The committee expressed grave concerns that migrants designated as “irregular” by Canadian authorities are detained for an indefinite period of time, and are not given the same rights as those who arrive “regularly”.
The report also highlights recent cuts to the interim federal health program for asylum-seekers that resulted in “irregular migrants losing access to essential health care services”.
Turning to Canada’s anti-terror legislation, the report criticises Bill C-51 for giving “a broad mandate and powers” to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), allowing them to operate with few restraints which could potentially lead to “mass surveillance” and “targeting activities” based on a very broad definition of activities that undermine the security of Canada.
Regarding gender equality in Canada, the report highlights the persistence of inequalities between women and men, with a notable underrepresentation of women in leadership positions in both the public and private spheres, as well as a pay gap that disproportionately affects low-income women from a minority and indigenous background.
The report also raises concerns that the Canadian government has failed to provide adequate and effective responses to the disproportionate violence, homicides, and disappearances affecting indigenous women and girls.
Concerning Canadian companies operating abroad, the UN committee highlights allegations of violations in the mining sector and the unavailability of remedies to victims of such violations.
Overall, the report is critical of the Canadian government’s reluctance to implement the recommendations made by the committee.
Some of the recommendations of the committee include proper oversight over the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), time limits on immigration detention, and viable alternatives to detention. It also recommends granting detained migrants access to mental health treatment centres.
The report concludes by requesting Canada to submit a report by 2020 with details on how it has addressed the UN committee’s recommendations.
Businesses in Prince Edward Island have expressed concern over the stiff new penalties for those who violate the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program rules.
Experts say the penalties will especially hurt small businesses, with P.E.I. businesses still struggling to find workers after other recent changes to the TFW program. This includes the ‘four-in four-out’ rule and the requirement that TFWs must only comprise a maximum of 30 per cent of total personnel.
The penalties were announced by the federal government and include a lifetime ban from the TFW program and fines of up to $100,000 for each violation, up to a maximum of one million dollars per year. The penalties will come into force on December 1, 2015.
While a revision to the appeals process now allows employers 30 days to respond to an investigation to avoid going to court, critics say the new penalty regime is still too harsh.
With the new limit on TFWs, the P.E.I Seafood Processors Association is struggling to maintain the workforce they had at the beginning of the season.
A similar problem is being faced by P.E.I. Select Tours, which needs to hire Japanese tour guides who are fluent in Japanese. The tour operator has been facing problems in trying to convince immigration officials that they cannot hire Canadian citizens for these jobs.
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