The Canadian immigration system is complex and becoming increasingly complex every year.  A good example of this complexity is the provincial immigration programs: I purchased a handbook that is written only about provincial immigration programs. Initially it costs about CAD300 (R3000) and another $1200 per annum (R12000) to get the updates. Eventually the quarterly updates could not keep up with the speed of the changes.  In order to keep my right to practice immigration law I must attend conferences and continue legal training to keep up with all the changes (both federal and provincial immigration changes). The rules that guide immigration decisions consist of 6 levels:

  1. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act about (about 60 pages);
  2. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (about 200-300 pages);
  3. Immigration Manual (which are rules written by officials) that have about 100 chapters and can fill 5 wheelbarrows;
  4. Operational memorandums that are regularly published;
  5. Case law (decisions taken by judges in Federal Court); and,
  6. Practical rules (how officers make decisions which is often not in witting). This is especially true in provincial immigration schemes. Some visa officers at the embassy make their own rules and one can only figure out how they make decisions if the behavior of officers are observed over a couple of years.

In an attempt to clarify all the immigration opportunities for skilled workers (not entrepreneurs or business applicants) we made a simplified summary of the options with the aid of the following mind map (a tool often used by students to assist to memorize complex issues).

This mind map is a depiction of the 6 possibilities open to a skilled worker (medical doctor, welder, nurse, etc.) to emigrate to Canada.  One to two can be classified as federal options, and three to six as provincial options.

Option 1: Job offer with a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

A Job offer by itself is worthless as a job offer only has value if it supported by a LMIA for a provincial certificate of nomination (Option 5). Similar to a human, an LMIA stands on two legs: one leg represents the effect of the employment of the foreign nationalon the Labour Market and the second represent the Genuineness Test of the job offer.

In assessing the Labour Market “leg” of the LMIA, an officer has a statutory duty(i.e. a legal duty) to assess seven factors. The most important four factors are:

  • Did the employer advertise for 28 days at three national websites in an attempt to find a Canadian? There are about 28 pages of special rules about what must be in these advertisements.  We are the first immigration law firm (consultancy) that discovered these secret rules and it is on our website under the link “ Our Achievements”
  • Is there a shortage of skilled Canadians in this specific occupation in a specific part of the country?
  • Is the wage being offered to the foreign national the same wage that is being paid to Canadians performing the same job in the same area of the country?
  • There may not be any labour dispute at the work place.

Option 2: Draw in Express Entry

Every 2 weeks names are drawn from the Express Entry Pool (Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skills Trades Class, Canada Experience Class). The passmark is floating and the lowest draw is about 450 points.  There are many discussions on internet forums where potential immigrants confuse one another about the Express Entry option. There is a hype surrounding express entry, as it is “express” right? Wrong.  It is not so great as you might think it is. The majority of applicants will not qualify for a draw from the Express Entry Pool as their points do not come close to 400 points.

The rhetorical question is, why are applicants so focused on Express Entry? Well there are many possible reasons.

  • One is issue is the name which was chosen for political (vote seeking) reasons as the current federal government wanted to be viewed as the saviour of the immigration system.
  • Secondly many immigration law companies (inside Canada) and some outside of Canada (many are owned by people whom are not Canadians, never studied Canadian law, and who are not authorized Immigration representatives) do not explain the reality of Express Entry to their clients.  Getting the documents in order (language tests, Educational Credential assessments) are obviously important.
  • Thirdly immigrants excite one another about Express Entry on online forums without understanding what the actual policy is and when Express Entry should be used.

The system is too complex and employers are just too busy to seek applicants in the pool. If you are in the pool, no one is going to come look for you there.

Option 3: Provincial Occupation List

Two provinces both published occupation lists on 1 Jan 2016. They had 750 openings for they allowed 750 nominations without job offers.  Each province had a scoring system qnd each applicant had to have the minimum required score.  What we do not know is how many applications they received and how did the select the lucky 750 immigrants. That process of selection remains hidden to the public.

Matrixvisa has submitted several request in terms of Provincial Freedom of Information and Privacy Act (FOIP) to obtain a list of shortages. For example we are the only immigration law company that knows in which province primary school teachers and farm managers are in short supply (in the list of top 20 shortages of that specific province).  It is reasonable to expect this occupation to be listed again.  We share this type of knowledge with the clients that appointed us to help them to emigrate.

Option 4: Provincial Draws by a Province

The province of Ontario draws 1712 names from the pool of people who have 400 points or more. The catch is that these people had to enter the pool after 1 June 2015. Those that applied on 31 May were not drawn and no one knows the logic for that decision. The Ontario Government did not review the labour shortages at all before the draw was made. Strictly speaking a person with a honours degree in Egyptian Hieroglyphicscould get drawn without smallest chance to get a job after arrival.  The chance of this stupidity to repeating itself is very small.

Option 5: Job offer supported by a Provincial Government

Each provincial government has an agreement with the federal government to nominate specific individuals for immigration to Canada. These rules are complex and constantly changing. Some provinces require an employer to first advertise for 30 days and some provinces only require the job to be genuine. Essentially the employer can nominate you if they like your smile (and if they are willing to wait for your arrival). How long this will last is uncertain.

Option 6: Strategic Recruitment by a Provincial Government

Finally we get to the best kept secret of the immigration programs. Some provinces have launched so called “strategic recruitment drives” to certain countries. I was told that a specific province issued nomination certificate to French citizens when they came to the booth at an immigration trade show in France. They where just French and it was there lucky day, I suppose.  In the provinces where this opportunity exists it opens up the opportunity for a large employer to negotiate with a province for a large batch of people. We have made a proposal to a very large employer to bring in mechanics, millwrights, electricians, instrumentation technicians and specialized engineers through this scheme.  This type of scheme has basically no rules and whatever the provincial government decides will be the rules of the a specific ad hoc program.

Hopefully this has provided given everyone with a helpful overview of the possible options for Canadian Immigration.

We look forward to speaking with those of you with we will be meeting on our September 2015 South Africa trip!

See you in South Africa and hopefully later in Canada!

All the best!
Cobus Kriek