Canada’s 4-In, 4-Out Rule Threatening to Eject Many TFWs Out of the Country

April 1, 2015 will see the implementation of Canada’s new 4-in, 4-out rule for temporary foreign workers (TFWs). This plan was initially discussed in 2011 as part of the changes in the TFW program.

According to the new rule, all TFWs are only allowed to stay in the country for a maximum period of 4 years, after which they are required to go out of Canada and are not allowed to reapply for another 4 years. They can only apply for return to the country once the latter 4-year period had elapsed.

The first batch of the affected TFWs will feel the impact of these changes come April 1, and many are soon to follow. There are positions exempt from these changes, specifically those working in positions with National Occupational Classification (NOC) code 0 or A. Here is a complete breakdown of the exemptions:

• NOC types 0 (management) and A (professional) occupations

• LMIA-exempt jobs under:
       • International agreements (such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA)
       • Canadian interests
       • Self-support
       • Humanitarian reasons

• Applicants under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Program (SAWP)

• Those who came to Canada to work without a work permit required

• Permanent resident (PR) applicants who have already received an approval in principle in the category for which they applied

• Provincial nominees applying for an employer-specific work permit who intend to perform work pursuant to:
       • an international agreement between Canada and one or more countries, other than an agreement concerning seasonal agricultural workers
       • an agreement entered into by one or more countries and by or on behalf of one or more provinces.

For those who are not included in the exemptions, the looming threat is very real, especially because many of the affected workers have already established their life in Canada with their family.

However, not all hope is lost – there are other options available for those who will be affected by this new rule. Below are some alternative immigration programs in Canada:

Applying under the Express Entry Program

This is a new immigration ranking system that was set in place last January 1, 2015, and it is designed to make the selection process faster and more efficient. To join this system, applicants should qualify for either of the following: Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Trades Program, or the Provincial Nominee Program of any of the included provinces.

Those who are qualified in any of the mentioned programs can create their Express Entry profile and start building their profile and gathering the necessary documents.

Immigration to Quebec

As mentioned above, Quebec has its own immigration program separate from the PNP shared by other Canadian provinces. Instead of PNP, Quebec has its Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) and its Quebec Experience Class (QEC).

The QSWP is a points-based immigration system that places importance not just on an individual’s set of skills but also his proficiency in the French language. Meanwhile, the QEC is for applicants who have at least 12 months of work experience in the province within the past two years. Like the other PNPs, this requires the intent to live in Quebec for an applicant to qualify.

Explore the Provincial Nominee Programs

Each province in Canada, except Quebec and Nunavut, has individual programs that allow them to nominate individuals for immigration to the federal government. The qualifications vary according to what a specific province needs. Priorities are given to individuals who have the skills and ability to adapt to the way of life in their chosen province. All temporary foreign workers with affinity to any Canadian province can apply for PNP in that specific province. The important thing to note is that the applicants must intend to live and work in the province where they are applying.

Switching to Visitor Visa

Temporary Foreign Workers who are scheduled for removal from Canada after their 4-year period in the country can extend their stay by applying as a visitor and getting a visitor visa. The typical length of time given to visitors is 6 months, although there is really no limit in terms of length. All an applicant needs is to show proof that he can support himself throughout his stay without the need to look for work (those on visitor status are not allowed to apply for any type of work in the province nor to pursue any study).

Sponsorship as a Family Member

This is for temporary foreign workers who have established a relationship with a spouse or a common-law partner who is a Canadian or a permanent resident. In such a case, the latter can sponsor the applicant under the program, provided both are approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Applying to Study in Canada

Another way TFWs can stay in Canada once they finish their four-year work period is to study in the country and build their credentials. This is allowed, as long as students don’t work while studying.

It’s not all bad news for temporary foreign workers who will be affected by the new policy implemented by the Canadian government. With the different available programs as an alternative, TFWs have other options to lengthen their stay in Canada.

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International Experience Canada: Immigration To Canada Option For Young People

While the Federal Skilled Worker Program remains as the primary avenue for many skilled workers to come to Canada, the International Experience Canada (IEC) also remains as the main avenue for foreign youths who want to stay and work in Canada for a specific amount of time (the longest being 2 years).

Canada partners with 32 countries in a bilateral youth mobility arrangement. And every year, the country opens its doors to qualified youths from the 32 countries, giving them opportunities to work in Canada under 3 different categories: working holiday, young professionals, and international co-op. The length of stay granted to the youth applicants is determined by factors such as their age, their home country, and the program they’re applying to. The maximum amount of time allotted is 24 months.

For this year 2015, the program will officially open this month. Here’s an overview of the 3 different categories under the program:

Applicants to the 3 categories must be a resident of one of the 32 countries as their country of citizenship. They must be between the age of 18 and 30 during the application (maximum age is 35 for some countries). They must be admissible to Canada and must have a valid passport, which must not be expiring during the duration of their stay in the country.

They must also have a health insurance throughout the duration of their stay, as well as a round-trip ticket back to their home country. In case they don’t have a return ticket, they must show proof of having enough funds to purchase one. They must also be able to pay any corresponding fees, and must have $2,500 CAD upon arrival to show proof of capability to provide for themselves. Lastly, they must not be accompanied by any dependent.

Working Holiday Category

Of the 3 categories under IEC, this is the most sought after because it offers applicants more freedom via an open work permit. This allows applicants to work anywhere they want and for any employer they prefer.

Because of the popularity of this program, slots in some countries are often filled as soon as the program opens. As an example of just how extreme this is, the number of slots in Ireland last year were quickly taken within 8 minutes of the program opening in the said country – that is how fast things can go.

Young Professionals Category

Unlike the Working Holiday category, applicants to the Young Professionals category must have a job offer from a Canadian employer or a contract of employment with a Canadian company.

The program is designed for foreign youths (particularly those with post-secondary education) who want to get career advancement by gaining work experience in Canada. Their job offer or employment contract must be related to their area of training or expertise and must show that it can indeed contribute to their professional development. The job must be under the National Occupation Code Level 0, A, or B.

International Co-Op (Internship) Category

This program is designed for students who are enrolled in a post secondary institution in their home country and would like to apply for an internship in Canada as part of completing their degree. To apply, students must have a job offer or employment contract, and the offered job must meet the internship requirements in the students’ academic institution back in their home country.

Accepted applicants will be issued a visa (usually valid up to 12 months), and they will need to remain enrolled in their academic institution throughout the duration of the internship.

The Future of IEC Youths

Many of the participants in Canada’s IEC program end up extending their stay in Canada or making Canada their home. This is easy because of the different programs that are open to IEC ‘graduates’. Some of the most popular are the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, and Canada Experience Class. And now that the Express Entry is in place, IEC youths will have a great advantage in terms of processing.

For one, because the age of applicants under Express Entry is up to 44 years old, and more points are awarded to younger applicants, youths have automatic advantage over older candidates. The experience they have obtained during their stay will also most probably get them more points.

And if they have graduated from their academic institution after the experience and their degree was found to be equivalent to that of Canada, these will all give additional points. The possibility of acceptance is high for those who got to Canada via IEC.

Those interested in the program are advised to get their requirements ready as soon as possible in order to be sure they’ll get slots once the program opens.

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What Are The Benefits Of Studying In Canada?

Canada is continuously growing to become a popular destination of students who want to get their education abroad. It is now ranking alongside countries like United States, United Kingdom, and Australia and is even starting to surpass the said countries when it comes to its appeal to foreign students – all thanks to the many benefits that Canada offers to its foreign students. Among these are the following:

Higher Quality of Education

Canada offers degrees with quality that is comparable to that in high-end countries like the US and the UK, producing graduates who are globally competitive and capable of venturing in various industries anywhere in the world. Its programs are varied, so it can accommodate students of various interests. And because of the high quality of each program, students are guaranteed the kind of education that can help them grow and excel in their chosen fields.

Lower Costs of Education

From tuition fees to accommodation to overall cost of living, Canada offers lower rates. These make Canada a more appealing choice for students compared to countries like the US and the UK, which offer comparable services that are generally more expensive.

Opportunity to Find Work While Studying

All qualified foreign students in Canada can find off-campus work, helping them earn while studying. Students can work as long as:

• They are a full-time student

• They are enrolled in an approved institution at the post-secondary level (in case of Quebec, they should be enrolled in a vocational program at the secondary level)

• They are studying in an academic, vocational, or professional training program (minimum of 6 months duration) that leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate

• They have a valid study permit

Students who meet all mentioned requirements will be qualified to work for up to 20 hours weekly during regular academic sessions and to work full-time during breaks (i.e. winter/summer holidays or spring break).

Opportunity to Work After Completing their Study

One of the most appealing benefits that Canada offers to its students is a post-graduate work permit. This kind of permit is either not offered or difficult to obtain in countries like the US or UK, but it is almost always the next path for many foreign graduates in Canada’s educational institutions.

A post-graduate work permit allows individuals to obtain work in Canada—validity is as long as the duration of the study that they have obtained (maximum of 3 years).

Meaning, individuals who have obtained a 2-year degree in Canada will be qualified for a post-graduate work permit valid for 2 years, while those who obtained a 4-year degree will be qualified for a permit valid for 3 years.

This enables graduates to immediately go on to finding a job after graduation, all while providing Canada with professionals who are guaranteed to be excellent in their field—after all, they have obtained their education through Canada’s top universities.

Opportunity to Become Permanent Citizens of Canada

Many of the foreign graduates in Canada continue to go on and apply to become permanent citizens in the country. This is very easy for Canada’s foreign graduates because the country offers various programs that cater to its graduates.

Its primary federal program, the Canada Experience Class, is just one of the popular programs available. Various provinces also have their own programs and streams, some of which are even proactive in identifying candidates for immigration in the province.

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