What is the change? Canada held the first Express Entry draw Jan. 31, inviting 779 high-skilled foreign workers to apply for permanent residence. All 779 had valid job offers or provincial nominations before being selected to apply.

What does the change mean? The initial draw highlights the importance of a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or provincial nomination for foreign workers hoping to be invited to apply for permanent residence.

  • Implementation timeframe: Those selected to apply for permanent residence in the first draw have up to 60 days to complete the application.
  • Visas/permits affected: Permanent Residence visas and approvals in the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker and Federal Skilled Trades programs, and a portion of the Provincial Nominee programs.
  • Who is affected: Permanent residence applicants and employers intending to hire permanent resident applicants or support permanent residence applications for current temporary foreign workers.
  • Impact on processing times: Foreign workers selected to apply for permanent residence in the first draw have up to 60 days to complete the application. Once submitted, most applications are expected to take six months or less to process.
  • Business impact: Permanent resident applications are much less certain under the Express Entry program and employers should be aware of the difficulties in obtaining an LMIA.
  • Next steps: BAL is following these developments closely and will update clients as successive draws take place and it becomes clearer whether candidates with fewer points will be selected. The next draw is expected to be held within the next two to four weeks. Foreign workers who want to be considered for permanent residence under the Express Entry program and who have taken the required language test can create an Express Entry online profile.

Background: Express Entry was launched Jan. 1. Under the program, applicants may submit online profiles to be placed in a pool of potential applicants who must receive an invitation from the Canadian government before being considered for permanent residence. Those in the pool are given a score of up to 1200 based on a combination of core human capital factors–up to 600 points based on level of education, skills and experience, age, and level of official language proficiency; and up to 600 for a qualifying job offer or provincial or territorial nomination. Those with the highest scores are drawn and issued an invitation to apply for permanent residence.

In the first draw, all who were invited to apply for permanent residence scored 886 or above. Those who were selected included scientists and professionals in the electrical and construction trades, among other areas. All had valid job offers or provincial nominations.

BAL Analysis: As the invitations from the first round indicate, applicants with job offers or provincial nominations have a significant advantage over applicants without offers; however, this could change over time. According to some senior Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials, by the end of the year most candidates invited to apply for permanent residence under Express Entry may not have LMIAs. It is believed that many employers may be unable or unwilling to pursue the extensive domestic recruitment activities currently required to secure LMIAs for foreign hires, while other employers may not wish to canvass the local labor market to search for candidates to replace existing key staff. Employers should consult with their BAL attorney to assess whether an LMIA is appropriate at this time.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Canada. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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