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Over Five years ago, on January 27, 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) introduced a pilot project designed to enhance the economy of Atlantic Canada, which had been in steady decline due to a shrinking labour force and aging population. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project (“AIPP”) offered permanent residence to eligible applicants that intend to permanently settle in one of the four Atlantic provinces.

As a new year dawns, it is always interesting to contemplate what Canada’s immigration program will deliver in the coming months. The past couple of years have been very challenging for Canada’s immigration program in contending with the global pandemic. Processing of applications ground to a halt and backlogs developed in virtually every category of both permanent and temporary immigration.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many unique immigration challenges over the past 14 months. From processing delays to travel restrictions, immigration norms have been completely upended. One thing that has remained constant throughout the pandemic, however, is that interest in immigrating to Canada remains strong. With so much uncertainty around the future of Canada’s immigration programs, many clients are turning to reliable immigration pathways like Canada’s international student program to achieve their immigration goals.

A popular pathway for immigration to Canada for business people is the Owner/Operator (“O/O”) Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) category. Business persons seeking to purchase or establish a business under the O/O program could apply to Service Canada for an LMIA which would entitle them to apply for a work permit of up to two years. At the introduction of Canada’s Express Entry (“EE”) immigration selection program in January of 2015, the O/O LMIA became a popular immigration strategy for many business persons as it would qualify as Arranged Employment and garner 600 points in the EE scoring process and often lead to permanent residence for the O/O LMIA work permit holder.

On January 8, 2021 Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the Honourable Marco Mendicino, announced a unique COVID-friendly work permit program for current and former holders of Post Graduate Work Permits (PGWPs). International students who complete their education in Canada are eligible for work permits of 1 to 3 years duration depending upon the length of their program of study.

Sas and Ing Immigration Law Centre LLP

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