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Recent Immigration Policy Changes

This fall, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has made several policy changes affecting individuals seeking both temporary and permanent residence in Canada. Here is a snapshot of some of those recent policy changes:

New TEER Categories for Economic Immigration Programs

On November 16, 2022, IRCC is bringing into effect changes as to how occupational groups are classified and reviewed for various economic immigration programs. The current National Occupational Classification categorizes occupations by skill type (NOC 0, A, B, C, D). This will be replaced by a new category-system representing the training, education, experience and responsibilities (TEER) needed to work in an occupation (TEER 0-5).

Practically speaking, those with various applications in process will need to update their present 4-digit occupation codes with 5-digit codes that correspond with the new TEER system. Affected programs include:

  • Express Entry (Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Trades Program)

  • Provincial Nominee Program

  • Caregivers Program

  • Out-of-Status Construction Workers

  • Temporary Foreign Worker Program

More information about the new TEER system can be found HERE. Please contact our team if you would like more information on Canada’s economic immigration programs.

Interim Authorization to Work Policy:

In August 2020 IRCC introduced a temporary policy allowing those holding visitor visas to submit work permit applications from within Canada. Due to the long processing times of these work permit applications, IRCC also introduced an Interim Authorization to Work policy for individuals who:

  • have valid temporary resident status (visitor status) at the time of the work permit submission;

  • have held a work permit in the 12 months preceding the date they submitted their work permit application; and

  • have applied for an employer-specific work permit within the eligibility dates of the public policy (August 24, 2020 to February 28, 2023)

IRCC initially permitted individuals with such authorization to continue to work even if they left and returned to Canada during the processing of their work permit application. A recent IRCC update now, however, requires those with an Interim Authorization to Work to remain in Canada during such processing.

20-Hour/ Week Work Cap Removal for Study Permit Holders

Certain international students in Canada seeking off-campus work are temporarily able to work beyond the 20-hour/ week limit formerly imposed on them. According to IRCC’s October 7, 2022 news release, this temporary policy is in effect from November 15, 2022 to December 31, 2023.

To be eligible to work beyond the 20-hour cap students must:

  • be a study permit holder studying at a designated learning institution OR have been approved for a study permit but have not arrived in Canada;

  • have ensured that IRCC received their study permit application (including extensions) on or before October 7, 2022;

  • have an off-campus work authorization on their study permit;

  • be either in Canada or coming to Canada by December 31, 2023.

While there is no limit to the hours that eligible international students may work off-campus, students are still expected to balance their study and work commitments. Students who stop studying or reduce course loads to study-party time are not eligible to work off-campus.

Post-Graduation Work Permit Program and Distance Learning:

The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) allows students who have graduated from eligible Canadian learning institutions to obtain an open work permit in order to gain Canadian work experience. Under normal circumstances, students must have completed a program in Canada that is at least 8 months in duration. Any time spent in distance learning courses outside Canada does not count towards this total.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, IRCC allowed students who started their programs of study between March 2020 and August 2022, to count any time spent in distance learning courses outside of Canada towards meeting the PGWPP requirements. Up to 100% of their program could be completed online from outside Canada.

IRCC recent program update indicates that students who start their program of study between September 1, 2022 and August 31, 2023 can likewise count their time spent in distance learning outside of Canada towards meeting the PGWPP requirements. However, such students must be in Canada for at least 50% of the length of their program.

Medical Examination Exemption

In an effort to make Canada’s immigration system more efficient, on October 5, 2022, IRCC introduced a temporary public policy exempting certain foreign nationals from medical examination requirements. Eligible foreign nationals include:

  • Principal applicants who apply for permanent residence in Canada after October 5, 2022, who (a) reside in Canada and (b) have submitted a medical examination within the five years before their application was submitted.

  • Accompanying family members of eligible principal applicants who have also submitted a medical examination within the five years before their application was submitted.

Generally, a foreign national’s previous medical examination must also indicate that the foreign national (i) poses no danger to public health and safety; (ii) has a health condition but is not expected to place an excessive demand on health or social services; or (iii) is a potential risk to public health but has complied with requirements for medical surveillance. Full details of eligibility can be found HERE.

For more information, feel free to contact us by email at to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced immigration lawyers.


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