Important CIC Updates

Operational Bulletin 490-A – October 11, 2013 
 International Experience Canada Work Permit Application Processing
Spouses, Common-Law partners and/or Dependents:

CIC has no specific policy prohibiting spouses and dependants of IEC participants from joining them in Canada. However, the spouse and dependant(s) must be admissible to Canada on their own merits.

Family members will have to answer the Come to Canada Wizard questions for themselves and have their own MyCIC account. TheCome to Canada Wizard question flow after the IEC Result does not allow the inclusion of family members.

Work permits for spouses of IEC participants

Spouses of foreign nationals cannot obtain an open work permit under the “Public policy, competitiveness and economy R205(c)(ii)” (Labour Market Opinion (LMO) exemption C41, see FW 1, Section 5.38), unless they can meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • The principal foreign worker must be doing work which falls within NOC Skill Levels 0, A or B;
  • The principal foreign worker must hold a work permit that is valid for a period of at least six months;
  • The principal foreign worker and spouse must physically reside, or plan to physically reside, in Canada while working.

Note: If an IEC participant in the Working Holiday Program category holds only the Letter of Introduction, CIC cannot determine if the participant is employed in a NOC 0, A or B occupation and, therefore, cannot issue an open work permit to the participant’s spouse. Once the IEC open work permit holder can prove that they are employed in a NOC 0, A or B position (i.e., letter from their employer and pay stubs), their spouse may then apply under the LMO exemption C41.

Operational Bulletin 490 - January 11, 2013


This Operational Bulletin (OB) provides operational instructions to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on the changes in Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) and CIC application procedures for foreign nationals applying for a work permit in the International Experience Canada (IEC) initiative. IEC applicants conditionally accepted by DFAIT will be directed to submit their work permit applications using the Come to Canada Wizard and MyCIC (e-Apps).

This OB also informs officers that the processing of IEC applications from six (6) countries (Australia, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand and United Kingdom) will be moved from the International Region to the Centralized Processing Region.


The global launch of Electronic Applications (e-Apps) (also known as Online Submission of Applications (OSAP)) for Temporary Resident programs will take place on December 15, 2012. This Operational Bulletin (OB) provides information on changes and procedures for both in-Canada and visa offices abroad.


E-Apps will provide clients worldwide with an additional option to submit an application for a Temporary Resident Visa, Study Permit or Work Permit using the Come to Canada Wizard [Note 1] and the MyCIC portal. E-Apps moves all of the information submitted with an application into an electronic format. This will help Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to manage its workload more efficiently by allowing the Department to transfer temporary resident applications electronically to offices within the global network where capacity exists.

Bridging Open Work Permits for Certain Federal Economic Class Applicants

Effective December 15, 2012,qualifying foreign nationals currently in Canada who have submitted an application for permanent residence (PR) under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) or the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and who meet program eligibility requirements, may be considered for a bridging open Work Permit (WP) if their current WP will soon expire.

Ottawa, December 11, 2012 — Skilled temporary foreign workers will soon be able to transition to permanent residence faster than ever before, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

Beginning January 2, 2013, skilled worker applicants may apply to the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program with 12 months of Canadian work experience, a year sooner than the previously required 24 months. In addition, graduates now have more time to earn their one year of work experience – up to 36 months, compared to only 24 months previously.

Mississauga, December 10, 2012 — To address Canada’s growing demand for skilled tradespersons, a new Federal Skilled Trades Program is being launched on January 2, 2013, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

Moving to a Fast, Flexible Just-in-Time Immigration System

Toronto, November 2, 2012 — Today, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced that by the end of 2013, Canada’s immigration system will be transformed from one that was plagued by backlogs into one that is fast, flexible, and responsive to the labour market.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced today it will admit up to 55,300 persons in the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) category in 2013. Combined with previous actions taken to manage the backlog, this means by the end of 2013 we will be able to process new applications as they are received – a “just in time” system – and aim to process them in less than a year, instead of up to eight years under the old FSW program. In addition, CIC expects to clear the FSW applications received to date by the end of 2014, three years earlier than originally expected.

Operational Bulletin 471 - October 31, 2012


This Operational Bulletin (OB) informs visa offices and Regional Medical Offices (RMO) staff of the implementation of new immigration medical examination forms as well as supporting Immigration Medical Examination Instructions (IMEIs) for panel physicians. The use of the new forms and IMEI by panel physicians and RMOs will become mandatory as of November 1 2012, in anticipation of the eMedical implementation and the new release of GCMS 4.0.

Alberta Pilot for Occupation-Specific Work Permits – Expanded to include 6 (six) additional occupations

OB 279-D has been revised:

  1. to include Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AAIT) short-term authorizations in the Alberta Occupation-Specific Pilot, and
  2. to clarify for employers that they may use the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) or Accelerated Labour Market Opinion (A‑LMO) process rather than the Alberta Occupation-Specific Pilot. If an employer uses the LMO or A‑LMO process, the foreign national(s) should be issued an employer-specific Work Permit (WP).

Clarifying the responsibilities of Service Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency in regard to assessing a Temporary Foreign Worker’s eligibility to work in Alberta in a compulsory certification trade position


This Operational Bulletin provides information on the operational practices used by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Service Canada in assessing a Temporary Foreign Worker’s (TFW) eligibility to work in the province of Alberta in a designated compulsory certification trade for the purpose of issuing a work permit (WP) and to reaffirm CIC’s sole responsibility in this matter, effective August 1, 2012.

Ottawa, July 16, 2012 — Alberta employers looking to hire highly skilled foreign workers in certain in-demand occupations will benefit thanks to the expansion of a Temporary Foreign Worker pilot project, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney and Alberta Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education Stephen Khan announced today.

This program enables them to be issued a work permit that allows them to move freely between Alberta employers, without requiring authorization from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada/Service Canada in the form of a Labour Market Opinion, or LMO.

Effective today, the Alberta pilot is expanding beyond the steamfitter/pipefitter occupation to include the following additional occupations:

  • Welder
  • Heavy duty equipment mechanic
  • Ironworker
  • Millwright and industrial mechanic
  • Carpenter
  • Estimator

Ottawa, June 29, 2012 — Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney today welcomed the final passage and Royal Assent of legislation that will protect and improve Canada’s immigration system.

The new measures also address the heinous crime of human smuggling by making it easier to prosecute human smugglers and impose stiffer penalties.

“Human smuggling is one of the most dangerous forms of migration,” said Minister Kenney. “Every year people die in human smuggling operations around the world. These new measures send a clear message to human smugglers that Canada’s generosity will not be abused, that we will enforce our immigration laws against human smugglers.”

Under the new measures, the Minister of Public Safety will be able to designate the arrival of a group of persons into Canada as an irregular arrival, and make those involved subject to the Act’s measures such as detention for individuals aged 16 and older.

These individuals may be released from detention by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada when it conducts detention reviews within 14 days and every six months thereafter, or following acceptance of their refugee claim. Individuals may also be released from detention by the Minister if he/she is satisfied that the reasons for detention no longer exist or that there are exceptional circumstances that warrant release.

The changes also prevent people who come to Canada as part of a designated irregular arrival from applying for permanent resident status for a period of five years. This means that they would be unable to sponsor family members during that time.  

The new measures also require biometric data to be included as part of a temporary resident visa application, work permit, and study permit. Travellers, students and workers from certain visa-required countries and territories will be required to provide their fingerprints and have their photo taken before they arrive in Canada.

Calgary, June 28, 2012 — Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney today announced the latest step in re-designing Canada’s economic immigration system.

Effective July 1st, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will place a temporary pause on new applications to the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and federal Immigrant Investor Program (IIP).


Application intake is expected to resume in January 2013, when the proposed FSWP regulatory changes – which will be published in the Canada Gazette in the coming months – are expected to come into force.

News Release — Countries unite to tackle immigration fraud

Chandigarh, India, June 26, 2012 — Canada, the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia are united in their efforts to warn prospective visitors and immigrants of the dangers of being misled by unscrupulous immigration agents, government representatives announced at a news conference today.

Representatives from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the UK Border Agency and the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship also sent a clear message to crooked agents that they are working with other countries and with Indian authorities to combat immigration fraud.

Unscrupulous agents have travelled to villages in the Punjab and other parts of India promising fast-track approvals for visas abroad. To avoid being duped – and refused entry into Canada, the UK and Australia – applicants should bear in mind the following:

  • Do not be misled by unscrupulous agents into believing that it is acceptable to submit forged documents with your visa application. The application will be refused and you face further investigation by the Indian authorities.
  • Do not believe agents who say that they can, in exchange for money, influence how fast applications are processed or the final decision. They cannot. Visa decisions are made only by visa officers authorized by the respective country.
  • Do not be fooled by imposters pretending to be visa officers from Embassies. Legitimate visa officers do not meet applicants outside their offices nor do they contact you to ask for money.
  • Do not be fooled by fake websites designed to look like official government or service delivery partner websites. Always get your visa information from official websites.
  • Do not be duped by a job or visa scam. Many people are being cheated with job offers overseas that do not exist. Stop and think before you hand over your money, passport and personal details. If the job offer sounds too good to be true, it could be a scam.

“Crooked immigration agents often advise applicants to provide fake documentation or enter into marriages of convenience,” said Sidney Frank, Canada’s Area Director for Immigration in South Asia. “Don’t be fooled. Your investment will be lost, you will be caught, and you will be denied entry to Canada.”


Additional changes have been made to the Pilot Program to expand the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) for international students graduating from designated private post-secondary institutions in British Colombia. The guidelines have been updated (or revised – whichever you prefer) and distributed to all participating institutions.

C) Qualifying Applicants

In order to be eligible to apply for a WP under this pilot, students must have enrolled and begun course work in an eligible program of study on or before August 31st, 2012.

The student must have successfully completed their program of study in order to be eligible to apply for thePGWP.

Officers may wish to ask for proof of enrolment such as tuition payments and transcripts should they require documentation to support a student’s eligibility to apply under the pilot.

Operational Bulletin 433 - June 13, 2012
Centralization of Temporary Foreign Worker Units in Toronto, Ontario and Montréal, Québec

Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Units

Effective July 1, 2012, and as a part of CIC’s modernization strategy to centralize services across the Department to reduce costs and improve efficiencies, the TFWUs in Toronto and Montreal will become the sole points of contact to Canadian employers and/or their representatives. The Toronto TFWU will be responsible for providing services to employers in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The Montreal TFWU will be responsible for providing services to employers in Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador. The Toronto and Montreal TFWUs will continue processing opinions and enquiries related to LMO and/or WP exemptions. Outreach will no longer be provided by the TFWUs. The transition will begin on June 15, 2012.

Transition Period – Vancouver, Calgary, and Moncton TFWUs

The TFWUs in Vancouver and Calgary will accept opinion requests and respond to LMO and/or WP exemption related enquiries until June 15, 2012. These offices will then focus on finalizing work already in process. Opinion requests and enquiries after June 15th should be directed to the TFWU in Toronto. Moncton LMO and/or WP exemption related enquiries should be directed to the TFWU in Montreal effective immediately.

Operational Bulletin 426 - May 29, 2012
Pilot project for the issuance of temporary resident counterfoils for clients residing in Canada and holding valid study or work permits


This Operational Bulletin will provide information about a new pilot project at the Case Processing Pilot office – Ottawa (CPP-O). Effective immediately, the processing of new temporary resident visa applications for those holding a valid study or work permit will commence at CPP-O.

Operational Bulletin 427 - May 29, 2012
Restructuring of the North American Processing Network and Closure of the Visa Office at the Canadian Consulate General in Buffalo – Temporary Residence Program

Temporary Resident Processing
New Temporary Resident Visa Applications

New temporary resident visa applications from persons residing in the U.S. may be submitted to the visa offices in either: New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Seattle, or Washington, D.C.

Operational Bulletin 406 - April 19, 2012


Effective as of the date of this publication, Opportunities Ontario: Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) will use its R204(c) authority under the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement and its Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Annex to facilitate the issuance of open work permits (WPs) for Master’s and PhD graduates who have been nominated by the Province and are awaiting finalization of an application for Permanent Residence (PR).

News Release – Citizenship and Immigration Canada Announces its Intention to Create a New Skilled Trades Program

Calgary, April 10, 2012 — To fill Canada’s growing labour shortages in construction, natural resources and similar industries, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced plans today to make it easier for skilled tradespersons to immigrate to Canada.

The announcement is the latest in a series Minister Kenney has made about transforming Canada's immigration system into a fast and flexible system focused on jobs, growth and prosperity.

"“Our Government recognizes that our country faces a critical shortage in certain skilled trades,”" said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. "“That’s why we are taking concrete steps to address this problem at a national level.”"

Under the modernized Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) to be unveiled later this year, CIC intends to create a separate and streamlined program for skilled tradespersons. Skilled trades include occupations in construction, transportation, manufacturing and service industries. Skilled tradespersons are in high demand in Canada particularly in the natural resources and construction sectors.

Operational Bulletin 400 - April 4, 2012
Cessation of Processing for Certain Federal Skilled Worker Backlog Applications: Budget 2012

A number of immigration-related announcements were made in the 2012 budget on March 29, 2012. This Operational Bulletin (OB) serves to clarify the immediate implications for processing of Federal Skilled Worker applications received prior to February 27, 2008.

Budget 2012 (Economic Action Plan 2012) proposes to return applications and refund up to $130 million in fees, on a cash basis, paid by certain Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) applicants who applied prior to February 27, 2008. To implement this, the government’s Budget Implementation Act has to be passed by Parliament and come into force.

Pre-February 27, 2008 FSW applications for which a Selection Decision had been made before March 29, 2012 should proceed according to routine office procedures.

For the time being, effective March 29, 2012, processing should not commence or continue for any FSW application received before February 27, 2008 FSW for which a Selection Decision had not been made before March 29, 2012.

News Release – Government of Canada transforms economic immigration program

Ottawa, March 30, 2012 — To create a fast and flexible immigration system that creates jobs and promotes Canada’s long term prosperity, the Government of Canada will eliminate the backlog in the main federal economic immigration program.

"“The Federal Skilled Worker Program backlog is a major roadblock to Canada’s ability to respond to rapidly changing labour market needs,”" said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. "“Having to process applications that are as many as eight years out of date reduces our ability to focus on new applicants with skills and talents that our economy needs today.”"

As announced in Economic Action Plan 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is planning to refund fees and return stale applications from nearly all those applicants who applied under the dated criteria in existence before February 27, 2008.

News Release – Minister Kenney proposes to assess foreign education credentials before skilled workers arrive

Ottawa, March 28, 2012 – Canada is proposing a major change to how foreign skilled workers’ education credentials are assessed, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

The proposed new requirement would mean that applicants wanting to immigrate as Federal Skilled Workers would have their foreign education credentials assessed and verified by designated organizations before they arrive in Canada.

News Release – National consultations on parent and grandparent immigration launched by Minister Kenney

Ottawa, March 23, 2012 –National consultations on the redesign of Canada’s parent and grandparent (PGP) immigration program were launched today by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

Operational Bulletin 152-A - March 19, 2012 (Modified)
Limited Validity Period for Labour Market Opinions

Information now included in the LMO

In the hard copy of a LMO, the expiry date is indicated in the Annex of the LMO under “Opinion Expiry Date”.

In the Field Operations Support System (FOSS), the Computer-Assisted Immigration Processing System (CAIPS) and the Case Processing Centre (CPC) systems, the LMO expiry date will be recorded in the “Offer Valid From and To” field and is for a maximum period of six months. The date indicated in the “Offer Valid To” field is the date by which the worker must use the
LMO in order to apply for a WP.

Ottawa, March 9, 2012 — Today, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney announced measures to further strengthen the Government of Canada’s ability to crack down on marriage fraud.

Under the new proposal, now open for further public input, a spouse or partner being sponsored by a Canadian or permanent resident would be required to live together with their sponsor in a legitimate relationship for two years following receipt of their permanent resident status in Canada. If these steps are not pursued, the sponsored spouse or partner’s status could be revoked, possibly leading to their removal and in some instances, criminal charges could also be laid. For all legitimate relationships, the condition would cease to apply once the conditional period has elapsed.

Operational Bulletin 386 - March 2, 2012
Five-year Sponsorship Bar for persons who were sponsored to come to Canada as a spouse or partner


The amendment, which came into force on March 2, 2012 upon registration, bars a previously-sponsored spouse or partner, from sponsoring a new spouse or partner within five years of becoming a PR even if the sponsor acquired citizenship during that period. Other members of the family class will not be affected by the regulatory changes.

News Release – Minister Kenney introduces sponsorship restriction to address marriage fraud

Toronto, March 2, 2012 — The Government of Canada has put in place a bar on sponsorship in an ongoing effort to deter people from using a marriage of convenience to come to Canada, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

Regulatory changes now in force mean sponsored spouses or partners will have to wait five years from the day they are granted permanent residence status in Canada to sponsor a new spouse or partner. Until now, a sponsored spouse or partner arriving in Canada as a permanent resident could leave their sponsor and sponsor another spouse or partner themselves, while their original sponsor was still financially responsible for them for up to three years.

See also:
Speaking notes for The Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P. Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and MulticulturalismAt a News Conference to Announce Changes to Spousal Sponsorship
Mississauga, March 2, 2012

Notice – New Citizenship Certificate

The document which Citizenship and Immigration Canada issues to prove Canadian citizenship will be changing soon. As of February 1st, 2012, CIC will no longer produce the current plastic wallet-sized citizenship certificate. Instead of the wallet-sized card, new citizens and those applying for proof of citizenship will receive a letter-sized paper citizenship certificate, which will display information that can be validated through a new electronic validation system.

Notice – Changes that affect Economic Immigration Class applications

February 16, 2012 — Anyone who applies to the:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Provincial Nominee Program, or
  • Quebec-Selected Worker Program

must specify the Canadian equivalent of their intended occupation under what is known as the National Occupation Classification, or NOC.

On January 31, 2012, the 2006 edition of the NOC was updated with a 2011 version.

If you applied for permanent residence on or after January 31, 2012, your occupational category will be considered under either the NOC 2006 or the NOC 2011, until Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) shifts to using only the NOC 2011. More details will be added to this page as they become available.

For applications received before January 31, 2012: CIC will assess the occupations of the applicants using only the NOC 2006.

For applications received on or after January 31, 2012: CIC will assess the occupations of the applicants according to either the NOC 2006 or 2011, whichever benefits the applicant most.

News Release – Harper Government Introduces the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act

Ottawa, February 16, 2012 — Legislation to protect the integrity of Canada’s immigration system was introduced today by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

The proposed measures include further reforms to the asylum system to make it faster and fairer, measures to address human smuggling, and the authority to make it mandatory to provide biometric data with a temporary resident visa application.

News Release – Visa Application Centre Network to Reach Global Proportions

Ottawa, January 31, 2012 — The Government of Canada is planning to expand and standardize its visa application centre (VAC) network into a new global model, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

“Our goal is for there to be a global VAC network, one with worldwide coverage and services standardized across all locations,” said Minister Kenney. “That way, no matter where you are in the world, you can expect the same service from all the VACs.”

Due to Continuing Violence in Syria, Government Closes Visa Office Services redistributed to Lebanon and Jordan

Ottawa, January 31, 2012 — Due to the continuing violence in Syria, the Visa and Immigration Section at the Canadian Embassy in Damascus is closed and services have been transferred to neighbouring visa offices, Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism announced today.

"“Following this redistribution, the visa offices in Lebanon (Beirut) and Jordan (Amman) will become full service offices,”" said Minister Kenney. "“Now applicants in those countries will have access to full immigration services in their home country.”"

Operational Bulletin 378 - January 20, 2012

Sanctions against Iran

Iranian nationals, who for the purpose of this Operational Bulletin (OB) are defined as persons holding Iranian citizenship, or persons residing in Iran may face restrictions in transferring funds to Canadian banks, as a result of the imposition on November 21, 2011, of amended sanctions against Iran under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA). Indeed these sanctions prohibit persons in Canada and Canadians outside Canada from providing or acquiring “any financial services to, from or for the benefit of, or on the direction or order of, Iran or any person in Iran.”

There is an exemption under the amended sanctions for non-commercial remittance of $40,000 or less, or for payments required under a contract that was entered into prior to November 22, 2011.

News Release – More Federal Skilled Workers for Canada in 2012
Ottawa, November 3, 2011 – The Government of Canada is planning to welcome more federal skilled workers in 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) remains the principal avenue for permanent immigration to Canada. In 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) plans to welcome 55,000–57,000 federal skilled workers, up from 47,000–47,400 in the 2011 Immigration Levels Plan.