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2017 was a huge year for Canadian immigration and for Integra Canadian Immigration Services, we had the opportunity to help more people than ever before in reaching their Canadian Dream!

Now that 2018 is starting, let’s take a look at a list of the top 10 changes that were implemented this year:

#1: The Age of Dependent Children was raised to 21 and under!

Previously, if someone wanted to immigrate and they had a ‘child’ who was 20 or 21 years old, that ‘child’ would not have been able to immigrate with his or her parents. This change is especially a blessing for our clients who want to immigrate to Canada so that their children can take advantage of Canada top-tier universities.

#2: The amount of time required in Canada to obtained citizenship was lowered to 3 out of 5 years!

Before October 2017, people needed to stay in Canada for 4 out of the previous 6 years in order to qualify for Canadian Citizenship. This amount of time has been reduced dramatically, which is amazing for people who don’t want to worry about needing visas, etc. to flexibly work and live in Canada.

#3: Time spent in Canada as a temporary resident (tourist, student or worker) counts towards citizenship!

Another amazing change related to Canadian Citizenship is that people can claim up to 1 year of the required 3 if they were here legally as a student, worker, or tourist. The time spent as a temporary resident counts as half, so 2 years spent in the last 5 under one of the 3 options mentioned would count as 1 full year. Then, the person would simply need 2 years as a permanent resident in order to qualify.

#4 Extra points in Express Entry are given for people who speak French!

As RCICs, Express Entry is usually the first option we look at for our clients who want to immigrate to Canada because it is fast, concise, and allows our clients the flexibility to organize their new lives in any Canadian city that they want, with the exception of Quebec. Well, for our clients who are French-speaking, Express Entry now gives up to 30 bonus points.

#5 Extra points in Express Entry are given for people with Canadian siblings!

Immigrating to a new country can be tough and being away from family is definitely not easy. The government decided to give 15 bonus points in Express Entry to anyone who has a sibling who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada and is residing in Canada.

#6 There was a reduction in points given for LMIA approved job offers.

This is one change in Express Entry that might not seem positive for the general public, but actually is. Previously, 600 points were given in Express Entry for people with an LMIA-approved job offer. This might seem like a fantastic opportunity, but in reality, these job offers were extremely rare because the companies often had difficulty obtaining the LMIA, which is a government approval to hire a foreign national.

Because of the potential to earn 600 points though, many aspiring Canadians were so fixated on finding a job to sponsor them that they spent huge amounts of time and money looking for a job that was incredibly difficult to obtain. In many cases, one year later, they were in the exact same position as they were before. A much, much better use of time would have been to get a higher IELTS score or work with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant to try to find an immigration option better suited towards the person.

#7 Conditional PR for spouses and partners ended!

Before this change was implemented in 2017, people who sponsored a spouse to become Canadian had to remain married to that person for 2 years. The government recognized that sometimes these relationships break down and that losing PR status should not play a role in whether or not a couple stays together, so this requirement was eliminated.

#8 The Atlantic Immigrant Pilot Program was launched!

Provincial immigration has become incredibly popular over the last 5 years and the AIPP is a perfect example of provinces taking an active role in selecting immigrants to live in places outside of Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver. The AIPP was also an amazing example of the 4 Atlantic Provinces working together to attract newcomers to Eastern Canada.

#9 12 month maximum processing time for spouses!

This was one of the first announcements of 2017 and was an amazing sigh of relief for people who are sponsoring a husband or wife to become Canadian. The government fine-tuned their internal systems to make the process of sponsoring a spouse more efficient. While their official stance is that most applications under this program will be process in under 12 months, our experience has been that a perfect application can be processed in 8-11 months.

#10 The government plans on attracting 1 million immigrants over the next 3 years!

Your clients will make up a large portion of these new Canadians thanks to your great work as RCICs!