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EIG Dispatch | February 24, 2017

February 27, 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Argentina Announces Visa Free Entry to Canadians for Tourism and Business
  • The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program Re-Opened with Additional Visas
  • Ireland Experiencing Delays in Processing Employment Permit and GNIB Applications
  • Belgium Announces Fee Increases for First-Time Residence Permit Applications

Argentina Announces Visa Free Entry to Canadians for Tourism and Business

Nationals of Canada are now able to travel to Argentina without a visa for business or tourism for a stay of up to three months. Payment of the reciprocity fee in advance of arrival in Argentina still remains in effect. Travelers must bring the printed receipt to the airline and provide it to Argentinian immigration authorities upon entry. The reciprocity fee does not apply to dual Canadian and Argentinian nationals, even if they enter Argentina using their Canadian passport.

For dual nationals, if entering using their Canadian passport, their stay in Argentina may not exceed 180 days. If this period is exceeded, then the individual must exit using their Argentinian passport. As a precautionary measure, dual nationals are recommended to carry both their Canadian and Argentinian passports. Exiting Argentina with an Argentinian passport secures a stay period exceeding the 180 days, while possessing the Canadian passport provides dual nationals with sufficient proof of a right to re-enter Canada.


The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program Re-Opened with Additional Visas

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) reopened with an additional 500 visas to the 5,500 quota from 2016. Applications for the International Masters Graduate Stream, International PhD Graduate Stream, and the Ontario Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream were officially accepted on February 21, 2017, using a newly designed online application system to streamline the application process. Within 3 days, the International Masters Graduate Stream reached its intake limit and has been momentarily paused.  Applications for this stream will not be accepted for the next three months. OINP will provide an update on May 1, 2017 on when it will re-open the Master Graduate Stream.

Applications for the International PhD Graduate Stream and the Ontario Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream are still being accepted but may also be periodically stopped when the annual quota is reached. Prospective applicants to the International Masters Graduate Stream are now eligible to apply while living outside Ontario and may use a different service provider for the language test requirement.

Applicants are urged to apply early. For further guidance on the application process, please visit the OINP website.


Ireland Experiencing Delays in Processing Employment Permit and GNIB Applications

Irish immigration authorities in Dublin are currently experiencing heavy delays in the processing times for standard Employment Permit applications. Companies registered under the Trusted Partner Program are not subject to these delays, and generally will have applications processed within two to three weeks of submission.

The delays are attributed to the large volume of applications submitted in 2016 and changes within the government itself.  Employment Permit applications are taking approximately 10 weeks to be processed. In addition, long delays are expected for GNIB Residence Card application processing. It is recommended that applicants schedule their appointments six to ten weeks in advance. Applicants filing for GNIB renewals should make an appointment ten weeks in advance of the expiry date of their current GNIB Card.


Belgium Announces Fee Increases for First-Time Residence Permit Applications

Effective March 1, 2017, the Belgian government will increase the administrative fees charged to first-time residence permit applications to 350 EUR for work permit holders and 200 EUR for dependent family members. The amount charged to long-term residents for residence permits will remain unchanged at 60 EUR. Nationals of the European Union and Switzerland, minors under the age of 18, and refugees will be exempt from the fee increase.

In addition, a new law, introduced on February 12, 2017, allows municipalities to charge administrative fees to renew, extend, or replace a lost or stolen resident permit. While the law was introduced earlier this month, its implementation is still pending authorization by Royal Decree which will further define the scope and maximum fees that can be charged by the municipalities.