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EIG Dispatch | November 23, 2016

November 23, 2016

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Unexpected Delays in PERM-Related Prevailing Wage Determinations
  • Canada Announces Changes to Express Entry Points System
  • Update: French Consulates to Begin Processing Passport Talent and ICT Permits

Unexpected Delays in PERM-Related Prevailing Wage Determinations

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has recently experienced significant delays in the processing of PERM-related prevailing wage determination (PWD) requests. Previously, the DOL processed PWD applications in approximately 6 to 8 weeks. However, there has been a steady increase in processing times and the current processing time is now from 14 to 16 weeks.

This backlog can be attributed to the increase in PWD filings and the lack of staffing resources at the DOL. As there is no indication by the DOL that processing times will return back to its normal timeframe, employers are encouraged to plan accordingly when initiating a PERM case on behalf of foreign workers, especially those approaching the start of their fifth year in H-1B status.

For current processing times, please visit the DOL’s website. EIG will continue to monitor the DOL’s processing of PWD requests, and will provide updates as developments occur.


Canada Announces Changes to Express Entry Points System

Effective November 19, 2016, significant changes have been made to the Express Entry System. Launched in January 2015, the Express Entry system was designed to fast-track permanent residence applications for certain highly skilled foreign workers. As a means to level the playing field between the different work permits and to include a larger population of potential candidates, the Canadian government has re-organized the allocation of points, specifically changing the weight of points offered for qualifying job offers.

Among the changes, the new system will award either 200 or 50 points to work permit holders who have an “eligible” job offer. Foreign nationals whose permits are based on Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), including senior managers, will receive 200 points and those who fall into National Occupation Classification (NOC) skill level 0, A, or B, will receive 50 points. In addition, the Express Entry system previously did not award points to foreign nationals whose permits were granted through LMIA-exempt programs such as NAFTA and Intra-Company Transfer (ICT). Foreign nationals with LMIA exemption-based work permits may now be eligible to receive points if the permit was issued pursuant to an international treaty, such as NAFTA, or if the national qualifies under the “significant benefit to Canada” criterion required by ICT applicants. In addition, both NAFTA and ICT candidates must have a job offer from the employer specified on their work permit and must have worked continuously for that employer for 12 months prior to applying for Permanent Residency through Express Entry.

Additional changes in effect during the next Express Entry drawing include:  

  • A job offer no longer needs to be permanent in order to qualify under the program. The candidate needs to only show that the offered position is available for 1 year from the time the Permanent Residence status begins.
  • Candidates are given additional time to respond to an Invitation to Apply (ITA). Previously, a response was required within 60 days. It is now extended to 90 days.
  • Foreign students who earn a degree in Canada will be eligible to receive either 15 or 30 points depending on the number of years required to complete their program of study.
  • New questions are required for the submission of the online Express Entry application. Applicants are encouraged to login to their online account and update their Express Entry profile.

Update: French Consulates to Begin Processing Passport Talent and ICT Permits

As an update to our previous article, in accordance with Law N°2016-274, France will require all Salariés détachés ICT and passport talent applications, including European Blue Card and employees on assignment with a French contract, to be directly filed with the requisite French Consulate of the residence of the employee. The Law, announced earlier this year, introduces significant changes to work permit requirements and includes the creation of various new work and residence permit categories. While some consulates are still pending instructions to proceed with application processing, various consulates in Mexico, Brazil, the United States and South Africa have reported successful implementation of the new law. While there is uncertainty regarding the appointment booking process, processing times, and required documents, consulates have started to gradually shed light on the application process. Currently, Consulates will mimic the process used to file applications with France’s Labor Authority, and thus will require a 2 part file – part 1 will include basic documents for the visa itself, and part 2 will include documents related to the employment in France. EIG will continue to monitor and report the progression and implementation of this law.