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Newsletter – March 2021

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This edition of the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Newsletter includes the following:

Post-graduation work permit extension

This January, the Government of Canada announced a new policy that will give former international students who hold, or have held, a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) the opportunity to apply for an open work permit that will allow them to continue living and working in Canada.

The permit, which will be valid for 18 months, will be helpful for students who’ve been unable to obtain the Canadian work experience needed to apply for permanent residence because of the pandemic.

This new policy will also help more graduates fill pressing needs for workers in health care, technology and more. It could even help international students build their futures in Canada and ultimately contribute to Canada’s short-term economic recovery from the pandemic as well as its long-term prosperity.

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New open work permit for recent graduates from Hong Kong

In February 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada launched a new open work permit for recent post-secondary graduates from Hong Kong.

Valid for up to 3 years, these open work permits give Hong Kong residents the opportunity to gain valuable experience while working and living in Canada. To be eligible, Hong Kong residents must have graduated with a Canadian post-secondary degree or diploma (from a minimum 2-year program) in the last 5 years, or hold an equivalent foreign credential. Hong Kong residents who hold a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport or British National (Overseas) passport may also apply. Eligible spouses or common-law partners, as well as dependent children, can also apply for the new work or study permit.

Hong Kong residents currently in Canada temporarily as a students, workers or visitors can apply online. Those applying from abroad will be subject to the current COVID-19-related travel restrictions and may not be able to come to Canada at this time, unless they have a job offer or meet a travel exemption. Travel to Canada remains limited, and there are strict public health and quarantine requirements upon arrival in Canada.

This is the first of several measures intended to deepen the ties between Canada and the people of Hong Kong and increase their pathways to permanent residency in Canada.

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New videos highlight settlement services and programs

Arriving in Canada is an exciting time, but it can also be a challenging one. IRCC has launched 2 new videos that highlight the many settlement services and programs that are available free of charge to newcomers.

The video Language training in support of the Francophone Integration Pathway gives an overview of language training services that support the pathway and help newcomers improve their English and French language skills. For newcomers, learning English or French, or improving their language skills, is important for settling into Canadian life. IRCC’s Settlement Program offers free language training services that are adapted to the needs of French-speaking newcomers who settle in Francophone minority communities outside Quebec.

The second new video focuses on mental health. Our mental health—how we think, feel and behave—is an important part of overall health. Asking for help when you need it is normal and necessary. For tips on how to improve mental health, or to hear about newcomer settlement organizations that may be able to provide help and resources, check out Your Mental Health and Well-being. The YouTube description has many helpful links to additional resources.

Keep an eye on IRCC’s YouTube channel in the coming months for more settlement- and resettlement-related videos!

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March is Fraud Prevention Month

Beware of tax schemes: Information from our colleagues at the Canada Revenue Agency

Tax schemes deceive taxpayers with false promises to reduce the taxes they owe through various means, such as large deductions or tax-free income. Schemes can also mislead people about increases to benefits and credits they are eligible for.

The CRA has recently observed some individuals and organizations using schemes to take advantage of their relationship with vulnerable people, often newcomers, who may be less familiar with the Canadian tax system.

When helping someone fill out their tax return, for example, a tax scheme promoter may encourage them to apply for benefits or claim credits they are not actually eligible for. The promoter may charge part or all of the promised tax refund as payment for tax preparation. When the CRA later reassesses a claim and finds it ineligible, the taxpayer has to pay back the amount owing with interest. The CRA is actively pursuing penalties against those who promote these schemes or prepare tax returns that are inaccurate.

Have you or someone you know participated in a tax scheme? The CRA encourages taxpayers to come forward and correct their tax affairs through the Voluntary Disclosures Program.

Remember that your tax dollars fund the programs and services that benefit our communities. The CRA is always on the lookout for tax schemes and those who promote them. If you suspect someone of tax cheating, you can do the right thing and report a lead to the CRA.

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You don't need to hire an immigration representative! Protect yourself from immigration fraud

All immigration applications are evaluated against the same criteria, regardless of whether they were submitted by the applicant or a representative. Canada does not require that applicants use the services of representatives. Applicants should hire only authorized immigration and citizenship consultants, lawyers or Quebec notaries.

Beware of fraudulent immigration representatives. Learn more about representatives.

True or false quiz: recognizing and preventing fraud!

The Government of Canada is committed to protecting Canadians and newcomers from falling victim to fraud.

Do you know how to recognize and prevent immigration fraud? Test your knowledge by answering the 6 true or false questions below!

  1. Processing fees are the same in Canada and around the world.
  2. You need to hire a lawyer or immigration consultant to help you apply for permanent residence.
  3. IRCC may contact you directly by Facebook or What’sApp to make arrangements for you to immigrate to Canada.
  4. A Canadian citizen who marries someone for the sole purpose of letting their sponsored spouse or partner immigrate to Canada can be charged with a crime.

Bonus question: What kind of consequences can immigration fraud have for victims?

  1. Identity theft.
  2. A denied application.
  3. Stolen bank or credit card information.
  4. Computer viruses.
  5. All of the above.

Answers to the quiz

  1. True. IRCC’s processing fees are in Canadian dollars and they are the same around the world. Processing fees in local currencies are based on the official exchange rates
  2. False. It’s your decision if you want to hire an immigration lawyer or consultant for any IRCC application. Paying a consultant or representative will not speed up your application. All forms and instructions you need to apply to immigrate to Canada are available for free online. If you do want to hire an immigration representative, make sure that that person is authorized.
  3. False. IRCC employees will never contact you via social media to make arrangements for you to immigrate to Canada. They will only contact you using an email address that ends in “” or “”. IRCC may also contact you over the phone to find out more information about your case, but they will never call you to collect money or payments.
  4. True. This is known as a marriage of convenience, and it is a type of immigration fraud. Learn more about how to protect yourself against marriage fraud.

Answer to the bonus question: e) All of the above. Immigration fraud can have disastrous consequences for victims. Learn how you can prevent fraud and report those who commit it.

Promoting awareness of newcomer services

Do you work with newcomers, or know newcomers to Canada who are looking for services to help them settle in their new home?

In mid-February, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada launched a campaign promoting settlement services. The campaign website highlights the information and services that are available for newcomers both online and through settlement services provider organizations.

These services include job support, language classes, mental health resources and more. The website also links to information specifically for newcomer women and lists where women, including those who may be victims of abuse, can go for help.

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Did you know...?

IRCC worked with Canadian printing company Friesens to produce a video showing how immigrants have made a difference for this century-old Canadian company. Check out the video on IRCC’s YouTube channel and head over to IRCC’s website to learn more about hiring immigrants.

The Prime Minister sends a mandate letter to each of his ministers detailing the top priorities for their respective portfolios. You can read the mandate letter given to the Hon. Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, here.

Immigrants make significant contributions to Canada’s economy and communities. Learn more by visiting the Immigration Matters website for stories from across the country and facts about immigration in Canada. You can also sign up for Immigration Matters updates.

Video: Immigrate and live in French in Canada

The IRCC video team produces informative and creative videos on a wide range of subjects of interest to the department, Canadians and our clients. In each issue of our newsletter, we highlight one of their productions.


In this issue, we bring you the video Immigrate and live in French in Canada.

Upcoming events and important dates

International Women’s Day is March 8. Celebrate by recognizing women’s achievements and acknowledging the challenges they still face in achieving gender equality.

March 12 is Commonwealth Day, a day to celebrate the Commonwealth—a voluntary association of 53 countries. Canadians mark this day by flying the Union Jack beside the Maple Leaf from sunrise to sunset.

March 20 is la Journée international de la francophonie, a day to celebrate and recognize the potential of language and culture to unite peoples, to create spaces of solidarity and mutual understanding, to reflect together on our common future.

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is March 21. It’s a call to end racial discrimination and build peace among global citizens.

March 31 is the International Transgender Day of Visibility, a day to celebrate transgender people while also raising awareness of the discrimination they continue to face worldwide.


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