The Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC), announced yesterday that the Government of Canada will no longer require citizens of Romania and Bulgaria to hold a valid Canadian temporary resident visa (TRV) to lawfully enter Canada effective December 1, 2017.
Romanian and Bulgarian citizens are currently required to hold a valid Canadian TRV to lawfully enter Canada. The TRV requirement currently in place requires that citizens of Romania and Bulgaria apply for a Canadian TRV and a Canadian work permit (if need be) at a Canadian visa office abroad prior to travelling to Canada.
The government's announcement means that citizens of Romania and Bulgaria will no longer be required to hold a valid Canadian TRV to lawfully enter Canada effective December 1, 2017. Further, citizens of Romania and Bulgaria who have held a Canadian TRV within the past 10 years or who currently hold a valid non-immigrant visa for the United States of America, will not be required to hold a valid Canadian TRV to lawfully enter Canada effective May 1, 2017. Citizens of Romania and Bulgaria will however be required to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to or transit through Canada upon removal of the visa requirement.
Upon removal of the visa requirement, citizens of Romania and Bulgaria will be able to travel to Canada with a valid eTA and will be eligible to apply for a Canadian work permit at a Canadian port-of-entry (e.g. international airport), if required. Therefore, if you have any current or prospective employees who are citizens of Romania or Bulgaria and who are required to travel to Canada, they should be able to travel to Canada more expeditiously upon removal of the visa requirement.
New Global Skills Strategy to attract foreign talent
On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, the Honourable Bill Morneau, Finance Minister, announced that the Government of Canada will implement new measures in 2017 to attract more foreign investment and foreign talent to Canada to stimulate growth.
The Government of Canada announced that it will adopt a Global Skills Strategy that will expedite certain work permit and visa applications. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will aim to process these applications within two weeks. The Global Skills Strategy will also introduce a new work permit exemption for foreign nationals working in Canada for 30 days or less within a year.
The Global Skills Strategy will target high-growth Canadian companies that require foreign talent to facilitate and accelerate investments that create jobs and growth as well as global companies that are making large investments in Canada, relocating to Canada, and establishing or expanding production in Canada.
The Global Skills Strategy should assist Canadian companies, particularly startup companies, to attract highly skilled workers and it should make Canada a more desirable place to do business.
For more information on the visa requirement exemption for Romanians and Bulgarians or the Government of Canada's new strategy to attract foreign talent, please contact a member of our team.