Sep 15, 2021

Reporting Live from Victoria

Significant Benefit Work Permit

United States of America

The Problem

We were contacted by the Applicant's employer in January 2020 to inquire about the possibility of relocating a newly contracted journalist to their news startup in Victoria, BC.  The Applicant was living in Washington State and had previously lived and worked in Canada for a number of years.

The primary challenge in assessing the relocation possibilities was that the Canadian entity was newly-formed and was not eligible to apply for certain work authorizations.  We assessed the situation, including looking at all expedited possibilities through NAFTA//CUSMA and finally settled on the route of applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment through the High-Wage Stream.  We had to wrestle with several complexities due to the fact that the Canadian entity had not yet generated any revenue and was being funded through venture capital.

We prepared and submitted a comprehensive LMIA application on behalf of the Canadian entity.  Then COVID hit.  Processing ground to an absolute halt and the entire application was left hanging in limbo.  The Canadian employer needed the employee to commence work and couldn't wait for the LMIA to come through.  We had to find a faster, more aggressive option.

How We Helped

Upon confronting the reality that processing for the LMIA might take months, we started preparing an application for the Applicant's work permit under Significant Benefit provisions, to be submitted upon entry at the Canadian Port of Entry, which was at the time, closed to all travel, except for essential workers.  Significant Benefit provisions are a niche subset of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations which require a comprehensive and well-argued application to be presented, outlining how the Applicant's entry into Canada will provide "significant benefit" to the Canadian economy and society as a whole.

We drafted comprehensive written submissions on behalf of the Applicant, outlining both her journalistic experience in the United States and her existing contributions to Canadian journalism.  We procured letters of support in attestation of the Applicant's capabilities and presented a compelling argument in favour of the Applicant's entry to Canada.

Working under a tight deadline, and in less than ideal and uncertain circumstances, we prepared a thorough and highly organized port-of-entry submission package for both the Applicant and her accompanying family members and sent it via overnight courier to the Applicant in the US.

The Result

The Applicant and her family drove to the US-Canada land border in Surrey, BC and presented our submissions to CBSA.  After contemplating of the application package and conducting an interview with the Applicant, the Applicant was granted a two-year work permit under Significant Benefit provisions, her accompany common-law partner was granted a two-year Spouse Open Work Permit and her children were issued the appropriate authorizations to study at Canadian school.

Several months after admission to Canada, the Applicant became the recipient of an award from the Canadian Association of Journalists for outstanding investigative journalism.

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