Are You Ready for The New Changes Coming to Express Entry?


express entry to canada

Nancy Elliott
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Nancy Elliott

Barrister and Solicitor at Canadian Immigration Alliance
Nancy Myles Elliott is a business person and lawyer, focusing on solutions for individuals and companies seeking to invest or relocate in Canada. Ms. Elliott leads her own law firm, focusing on immigration and citizenship law, as well as advising on corporate legal matters relevant to new immigrants.
Nancy Elliott
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Express Entry – There are Changes Coming

Changes are coming soon to Canada’s Express Entry system. Express Entry is the electronic management system designed to selected skilled workers for immigration to Canada, in force since January 2015.

  • Any person applying for the Federal Skilled Worker Program,
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program,
  • Canadian Experience Class must apply through Express Entry.

Several Canadian provinces also participate in Express Entry and nominate qualified, skilled workers for it. Based on an online profile created by the user, the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) awards points for a variety of factors, including age, education, language ability, employment experience, Canadian employment experience, adaptability (including a job offer from a Canadian employer) and similar factors for an accompanying spouse.

Applicants are ranked and placed in a pool, and the Canadian government issues Invitations to Apply (ITAs) on a regular basis, allowing applicants to submit a complete application for permanent residence then. To date, the lowest score of a person issued an ITA was 450.

On November 19, 2016, the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) will award points differently for several factors.

Most notably, applicants who have a job offer from a Canadian employer approved by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), known as a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), will no longer receive 600 points. Instead, they will receive 50 points for most occupations, and 200 points if they will work in an executive position. The Comprehensive Rankling System severely impact applicants who were relying heavily on points achieved due to a positive LMIA.

On the positive side, applicants who have a work permit issued under international agreements or Canadian interests may now be eligible for points based on arranged employment without their employers needing to apply for an LMIA.

If they have employer-specific work permits, are currently working for that employer and have accumulated at least one year of full-time work experience (or the equivalent in part-time employment) over a continuous period of work for that company, they are eligible for the 50 or 200 points referred to above.

However, this can is extremely helpful for applicants in Canada under NAFTA or other free trade agreements, intra-company transferees, and other special work permits. Unfortunately, international students working under post-graduation work permits will not benefit from this change.

As before, applicants who receive a nomination from a Province under a Provincial Nominee Program will continue to receive 600 points.

Happily, for students, a new factor has been introduced to award additional points to Express Entry candidates who have Canadian education credentials. This factor will award 15 or 30 points, depending on the type of diploma or degree, to candidates who have eligible credentials from a post-secondary program.

Finally, changes have also been made on Invitations to Apply (ITA). Candidates will now have up to 90 days to prepare their permanent residence applications, up from 60 days in the past. TInvitations to apply (ITA) allows applicants extra time to prepare the numerous documents to support their requests for permanent residence.

Candidates who are already in the Express Entry pool are highly recommended to review and update their profiles, and they, along with prospective applicants, should urgently check how the changes on November 19th will affect their ranking, and therefore their chances for immigrating to Canada.

I want to move to Canada. Is it possible?


Moving to Canada

Nancy Elliott
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Nancy Elliott

Barrister and Solicitor at Canadian Immigration Alliance
Nancy Myles Elliott is a business person and lawyer, focusing on solutions for individuals and companies seeking to invest or relocate in Canada. Ms. Elliott leads her own law firm, focusing on immigration and citizenship law, as well as advising on corporate legal matters relevant to new immigrants.
Nancy Elliott
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I want to move to Canada. Is it possible?

Very.

As the dust settles after the hard-fought US presidential battle, many Americans are considering a move to Canada. Of course, threatening to go to Canada in exasperation is not the same thing as analyzing, planning and relocating, and many Americans do not know where to begin.

Here’s what to do:

1. Decide that you want to transfer
Consider all of the advantages and disadvantages of moving to Canada. It’s tough to leave home, and relocating can be both intimidating and exciting. Canada is a beautiful, clean and diverse country with sophisticated political and legal systems, universal healthcare, advanced technology infrastructure and world-class education. Research employment, business and investment opportunities, taxation, housing and education, and consider where you would like to live. For example, the climate is warmer in Vancouver, but Toronto is Canada’s centre of commerce.

2. Consider the time frame
Maybe you are ready to move tomorrow, but your kids have just started a new school year. Obtaining permanent residence (a Canadian green card) can take many months and often over a year. Perhaps you are qualified for a work permit that could allow you to relocate within weeks or months. Which would work better for you?

3. Get proper advice
Canadian immigration law can seem daunting, as there are many different categories with specific requirements. We can assess your situation and provide you with the best solution to successfully immigrate or work in Canada.

4. Apply
Many work permit applications can be made right at the Canadian border. Others require prior approval and consideration at a Canadian Embassy or Consulate in the United States. We can guide you through the process.

5. Move to Canada!
Get ready to begin your new life in Canada. Explore places to live, schools and communities.

So how can you successfully apply for residence in Canada?

Get a Work Permit

There are many different types of work permits available to US citizens. They include the following:

  • NAFTA professionals for a large variety of occupations, from scientists to management consultants – the catch is you need to find a job in your profession first.
  • Intra-company transferees – if your company has a parent, subsidiary or affiliate in Canada, you can be transferred provided you are a senior manager or possess specialized knowledge. Your business can even set up a new entity in Canada and send you up to get it started.
  • Owner/Operator – if you are self-employed or an entrepreneur, you can set up your own business in Canada provided you have a decent plan. This category requires careful consideration and planning.

Spouses of these types of work permit holders can also qualify for open work permits and look for employment in Canada. Kids can obtain study permits to go to school.

Often, work permit holders can qualify for permanent residence through one of the economic categories, which means that remaining in Canada permanently

Apply for Permanent Residence

You have probably heard that applications for permanent residence take quite a while to process. Applicants in the Express Entry system who are invited to apply can have their applications processed in six months, whereas self-employed applications can take years.

Canada’s Express Entry system allows applicants to apply through an electronic platform that assesses candidates according to a comprehensive ranking system. Those with higher scores are invited to apply and will have their applications quickly processed. The system allows applicants in various categories to apply, the most common program being the Federal Skilled Worker program.

  • Federal Skilled Worker – The program is based on a points system that considers an applicant’s education, experience, language ability, adaptability and whether there is a valid job offer.
  • Federal Skilled Trades – This program targets people in a variety of skilled trades, but requires them to have a minimum of English skills and a valid job offer or a certification of qualification from a province to apply.
  • Self-Employed – This category addresses athletes, actors, musicians, and others engaged in cultural activities which are either highly skilled or have significant self-employment experience. It is also open to experienced farmers who wish to operate a farm in Canada.
  • Start-up Visas – The Start-up Visa Program allows entrepreneurs to be fast-tracked for permanent residence if they can obtain financial support from a Canadian venture capital or angel fund, or from a business incubator. This underutilized program is very suitable for new and existing innovators and entrepreneurs.

Are you ready to get Started?

We have over two decades of experience handling all types of immigration applications and have a broad understanding of Canada’s immigration and citizenship laws and procedures.

We can expertly guide you through the process and assist you to plan your new life in Canada.

How a permanent residence card renewal could change this man’s life


Nancy Elliott
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Nancy Elliott

Barrister and Solicitor at Canadian Immigration Alliance
Nancy Myles Elliott is a business person and lawyer, focusing on solutions for individuals and companies seeking to invest or relocate in Canada. Ms. Elliott leads her own law firm, focusing on immigration and citizenship law, as well as advising on corporate legal matters relevant to new immigrants.
Nancy Elliott
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Mohammed’s epic story of overcoming adversity leading to PR card renewal in Canada.

He was a Permanent Resident of Canada but left many years ago. Now, his country was at war.

We first spoke to Mohamed, a citizen of Syria, a couple of months ago. He had been working in Saudi Arabia for almost ten years on a work permit.

His wife and his teenage daughter lived in Saudi Arabia with him. Mohamed had an excellent position, but he was soon going to retire.

The problem was that once he retires, his work permit in Saudi Arabia would no longer be valid and he would have to leave. But where would he go?

Mohamed could not travel back to Syria with his family, as his country was torn by war and almost entirely destroyed.

Mohamed had become a permanent resident of Canada nearly ten years ago as a skilled worker and lived in Canada for a few years before he moved to Saudi Arabia.

Even though Mohamed was an experienced professional with almost 15 years of experience in public health, he faced the same obstacles in entering the Canadian job market as many newcomers who arrive in Canada in the hopes of building a better life for themselves and their children.

Mohamed arrived in Canada with his wife and three children; ready to embrace the new country they all were going to call home.

Unfortunately, Mohamed was not able to find a job that would have allowed him to take proper care of his family’s needs.

After struggling with the job search, Mohamed eventually moved to Saudi Arabia with his wife and his youngest daughter.

It was a hard decision to make: the family was going to be separated from one another as Mohamed’s son and daughter stayed in Canada to continue their education and to become established in Canada in the hopes that one day, their sister and parents will join them.

Life is Saudi Arabia was stable, and Mohamed could contribute to his children’s education and to help them achieve their best in Canada.

His devotion to his family was the driving force behind every single decision he made in his life.

However, life had some unpleasant surprises in store for Mohamed, when the civil war started in his home country.

Syria made the headlines, but not for good reasons. Not only Mohamed lost all his assets he had in Syria, such as his house and business, he was also always worried about the safety of his parents and siblings.

The Syrian government became unable to protect its citizens, and many had to seek refuge in neighboring countries.

Kidnappings and killings were frequent, and the last time Mohamed could visit his aging parents in Syria, was in 2011.

Given these recent developments, Mohamed realized that when his work permit expired and would not be renewed due to regulations in Saudi Arabia, he no longer could return to his home country.

Syria was suffering devastating consequences of the war, millions of people were seeking safety in other parts of the world, and those not fortunate enough to leave Syria were trapped in constant fear and death.

Mohamed once had a dream to build a life in Canada, a country that would have become his second home should he be able to secure a job.

But the reality was different, and here he was, ten years later, with no prospects of going back to Syria or staying in Saudi Arabia.

•  Was Mohamed still a permanent resident of Canada even if his card was expired?

•  Could he possibly apply to renew his card given the fact that he had no other place to go but Canada?

•  Would Canada accept and consider all compassionate factors that affected Mohamed’s decision to leave Canada?

Even with a permanent resident card expired; Mohamed remained a permanent resident.

Of course, being away from Canada for an extended period, he did not meet the requirement for minimum physical residency, which would have allowed him to renew the card without any complications.

However, given the particular circumstances of his case, he applied for his status renewal and showed that things that kept him outside of Canada were not within his control.

Canadian immigration law gives a generous interpretation to all possible humanitarian and compassionate grounds that kept the permanent resident from living in Canada.

While the positive result is not guaranteed, a complete and robust application that encompasses all difficulties that made physical residency impossible to meet is a chance that Mohamed decided to take.

Parallel to applying for a permanent resident card renewal, Mohamed was anxious to enter Canada and to stay there with his family while waiting for the response on his application.

• Would he able to travel to Canada with his expired permanent resident card?

Recently, Mohamed entered Canada by car with his family through the United States without any issues and was welcomed home by Canada Border Services Agency as a permanent resident of Canada.

Mohamed explained to the border officer his entry story and was completely honest about his intentions to remain in Canada permanently.

Unbeknownst to many, the Canadian immigration regulations provide that individuals who are permanent residents of Canada remain, permanent residents of Canada until an adverse determination is made.

Mohamed reunited with his family in Canada and tried to enjoy as much as he can the time with his loved ones, with whom he had to separate many years ago.

Mohamed currently waits for the processing of his PR card while living in Canada.

Mohamed and his family are hopeful that they all will be able to build their life in Canada just how they dreamed back in 2006.

A story to be continued…

What Is A Judicial Review At The Federal Court Of Canada?


Judicial Review at the Federal Court of Canada

The Federal Court is Canada’s national court which hears and decides legal disputes arising in the federal domain. Immigration matters are dealt with as Applications for Judicial Review, which is narrower in scope than a full appeal. This means that the Court will only overturn in limited circumstances.

There is a 2 step process to have your matter heard at the Federal Court:

1. You must first file an Application for Leave and Judicial Review – this means that you are requesting permission to a Federal Court Judge to have your matter reviewed within a Judicial Review proceeding;
2. Should this permission be given (called “leave granted”), the Federal Court will then schedule a date for the Judicial Review hearing.

Just like the Immigration Appeal Division, a Federal Court Judge will not grant, issue or approve a Visa or application. The Federal Court will determine whether the decision of an immigration officer or a Board Member violated proper procedure or was reasonable or unreasonable. If the decision is determined to be unreasonable, the matter will be sent back for re-determination by a different officer or Board Member.

Any decision by a federal decision-maker can be judicially reviewed unless there is a first right of appeal. The refusals below can be directly judicially reviewed by the Federal Court of Canada:

• Federal Skilled Worker
• Canadian Experience Class
• Investor
• Provincial Nominee Program
• Live-in Caregiver
• Work Permit
• Study Permit
• Temporary Resident Visa
• Humanitarian and Compassionate
• Pre-Removal Risk Assessment
• Request for Deferral
• Spousal Sponsorship Appeal
• Family Class Sponsorship Appeal
• Residency Obligation Appeal
• Removal Order Appeal
• Refugee Claim or Claim for Protection

During a Federal Court Judicial Review hearing, the individual involved in the matter may not testify. The Federal Court will only rely on documentation available to the immigration officer or to the Board Member at the time the decision was made. Your immigration lawyer will submit argumentation and case law and the opposing party, the attorney representing Citizenship and Immigration Canada, will do the same. The lawyers will argue the case in person before a Federal Court Judge who will make the final decision.

By having a licensed lawyer submit the application on your behalf, you:


Why having a licensed lawyer submit your application is in your best interests

1. Avoid and reduce long immigration delays caused by incomplete applications;
2. Ensure that you meet the necessary requirements to qualify under the right category;
3. Are asked the right questions to avoid any future complications or refusals (complicated immigration history, inadmissibility, criminality, misrepresentation issues);
4. Transfer the time-consuming task of completing, preparing and submitting the application onto a licensed professional.

The immigration lawyer:

1. Relies on past experiences with Citizenship and Immigration Canada to develop a robust and strategic application;
2. Ensures the required forms are complete and correct by reviewing in detail the accurate and pertinent information with you;
3. Reviews and refers to the most updated legislation and court decisions to ensure that your application meets the requirements of the current rules, regulations, and policies;
4. Collects additional supporting documentation relevant to your file and prepares a submission letter outlining the legal basis for your application, your background information, eligibility, admissibility and any exceptional circumstances.

Immigration rules, regulations, and policies are always changing, and an immigration lawyer can provide you with pertinent, up to date information as well as guide and assist you throughout your entire immigration process.

My Permanent Resident Card Expired, Can I Renew It?


How to renew your expired permanent residence card in Canada

To renew your Permanent Residence Card, you must meet the residency requirement of two years out of five (730 days) of “residence” in Canada. There are four ways to meet the residency requirement:

i) be physically present in Canada
ii) be accompanying a citizen who is a spouse, common-law partner or parent
iii) be employed full-time by a “Canadian business” or public service, and required by it to travel
iv) be accompanying a permanent resident who is employed by a “Canadian business” or public service, and required to travel

If you do not meet the residency requirement, you may still submit your renewal application with a request for humanitarian and compassionate considerations. You will need to provide a detailed explanation as to why you were forced to remain outside of Canada. It is up to the discretion of Citizenship and Immigration Canada to determine whether the Permanent Resident Card will be renewed.

I Have Mostly Lived Outside Of Canada, Can I Renew My Permanent Resident Card?


How to renew your permanent residence card if you are outside of Canada

I am a Permanent Resident of Canada, but I have mostly lived outside of Canada, What is Permanent Resident Card renewal process?

The renewal of your Permanent Resident Card will depend on the reasons why you were not present in Canada for at least 730 days in the five years preceding the application for renewal. If you were accompanying a Canadian spouse, common-law partner or parent outside Canada, if you were employed by a Canadian company overseas or if you were with a Permanent Resident of Canada employed by a Canadian company overseas, those days will be counted as spent in Canada. If you do not fit in any of these exceptions, you will need to ask the immigration officer to consider humanitarian and compassionate reasons as to why you were absent from Canada (i.e., medical condition of family member abroad. It is important that you clearly outline the reasons why you did not meet the residency requirement.

What Is The Difference Between An Appeal And A Judicial Review?


What is the difference between a Canadian Immigration Judicial Review & an Appeal?

In immigration law, the term Appeal is often used to describe both the “Appeal” and the “Judicial Review” process. However, these are two separate legal proceedings.

Appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division

An Appeal is a particular procedure initiated by the Immigration Appeal Division following individual refusals which allow for a full review of the decision and the decision-making process. The Immigration Appeal Division is one of three divisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada’s largest independent administrative tribunal.

Once you have filed an Appeal at the Immigration Appeal Division, you will wait to receive a hearing date.

An Appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division is proceeded by a Board Member (or Panel Member) which will review the decision of the immigration officer, visa officer or CBSA officer along with the updated documentation submitted by the parties. As the Immigration Appeal Division considers new evidence, this type of Appeal is called de novo. A Board Member will not, for example, grant or issue a Visa in an overseas case. Should the Board Member “allow” the appeal in such a case, the matter will be sent back to the visa post abroad for continued processing in line with the reasons for the request.

The following application/cases may be appealed to the Immigration Appeal Division:

Spousal Sponsorship
Family Class Sponsorship
Residency Obligation
Removal Order

At an Appeal, individuals may testify in person, through sworn statements as well as by phone conference. Parties may also submit documentation (called disclosure) before the hearing in support of the case.
If an Appeal is dismissed, you have 15 days from the date that you received the refusal to file an Application for Leave and for Judicial Review at the Federal Court of Canada to have the decision reviewed.

Judicial Review at the Federal Court of Canada

The Federal Court is Canada’s national court which hears and decides legal disputes arising in the federal domain. Immigration matters are dealt with as Applications for Judicial Review, which is narrower in scope than a full appeal. The Federal Court will only overturn in limited circumstances.

There is a 2 step process to have your matter heard at the Federal Court.

1. You must first file an Application for Leave and Judicial Review – this means that you are requesting permission to a Federal Court Judge to have your matter reviewed within a Judicial Review proceeding;

2. Should this permission be given (called “leave granted”), the Federal Court will then schedule a date for the Judicial Review hearing.

Just like the Immigration Appeal Division, a Federal Court Judge will not grant, issue or approve a Visa or application. The Federal Court will determine whether the decision of an immigration officer or a Board Member violated proper procedure or was reasonable or unreasonable. If the decision is determined to be unreasonable, the matter will be sent back for re-determination by a different officer or Board Member.

Any decision by a federal decision-maker can be judicially reviewed unless there is a first right of appeal. The following refusals can be directly judicially reviewed by the Federal Court of Canada:

Federal Skilled Worker
Canadian Experience Class
Investor
Provincial Nominee Program
Live-in Caregiver
Work Permit
Study Permit
Temporary Resident Visa
Humanitarian and Compassionate
Pre-Removal Risk Assessment
Request for Deferral
Spousal Sponsorship Appeal
Family Class Sponsorship Appeal
Residency Obligation Appeal
Removal Order Appeal
Refugee Claim or Claim for Protection

During a Federal Court Judicial Review hearing, the individual involved in the matter may not testify. The Federal Court will only rely on documentation available to the immigration officer or to the Board Member at the time the decision was made. Your immigration lawyer will submit argumentation and case law and the opposing party, the lawyer representing Citizenship and Immigration Canada, will do the same. The lawyers will argue the case in person before a Federal Court Judge who will make the final decision.

Do you have a question about this topic? Send us your question, and we will respond to you shortly.

Why Consult With An Immigration Lawyer?


Why should I consult with a Canadian Immigration Lawyer?

To determine the best solution and strategy for your immigration matter, we must conduct a consultation with you. During a meeting, an immigration lawyer will ask you specific questions on your immigration issue as well as review your documentation. The consultation process is entirely confidential.

It is important to address all relevant issues during the meeting to allow the immigration lawyer to have a complete understanding and knowledge of your entire situation to avoid surprises down the road in your immigration file.

Once the immigration lawyer has obtained all the information from you, you will be provided with legal advice. The immigration lawyer will also be able to give approximate timelines as well as possible outcomes based on your particular case.

Should you chose to retain the services of the immigration lawyer, you will be provided with a Retainer Agreement which will outline the working relationship between you and the immigration attorney. Once you have retained the services, you will be provided with instructions and a detailed list of documents needed to begin work on your file.

Once we have obtained the documentation, we will:

• Review your documents and advise you if we require further information;
• Review and complete all the required forms;
• Ensure we have prepared a robust and qualifying application;
• Make a submission letter (cover letter) which will outline the facts and legal background of your case;
• Submit your completed application to the appropriate Immigration office;
• Follow up on the processing of your application by regularly contacting immigration on your behalf as your representative;
• Supervise and handle your application until finalization.

Although immigration applications may at times seem simple to prepare, having a lawyer specializing in immigration on board will prevent potentials refusals, delays and complications. Immigration applications must be made meticulously and with care as not doing so will result in an application, being returned or refused. To deal with a refusal, re-applications, appeals or judicial reviews will be necessary, which can further delay the application for years.

Specialized immigration lawyers have submitted hundreds of applications and have a good understanding of immigration processes, policies, rules, and regulations. An immigration lawyer will assist you in navigating through the complex immigration system and help you in obtaining positive results.

Will I Have An Issue If I Did Not Mention My Common Law Relationship In My Permanent Residence Application?


How can I revise my Canadian permanent residence application?

I am a permanent resident of Canada, having applied through the Ontario PNP program. I would like to sponsor my common-law partner now, but realize that I may have a problem. When I applied for PR, I did not mention that I had a common-law partner because our relationship was inconsistent, and I did not understand whether I should include him or not. Now, I am worried that if I apply to sponsor him, Immigration will think I lied about our previous relationship. Will this be an issue?

A common-law partner is defined as a person with whom you were living in a conjugal relationship for at least twelve months. A conjugal relationship includes more than only a sexual relationship – it means a degree of intimacy and commitment that one would expect of married spouses. If you were in a common law relationship during your application for PR, or any time before landing in Canada, you had a duty to disclose the relationship to the visa office or immigration officer at the time of landing. Failing to disclose this could lead Immigration to determine that you engaged in a material misrepresentation and took action to remove you from Canada. As you have stated that your relationship was inconsistent, it would be best to obtain accurate legal advice regarding whether or not the facts and evidence demonstrate you were, in fact, in a common law relationship. If you were, you will need to prepare a strategy on how to proceed, and arrange your sponsorship very carefully.

Why do I need to provide a residency questionnaire after applying?


Why do I have to do a residency questionnaire after already applying for Canadian citizenship?

There are some reasons why you would receive this residency questionnaire. Several citizenship offices are conducting due diligence to ensure that applicants have been truthful in their citizenship applications and meet the residency requirement. Citizenship asks application, to complete this questionnaire as well as provide documentation to demonstrate that you did reside in Canada for at least three years before applying for citizenship.

Citizenship applications can take a long time to process and even longer if you are asked to complete the questionnaire. It is important that you consult with an immigration lawyer to go over your residency history and ensure that you do not have any gaps or errors in your application.

Are We Still Entitled To A PRRA Since The June 29, 2012 Regulatory Changes?


How will PRRA regulatory changes affect our family?

We are a family from Guangdong, China, and we came to Canada to make refugee claims two years ago. In March 2012 our refugee claims were refused, and we have now been asked whether we would like to participate in the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Program. We were advised that we could decide whether to participate by August 30, and we would receive a payment from the government of $1,500 each. If we choose not to take the cash and stay in Canada, will we be arrested? Will we get to apply for a PRRA? How else can we remain in Canada?

Under the new regulations which came into force on June 29, 2012, refused refugee claimants can no longer make an application for a Pre-removal risk assessment, nor can they make an application on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, unless at least one year has passed since the refusal of the refugee claim. As your claim was only refused in March, you will have no other basis to apply to remain in Canada, and there is nothing to prevent your removal from Canada unless you do not have valid passports. If the immigration authorities can obtain passports for you and your family before March 2012, you will be removed from Canada without access to any further applications. If for some reason you are not removed by that date, you could initiate a humanitarian application, and you will also be entitled to a PRRA application before being removed. As there may be other issues you have not raised in your question, you should obtain specific legal advice from a lawyer.

What is the average wait time for a Canadian immigration application?


What is the average wait time for a Canadian immigration application?

Quick answer: Probably longer than you think!

While you are probably aware that most Canadian immigration applications require an applicant to complete one or more forms, many immigration applications also require additional, supporting documents.

Sometimes these extra materials must be ordered from various government departments or agencies, and it can take several weeks or even months to receive those documents. Sometimes, the additional documents have to be obtained from friends, family, employers, health care professionals, educational institutions, or other organizations, and it may take time for these people and agencies to provide the documents to an applicant.

As you can see, the collection of documents can take months in some cases!

Applications submitted for processing that is ‘incomplete’ due to missing forms or documents might be returned without being processed, or even refused, and a re-application, if possible, will naturally add to the time it takes for an applicant to receive a final decision.

We advise all of our clients to allow plenty of time in advance for the completion of forms and the collection of documents. Our lawyers have extensive experience putting together strong, well supported and complete immigration applications in every type of immigration matter and would be happy to assist you with yours.

If you would like our assistance, kindly contact us to set up a consultation, and we would be glad to speak with you about the immigration process(es) that you might like to undertake.

How do I proof English proficiency for Canadian Citizenship application?


How do I proof English proficiency for Canadian Citizenship application?

I will be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship in December 2012. I have heard that I must now demonstrate adequate knowledge of English profiency, but I do not know how to prove this. What proof must I provide?

Citizenship and Immigration have published a detailed list of acceptable documents which you may provide to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of English or French. These materials include:

IELTS – General – either current or previously submitted with your immigration application
CELPIP – either General or General LS
TEF or TEFAQ for French
A transcript, diploma or certificate from a secondary school
A transcript, diploma, certificate or degree from a post-secondary school
Proof of achieving CLB/NCLC 4 in speaking and listening through a Language Instruction for Newcomers (LINC) or Cours de langue pour les immigrants au Canada (CLIC)course

Further details regarding the scores required can be found on the CIC website at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/citizenship/language.asp

If you would like our assistance, kindly contact us to set up a consultation, and we would be happy to speak with you about the immigration process(es) that you might like to undertake.

Why was I asked to complete a Canadian Residency Questionnaire?


Why was I asked to complete a Canadian Residency Questionnaire?

I have been a permanent resident for five years, and I applied for Canadian citizenship last year. I received a letter from the citizenship office requesting me to fill out a Residence Questionnaire and asking me to provide a lot of documents. I have been physically resident in Canada for almost four years when I applied, so I do not understand why I need to provide so many documents which are difficult to get. Is it possible they have made a mistake?

As a part of the government’s efforts to combat fraud, citizenship applications are being reviewed much more carefully than previously. In the past, many applicants stated that they were physically resident in Canada when, in fact, they were not. In order to ensure that all applicants are truthful in their applications, the new procedure requires applicants to substantiate physical residence with documents including taxation, banking, employment, education, medical and other records. You have not been singled out for this request, as all applicants must now satisfy officers that they have been physically resident or face refusal of their applications. It is certainly true that the new requirements will make the application process far more onerous for applicants. In addition, this will no doubt cause further delays as officers spend time reviewing the questionnaires and supporting documentation submitted by applicants.

Canadian Citizenship Application: Can I Leave Canada?


Can I travel while my citizenship application is being processed?

I came to Canada as the dependent of my parents over five years ago. I started my citizenship application last year, and I heard that it would take at least another year or more to complete my citizenship application. I have been offered admission to Harvard and plan to commence studies there in September. Will this affect my citizenship application or my permanent residence status?

If you met the requirements for citizenship, including the residence requirement, at the time you submitted your application for citizenship, then your current departure from Canada will not affect your application. Under citizenship law, the relevant period is the four years immediately preceding your application. However, during the processing period, you are still a permanent resident, and you must ensure you continue to meet the residence requirement for permanent residence, which is two years in every five years. It is highly unlikely that your citizenship application would take so long as to cause a concern regarding your PR status. However, it would be wise always to keep track of your absences and seek advice if you become concerned.

How Do I Return To Canada If My Permanent Resident Card Is Expired?


My Permanent Resident Card expired and I am currently outside of Canada. How do I return to Canada?

If you are a Permanent Resident of Canada and your Permanent Resident Card is expired or you are waiting for the renewal of your Card, you will need to apply for a Travel Document from outside of Canada in order to re-enter Canada as a Resident. A Travel Document will be issued only if you have spent at least 1 day in Canada in the last 365 days.

If the Travel Document is refused, you may submit a Residency Obligation Appeal at the Immigration Appeal Division.

Are Permanent Residence Application Refusals refundable?


Are Permanent Residence Application Refusals refundable?

Generally speaking, no, there will not be a refund for a permanent residence application refusal. However, if you applied before the recent legislative changes, you may be entitled to a refund, depending on when you applied, and the reason for the refusal. If you applied before February 27, 2008, the date the major changes to the immigration law took effect, your application would be processed. You will not get a refund unless you choose to withdraw your application before it is processed. If you applied on or after February 27, 2008, and your application is not eligible for processing, you will get a full refund. If your application is available for processing, gets processed but is then refused, you will not get a refund.

What Do I Do If My Humanitarian And Compassionate Application Has Been Refused?


Humanitarian & Compassionate Application refusal: What can I do?

I was refused applied for permanent residence in 2007 under the humanitarian and compassionate category in applied for permanent residence in 2007 under the humanitarian and compassionate category in Canada. I have been in Canada for 10 years, I have been working and paying taxes, and I have two Canadian-born children. Yesterday, I received a letter refusing my application for permanent residence which took more than five years for them to consider. I do not know what I should do now and I am very worried about returning to China. What are my options? Will I be deported?

You will not be deported from Canada until you have completed the Pre-removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) and you have a valid travel document to return to China. Before that happens, you need to decide whether to challenge the decision that has just been made or to re-apply on humanitarian grounds. As you have Canadian children and have been in Canada for a significant period of time, you may have a strong case. Lately, CIC has decided that it will not advise applicants when the officer is ready to make a decision, so it is very important for all applicants to constantly update their files. As you now have a refusal, you only have 15 days to apply to the Federal Court for Leave and for Judicial Review, so you need to decide whether this option is viable as soon as possible. You could also re-apply for consideration on humanitarian grounds, providing detailed submissions and a large number of documents as evidence to support your application. As new applications are being considered much faster now, there may be sufficient time. You must obtain proper advice from an immigration lawyer immediately to determine the best strategy for you.

Can I Make A Second Refugee Claim?


How can I make a second refugee claim?

I came to Canada from Guangdong province with my wife and son, and we claimed refugee status in Canada. Since we arrived in Canada, we have had a second child, a daughter. Our refugee claim was refused, but we do not want to return to China because we have had a second child and we are worried that we will have trouble due to China’s one-child policy. Can we make a second refugee claim?

You cannot make a second refugee claim. However, you may be able to make an application under the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment if you remain in Canada for at least 12 months from the date your refugee claim was refused. If CBSA removes you before that time, you will not be entitled to PRRA. If less than 12 months have passed since the refusal of your refugee claim, you can make an application on humanitarian grounds. Normally, these applications are also barred until at least 12 months have passed. However, you may make an application if the best interests of children are at stake. You would need to make your humanitarian application fairly quickly, as you may be removed from Canada before the application being considered by an officer. Also, having a second child would not necessarily result in approval, as the officer would consider all the humanitarian factors and the particular evidence provided. You should obtain proper detailed legal advice immediately.

I Have A Pending Humanitarian And Compassionate Application But I Was Asked To Leave Canada In 2 Weeks, What Can I Do?


How can I get an extension for a humanitarian and compassionate application?

My husband has been asked to leave Canada within two weeks, after living and working in Canada for ten years. He came to Canada as a refugee claimant, was refused, and then stayed on to work. He applied for humanitarian consideration about three years ago, and recently received a refusal of this application. I had applied to sponsor him last year, but the application is still in process. We have two young children, but the immigration officer is still insisting that he leave Canada even though the sponsorship application has not been completed yet.

What can we do?.

Many families are currently experiencing the same situation right now. As your husband has no legal right to remain in Canada, they will continue to remove him from Canada unless you either

1. Convince the removals officer to defer removal until the spousal sponsorship is complete or;

2. You obtain a stay from the Federal Court of Canada allowing him to remain in Canada until the sponsorship is finalized.

In my opinion, the fact that you filed your sponsorship a year ago, and you have a young child, are key elements to winning in the Federal Court. The best interests of the child must be considered by immigration and removals officers, and it is not clear that this has been done. You have very little time, and you should retain a lawyer immediately to start legal proceedings if your husband wishes to remain in Canada until the spousal sponsorship is completed. Alternatively, should your husband choose to leave Canada, you can sponsor him to return to Canada (you would need to start a new overseas sponsorship application). However, keep in mind that in addition to obtaining approval as a spouse, he will also need to apply for Authority to Return to Canada (ARC) which will require the visa officer to balance the factors leading to his removal from Canada and to decide whether to give him permission to return.

Are We Eligible For The Voluntary Removals Process?


My family and I came to Canada three years ago and made refugee claims in Toronto. We did not appear for our hearing at the IRB, as we were not advised about the hearing date by our immigration consultant. Now, we would like to leave Canada and would like to know if we are eligible for the voluntary removals process? If so, how should we apply?

Eligible applicants who have had their refugee claims refused by the IRB may be able to receive a payment of up to $2,000 if they agree to leave Canada. This is called the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Pilot Program. In order to be eligible, however, you had to have received a negative determination by a member of the IRB. In your case, as you did not show up for the hearing and likely had your refugee claim declared abandoned, you would not be eligible for the program (unless, for some reason, your file is still open). Any person whose claim was either abandoned or withdrawn will not be eligible. In addition, it is not clear whether you have notified Canada Immigration of your current address since you failed to appear for your hearing. It would be wise to obtain proper legal advice as soon as possible to accurately assess your current immigration situation and formulate a strategy.

Why Was My Pre-Removal Risk Assessment Cancelled?


Pre-Removal Risk Assessment

Mary Keyork
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Mary Keyork

BARRISTER & SOLICITOR - CERTIFIED SPECIALIST IN CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION LAW at Canada Immigration Alliance
Mary Keyork provides Immigration Law services for hundreds of immigration applications in all categories and has appeared before all three divisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board as well as at the Federal Court of Canada, successfully representing clients in complex immigration applications and hearings.
Mary Keyork
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I applied for refugee status and had it refused in November 2011. I did not apply to Federal Court after that, but I received a pre-removal risk assessment and I applied for PRRA in May 2012. I recently received a letter advising me that my pre-removal risk assessment was being canceled? What does this mean?

On June 28, 2012, new immigration law was passed which limited pre-removal risk assessment applications. Applicants may only apply for pre-removal risk assessment if at least 12 months have passed since their refugee claim has been refused. Although you applied before the new law passed, the law came into force on August 15, 2012, and applies retroactively to all pre-removal risk assessment cases which have not yet been decided. This means that you were not able to apply for pre-removal risk assessment as you had not met the new requirements. As it is now the end of November, you may be entitled to submit another pre-removal risk assessment once the full 12 months have passed.

If you would like our assistance, kindly contact us to set up a consultation and we would be happy to speak with you about the immigration process(es) that you might like to undertake.

Can A Person Lose Their Canadian Permanent Residence If They Have A Criminal Record In Canada?


Can a removal order be issued if I have a criminal record?

Yes, in some cases. Permanent Residents are people who have been allowed to live in Canada permanently, but they might not be authorized to remain in Canada if they have been involved in crime.

If the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) believes that a permanent resident should not be allowed to remain in Canada because of criminal involvement, then the person will be asked to appear at an admissibility hearing. The hearing is used to decide whether the person may or may not stay in Canada. The person will have an opportunity to tell their story once the government lawyer explains why the CBSA thinks the person should not be allowed to stay in the country.

If it is decided that the person should be allowed to stay in the country (is ‘admissible’), the person will be allowed to enter or remain in Canada. If the person were in detention, they would be released.
If, however, it is decided that the person should NOT be allowed to stay in Canada (is ‘inadmissible’), a removal order will be issued. This removal order can be an appeal within 30 days at the Immigration Appeal Division. If the person had been convicted of a crime with a sentence of two (2) years or more, or if they are a security threat, they cannot appeal the removal order. They may, however, ask for permission to have the decision reviewed by the Federal Court of Canada.

As you can see, the outcome of an admissibility hearing can have very serious consequences on a person’s life. If you, or someone you know, has been asked to appear at an eligibility hearing due to criminal involvement, we recommend that you speak to a lawyer to fully understand the process, your rights, and your options. Our lawyers are experienced at appearing for admissibility hearings and would be pleased to work with you on this or any other immigration matter.

I Was Told I Have To Leave Canada In A Few Weeks, What Can I Do?


Removal Order Appeal Process: Can a removal order be appealed?

If you are facing a removal order appeal process here are some of our thoughts and tips on addressing it. It all depends on the reasons why you were asked to leave Canada as well as your current status in Canada along with any previous applications you may have submitted to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Depending on these factors, you might be able to request that your removal order appeal is deferred temporarily. Should this request be denied, you may ask the Federal Court of Canada to have your removal date canceled temporarily (called Motion for a Stay).

If you were told to leave Canada within a few weeks and have important reasons to want to remain in Canada, for example, family or business in Canada, medical condition or fear of returning to your home country, you need to contact an immigration lawyer as soon as possible to determine the options available to you and understand the consequences of leaving Canada.

What You Can Do If You Were Denied Entry To Canada For Criminality


What can I do if I had a criminality refusal for entry into Canada?

As a foreign national, if you were convicted of a criminal offence inside or outside Canada, you may be inadmissible to Canada depending on four factors:

1. What was the crime you were convicted of?
2. When were you convicted?
3. When did you complete your sentence?
4. What was your sentence?

If you are considered to be inadmissible, you can be denied entry to Canada at the border, even with a simple conviction such as Drinking under the Influence (DUI).

Depending on when you were convicted and the seriousness of your offense, you may be eligible to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP).

There are two ways of obtaining a TRP, depending on your country of nationality and other factors:

1. At the border (land border or airport)– should you qualify, the TRP will be issued on the day you are travelling, usually valid for the purposes of the trip;

2. At the Canadian Embassy of your country of citizenship – the processing time takes several months and the validity period can be as long as a few years.

A TRP allows you to enter Canada on a temporary basis, often for quick trips such as family visits or business purposes.

If a certain number of years have passed since you completed the sentence and you do not wish to apply for a TRP each time you travel to Canada, you can apply for a Criminal Rehabilitation application. Once you have been rehabilitated, you will not longer be required to submit a TRP to enter Canada.

Canada’s border officers can be very strict when it comes to individuals with criminal backgrounds, even minor ones. It is important that you submit a complete TRP application with all relevant documentation as well as prepare yourself for the interview which takes place upon your TRP application at the border.

I Did Not Show Up For Removal, Can I Become A Permanent Resident Of Canada?


How can I stay in Canada after a removal order?

I came to Canada as a refugee claimant in 1999, and my claim was denied in 2003. I then submitted a Humanitarian and Compassionate as well as a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment application which was both denied in 2005 and 2009. I was told by immigration enforcement to leave Canada and immigration had purchased airline tickets for me. I did not show up for my removal, and I have now been underground for several years and now have a Canadian wife. Can I stay in Canada with my family and become a permanent resident of Canada?

To properly advise you, we would first need to obtain a copy of your file from immigration. Because you did not show up for your removal from Canada, there is probably a warrant for your arrest in Canada. If so, you would first need to get that warrant executed at the enforcement office. Depending on the circumstances of your case, enforcement might detain you following the arrest or release you with or without conditions. If you are in a committed and permanent relationship with your spouse, you might be allowed to become a permanent resident of Canada, but you might need to wait outside Canada during the process given your complex immigration history. If you do leave Canada for this process, you will also most likely need an Authorization to Return to Canada. It is best to consult with an immigration lawyer before taking any decisions.

My Family Member Is In Immigration Detention Hold, How Can I Get Him Out?


For a detainee to be released from detention, the Immigration Division must be satisfied that the detainee is not a danger to Canadian society and will not be a flight risk. If you wish to assist your family member, you can present yourself as a bonds person at the detention review and present a cash bond or a performance bond. As a bonds person, you should demonstrate that you have a close relationship with the detainee, that you are completely aware of his immigration matters and that you will have a positive influence on him upon his release. A bonds person should be a Permanent Resident of Canada or a Canadian citizen and ideally, should be employed, have assets and have financial capability.

Once a person is detained, she/he is entitled first to a 48-hour detention review, then a seven-day detention review and finally, a detention review once a month. An early detention review can be requested if there is new information available.

It is best to have an immigration lawyer present at a detention review to make submissions in support of the release of the detainee.

How Do I Hire Foreign Workers For My Canadian Based Company?


How can I hire foreign workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program?

We are a mid-sized company in Markham, Ontario that wishes to hire several foreign workers to join our team. We are extremely confused by the requirements, and would like to clarify the following:

1. Do we need to advertise the positions and show that no Canadian can do the job? and

2. Do we need to pay foreign workers a specific wage?

Employers that wish to hire foreign workers must demonstrate that there are no Canadians or permanent residents who could do the job, as it is the government’s policy to ensure that all Canadian residents can find employment. To demonstrate that there is no one available to do the job, employers must show that they have made sufficient recruitment efforts in Canada.

However, the minimum requirements to demonstrate these efforts depends on the type of employment being offered. For workers in management and professional occupations, the employer must only show efforts that are consistent with the industry. For workers in trades and technical positions, the employer must also demonstrate advertising on the National Job Bank. For some types of employees, such as post-graduate work permit holders and software engineers, no advertising is required.

Employers must learn the detailed requirements for each position they hope to employ a foreign worker in. Foreign workers must be paid the same amount as Canadians. However, it is sometimes difficult to know what that amount is. Before May 2012, employers were required to pay the “median wage” for workers in the same occupation in their geographic location.

However, now they are allowed to pay up to 15% less than the median income, depending on the job offered, and providing they can prove that this is the wage paid to other employees. This is because many employers complained that HRSDC required them to pay foreign workers more than their local staff. In any case, it would be wise to seek to advise of experienced counsel to determine the requirements in each case.

I Would Like To Apply For A Working Holiday In Canada, But Can’t Find The Application Forms. What’s Going On?


How to apply for International Experience Canada work permit

The International Experience Canada work permit program application process for 2013 has recently been changed. For some applicants, the application process will now be done entirely online, while applicants from other countries will continue to use the paper applications or a combination of both methods.

The new online application will have two parts and applicants will now have to undergo an online program eligibility assessment and an online work permit assessment, using tools such as an IEC-Kompass account and a MyCIC account.

Due to this change, certain IEC programs are not accepting applications at the moment, but the programs are expected to open in early 2013, some before February 1, 2013. As per usual, there will be a limited number of spaces available and those will be filled on a first-come-first-served basis for successful applicants.
If you would like assistance applying for an International Experience Canada work permit, or for any other type of Canadian immigration permit or visa, our experienced lawyers would be pleased to help you. Kindly contact us for a consultation at your convenience.

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