By Author: admin | May 7, 2013
A recent dour announcement by Canada’s Immigration Minister is that he seeks to reduce processing times for citizenship applications by 12 months. The abysmal state of private Canadian journalism is such that this recent announcement was parroted in almost verbatim fashion by all the private major news outlets in Canada. Also faithfully repeated was the announcement that the Immigration Minister is going to increase the fee for a citizenship application to more closely reflect the actual cost of processing, as well as the fact that the recent budget allocated $44 million towards the citizenship program. The narrative implied that there was a problem (i.e. slow citizenship processing times) and a minister with a plan of action – a feel-good story with a happy ending. However, no question was raised as to why the backlog in citizenship applications as increased (i.e. due to the requirement by the Citizenship department for an additional Residency Questionnaire) according to Canada’s public broadcaster.
The presumption in the above news reports is that the $44 million will be used to process citizenship applications faster. This is not borne out by recent history which has seen citizenship applications scrutinized more closely. The more likely outcome will be that the $44 million will be used to devote more resources to review the often redundant Residency Questionnaires (redundant for those applicants whose documentation clearly shows they were working in Canada and earning a reasonable salary while being physically present in Canada). The delay in processing shall continue for those applicants who fit a profile and may be reduced for some whose applications are clearly straightforward and fit a positive profile.
To learn more about this matter, contact your Toronto Immigration Lawyer today.
May 4 2013 Relaunch of the Federal Skilled Worker Program – Tighter and Longer for Applicants, and Easier for the Immigration Department
By Author: admin | April 30, 2013
The new program is tighter in that the required language level is high for most immigration applicants – An FSWP applicant must score at least 6.0 on the IELTS General Training test in each of the four skills, something the average Canadian, steeped in the 140 character universe would have difficulty in achieving. The test result must be less than two years old on the date on which their application is made.
There are 5,000 spots open in a very restricted list of occupations with 300 in each occupation. Surprisingly, doctors and nurses are not on the list, perhaps due to the obstinacy of the Canadian Medical Establishment in relation to assessing foreign medical credentials.
Speaking of the occupation list, it is predominantly in engineering of all sorts. All the engineers (except computer) will have be assessed by the appropriate Canadian licensing body in order to get a provisional license to practice or letter of consent. As a matter of course the agencies that assess credentials typically required original documents, and levy a further fee for the assessment. This means that it is practically impossible to lodge an application on May 4 2013 given the requirement to await the third party credential assessment (whose results are supposed to be issued after April 17, 2013 in order to be considered).
Similarly, occupations relating to Medical technicians, i.e. sonographers, radiation technologists, physiotherapists are also required to be certified. It is Interesting that no occupation directly related to construction is on the list, perhaps due to the existence of the Federal Skilled Trades Program.
The factor of age is to be skewed in favour of those under the age of 36; 12 points for a skilled worker 18 years of age or older but less than 36 years of age with a loss of points for each year over the age of 36.
The slippery occupation (or from a bureaucratic point of view, the more scrutinized occupation) on the May 4 2013 list is that of NOC 1112 Financial and investment analysts (a previous iteration of the occupation list had the slippery occupation of 1122 Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management – slippery in the sense that anyone in a vaguely white collar environment tried to shoe-horn their experience into one of these occupations. This shall be mitigated for the NOC 1112 by the foreign credential assessment.
How long will occupations filed under the May 4 2013 system take to process? Previously filed cases (known in bureaucratic parlance as MI-1, MI-2 and MI-3) will be processed first. Thus two year processing times will likely be the minimum, not including the time to obtain the third party language and education assessments.
The factor of arranged employment via HRSDC approval will disappear but an indeterminate job offer shall remain which may still yield 10 points.
In the New system grid under Adaptability factor (maximum10 points), the education level of the dependent spouse has been eliminated, therefore, education of spouse does not yield any points. Instead, language test result of the dependent spouse may accumulate some points (the old definition of adaptability only recognizing a dependent spouse’s work or education level).
As per the current CIC website, To the extent that more of the criteria are delegated to third parties which impose their own bureaucratic systems of evaluation, cases shall take longer to assess. The fact that education must be equivalent to Canadian standards means that the system is inherently tighter. However, these farming out of key elements of the assessment shall make the job of assessing would-be immigrants easier under the May 4 2013 system. “The current pass mark is 67.”
To learn more about this matter, contact your Toronto Immigration Lawyer today.
By Author: admin | April 18, 2013
Canada has a new foreign worker program that allows people to obtain temporary work. Many Canadians are becoming disgruntled because people have been able to come to Canada and work as a sales representative. Foreigners are supposed to add to the job market, and the Citizenship and Immigration Canada are allowed to perform a severe assessment of the job offer. There is also a limit on the length of time a temporary foreign worker may labor in the country before they go back home.
This means that theoretically, there should be no companies seeking foreigners for jobs that require education past high school. Those jobs are to be reserved for Canadians who either are trained, or have been employed for a while at the company with the job opening.
Unfortunately, it is very clear that jobs that are Level B and C are being approved which deprives college graduates in Canada from a position they are qualified for. This is being done to keep the prices down at fast food restaurants and coffee shops.
Training local Canadians are not considered a necessity because foreign help can be hired cheaply. This means that the amount of skilled labor in Canada will continue to stay low as well. This tendency can also be seen in the United States, and it is clear that
it frustrates many there as well.
Thankfully, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has promised reforms are being created to close the loopholes. We are keeping a very close eye on these reforms so we can continue to be a trusted source of knowledge and continued supplier of immigration assistance into Canada.
To learn more about this, contact a Toronto Immigration Lawyer today.
By Author: admin | November 25, 2012
Firstly, there is the presumption among applicants who apply for a visa to Canada that the onus is on the officer to show reasons why your case should be refused. This leads to the misconception among visa applicants that a Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) application is merely about filling out the required forms. Nothing could be further from the truth. The onus is entirely on the applicant to meet the requirements, and sometimes those requirements are not in the document list on Canada’s official government immigration website. An officer who takes carriage of an incomplete, oblique or ambiguous application will refuse it without providing reasons to the applicant, and also, without any notice to you about the error that was committed. If one re-applies after a refusal, an added wrinkle leads to a general scepticism and higher degree of scrutiny by an immigration officer about the veracity of an application filed subsequent to a refused one.
Last year the approval rate for FSW’s processed around the world was 45%. More recent applications actually had a higher rate of failure – only 33% of applications were approved. This low success rate is no doubt a product of plucky ‘do it yourself-ers’ who pride themselves on a knowledge of the English or French language and a confident sense of ‘formal logic’ – who often do not realize that government bureaucracies are not often associated with logic or clear instructions.
As at the time of writing, (i.e. November 2012), Applications for FSWs are closed without an Arranged Employment Opinion) AEO), or PhD in Canada. The job list has not been published for 2013. The 2013 list is being promoted as a narrow one that will focus on current employment shortages in Canada and not approving of foreign nationals who are skilled on other, already well-served sectors of Canada’s labour market.
For FSW cases, the cornerstone of such an application of the work reference letter. Indeed, under the law, an officer is allowed to go straight to the work letter(s) of reference and if they do not pass muster, an officer is allowed under Canadian law to refuse the application outright, without looking at any other aspect of that application. Thus, your letters of employment must be properly drafted, otherwise your application can be refused for insufficient evidence of experience. The officer will not contact before rendering that decision. We help your employers write the proper letters, and if they fail to do so, we explain the aberration to the visa office in a submission letter, citing established case law on the matter.
Often those who self-file omit or embellish certain facts because they believe this makes their application stronger or if it’s more convenient at the time. You can easily misrepresent yourself unintentionally. Officers may bar you from Canada for two (2) years for mistakes/omissions on your application even, if you have no knowledge of some cogent fact deemed material to the assessment.
A further advantage is that visa applications take time and a lawyer’s full-time job is to follow up with the visa office and communicate with the visa office after the case is filed. This is not only convenient for busy professionals but also helps ensure faster processing times.
For those who do not have work experience commensurate with that listed on the occupation list, the alternative option is supplementing the application with an AEO. Getting an AEO can be difficult. Employers do not have expertise in this matter and can easily be frustrated to the point that they do not want to proceed – immigration lawyers can take over this process. Because the job offer, either for an AEO or an LMO must be assessed by Service Canada and CIC, there are no straightforward cases in this stream anymore and there is a sense that Service Canada officers are unaccountable and arbitrary in their assessments.
By Author: | September 22, 2012
The Processing time for in-Canada marriage cases that are deemed to be slightly unusual is at least three years. Part of this is due to the curious transnational nature of in-Canada immigration processing. An in Canada marriage case for somebody from Toronto would be sent initially to Vegerville. Alberta, and 10 months later, the case would be sent to Vancouver, to languish for an additional 20 months or so. This delay is effectively a shutting down of the in-Canada spousal category for those applicants whose applications may be marred by something slightly unusual, such as a previous marriage for either the applicant or sponsor, or a previous refugee claim by the applicant. These applicants technically cannot leave Canada while there application is pending, or else that application shall be refused. This means that those applicants have no access to healthcare, and may not be able to legally work in Canada.
Similarly, permanent resident card applications are divided into two processing streams: one which is straightforward (primarily those applicants whose applications clearly showed they were in Canada for at least 730 days before applying), and others who have opted to assert their compliance with the two-year residency requirement with proof of employment abroad by a Canadian business. This letter category of applicant typically submits proof of the Canadian business and its activities. Such proof has to be examined in more detail by an immigration officer to prove that the business is legitimate. The current processing time for this latter, more complex type of permanent resident card renewal application, is in the area of 20 months. This inevitably means that persons in this category will likely be in possession of an expired permanent resident card, and can only enter Canada if they apply at a Canadian Embassy for travel document to re-enter Canada.
The issuance of a travel document the Canadian Embassy provides an opportunity for a Canadian visa officer to take away the status of the permanent resident whose permanent resident card has expired. On the bright side, the visa office will offer a right of appeal to that permanent resident whose card was not renewed in a timely way. Thus, the slowness of processing permanent resident card renewals in Canada, leads to more work for visa offices outside of Canada, (i.e the work of generally refusing a travel document to permanent residents whose cards have expired).
That visa office refusal will lead to an increase of work at The Immigration Appeal Division of the Immigration Refugee Board, the court that deals with permanent residents who failed to demonstrate that they accumulated the minimum 730 days of residency in Canada.
This is no doubt a consequence of the June 1, 2012 closure of 19 Canada Immigration offices across the country (i.e. in Nanaimo, Victoria, Prince George, Kelowna, Lethbridge, Regina, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Barrie, Oshawa, Kingston, Sault St. Marie, Gatineau, Trois Rivieres, Sherbrooke, Québec, Saint John, Moncton, and Charlottetown). Similarly, five visa offices were closed (i.e. Berlin, Dhaka, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Belgrade).
The pattern that persons seeking a Canadian visa have to identify is the fact that there are effectively two streams for almost every category: the simple stream where cases can be processed quickly, and the complex stream which is characterized by significant delays. Make sure you consult a lawyer to help ensure your case is a simpler one to process.
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By Author: | August 29, 2012
On August 17 2012, Canada’s immigration Department announced proposed changes to the federal skilled worker program. The department intends to give effect to these changes in January 2013. The intention is to tweak some aspects such as mandatory higher language ability (including the allowance of higher English scores for applicants who have a spouse with high levels of English), and give demonstrated evidence of transferability of education to the Canadian workforce (through a mandatory assessment of foreign credentials).
The ongoing dearth of local, native Canadians taking up skilled trades’ jobs is intended to be remedied by the introduction of a new class for skilled trades persons (the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC)). Presumably, the required level of proficiency in English or French would be lower, in keeping with the day-to-day language requirements for these types of jobs.
The faster transition of Canada Experience Class applicants to landed immigrants (specifically, those who are under the Foreign Worker Stream, as opposed to the Postgraduate Stream) is apparent in the proposal to reduce the amount of months required of Canadian employment (from 24 to 12 in a three-year period) prior to applying for permanent resident status under the CEC. This was an admission that the Canada experience class is being underutilized, which is likely the motivation for the reduction in the amount of work experience required before applying under the Canada Experience Class.
There is an intention to streamline the process for “Arranged Employment” (one of the factors under the current skilled system which is on hiatus) and reduce the widespread fraud that characterized the issuance of such job offers. Further scrutiny to address the previous fraud would be in the form of Service Canada requiring proof of advertising prior to approving a job offer for foreign national. It is difficult to see how this additional step could be characterized as a streamlining of the immigration system, given the notoriously horrible reputation Service Canada enjoys amongst Canada’s employers and the immigration lawyers who serve them.
Similarly, the intention to add a “designated organization” to which federal skilled worker applicants must submit their foreign credentials for assessment, cannot be said to constitute a streamlining of the system.
A thorough reading of the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement reveals that the real intention for faster processing of immigration cases is only apparent if it would be of benefit to Canadian employers. Laypersons who read the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement will likely be fooled by the promise of faster processing of immigration applications. There are no specific measures for expediting cases of skilled worker applicants without a job offer. The proposed changes in fact are only faster if there is a putative Canadian employer advocating on behalf of the foreign worker, and not for the regular skilled worker system which will come into play in January 2013. The premise behind having faster processing is presumably to make Canada’s businesses more competitive in the global economy.
It is likely that the processing times for the new federal skilled worker system (i.e., for those applicants who do not have a job offer) shall be slow, which is synonymous to giving such candidates a lower priority within Canada’s immigration system. Similarly, as time passes and applicants languish in the system, it is inevitable that the Canadian economy will change, and that their skills which were formerly in demand when they filed their case with Canada immigration would no longer be to Canada’s economic benefit. In such a situation, it is easy to predict that the Minister would retroactively change the law, and simply close the files of such applicants, and providing a refund for such applications, which had been filed.
Applicants can’t simply wake up and decide to live in Canada. Numerous steps have been imposed by Canada’s immigration bureaucracy, such as the taking of an English or French-language test, and obtaining of police clearances, medical checks, education documents, previous job letter references and increasingly, possessing a Canadian job offer – in other words, the obtaining of documents/evidence from third parties. This blizzard of documentation, ostensibly designed to make life for visa officers easier, ends up adding even more processing time to a case, since an application cannot be lodged without first taking steps to get the aforementioned documentation. The failure to do can result in further delays and sometimes disqualification from the system (when the system changes). Serious applicants for immigration would be wise to hire a professional in such a rapidly changing legal environment.
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By Author: | July 20, 2012
Toronto’s mayor seems to think so. Following the shooting last Sunday July 15 2012 in Scarborough, Mayor Rob Ford on Thursday expressed a wish that gang members be prohibited from returning to Toronto upon their release. It is not yet known what, if any, policy measures Mayor Ford was referring to. At the same conference he expressed in own troubling ignorance as to the “immigration laws” and revealed that he was going to sit down with Prime Minister to find out what could be done.
Implicitly, the Mayor conflated gang members with ethnic minorities and ethnic minorities with immigrants. While there is no doubt a measure of correlation in gang membership, even base cursory analysis reveals the groups referred to are themselves, heterogeneous. Specifically, the Mayor evidently fails to understand that not all gang members have dark skin, and not all ethnic minorities are immigrants.
If the Mayor’s statements were the isolated rhetorical inventions, they would be easy to dismiss. Unfortunately, Rob Ford’s statements are only the latest in a series of comments by those who have made ignorance a profession.
The Mayor subsequently attempted to take a step back from his candid statements in light of the fact that in the case of gang members who are Canadian citizens, no level of government has the power to do what Mr. Ford proposed.
Specifically, Mayor Ford backtracked on his proposal by stating, “I don’t think the other half of my statement came out quite clearly. It has nothing to do particularly with immigration or where you come from, which I think John was trying to say, all I want to do is get information, which I’m not an expert on…”
The tendency for politicians to be lauded by right wing media as a ‘straight-shooter(s)’ when they profess not to be an expert is troubling. Such plaudits relieve a politician of accountability for their statements, and competency in their office. In the case of Mayor Ford, the resultant racial discourse has the effect of polarizing Canada’s communities along race lines, to the detriment of Toronto’s liveability.
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By Author: | July 14, 2012
Bill C-31: Reaching too Far, or Fair for Canada and Refugees?
Billc-31, having been granted royal assent on June 28th 2012, is now enacted. The controversial bill was sponsored by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney. This has polarized people in the immigration field and citizens alike. The dissension has transcended political party disputes. It has also been disapproved of by international organizations such as: Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
The following changes are in effect by passage of the bill:
- the immigration minister would have the power to choose which countries are safe without a committee including human rights experts
- rejected refugee claimants from countries on the safe country list would no longer be able to appeal the decision to the Immigration and Refugee Board
- claimants from countries on the safe country list would have to wait a year before applying for compassionate and humanitarian considerations to become permanent residents, and could be deported in the meanwhile
- claimants from countries on the safe country list would be able ask for a judicial review by the Federal Court, but could be deported before the court makes a decision
- biometric identification would be implemented for people that apply for visas to visit Canada
- If one has a refugee claim pending before the Refugee Protection Division or less than 12 months have passed since an application for refugee protection was rejected, abandoned or withdrawn after the hearing started, one is no longer eligible to make a Humanitarian and Compassionate Application to remain in Canada. Exceptions may be considered for situations where providing adequate medical care or the best interests of a child are factors.
- Awards powers to Immigration Officers to arrest and detain suspected foreign nationals and permanent residents even if the alleged crimes transpired abroad many years ago.
The Minister, Jason Kenney, defended his bill by stating it would address serious concerns facing our nation’s refugee system. Kenney: “To be blunt, Canada’s refugee system is broken. Too many tax dollars are spent on bogus refugees.” In particular, the government wants to limit the number of claims originating from the European Union.
The CIC states that 95 per cent of E.U. applications were withdrawn, rejected or abandoned and cost Canadian taxpayers $170 million. The 95 per cent figure is in dispute by refugee advocates. The Minister plans to begin implementing a biometric system in 2013. It would begin with citizens of countries that are deemed to be “dangerous.” Other planned changes will likely occur in the autumn of 2012. There are many who say these changes go too far and that recent changes were never given an opportunity to work.
Those opposed to these change state it grants the Minister too much authority and is too harsh on applicants. ‘It’s a serious step backward,” said NDP critic Don Davies. “This minister didn’t even implement Bill C-11.” (which was enacted less than two years prior to C-31 being granted royal assent). “How he can say the system doesn’t work when he didn’t give it a chance is beyond me.”
For those that disagree with the new laws, and there are many, it is now officially on the books. Follow the results and see what the results are for yourself. For more information on this subject and any other questions you may have, you can call Max Chaudhary on 416 447 6118 or email him at email@example.com.
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By Author: | July 9, 2012
For anyone interested in immigrating to Canada or for those who are curious to know what is happening with our immigration policies, there is some very important news to report. The Canadian government has released information detailing some important policy changes. These changes began as of July 1, 2012 and are in force now.
The Ministerial Instructions from the DEPARTMENT OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION (CIC) are to temporarily refuse to process new applications from certain application areas. This will have a profound influence on immigration for the foreseeable future. The areas most heavily impacted by these new instructions are applications from the: Economic Class.
Within the Economic Class there is a temporary pause on the 1)Federal Skilled Worker class- excluding those applications for the PhD eligibility stream and those with a qualifying offer of arranged employment- 2) Federal Immigrant Investor Class, 3) Federal Entrepreneur Class. Regarding the Federal Skilled Worker class, complete applications for the PhD eligibility stream, will continue to be put into processing until the annual cap of 1 000 is reached. Applicants in the Federal Skilled Worker and Federal Immigrant Investor Classes whose applications are received on or after July 1, 2012, and which do not meet the criteria described above, shall be informed that their application does not qualify for processing and their processing fee.
What about the people who had already applied before July 1? The Instructions do not apply to applications already received before the first of July, 2012, those shall be considered for processing and are not impacted by these changes. The Instructions do not apply to refugees or protected persons or persons making a request on Humanitarian or Compassionate grounds from within Canada. However, any requests made on the basis of Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds from outside Canada that accompany any permanent resident application affected by Ministerial Instructions- but not identified for processing under the Instructions- will not be processed.
What about Family Class applications? These new instructions do not relate to the Family Class applications. There will be no new freeze on applications for this category. However, the Instructions, from November 5, 2011, that froze new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents remain in place.
Who does this not affect? One important group is the international students. In 2011, there were over 98,000 international students. They fall into the category of Temporary Resident applications which were not impacted. All complete applications for temporary residence, including Temporary Foreign Workers, Foreign Students and Visitors shall continue to be placed into processing immediately upon receipt. Unless specifically mentioned in these new Instructions, all other categories shall continue to be processed in the usual manner. The CIC expects that application intake will resume in January of 2013.
Does this seem complicated? For much more information on this subject and any other questions you may have, you can call Max Chaudhary on 416 447 6118 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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