Call Centre Adventures: Correct but Bad Advice is Common

By Author: Max Chaudhary | March 8, 2014

A client with a permanent resident card renewal in progress sought advice from the call centre. The client explained to the call centre operator that he lodged his permanent resident card renewal application with solid proof of living in Canada for more than 730 days but the new PR card had not yet arrived. The client wanted to leave to China to see his recently born granddaughter. without possessing a valid permanent resident card.

The call centre provided advice to the client.  It was free advice.  More significantly, it was correct but bad advice. The call centre advised this client that he may leave Canada without a valid permanent resident card, because he could always apply to a Canadian visa office for a travel document to return to Canada once the renewed PR card was ready to be picked up.

The above advice is correct. However it is correct only in theory; one may apply for a travel document to return to Canada in the above situation. The reality is that if one applies for a travel document, the visa office will conduct an assessment of the amount of days the applicant acquired in Canada. The amount of days in Canada is calculated as at the time the client lodges the travel document application. This calculation often leads to a finding that the client has not acquired the minimum 730 days. Thus leading to the loss of permanent resident status and necessitating an appeal to regain the PR status.

The appropriate advice would have been to gauge the importance of leaving Canada without a valid PR card against the reason for leaving Canada, along with an assessment of how many days were accumulated inside of Canada. After acquiring the aformentioned information then a decision could be made to either leave or remain in Canada pending the issuance of the new PR card.

Call centre agents have little training; they are neither officers entrusted to make decisions nor have they been called to the bar. As the answers given are spoken over the telephone, they are not responsible for the advice they give. Many clients have told me that they have spoken to two different agents and received two different, conflicting answers. If you have an immigration question that goes beyond the status of an application already in progress, you should consult a Toronto Immigration Lawyer.

Proposed Changes to Canadian Citizenship

By Author: Max Chaudhary | February 7, 2014

Sweeping changes to Canada citizenship act were proposed by the government today. The highlights are as follows:

  • The fee to Lodge an application for citizenship will be increased from $200-$400;
  • The requirement to have a minimum of three years out of a period of four will be increased to 4/6 years of physical presence in Canada. In addition, you must reside in Canada for 6 months out of the year for 4 of those years;
  • You must declare an intent to reside in Canada (this is ambiguous – a recent Globe and Mail article says it is ceremonial, but in my view citizenship officers are going to use family history to determine if the person really intends to live in Canada; for example be observing if close family members have a pattern of obtaining Canadian citizenship and immediately leaving Canada for other places such as the Persian Gulf or the People’s Republic of China may be a fact by which intention is determined;
  • Decisions will no longer be made by a citizenship judge rather a “citizenship officer”;
  • You have to have 4 notices of assessments to apply;
  • Penalties for misrepresentation have dramatically increased – up to $100k and 5 years in prison – an admission by the Government that revocation of citizenship isn’t possible in all cases
  • Everyone has to do a language test between the ages of 14-64. You don’t get an interpreter for the knowledge test anymore;
  • Soldiers can apply faster;
  • Minister has more power;
  • There are rules for Immigration Consultants (putting the citizenship act in line with the requirements for licenced consultants as per the Immigration Refugee Protection Act;
  • Dual citizen terrorists can have their citizenship revoked;
  • It also appears that the right of an appeal to the federal court would be restricted by the imposition of an application for leave to seek federal court. This is essentially restricting the ability to have judicial review of a negative citizenship decision;
  • There is a question about whether the proposed law would be applied retroactively. It is likely that there will be transitional provisions to ensure that existing applications for citizenship wouldn’t be caught under the new law, but rather would be permitted to be processed under the law of existing at the time in which those cases were filed.

If you are looking for professional Toronto Immigration Lawyers, Call 416 – 447 – 6118 now!

Parent Sponsorship 2014: A Lottery

By Author: Max Chaudhary | January 15, 2014

02/01/2014 marked the reopening of the parent sponsorship program by Canada’s immigration Department. This followed a two-year freeze on sponsoring parents which dated back to November 2011.

During November 2011, the immigration department abruptly cut off the law to sponsor parents on the ground of an excessive backlog resulting in delays of sponsoring parents. It should be mentioned that the backlog was created by the Liberal party which allocated fewer officers to deal with the sponsorship of parents  from the year 2003. The backlog then grew as parent sponsorships accumulated with insufficient numbers of officers to deal with them. In 1993 out of a total of 256,641 immigrants, 47,267 were family class members. During the 2000s the number dropped to between23000-28000 family class members.  This is creating ‘facts on the ground’ – manufacturing a delay in sponsoring family class and using that manufactured delay to justify tougher criteria in sponsorships, as can be seen below.

The current  criteria for sponsoring is significantly different from the criteria in the past. Specifically, the Canadian wishing to sponsor their parents must have 30% more income than in the past. In addition, the evidence that must be marshaled to prove that income must go back three years ,and in the form of of verifiable tax evidence such as a CRA-issued Notice of Assessment. By contrast, under the old criteria, only one year of income was required to launch a sponsorship of parents. It must be kept in mind however that an additional hurdle lies in the visa officer’s request for further financial information years after the sponsorship has commenced. Thus, if you launch a sponsorship application for your parent during January 2014, and if the processing has not been completed in a couple of years, it is within the right of the officer to ask for additional proof of ongoing similar income from the sponsor i.e. for 2014 and 2015.

Another main criterion is the requirement that the sponsor undertake to support the parent for 20 years rather than 10 years. This in most scenarios indicates a requirement to undertake to support the parents until the parent passes away. Combine this with the fact that parents must be medically examined and not be a burden on Canada’s health or social services, means that one aspect of this lottery is that you must have healthy parents. If they are deemed to be “an excessive demand “ then they would be refused, barring a successful appeal on humanitarian grounds at a different venue, namely the Immigration Refugee Board Appeal Division. Such healthy parents would more likely be those whose morbidity would be brief and/or not financially burdensome at the end of their life.

Xenophobic nut jobs should also rest assured that parents being sponsored are screened for past affiliations to criminal groups and terror groups as well as criminality in general.

The other resemblance to a lottery includes the fact that there is a cap  5000 applicants per year. Given immigration Canada’s official insistence their website itself constitute sufficient information to file an application, they will no doubt be many disappointed would be sponsors who discover that the failure to file a properly constituted application would result in the application being returned. Once that application is returned, the would-be sponsor would likely be ineligible to re-file a sponsorship case and miss the 5000 quota for 2014.

It goes without saying that proper legal advice about what constitutes a proper application to sponsor parents, as well as the appropriate evidence would be essential given this era of quotas on parent sponsorship’s among other types of applications.


Call a Toronto Immigration Lawyer for any Canadian immigration issues or concerns you may have – Dial 416-447-6118 now!

Hiring an Immigration Lawyer: Retailer or Wholesaler?

By Author: Max Chaudhary | December 12, 2013

Misrepresentation to Canada’s Immigration Authorities: Any Excuses or Exceptions or Defences?

By Author: Max Chaudhary | December 12, 2013

The definition of misrepresentation under Canada’s Immigration law  is very broad.   Some court  cases state that even  unintentional misrepresentations are the subject of penalties such as a ban from entering Canada for two years.  Such unintentional misrepresentations include the failure of a father to declare the existence of a child when obtaining his permanent resident visa.

The text of the law of for misrepresentation is contained in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act as follows:


40. (1) A permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible for misrepresentation

(a) for directly or indirectly misrepresenting or withholding material facts relating to a relevant matter that induces or could induce an error in the administration of this Act;


The above section does not require “spontaneous disclosure” of all information or evidence.  But  there may be an obligation to disclose information or to produce relevant evidence in certain circumstances, given other parts of Canada’s immigration law.  For example, section 16(1) of the Act provides that “[a] person who makes an application must answer truthfully all questions put to them for the purpose of the examination and must answer truthfully all questions put to them for the purpose of the examination and must produce a visa and all relevant evidence and documents that the officer reasonably requires.”

In Baro v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and immigration), 2007 FC 1299 at para. 15, the Federal Court recognized that a foreign national seeking to enter Canada has a “duty of candour” which requires disclosure of material facts. The Federal Court also mentioned:

Even an innocent failure to provide material information can result in a finding of inadmissibility; for example, an applicant who fails to include all of her children in her application may be inadmissible: Bickin v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and immigration), [2000] F.C.J. No. 1495(F.C.T.D.)

However, there is an exception arises where applicants can show that they honestly and reasonably believed that they were not withholding material information as can be seen in the case of  Medel v. Canada (Minister of Employment and immigration), [1990] 2 F.C. 345, [1990] F.C.J. No. 318 (F.C.A.) (QL).

In Medel, the non-disclosure in question was the fact that the appellant did not tell the immigration officer that the Embassy issuing the visa had requested its return on the ground that it contained an error which the Embassy wanted to correct. The Embassy failed to tell Medel the true reason for the request, namely the withdrawal of the sponsorship by the appellant’s spouse. The Federal Court of Appeal concluded that the appellant was subjectively unaware that she was holding back anything relevant to her admission, and that this belief was reasonable when all the circumstances were considered objectively. The Court noted that this finding might have been different had the Embassy told her the truth.  It can be seen that this case is very unusual, given the lack of candour on the part of

the visa office.

Similarly, Baro (mentioned above) also said that the applicants don’t have to, and are not expected to anticipate the kinds of information that immigration officials might be interested in receiving, stating, “there is no onus on the person to disclose all information that might possibly be relevant”, but the decision maker must look at the surrounding circumstances to decide whether the applicant has failed to comply with s. 40(l)(a).


Sometimes, a visa officer discovers a misrepresentation and confronts a visa applicant about it.  Can the person seeking the visa confess and remove the misrepresentation?  Unfortunately, no.  The case of Khan  v. Canada mentions that Paragraph 40(1)(a) is written very broadly in that it applies to any misrepresentation, whether I direct or indirect, relating to a relevant matter that induces or could induce an error in the administration of the Act.  The court mentioned that judges must respect the wording of the Act and give it the broad interpretation its wording demands.  The decision concluded that there is nothing in the wording of section 40(1)(a)indicating that it should not apply to a situation where a misrepresentation is adopted, but clarified prior to a decision being rendered.


However, a misrepresentation that was not the fault of the applicant and not material to the administration of Canada’s immigration laws and was corrected before a decision was made, was deemed to not to be  a material misrepresentation as per the case of ali Anwar Ali v MCI 2008 FC 166.


As can be seen above, every case is very unique. Small differences within a case may lead to a different conclusion on the issue of whether or not someone has committed a misrepresentation of fact that could bar entry to Canada.

Immigration Canada’s Information Sharing with The Five Eyes, And CRA

By Author: Max Chaudhary | December 9, 2013

A refugee board member recently intimated to me that the Five Eyes intelligence sharing between five developed English speaking countries has been used to detect the presence of, and citizenship status of, foreign nationals visiting the USA. This surprises some refugee claimants, who come to Canada without a travel document such as a passport, presuming that the travel history captured in their passport will be lost along with the absent passport. The Five Eyes can catch travel history and thereby nullify their claim; similarly, I have seen a Pakistani’s successful refugee status get revoked when he failed to disclose his presence in the USA (such presence making his refugee story implausible and hence ‘vacated’).

Persons presenting themselves to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board as citizens of North Korea have been discovered to actually be from South Korea. The method by which this was discovered was the information sharing between the USA and Canada – evidence of those alleged North Korean’s fingerprints tendered upon entering the USA, along with a corresponding passport from South Korea – clear evidence of lying about being North Korean.

Starting in December 2013, biometrics become mandatory for more countries: applicants seeking a visitor visa to Canada will have to travel to a licensed agent of Canada’s immigration department (i.e. the VAC), or a local Canadian visa to provide an in-person fingerprint and photograph for $85.00 for a biometric scan. Once captured, it can be compared to CIC’s and the RCMP’s database; such a fingerprint may reveal the applicant for a visitor visa came to Canada previously under a different name, and was deported from Canada; this would render the visitor visa application refused on, among other things, misrepresentation.

Along the same lines of information sharing, recent CIC forms were amended during November 2013 indicating that the persons who sign an immigration form are consenting to give their information to the Canada Revenue Agency; this seems more to enhance the integrity of Canada’s tax collecting system over Canada’s immigration system given that CIC as of January 2014 is imposing a 30% increase in required income to sponsor parents – giving sponsors an incentive to embellish their income to meet the requirements imposed by Canada’s Immigration Department, leading to a potential ‘Gotcha!’ by the CRA when the CRA discovers this a higher disclosed income in a CIC form.

The public’s response to increasing scrutiny is lackadaisical, despite breaches of security within the Canadian government; this is likely due to the government’s emphasis on biometrics’ utility in protecting Canada against terrorists and other criminals. One can see, however that although cost effective for the government, such measures tend to make it easier to detect misrepresentations when applying for a visa to Canada; self-filing daredevils may wish take note of this; perhaps even better, consult me before being labelled by CIC as ‘misrepresenting’ on an application, and being slapped with a two year ban from entering Canada (in some cases effectively an eternal ban from entering Canada).

Call a Toronto Immigration Lawyer for any Canadian immigration issues or concerns you may have – Dial 416-447-6118 now!

The Canada Experience Class Changes of November 8 2013

By Author: Max Chaudhary | November 13, 2013

Canada’s immigration bureaucracy is emboldened by  Ministerial Instructions – which are basically the fiat of the immigration department, issuing orders without notice or discussion.  This will no doubt pose a significant challenge to those self-filers of immigration applications. At 4:30 p.m. Eastern time, on November 8 2013, (i.e. when most people kick back and relax for the weekend), new restrictions on the Canada Experience Class were imposed. My comments are in italics below, interspersed with the official announcement, also below:

Ottawa, November 8, 2013 — Today, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced changes to improve the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) so that the program continues to attract top quality candidates. (the phrase ‘continues to attract’ wrongfully implies a sense of continuity with the older, less restrictive CEC program).

“The Canadian Experience Class has allowed more than 25,000 people to stay in Canada permanently to contribute their skills and talents,” said Alexander (the amount of 25000 is a pittance given that the 25000 applicants were admitted over a period of five years). “The government is taking concrete action to reduce backlogs and processing times. By making these changes to the Canadian Experience Class, we are moving toward a more effective and efficient immigration system.” (the processing times were generally about four to 12 months under the previous iteration of the CEC – not at all lengthy by recent standards and as compared other categories such as parents).

In order to manage intake, maintain reasonable processing times and prevent a backlog from developing in the CEC, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is introducing an annual cap on the number of new CEC applications. CIC will accept a maximum of 12,000 CEC applications from November 9, 2013, to October 31, 2014. (the CEC is going to be supplemented by a “a new model to select immigrants, likely employer driven”).

Despite the annual cap on applications, the department will admit approximately 15,000 individuals under the CEC in 2014.

CIC is also seeing an overrepresentation of certain occupations in the program. In order to bring in as diverse a skill set as possible, the department will introduce limits on the number of applications under certain occupations. (It seems to the Immigration Minister, the labour market is wrong – Canada’s immigration bureaucrats know more about what jobs are good for Canada and is thus cutting off certain occupations).

Effective November 9, 2013, CIC will introduce sub-caps of 200 applications each in certain skilled occupations. Also, six particular occupations will no longer be eligible for the CEC.

Full details of the new CEC intake measures are available in the backgrounder and will be published in the Canada Gazette tomorrow.

Backgrounder — Improvements to the Canadian Experience Class

Between November 9, 2013 to October 31, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will accept a maximum of 12,000 new applications under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Because of an overrepresentation in the CEC applications received to date, the following six occupations will no longer be eligible for the CEC starting November 9, 2013: (Canada’s immigration bureaucrats apparently have a better pulse on Canada’s labour market needs than employers who hired graduates in the following occupations):

       • cooks (NOC code 6322) (Canadian restaurants with foreign chefs will have to recruit foreign nationals on an ongoing basis);

       • food service supervisors (NOC 6311);

       • administrative officers (NOC 1221);

       • administrative assistants (NOC 1241);

       • accounting technicians and bookkeepers (NOC 1311); and

       • retail sales supervisors (NOC 6211).

CIC already has a large inventory of applications in these occupations and will continue processing them to a final decision. (Hey student visa holders- don’t get a study visa and enrol in education pertaining to the above jobs).

In addition, CIC will establish sub-caps of 200 applications each for National Occupational Classification (NOC) B occupations.(If you have a level “B” occupation, you may be out of luck if you file your CEC case after the cap has been filled).   These are mostly technical and administrative jobs or those in the skilled trades. NOC 0 and A (managerial and professional) occupations will not be sub-capped, but they will be subject to the overall cap of 12,000 applications Finally, CIC will maintain the same language criteria for applicants but will verify them upfront as of November 9, 2013. The current language requirements are Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 for NOC 0 and A occupations, and CLB 5 for NOC B occupations. This new measure will ensure that applicants who do not meet the minimum language requirements are screened out earlier and processing resources can be concentrated on those who are more likely to qualify.

At the same time, this is more client-friendly, as applicants who do not have the required language proficiency will have their applications returned to them along with the processing fee. (Canada’s immigration bureaucracy wants to impose more steps upon you, the applicant, earlier in the process, which will make the processing of cases easier for the immigration department, and more troublesome for you the applicant).

(Final note: if your’re a daredevil, you’ll be comfortable filing an immigration application in the face of sudden, and ongoing restrictions; if you’re cautious, you may wish to file an application after consulting M. Max Chaudhary.)


Call a Toronto Immigration Lawyer for any Canadian immigration issues or concerns you may have – Dial 416-447-6118 now!

Use and Abuse of Online forums That Discuss Canadian Immigration.

By Author: Max Chaudhary | October 22, 2013

Much like surfing the web for medical conditions, searching  online forums where Canadian immigration is discussed can lead to more information.  The problem is that the information is anecdotal.

The pattern is common: a person posts a problem, and then a few persons respond with their anecdote about how they had the same problem and how it has transpired.  People who seek substantive answers via posting information, or searching online forums way must tread carefully.  Aside from whether or not a responding person tells the truth about their version of the problem, no one individual client’s circumstances are alike.  The danger is that a person, seeing someone else with a superficially similar case may worry unnecessarily (or worse, may wrongly feel at ease) with their circumstances, based on the wrong impression that someone has posted an anecdote that is similar to the person seeking advice.

I recall being on a panel with a deputy program manager of the now defunct Buffalo visa office. There was a question and answer session after our prepared remarks.  The question was something like “I had one client whose case took 5 months and another in the same situation whose client took 15 months and this 2nd client was asked many more questions.” My initial response was ‘no case is the same’.  The deputy program manager echoed my response to an audience question with great enthusiasm.

Client 1 may have a PR card renewal application with the same amount of days inside of Canada and Client 2. One may have travelled to a country which is more subject to more scrutiny when a PR card is renewed.  Making one trip to a specific country (such as a Gulf state) can lead to extremely close scrutiny of a permanent resident card renewal application.  The presence of a family member in China or the Gulf can lead to more scrutiny.  Being self-employed in Canada with erratic income may lead to more scrutiny. Having a job where one has to travel but is paid by a Canadian employer may be easier or more difficult for an officer to process, depending on things such as where the person has been dispatched to work, the amount of salary earned and how large the employer’s operations are, whether the employer’s operations are multinational. A person with a relative (such as a spouse) working in China or the Gulf may have their application scrutinized more closely despite asserting the minimum amount of days in Canada. Owning a house as opposed to renting a house as a permanent resident card holder may lead to more scrutiny.  The method one acquired immigration -either as a skilled worker -as a dependent may be factored in as well.

Officers have government guidelines about how to use their discretion when assessing a case.  The use of discretion varies from officer to officer, depending on their life experience and the amount of work experience as an officer, with new officers seem to be more adversarial.  Some officers literally don’t ‘get the memo’ that constitutes how to exercise their discretion.  Others follow the government guidelines too closely and miss the essence of a client’s case.

It is also important to note that about 1/5 applications have effectively no processing target. The official statistics on processing are for 80% of applications, which gives the officer some leeway in taking their time with “problem” cases.

Given the above factors at play in a relatively straightforward application like a PR card renewal, one would have to exercise an abundance of caution when considering other’s experience with Canada’s immigration department and considering it useful.


Call a Toronto Immigration Lawyer for any Canadian immigration issues or concerns you may have – Dial 416-447-6118 now!

The Never Filled Blacklist of Canadian Employers

By Author: Max Chaudhary | October 1, 2013

The Employer blacklist[1] (i.e. those employers who “have failed, without reasonable justification, to provide substantially the same wages, working conditions or employment in an occupation to any foreign worker as those that were set out in their job offer.”) has been in effect since April 1, 2011.  That list remains empty despite 218 temporary foreign workers lodging complaints alleging a violation of employment standards.

One reason is that employment standards are the responsibility of provincial governments, while the blacklist is maintained by the federal government.  Thus essential information sharing between these two levels of government is not taking place.

This structural failure of the Federal and Provincial Governments to communicate is consistent with the fact that despite the economic downturn since 2008 (which was followed by a brief respite from more foreign workers), there has been an increase of temporary foreign workers into Canada. This is in part because of practical policies put in place by a government ideologically conditioned to be sensitive to the interests of Canadian employers. These employers have complained often and loudly about the dearth of available labour -only partially explained by the ‘baby bust’  (i.e. retirees outnumbering young people entering the workforce).

Employers historically enjoyed the conditions of the TFWs, which forbade the foreign worker from working for rivals (without approval), and, until recently, permission to 85% of the prevailing wage. The Harper Government’s policies have, until recent revelations, not allowed a substantial scrutiny of employers. This had led to an empty “blacklist”.

The structural lack of communication has its analogue in the downloading of responsibility and hence expenses from provincial governments to municipal governments – the Federal government seeks to look accountable to the public with a vaunted ‘blacklist’ but relies on another level of government to carry out the necessary fact finding to hold rogue employers accountable. Indeed, until the recent imposition of processing fees imposed on the employer, the HRSDC had no funding to properly process applications.

One solution would be to recoup the cost of investigation on the guilty employer in the form of a fine. Currently the result of being on the blacklist is merely a two year ban on offering a job to a foreign worker.

Canadian employers are used to the crutch of cheap foreign workers.  In fact, ”The programs build employers’ economic and political reliance on the continuation and expansion of guest workers, as they begin to “make investment decisions that assume migrants will continue to be available”.

This has led  to more applications to import higher skilled workers on a temporary basis with less scrutiny in programs such as the intra-company transferee category where the scrutiny of Service Canada’s labour market opinion process is eliminated – thus depriving HRSDC of the ability to determine the impact of allowing a given foreign worker on Canada’s labour market. This was exploited very efficiently by the Royal Bank of Canada.

Given Canada’s demographic circumstances, it is generally preferable to limit foreign workers to those bringing high skills into Canada on a temporary basis (and then subsequently transferring those high skills to Canadian workers).  Low skilled foreign workers should be limited by increasing nominally the price of fast food, thereby attracting Canadian labour.

Given Canada’s historically regionally divergent labour needs and structure, it has made sense to devolve enforcement of most labour issues to the individual provinces. It may make sense as well to devolve issuance of labour market opinions to those entities as well, especially in the more populous provinces.

 Want to learn more about this matter? Call your Toronto Immigration Lawyer today at 416-447-6118!

[1] I prefer the official name of the list – “Ineligible Employers”.

Immigrating to Canada as a Spouse: Processing Times and Why They Vary

By Author: Max Chaudhary | August 26, 2013

The sponsorship of a spouse is a common way to obtain permanent status in a country. In Canada, as in most countries, assuming the bona fides of the relationship are established, then the application to sponsor a spouse to reside permanently would proceed normally as of right. However, at the time of writing, namely August 2013, processing times for spouses being sponsored from certain countries take a disproportionately lengthier time than others.

For example, sponsoring a spouse from Israel takes nine months, whereas in Pakistan and Afghanistan it takes 31 months. The disparate processing times are due in part to additional documentary requirements imposed on certain applicants such as those from Pakistan and Afghanistan. These more specific documents are contained in a government form called “Country Specific Instructions” Pakistani and Afghan foreign nationals seeking to be sponsored by Canadian spouses need to produce, among other things, a “Residency Questionnaire.” This document contains at first glance relatively innocuous questions, and has arguably been designed to capture the fact that a noticeable amount of Pakistani Canadians reside outside of Canada (often times in the Persian Gulf, a reflection of a higher salary available to the Pakistani-Canadian sponsors in the Persian Gulf as opposed to in Canada).

Specifically, the purpose of the “Residency Questionnaire” is to ensure that the Canadian sponsor will reside with the Pakistani applicant once the Pakistani applicant has been granted permanent residency in Canada. The “residency questionnaire” is thus a form of particular  relevance to the usually female Pakistani applicant, but in reality is designed to disclose information about her male Canadian sponsor, specifically to determine whether he is either working in Canada or will give up his usually well-paying job in the Persian Gulf to reside in Canada with the female spouse. By contrast, persons such as most citizens of the EU, the UK and the USA are exempt from such scrutiny despite the fact that they can often enter Canada surreptitiously as visitors (not disclosing any Canadian permanent resident status) and consequently, misstate their location of employment.

The innocuously titled “Supplementary Information Form for Pakistani Nationals” is required to be completed by males aged 15 years or older, as well as females aged 18 years or older. A substantively identical form is required for Afghan nationals. Canadian visa officers asked no other country such details of 15-year-old boys. The age of 15 is no doubt a response to the phenomenon of Omar Khadr, who is a Canadian citizen and was fighting US-backed forces in Afghanistan in 2002 at the age of 15, and was convicted of terrorist offences by a US tribunal in October 2010. This emphasis on the age of 15 for only Afghan and Pakistani males belies the phenomenon of child-soldiers in other countries across Asia and Africa.

Further, and “Details of Military Service” chart contained within the “Supplementary Information Form For Pakistani Nationals” is mandatory requesting in specific detail a person’s rank, duties, name of its commanding officer, nature of military unit, location, number of persons supervised, and specialized training.

For Pakistani and Afghan applicants, significantly more original documentation is required for scrutiny, such as, birth certificates, national ID card, marriage certificate, death certificate, divorce certificate, educational documents. By contrast, other document list for citizens of most other countries seeking a permanent visa as a spouse merely require original birth certificate, police clearance and evidence of the relationship such as photographs.

Similarly, the supplementary information form for Afghan nationals, contained in another version of the “country specific instructions”, crafts questions with such hyper-specificity, (e.g. “Are you or were you ever a member (civilian or uniformed) of a special force, security service (KhAD, WAD), police force (Sarandoy, Ministry of the Enforcement of Virtue and Suppression of Vice)”, and “Are you, or have you ever been, a member of a civilian defense group, a resistance organization or an armed resistance group (includes Mujahideen or any group trained for hostile operations inside or outside the country”, and “If you responded NO to questions 4, 5 and 6, explain how you avoided serving with any side during the conflict in Afghanistan”, and “Were you ever a member of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA)?”, and “Have any members of your family (parents, aunts/uncles, grandparents, sisters/brothers) held a position with a government of Afghanistan,” so as to wonder the relevance of such specific disclosure.

The only other document list that remotely approaches such specificity is the one for Albanian residents which poses questions related to contact with the Albanian or Yugoslavian security or information services.

Citizens other countries, such as the state of Israel, which has recently been involved in conflicts with entities such as Hezbollah, Syria, Lebanon, and the occupied Gaza Strip, by contrast, are not subject to such scrutiny with respect to military service. The consequence is that citizens of Israel who have served in the Israeli military may very well be inadmissible to Canada on grounds of violating human rights, but are not screened with sufficient scrutiny by Canadian visa officer to detect such violations.

Similarly, the requirement for substantively more original documentation from Afghan and Pakistani applicants may lead one to the conclusion that errors in allowing foreign nationals from other countries to enter Canada (due to the more relaxed requirements) is actively encouraged by the Canadian bureaucracy.

Want to learn more about this matter? Call your Toronto Immigration Lawyer today at 416-447-6118!

Source: Pakistan Forms Required –

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