Express Entry: Any Hope For Immigrating To Canada?

By Author: admin | March 3, 2015

The Express Entry system has had three draws as at the time of writing (I’m writing this on 15-02-28) on the dates listed below:

  • 779 candidates receiving an Invitation to Apply based on the minimal ranking of   886 points (on January 31 2015);
  • 779 candidates receiving  an Invitation to Apply based on the minimal ranking of 818 points(on February 7, 2015)
  • [TBD] candidates receiving  an Invitation to Apply based on the minimal ranking  of 735 points(on February 27, 2015)

The minimumpoints required in the three draws were well above 600 points.  A review of the comprehensive ranking system reveals that 600 points or above cannot reached unless one has acquired aLabour Market Impact Assessment (or, in limited cases, nomination from a province).  This is very difficult to get as the employer must satisfy the government that there were no Canadians or Permanent Residents available to do the job. And they must be willing to recruit nationally. And the penalties for Canadian employer for misrepresenting said recruitment efforts include being banned from the LMIA system, fines and/or jail.

Express Entry has been in the works for several years, and at this point, there is no doubt that the system was designed prior to the recentscandals of the past two (2) years. Two (2) years ago it was relatively straightforward to get approval (previously called a Labour Market Opinion or LMO) to hire a foreign worker. Recruitment standards were laxer andthe processing times were faster. Employers could even obtain a positive LMO for an international student on a post-graduation work permit without trying to recruit in Canadawithout paying a fee. After the tightening mentioned above, the Harper government boasted that its crackdown on the system reduced the number of applications for approval to hire a foreign worker by 74%.

Viewed through the regulatory prism of 2-3 years ago, the Express Entry system makes sense. However, in a period where it is very, very difficult to get said approval, and large firms simply refusing, as a rule, to submit to such an assessment, certain younger applicants already in Canada become excluded. There is often very little economic reason to submit an LMIA given the cost and effort involved (which these companies recognize) and as a result employers will instead submit them for non-economic reasons, like family reunification.

Minister Alexander has responded to criticism of Express Entry weight by stating that: “We will not apologize for prioritizing in our selection process those with skills that allow them to integrate more quickly and more fully into Canada’s economy and Canadian society.” He retorts that younger applicants gain more points from their age than older applicants gain from their work experience. This, while true, does not obviate the above-mentioned criticism of the weight of the LMIA – even a 60 year-old with a LMIA would beat a 25-year-old engineer who graduated at the top his class from the University of Waterloo, but whose firm does not wish to file LMIA applications. The latter may never even processed and be forced to return to his country of origin.

A perhaps mitigating factor is that the number of people being called through Express Entry is still very, very low. Lower than what we would expect if the Harper government expects to meet its 60/40 economic/family immigration level.

The immigration department is expecting about 172,100 economic immigrants (as opposed to immigrants sponsored by family) to receive permanent resident status for 2015.  By contrast, the above three picks by CIC cited above look to number about 2400 persons, perhaps double, to 4800 persons there is an accompanying spouse and/or children.    Why is the score so high?  How will Canada get to 172100 immigrants in the year 2015?

There is no doubt that the department has a backlog of old cases under the old categories that existed during the last four (4) years.  These include the Canada Experience Class (at least those who filed before October 2014).  This class numbers 8000 persons, who, based on typical processing times would receive their permanent resident visas sometime during 2015.  Many of those 8000 may have a spouse or children, so perhaps a number closer to 16000 persons may be landed as permanent residents during 2015.

Similarly there existed a number of permanent resident applicants who applied under the Federal Skilled Worker system that existed since May 2013.  That system had a cap of 25000 persons per each of the 27 occupations (reduced to 25 occupations in 2014).  They too may be processed sometime during 2015.   The 25000 persons may in fact yield at least 50000 persons on the assumption that each applicant will have a spouse and/or a child.

Applicants in thosepre-2015 categorieswill trickle through and land in 2015 or even 2016.  Indeed, I have a client who applied under the Federal Skilled Worker Program in 2010 who shall receive her visa in the next month or so.

It may be that the ranking number will drop during subsequent draws in the year 2015, so as to reach closer to the intended number of economic immigrants who land as permanent residents.  Indeed, given that most of the economic categories are subject to the Comprehensive Ranking System, there would appear to be no other way to reach the intended number of economicimmigrants per year unless the minimal accepted point total under the Comprehensive Ranking System lowers to a level of at least relieving a candidate of the requirement to obtain a LMIA.

This appears to be the stated intent of the Immigration Minister who indicated 23000 persons are expected to be landed under the Express entry system. Thus, in future years, it may be that you do not need an LMIA or nomination to be selected.

The Credit Card and Immigration Application Bounceback

By Author: admin | March 3, 2015

Joe[1] tried to get his application filed at the Sydney Nova Scotia immigration office.  An application, when properly filed, contains specific forms, supporting documents, and a government fee. 

Canada’s immigration department allows a visa-seeking person to pay a government fee via a credit card.  If you pay via credit card, you are risking having your application rejected.  The reason is in the following regulation:

  • 10. (1) Subject to paragraphs 28(b) to (d) and 139(1)(b), an application under these Regulations shall
    • (a) be made in writing using the form provided by the Department, if any;
    • (b) be signed by the applicant;
    • (c) include all information and documents required by these Regulations, as well as any other evidence required by the Act;
    • (d) be accompanied by evidence of payment of the applicable fee, if any, set out in these Regulations; [Emphasis Added]and
    • (e) if there is an accompanying spouse or common-law partner, identify who is the principal applicant and who is the accompanying spouse or common-law partner.

 

The failure to present an application in accordance with the above specifications will cause a ‘bouncing back’ of the application (i.e.the package you sent to the immigration department gets returned in its entirety and no record of the application ever gets recorded at the immigration office).  An officer will send an unsigned letter stating “credit card declined”.  This may occur if the credit card company unilaterally,  for your own protection decides to decline the transaction after an immigration officer attempts to input the credit card information (since a charge for a credit card from a small Canadian town that you have never visited appears suspicious) .

But what if your credit card company has no record of ever declining an attempted charge for a filing fee from the immigration department?  This may mean that the officer failed to input the credit card information properly when trying to debit your credit card.  This would not be your fault.  Nevertheless, the package gets returned.

If you re-file the application with a different payment such as a money order or bank draft and resubmit, that may be your only solution.  However if the application in which you applied was subject to a cap or limit on the number of applicants who may apply, then you’ve lost your ability to apply.   You may try to communicate the immigration office and request to explain the situation but it is unlikely you may get a sympathetic ear, unless perhaps you have proof that the immigration officer incorrectly inputted the credit card application.



[1] Admittedly not the most creative or common name I come across in an immigration law practice.

What is Terrorism? Depends on How You Look At It

By Author: admin | February 17, 2015

shooter_cartoon

 

A group of four young men were allegedly plotting a killing spree on Valentines Day 2015 at a mall in Halifax Nova Scotia, but were foiled due to an anonymous tip.  If the intended carnage were carried out would this have been an act of terror?

Justice Minister Peter MacKay said the alleged plot was not linked to terrorism.It is disappointing that the Justice Minister, who presumably has some expertise in Canada’s laws would misconstrue the Criminal Code.  It has come to light that the individuals involved were supporters of white supremacy, an ideology.

The definition of terrorism in Canadian law specifically encompasses ideology as can be seen in the Criminal Code at 83.01 (b) as follows:

(b) an act or omission, in or outside Canada,

  • (i) that is committed
    • (A) in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause, [Emphasis Added] and
    • (B) in whole or in part with the intention of intimidating the public, or a segment of the public, with regard to its security, including its economic security, or compelling a person, a government or a domestic or an international organization to do or to refrain from doing any act, whether the public or the person, government or organization is inside or outside Canada, and
  • (ii) that intentionally
    • (A) causes death or serious bodily harm to a person by the use of violence,
    • (B) endangers a person’s life,
    • (C) causes a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or any segment of the public,
    • (D) causes substantial property damage, whether to public or private property, if causing such damage is likely to result in the conduct or harm referred to in any of clauses (A) to (C), or
    • (E) causes serious interference with or serious disruption of an essential service, facility or system, whether public or private, other than as a result of advocacy, protest, dissent or stoppage of work that is not intended to result in the conduct or harm referred to in any of clauses (A) to (C),

and includes a conspiracy, attempt or threat to commit any such act or omission, or being an accessory after the fact or counselling in relation to any such act or omission, but, for greater certainty, does not include an act or omission that is committed during an armed conflict and that, at the time and in the place of its commission, is in accordance with customary international law or conventional international law applicable to the conflict, or the activities undertaken by military forces of a state in the exercise of their official duties, to the extent that those activities are governed by other rules of international law.

 

Given the above, it is appropriate to cite the graphic illustration above which indicates that the label of terrorist tends to get attached to certain ideologies more than others.   If anything, the Justice Minister’s refusal to acknowledge the foiled Halifax plot as an intended act of terror is an admission that Canada’s current laws and police apparatus are sufficient in their present form to keep Canada safe from terrorists.  As a consequence, proposed changes to Canada’s laws are unnecessary and would impede freedom of expression.

PS. The reference in the ‘lone wolf’ part of the picture to a ‘parking problem’  refers to an incident on February 11 2015 that took place in North Carolina.  If anyone can tell me the significance of each person using a different looking gun in the above picture, then please contact me on my website at www.chaudharylaw.com

What step by step process should I follow

By Author: admin | February 9, 2015

WHAT STEP BY STEP PROCESS SHOULD I FOLLOW TO FILE A CANADIAN PR APPLICATION WITHOUT ANY EXTERNAL HELP FROM A CONSULTANT?

The above question was recently posed at the Quora Website. As of writing this, (i.e. 2015-02-08) there was one answer given by an anonymous person who mentioned, that it is possible to file for Canadian permanent residency without a consultant (and by logical extension, without an immigration lawyer).

Specifically, the response given by anonymous was,

Yes this is POSSIBLE I have friends and family members who have done all the process on their own. Few are already in Canada, few will be there shortly.” [Emphasis in Original]

I’m concerned that the ‘few already in Canada’ and the few who are to arrive shortly did not apply under the Express Entry system which has only been in existence for seven weeks . Thus it is impossible for the aforementioned ‘few’ of anonymous’ friends and family members to have qualified under the current system of immigration to Canada as an economic immigrant.

Reference was made to the official immigration website of the government of Canada which provides links to government forms and accompanying guides for form completion. It is true that one may be able to file an application following the guides to fill out the forms. Common mistakes I’ve seen with clients who self-file include leaving gaps on forms in areas such as client history since the age of 18. Such gaps mean that the application is incomplete leading to the immigration department returning the application after eight-12 weeks, thus necessitating you to correct the forms, resubmit said forms and await another eight-12 weeks. This often leads to situations where a person may apply three times without success. The latter case resulted in delays resulting in a daughter becoming over-aged and was hence disqualified from immigrating with her parents.

Reference was also made to a popular Canada immigration forum where persons exchange anecdotes on each other’s cases, and ask/give advice on each other’s cases. I find such websites useful to see if there is a delay in a certain type of case, or if a certain immigration office is delaying a certain type of application. However, it is extremely dangerous to see persons post a very brief description of their case and then see others presume that their case is exactly the same as the one with the brief description. In fact, 99% of the time a case you think is just like yours has one or two differences which either require a different course of action, leading to a longer processing time.

Another point raised in the Quora response was the presumed advantage of being the direct contact with immigration instead of through a third party representative such as a lawyer :

Many folks recommend doing it yourself, which enables you to know the exact status and you are the primary contact with the immigration department.

I’ve successfully litigated three cases where the client, self-represented, never received a critical email leading to refusal of immigration. This has required the refused person to engage in the expensive time consuming step of a Federal Court proceeding for such clients who have self-filed, and have complained of the failure to receive an email or letter from the immigration department. A common problem is a critical email from Canada immigration (containing a deadline to submit a document) gets sent to a junk email folder, thus leading to the missing of the deadline and refusal of the application.

If I were applying for immigration, I’d at least want to first check out the official Canadian website on immigration, see if there is any online self-assessment guide, complete that guide, and then consult with an immigration lawyer, who will double check how my self-assessment reflects my chances to successfully immigrate to Canada.

Canada Experience Cap of 2014 Reached

By Author: admin | February 2, 2015

The Canada Experience Class, an economic immigrant category in existence since 2008, was an example of a logical, transparent program characterized by efficient processing times; an applicant had to have been legally employed for one year in a skilled job, in some cases after graduating from a Canadian college or university; transparent no longer.

The shift of the CEC from a straightforward program to select good prospects for Canadian immigration was a gradual one. In November 2012, some occupations (the popular ones) were erased from the CEC class.  Then  in 2013, the Express Entry System was floated, with more and more announcements throughout the year 2014.  Immigration lawyers, properly concerned about the ambiguity of the Express Entry,  advised any applicant who would qualify under the CEC to lodge an application before the subsuming of the CEC under the Express Entry system, i.e. filing a CEC application  before December 31 2014.  The idea was that by having your CEC application filed before December 31 2014, your application would avoid the randomness of the Express Entry system.

This strategy received implicit endorsement at least during December 2014.  At that time, the immigration department advisedto Canadian immigration lawyers that the cap of 8000 applicants was not yet reached.  However in the past week i.e. around January 20 2015, many self filed applicants on immigration forums have confirmed that their applications were not successfully filed at the Sydney Immigration Office. Many of these applications were submitted during October 2014 have come back returned in their entirety.

In effect, despite the fact that the express Entry System not launched until 01/01/2015, the immigration department closed off the predecessor Canadian Experience Class system during October 2014.  What happened?  It may be that given the lackluster review of the upcoming Express Entry program, many applicants felt it appropriate to try to file their CEC applications under the more accountable and transparent 2014 Canada Experience Class category – a sensible strategy given the mystery of the current Express Entry system – a system that provides an additional point system (the Comprehensive Ranking System) the pass mark of which depends in part on who else is applying in the pool of applicants during one of the bi-weekly draws by CIC, the first of which occurred on January 31 2015.

In effect, any the application submitted from October 2014 to the end of December 2014 will not be assessed under the Canada Experience Class.  Rather, those applications will be deemed to have never existed, despite the fact that the applications were received when the Canada experience class system was still officially open.

Many self-filing applicants reported that along with the application forms they submitted, the immigration department included a pamphlet describing the Express Entry system, presumably to encourage applicants to reapply under the Express Entry system.

In situations such as the above, where an applicant filed Canada experience class application between October 2014 and 31 December 2014, it may be appropriate to file an online profile under the Express Entry system.

However, the filing and express entry profile does not provide the same degree of certainty as existed for applications submitted under the Canada experience class prior to October 2014.

Express Entry – Immigration [for] Canada? No, for The Canadian Employer

By Author: admin | January 26, 2015

The immigration department’s Express Entry system has been in effect since January 1 2015.  It seeks in incorporate all existing economic immigration categories under one umbrella.  The categories include the Federal Skilled Worker Program, some Provincial Nominee applicants, the Canada Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades category. 

To apply under the Express entry program, you must qualify under the criteria for one of the categories above.  For example, a Federal Skilled worker applicant must achieve the requisite 67 points, and an CEC applicant must have at least one year of work experience in Canada in a suitably skilled occupation.

However, despite fulfilling the criteria of the long-standing programs above, the Minister of Immigration reserves the right to reject an applicant.  The Minister uses a Comprehensive Ranking System on top of the already existing criteria to assess an applicant positively.  The purpose is to allow the Minister to reserve the right to pick applicants with the highest chance of economic establishment in Canada, as defined  by in large part by the short term needs of Canadian employers.  This is an admission that the existing categories don’t produce successful immigrants in the eyes of the Minister, and that the Minister must impose an extra criteria, the Comprehensive Ranking System with the benefit of the private sector, to ensure new economic  immigrants will become successfully established in Canada.  This may keep wages lower for Canadian workers.

The Comprehensive Ranking System  allocates more points in favour of an applicant who possesses a job offer backed by  a Labour Market Impact Assessment or LMIA.  In the absence of an LMIA a candidate must register with Canada’s Federal Job Bank a hope that they are matched by an employer who is attracted to the candidate’s skills and education.

Is the above action legal?  Given a recent Federal Court of Appeal Decision, yes, and further, termination of all of the pre 2008 skilled worker cases is constitutional.  The key element of the new Express Entry system is that the application to enter the Express Entry pool requires no fee.   Under the law, it is not an application, but more akin to a request to file an application.  Many years ago this was known as a pre-application questionnaire.

Thus, when you file an application under the Express Entry system, it is a request to file an application.  What if you embellish or lie on your initial express entry profile, in the hopes that you’ll increase your chances of getting selected by the Minister for permanent residence?  If you lie on your express entry application, then you will be deemed to have misrepresented and be banned from entering Canada for five years.    This would be easily detected at the second stage after being invited to apply and submit documents within 60 days of the invitation.  I suspect many misrepresentations may be based on questionable work reference letters.

On the plus side there are no restrictions in terms of which skilled occupation one may apply under in contrast to the 2013 Federal Skilled Worker program or the Post November 2012 Canada Experience Class system both of which deemed certain skilled occupations as not in demand

The Parent Cap

By Author: admin | January 20, 2015

On January 16, 2015  The website for Canada immigration announced  that the cap or limit of 5000 parent applications has been reached for the year 2015.  The cap, reached in about two weeks, speaks of the significant demand for Canadian children to have their parents settle in Canada as permanent residents. 

Detractors for immigration of parents to Canada cite the drain on Canada’s publically funded health system as a justification to cap the entry of in Canada as permanent residents.  This view presumably relies on statistics regarding the short supply of health services in Canada, and the general perception that elderly people require more medical observation than younger people.

The above views don’t take into account the benefits to Canada that are not measured.  These include the ability of many parents to take care of the children of sponsors who are required to work in Canada.  Although difficult to measure, there is no doubt that the crisis in availability of daycare would be mitigated to some extent if parents can immigrate to Canada.

The above detractors also over emphasize the health drain on Canada’s publicly funded health system, where in fact, elderly Canadians would rather forego expensive institutionalization  near the end of their lives in favour of dying comfortably at home.  If anything elderly immigrant immigrants would be even more reluctant to spending their dying days at a hospital or other expensive Canadian institution but rather, more in favour of residing with relatives.

The fear of medical costs of immigrant parents is also mitigated by the requirement of the sponsored parent to go through in some cases numerous medical assessments by immigration-approved doctors.  Such doctors, beholden to Canada’s immigration department err on the side of inadmissibility in many cases, sometimes unnecessarily

In addition, the children sponsoring the parents are obliged to ensure that the immigrant parents do not partake in any government social assistance for 20 years, which in many cases means until the parent dies.

The CIC website announcement cites the figure of 70000 parents/grandparents being issued residency in Canada since 2012, but said announcement withholds the fact that wait times are obscenely high (anywhere from 5-9 years).  As such, the 70000 persons who were granted immigration status under the family class were leftovers from a backlog that dates back to when the Liberal party was in power.

The same CIC announcement cites the availability of the Supervisa, a kind of compromise, temporary visa reserved for Canadian children whose parents may not want to avail themselves of living in Canada on long term basis  Supervisa holders don’t affect Canada’s health system and as such are favoured over sponsorship leading to permanent residency of parents.

The benefit of a cap on permanent residency for categories such as sponsoring parent is of benefit to immigration lawyers who are hired by appropriately cautious clients who fear – rightfully so – that a failure to have an application properly completed, and filed quickly results in a parent sponsorship case not even getting in the queue.

Canadian Immigration Applicant, You Deserve the Best! (Evidence )

By Author: admin | December 9, 2014

The phrase ‘best evidence’ is used in legal proceedings and refers to the premise “that no evidence was admissible unless it was “the best that the nature of the case will allow“”.  This means putting one’s best foot forward in presenting documents to the immigration department is mandatory whenever possible. 

Common scenarios where this is extremely important are when trying to prove you perform a certain job, possess a certain skill, have acquired a certain amount of savings, have been victimized by a government official, have met the requirement to reside in Canada a certain amount of time, have been in contact with your spouse, and so on.

The often cited case that tries to moderate the above requirement to present the best evidence in a legal matter is the case of Maldonado v Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), [1980] 2FC 302, 31 NR 34 (FCA), which asserts that there is a presumption of truth in sworn testimony or an affidavit  However, a recent case basically reiterates that a sworn statement from a client doesn’t establish the truth of what is being sworn to.  In the case of Garcia v. The Minister of Citizenship And Immigration , a Federal Court judge stated:

[17] Moreover, the requirement to attribute truthfulness to an applicant’s sworn statement, asfirst enunciated in Maldonado v Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), [1980] 2FC 302, 31 NR 34 (FCA), reflects a policy that exigent circumstances facing fleeing refugeesmay compromise their ability to present corroborative documentation. Conversely, when aclaimant has, or may readily obtain, corroborative evidence in situations where it normallywould be filed with the adjudicative tribunal to bolster the weight of an otherwise bareallegation, it is expected that the party will adhere to the ordinary reliability requirements tointroduce the best evidence in support of their case. If they fail to do so, less weight (or none atall) may be attributed to the statement.

In other words, if it is expected that you may have proof of contacting your wife (e.g. phone bills) then you have to produce those phone bills to support your sworn assertion that you have regular contact with your wife – just swearing in a document, or testifying on the stand that you contact your wife every day may not be enough.

The immigration department provides document lists for the various visa applications to Canada.  With the exceptions of the document lists for Canada Experience Class and the Federal Skilled Worker program, most of the list of required documents are minimal and vague.  Given that vagueness, it is important to consult with a professional such as an experienced immigration lawyer to determine what other supporting documents you may need to prove you qualify for a visa, over and above the basic document list on Canada immigration’s www.cic.gc.ca website.

Misrepresentation on Steroids

By Author: admin | December 2, 2014

As is often the habit of the current government, the announcement about harsher penalties for misrepresentation were published around 4 PM on  Friday, 21/11/2014, at a time when people are least attentive about such serious matters.

Previously, when an officer made a finding that a person committed a material misrepresentation, they were banned from Canada for two years.  Under the recent announcement, the ban would increase to five years.

The announcement regarding misrepresentation was in my view wrongly juxtaposed with an additional but separate issue, relating to banning family members of people who are inadmissible on grandiose grounds such as national security, human rights, or serious criminality.  This is of  an entirely different magnitude when compared to  misrepresentation which can trigger the ban for innocuous things such as failing to input one’s address history properly, or being accused by CIC of hiding a common law relationship, or forgetting to mention a previous rejected visa from 10 years ago.

The announcement does indeed fit the triumphant heading, “Putting the Safety and Security of Canadians First” when dealing with criminals and human rights violators.   On the other hand, increasing the ban for misrepresentation to five years from two will have extensive, harsh consequences to ordinary and vulnerable people such as the separation of minor children from parents, and the deportation of productive permanent residents from Canada – the type who have worked and have never taken social assistance, who may have academically bright children attending a Canadian school.  People to be affected by the ban clearly aren’t in the more odious category of villains cited in the announcement of the Minister.

The announcement stated further, “This change will help deter fraudulent applications and sends a strong message to those who would abuse our system that giving false or misleading information has serious consequences.”The immigration department actively encourages people to ‘self file” visa applications.  In the face of increasingly complex immigration system, it will be self-filing applicants acting in good faith, who will be caught by this lengthy ban.  In other words, there is absolutely no proof that the message of abuse to the system by giving false information will be heeded.

 

No Law, Some Policy for Immigration Work visas Can Lead to Rejection

By Author: admin | November 26, 2014

A lot of laypersons  may be surprised to find out that some work visas are not based on law but on policy.  Policy is the least strong in the hierarchy of Law/Regulations/policy.   Some work permits based on policy include  Post-graduate work permits, Ontario’s Provincial Nominee Program masters/Phd students , and spouses of study permit holders (not to mention the defunct Family Business Job Offer category).

Policies are based on guidelines put out by the immigration department for the benefit of immigration officers.   They don’t have the force of law or regulations.  The Federal Court  rarely opines on the meaning of a policy.  If you’re applying for one of the work visas above, you want to ensure that you know exactly what the policy requires and make sure you comply with those requirements.

It is a huge disappointment for a study permit holder, having spent a significant amount of funds on tuition and living expenses be faced with a refusal based on not fitting the policy.  If you have an unusual situation that may not clearly fit the policy, you should realize that you only have one shot at some of these work visas and once refused, the opportunity to re-apply is severely limited if not impossible.

For example, if you failed courses while studying, or suffered an academic suspension, it may not be clear if you are eligible for a post graduate work permit.  The policy is below:

The student must have studied full-time at a Canadian university, community college, CEGEP, publicly funded trade/technical school, or at a private institution authorized by provincial/territorial statute to confer degrees (but only if the applicant received the credential in a program of study leading to a degree as authorized by the province and not in all programs of study offered by the private institution).

 

  • •Studies must have taken place at a Canadian institution in Canada. Distance learning from outside or inside Canada does not qualify a student for this program.
  • •The student must have completed and passed a full-time course of study or program lasting at least eight months. Whether they received a “degree”, “diploma” or “certificate” is not an issue.
  • •The work permit application should include evidence that the student has completed the program or course of study. This may include a final transcript, letter from the institution or the formal notification of graduation.
  • •The application must be submitted within 90 days of formal written notification by the institution that they have met the requirements of the course of study or program. Students who have evidence of program completion may apply for the work permit before the formal notification. Calculation of the 90 days begins the day when the student’s final marks are issued or when formal written notification of program completion is received, whichever comes first.

 

  • •The student must still be in possession of a valid study permit at the time of application.

Specific eligibility criteria

  • •If the program of study is two years or more, the student would be eligible for a three yearwork permit.
  • •If the program of study is less than two years but at least eight months, the student would be eligible for a work permit lasting for a period equal to the duration of their studies. The validity period of the work permit must not be longer than this period. For example, if the student graduated from an eight-month certificate program, they are only eligible for a work permit of eight months’ duration.

Exception: Students holding a one-year graduate degree from a provincially accredited post-secondary  educational institution in Canada (pursued full-time) after having obtained, within the prior two years, a degree or diploma from an accredited post-secondary educational/training institution will qualify for a three year work permit. This exception also applies to students who have left Canada temporarily between the graduations.

Its best to have a competent lawyer review your situation and determine if you aren’t sure about whether you are eligible for a work permit.

 

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