What Obama Should Have Said

31st Jan 2012 Comments Off on What Obama Should Have Said

Last Updated on January 31, 2012 by Steven Meurrens

US President Barack Obama recently did a Question & Answer session on Google +.  One of the questions that he was asked came from an individual whose husband was unemployed despite having an engineering degree and over 10 years of experience as a semiconductor engineer.  She wanted to know why the government continued to issue work visas to people for similar positions even though her husband (and other Americans) are out of work.

President Obama answered the question by stating that he found it “interesting” that the individual’s husband couldn’t find a job.  Mr. Obama even said that he would be interested in seeing her husband’s resume so that he could forward it on to companies who claim to face labour shortages.

The whole exchange can be viewed here:

In my opinion, Barack Obama should have answered the question by simply stating that he needed more information.

Where does this unemployed individual live?  Is he willing to relocate for work?  How far is he willing to relocate?  Has he been applying for work?  Where has he been applying for work?  Why was he laid off three years ago?  Has he been given any interviews?  If yes, does he know why he was not hired?  How has he tried to keep his skills up-to-date during the past three years that he has been unemployed?

In Canada, for example, the Labour Market Opinion test for whether the employment of a foreign national will have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market is not whether there is a Canadian with similar education and work experience anywhere in the country.  Rather, it is whether or not the hiring of the foreign national would prevent a Canadian who has applied for the job,

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Do I need a Work Permit?

27th Jan 2012 Comments Off on Do I need a Work Permit?

Last updated on August 14th, 2019

Last Updated on August 14, 2019 by Steven Meurrens

The issue of whether a foreign national needs a work permit is often confusing.  In January 2012, I wrote the following article for The Canadian Immigrant.

Do I Require a Work Permit

In October, the Vancouver Sun ran a story about an employer who was convicted of misrepresentation.  The individual had told his employees to falsely tell border officials that the employees were enteringCanadafor pleasure, as opposed to working briefly at a festival in Whistler. Presumably the employer’s objective in having his employees say this was to avoid having to apply for work permits.

There is no question that lying to border officials constitutes misrepresentation.  What is ironic about the employer’s situation is that from what I could tell (based on the Vancouver Sun article) his employees could have been honest about their intentions to work at the festival and still not required work permits.

The reason is simple: Canada’s immigration laws are clear that not all work requires a work permit.

What is Work?

Before getting into examples of work that do not require a work permit, it is necessary to review what work does.

The concept of work for immigration purposes is broader than many people realize.  “Work” is an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned, or that competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market.

The second part of the definition is extremely important, because it implies that unpaid work can still count as work requiring a work permit.

Examples of work requiring a work permit thus include foreign technicians enteringCanadato repair equipment,

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Who Can Help You with Immigration Matters

27th Jan 2012 Comments Off on Who Can Help You with Immigration Matters

Last Updated on January 27, 2012 by Steven Meurrens

The following article appeared in the November issue of Canadian immigrant magazine:

Who Can Help You with Immigration Matters
Understanding the New Regulations   

I frequently receive e-mails from individuals asking if it is true that it is either illegal or impossible to immigrate toCanadawithout hiring a lawyer or a paid consultant.  Some people appear to be under the mistaken impression that the Government of Canada recently enacted regulations to this affect.  I am not sure what the source of this misinformation is, but hopefully by the end of this article I will have dispelled these myths.

Bill C-35

The first misconception that needs to be clarified is the substance of Bill C-35, which came into force on June 31, 2011.  Bill C-35 changed many rules pertaining to immigration representatives, however, not one of them made it mandatory to hire a paid representative.

Amongst other things, Bill C-35 makes it an offence for anyone other an authorized representative to conduct business, for a fee or other benefit, at any stage of an immigration application or proceeding.  Authorized representatives include lawyers, paralegals in certain provinces, and members of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (“ICCRC”).  The penalty for providing paid advice despite being unauthorized to do so is up to a $100,000 fine and/or two years imprisonment for up to two years.

Importantly, unpaid third parties, such as friends and family, do not have to be authorized representatives to act on behalf of potential immigrants.

Even more importantly, most of Bill C-35’s provisions pertain to the regulation of who can and cannot provide paid advice to potential immigrants.  It does not require individuals to hire a paid representative.

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Summary of the Evaluation of the Provincial Nominee Program

26th Jan 2012 Comments Off on Summary of the Evaluation of the Provincial Nominee Program

Last Updated on January 26, 2012 by Steven Meurrens

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has released its Evaluation of the Provincial Nominee Program.  The report was almost overwhelmingly positive, especially on how the program operates in British Columbia.  The report can be found here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/research-stats/evaluation-pnp2011.pdf

In brief, the report noted that:

  • The vast majority of provincial nominees are becoming established economically;
  • The majority of provincial nominees have jobs at a skill level equivalent to their intended occupations;
  • The retention rate varies from province to province, with BC and Alberta having a retention rate of over 95%; and
  • That provincial nominees generally earn more than other immigrants.

Nonetheless, under what I guess is the mantra of “if it ain’t broke we’d better fix it”, the report contains 4 recommendations.  The recommendations, and the government’s action plan on them, are below.  I have put the recommendation in bold, the government’s action plan (with assorted proposed completion dates) in a table below.  I have also provided a brief commentary below the table.

 

(The Report actually contains 5 recommendations.  However, as the 5th recommendation appears to relate solely to scheduling future task forces, working groups, etc.., I have not included it below.)

 

1. CIC should work with provinces to develop a requirement for minimum standards across Provincial Nomination Programs regarding language ability. 

 

Present a finalized proposal for minimum language standards and mandatory testing for low-skilled provincial nominees to provinces.
September 2011

Develop guidelines / operational materials for visa officers to assist with the implementation of minimum language standards.
May 2012

Implement minimum language standards and mandatory testing for low-skilled provincial nominees.  » Read more about: Summary of the Evaluation of the Provincial Nominee Program  »

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PNP Reference Letter Requirement Gone -> Supplementary Travels Next Please

PNP Reference Letter Requirement Gone -> Supplementary Travels Next Please

25th Jan 2012 Comments Off on PNP Reference Letter Requirement Gone -> Supplementary Travels Next Please

Last Updated on January 25, 2012 by Steven Meurrens

Earlier this week CIC removed the proof of work experience and proof of education experience requirements from the PNP checklist.  This came after intensive lobbying from numerous provinces, immigration lawyers / consultants, and, I speculate, people within CIC.

I think that the next target should be the IMM5562 – Supplementary Information – Your Travels form.  This form asks applicants to list every country that they have visited outside of Canada and their country of nationality since they either turned 18 or during the 10 year period preceding the application.  No matter how short the duration, applicants are expected to list every country that they have ever visited.

British citizen visiting Paris for a day for business?  Required to inform the government.  American visiting Cancun? Required to inform the government.

Whatever the benefit that this form provides, and I cannot think of what the benefit is, it is surely outweighed by the hassle that it causes frequent travellers to complete it.

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Court Cases Discuss on Misrepresentation from China [Updated]

24th Jan 2012 Comments Off on Court Cases Discuss on Misrepresentation from China [Updated]

Last Updated on January 24, 2012 by Steven Meurrens

We have recently noted an increased trend involving cases of misrepresentation allegations out of mainland China.  The success of litigants appealing these cases is extremely unpredictable.  In this post I have summarized two cases with very similar facts, and opposite results.

He v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2012 FC 33, provides a good example of how a finding of misrepresentation can occur, as well as how the Anti-Fraud Unit works to verify employment.

The facts of the case were:

  • H was a citizen of China who had been nominated by the province of New Brunswick to immigrate to Canada.
  • On March 8, 2010, H submitted an application to immigrate to Canada as a member of the Provincial Nominee Class.
  • In the application, H stated that she had worked as a sale manager at the Building Company.  The immigration officer assessing her application asked the Anti-Fraud Unit to verify her employment.
  • Officer R of the Anti-Fraud Unit called the Building Company.  He spoke to Huang, an individual at the Building Company responsible for maintaining the company’s list of employees.  Huang stated that he had never heard of H.
  • Officer R then spoke to the president of Building Company, Boss Deng.  Boss Deng stated that he had worked at the company for over 10 years, and had never heard of H.  Officer R thanked Boss Deng.  Officer R then called back two hours later to confirm what Boss Deng had said.  This time, Boss Deng stated that he had in fact heard of H, and could verify his employment with Building Company.
  • Officer R was suspicious,

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Current Immigration Appeal Division Inventory

18th Jan 2012 Comments Off on Current Immigration Appeal Division Inventory

Last Updated on January 18, 2012 by Steven Meurrens

The following is a table that shows the Immigration Appeal Division inventory as of September 30, 2011.  As of that date, there were 11,828 cases pending.  In Western Canada, a disproportionate majority involved sponsorship appeals.  I like to think that Peter Larlee and Vivian Yuen, lawyers with our firm, represented individuals on a disproportionately high number of those appeals.

Type of Appeal
East
Central
West
Total

#
%
#
%
#
%

Removal Order
1,351
43
2,163
34
570
24
4,084

Sponsorship 
1,446
46
3,453
55
1,500
64
6,399

Residency Appeal
336
11
713
11
270
11
1319

Minister Appeals
10
0.3
4
0
12
0.5
26

Total
3,143

6,333

2,352

11,828  » Read more about: Current Immigration Appeal Division Inventory  »

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Sensible Move Allows Parental Sponsorship Applications to Continue If Principal Applicant Dies

18th Jan 2012 Comments Off on Sensible Move Allows Parental Sponsorship Applications to Continue If Principal Applicant Dies

Last Updated on January 18, 2012 by Steven Meurrens

Canadian citizens and permanent residents who currently have applications to sponsor their parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada in processing used to face uncertainty if the parent who was the principal applicant on the immigration application passed away.  Would Citizenship and Immigration Canada continue to process the application for the principal applicant’s spouse?  Or would CIC make the spouse re-apply and start over?

Previously, the answer was the latter.  The Citizenship and Immigration Canada manual provided that principal applicants could not be alternated after the processing of an application began.  If applicants wished to have their spouse or common-law partners considered as the principal applicants, then the original application had to be closed, and a new application, with all assorted wait times and fees, was required.

Effective immediately, however, visa officers may replace the principal applicant with the individual’s spouse or common-law partner if they were included in the original application.  While some new forms are required, no additional fees are necessary.  As well, the lock-in date for the age of dependent children will not change.

A very sensible change, and one that should be reassuring to people with sponsorship applications currently processing.  Of course, it is of little relevance to people who want to sponsor their parents / grandparents but have not yet applied.  The program remains closed to new applications.

 

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