Alberta Extends Time Period for Low-Skilled Workers to Apply to Immigrate

31st Oct 2012 Comments Off on Alberta Extends Time Period for Low-Skilled Workers to Apply to Immigrate

Last Updated on October 31, 2012 by Steven Meurrens

The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program has announced that it will be expanding its initiative for low-skilled and entry-level workers to apply for permanent residency.  They have sent out an e-mail stating that:

To Alberta Immigration Representatives

I am with the Government of Alberta, Workforce Strategies Division and I wanted to inform you of changes to the AINP program that are time limited.

We are pleased to let you know that the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) has capacity to accept more nominations from employers.  We have very short processing times and will be accepting applications for all categories.     If you have temporary foreign workers currently working for you, the AINP may help them become permanent residents.

The AINP is an immigration program offered by the Government of Alberta in partnership with the Government of Canada’s department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.    More information can be found at: 

www.AlbertaCanada.com/ainp

The AINP has temporarily expanded the opportunities for Alberta employers to nominate their foreign workers in select semi-skilled occupations.

This is a one-time initiative and applications must be postmarked or delivered in person on or before December 6, 2012.   

For more information, please visit the AINP website. Information on this one-time Initiative will be posted within the next week.   

http://www.albertacanada.com/immigration/immigrating/ainp-eds-semi-skilled-criteria.aspx

Hotel and Lodging

This is a one-time 2012 additional allocation initiative available for the Hotel and Lodging Industry.  There will temporarily be no limit on the number of allocations permitted, per property and the AINP will accept up to 600 applications under this initiative. 

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Spousal Sponsorship Timeline

Spousal Sponsorship Timeline

29th Oct 2012 Comments Off on Spousal Sponsorship Timeline

Last Updated on October 29, 2012 by Steven Meurrens

Canada’s spousal and common-law partner sponsorship programs have undergone significant changes in the past several years.  In a recent backgrounder to a press release, Citizenship and Immigration Canada published the timeline below.  The timeline is something that all practitioners should consider showing to clients who are interested in submitting a spousal or common-law partnership application.

In brief, all people considering the spousal or common-law partnership program should be aware of some conditions, undertakings, and restrictions which will apply to them after their application is approved.

In brief:

Year 0 – Applicant immigrates to Canada and becomes a permanent resident of Canada.  If the applicant was married or in a common-law partnership with the Canadian sponsor for less than two years prior to the couple submitting their sponsorship application (and they do not have children in common together) then the immigrant is a “conditional permanent resident” who has to stay married and live with the sponsor for a period of two years after the immigrant becomes a permanent resident.

Year 2 – The condition of staying married and living together with the sponsor is removed for conditional permanent residents.

Year 3 – The sponsor’s sponsorship undertaking ends.  The sponsor will no longer be liable to a level of government for any social assistance that the immigrant receives.  If the sponsor and immigrant have divorced or separated, the sponsor can now sponsor someone new.

Year 5 – If the immigrant and the sponsor have divorced or separated, the immigrant is now able to sponsor a new spouse or common-law partner.

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Conditional Permanent Residency for Some Spousal Sponsorships

28th Oct 2012 Comments Off on Conditional Permanent Residency for Some Spousal Sponsorships

Last Updated on October 28, 2012 by Steven Meurrens

On October 26, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) implemented conditional permanent residency for certain people who immigrate to Canada under the spousal-sponsorship program.  The implementation of conditional permanent residency took affect on October 25, 2012, the day prior to CIC publicizing it.   The change was not retroactive, and will not affect sponsorship applications which were received by CIC prior to October 25, 2012.

CIC has stated that the goal of introducing conditional permanent residency is to reduce instances of marriages of convenience.

What Conditional Permanent Residency Is, and Who it Applies to

Conditional permanent residency applies to individuals who are the spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner of their sponsor for two years or less when they submit their sponsorship applications and who do not have children in common with their sponsor when they submit the sponsorship applications (“Conditional Permanent Residents“).  Conditional Permanent Residents are required to cohabit in a conjugal relationship with their sponsors for a continuous period of two years after the day on which they become permanent residents (the “Condition“).  If CIC determines that Conditional Permanent Residents have breached the Condition, CIC will declare them inadmissible to Canada, and removal proceedings will be initiated.  Conditional Permanent Residents are able to appeal such decisions to the Immigration Appeal Division, which can consider humanitarian & compassionate considerations.

Specifically, the Condition applies if the couple does not have any children in common and:

  • has been married for two years or less;
  • dated for four years, but has been married for two years or less;
  • has been in a conjugal relationship for two years or less;
  • has cohabited in a common-law relationship for two years or less;

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One-Sided Marriages

26th Oct 2012 Comments Off on One-Sided Marriages

Last Updated on October 26, 2012 by Steven Meurrens

The Federal Court has released a decision which seems to suggest that immigration officers can analyse whether a marriage is “one-sided” for the purpose of determining whether a marriage is not genuine or whether it was entered into for immigration purposes.  Although Dalumay v. Canada, 2012 FC 1179 is not particularly ground-breaking, it contains some useful paragraphs reminding individuals what immigration officers are analysing when they process sponsorship applications.

Regulation 4 of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provides that a relationship will be considered bad faith (and a sponsorship application will be rejected) if the relationship was entered into primarily for the purposes of acquiring any status or privilege under the Act or is not genuine.  As previously noted on this blog, Regulation 4 was amended in 2010, with the word “or” replacing “and” before the phrase “is not genuine.”

In Keo v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration Canada), 2011 FC 1456, the Federal Court described the implication of the 2010 change as being that:

The amendment made to section 4 of the Regulations is not cosmetic in nature; the use of the word “or” in the English version and of the words “selon le cas” in the French version are very clear: if either of the two elements (genuineness of marriage and intention of the parties) is not met, the exclusion set out in the new subsection 4(1) of the Regulations applies.

[…]

A marriage might have been entered into in accordance with all of the statutory formalities, but, nonetheless, the visa officer or the panel may refuse to recognize [it] if they find that the marriage did not occur in “good faith”,

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Questions About the Electronic Travel Authorization Initiative

Questions About the Electronic Travel Authorization Initiative

22nd Oct 2012 Comments Off on Questions About the Electronic Travel Authorization Initiative

Last Updated on October 22, 2012 by Steven Meurrens

Since my blog post on Friday I’ve received several questions about the Electronic Travel Authorization initiative revealed in the second 2012 Budget Implementation Act.

The most common question was how much it will cost a person to apply to the program.

The Government of Canada has not yet announced how much it will charge applicants to the program.  In the United States, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization costs $14.00, and is valid for 2 years. (Only $4.00 goes to the cost of administering the program.  The remaining $10.00 goes to tourism promotion.)  In Australia, applicants can choose to pay AUD 20.00 for a 12 month authorization, or AUD 105.00 for a long term authorization valid for the duration of an applicant’s passport.  These comparisons obviously don’t reveal how much Canada will charge, however, they provide an indication of what the “norm” for these types of programs are.

Another question was why applicants will have to go to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization when the airlines through which they booked their flights to Canada already collect this information.

I don’t know the answer to this question, but I would suspect that it because the airlines do not want to hold seats while Citizenship and Immigration Canada determines whether someone is admissible to Canada.  The Electronic Travel Authorization can simply be part of the price of an airline ticket because of the complications involving flight refunds if authorization is refused.

The final, and in my opinion the most significant question, was whether the Electronic Travel Authorization programs means that Port of Entry Temporary Resident Permit (“TRP”) applications will become obsolete.  

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The Electronic Travel Authorization Program

19th Oct 2012 Comments Off on The Electronic Travel Authorization Program

Last Updated on October 19, 2012 by Steven Meurrens

Without any press release, and without any indication at having meaningfully discussed the issue with Canadians, the Conservative government has introduced legislation which will create a program similar to the Visa Waiver Program in the United States.

Described as the “Electronic Travel Authorization” initiative, visitors to Canada from visa exempt countries, including presumably those from Europe and the United States, will soon have to complete an online form on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website to find out if they are admissible to Canada.  Those cleared for travel will have to print the online confirmation and present it along with other travel documents before boarding an air plane destined to Canada.

Division 16 of Bill C-45, also known as the second budget implementation bill, contains provisions which will amend Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act as follows:

308. Section 11 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (1):

Electronic travel authorization
(1.01) Despite subsection (1), a foreign national must, before entering Canada, apply for an electronic travel authorization required by the regulations by means of an electronic system, unless the regulations provide that the application may be made by other means. The application may be examined by the system or by an officer and, if the system or officer determines that the foreign national is not inadmissible and meets the requirements of this Act, the authorization may be issued by the system or officer.

309. Section 14 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):

Electronic travel authorization
(3) For the purposes of subsection 11(1.01),

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Is It Legal that the Customs Officer Searched my Phone?

2nd Oct 2012 Comments Off on Is It Legal that the Customs Officer Searched my Phone?

Last Updated on October 2, 2012 by Steven Meurrens

One of the most frequent complaints that clients voice to us about Canada’s immigration system is the way that they view themselves as being treated at customs.  Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) officers routinely search individuals’ cellular phones, laptops, and in some cases even make them log onto Facebook.  Not surprisingly, these poor travellers wind up asking themselves “how can this be legal in Canada?”

The short answer is “because the courts have okayed it.”

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