CIC Closes Seattle, Detroit, Seoul, and Caracas Visa Offices

30th Jan 2013 Comments Off on CIC Closes Seattle, Detroit, Seoul, and Caracas Visa Offices

Last Updated on January 30, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

On January 28 and 29, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) announced the closure of two overseas offices, and further restructured its North American Processing Network.  The restructuring includes the closure of immigration sections of the Canadian consulates in Detroit and Seattle.

Closure of Detroit and Seattle Visa Offices

Effectively immediately, the visa offices in Seattle and Detroit are closed.  As well, the visa office at Washington D.C. will be very limited in the services which it provides.

New U.S. and Canada based Temporary Resident Visa, Study Permit, and Work Permit applications can now be submitted on-line, or to the appropriate visa office as described in the table below.  In brief, study permits will be processed in Los Angeles, and work permits will be processed in New York.

Individuals with applications in processing do not need to take any steps to ensure that the processing of their applications will continue, as their files are being transferred to their respective new offices.

Online
New York
Los Angeles
Washington D.C.

Visitor Visas
Visitor Visas
Visitor Visas
Services for diplomats, government officials, and their family members

Work Permits
Work Permits
Study Permits

Study Permits
Temporary Resident Permits
Temporary Resident Permits

Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation

Authorizations to Return to Canada
Authorizations to Return to Canada

As well, permanent residence applications in the economic programs and the Family Class will no longer be referred from the Central Intake Office in Sydney, Nova Scotia (the “CIO“), or the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga, Ontario (“CPC-M“), to visa offices in the United States.

Ending of Immigration Services at the Canadian Embassies in Seoul and Caracas

Effective immediately, CIC is no longer processing applications at the Canadian Embassies in Seoul,

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List of Doctors Who Do Immigration Exams in Metro Vancouver

28th Jan 2013 Comments Off on List of Doctors Who Do Immigration Exams in Metro Vancouver

Last Updated on January 28, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

The following is a list of the doctors in Metro Vancouver who currently perform immigration medical exams.

A searchable, global list of doctors can be found at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website here.

City
Name
Address
Telephone
Spoken Languages

Burnaby
Stephen Reznek
4980 Kingsway,
Suite 110 , N.E.,
British Columbia,
V5H 4K7
604-435-5585
Afrikaans / Dutch / English / Spanish

Richmond
Stephen Kwok
175-8100 Ackroyd Road,
British Columbia,
V6X 3K2
604-273-1838
Cantonese / English / Mandarin

Surrey
Gulzar S Cheema
7170- 120th Street,
British Columbia,
V3W 3M8
604-597-8686

www.drcheema.ca
English / Hindi / Punjabi / Urdu

Surrey
Pawan K. Ram
Unit 178, 8138-128th St.,
British Columbia,
V3W 1R2
(604) 572-9191
English / French / Hindi / Punjabi

Vancouver
Cheryl Anderson
#304-888 West 8th Avenue,
British Columbia,
V5Z 3Y1
604-874-0261
English / French

Vancouver
Rola MASRI
1090 West Pender,
11th Floor,
British Columbia,
V6E 2N7
604-669-8188
Arabic / English / French

Vancouver
Wojtek P. Ciszak
Dr. W. P. Ciszak Medical Services Inc.,
460-1144 Burrard Street,
British Columbia,
V6Z 2A5
604-682-5291

website: www.CityCentreClinic.ca
English / French / Polish / Russian / Spanish

Vancouver
Desmond P. Dwyer
750 W. Broadway,
Suite 705,
British Columbia,
V5Z 1H6
604-733-3434
English / Mandarin / Spanish

Vancouver
Simon Ko
110 Keefer Street,
British Columbia,
V6A 1X4
604-688-9795
Cantonese / English / Korean / Mandarin

Vancouver
Charles Chi-See Law
650 West 41st Ave., #360,
Medical Tower, Oakridge Centre,
British Columbia,
V5Z 2M9
604-261-6000
Cantonese / English / Mandarin

Vancouver
Kim Liat Liew
650 West 41st Avenue, #360,
Medical Tower,

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Visa Officers can Overrule AEOs

27th Jan 2013 Comments Off on Visa Officers can Overrule AEOs

Last Updated on January 27, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

The Federal Court has ruled that a visa officer is entitled to override an opinion by the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development (“Service Canada“) that an arranged offer of employment is genuine.

In Ghazeleh v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), the Court had to determine whether a visa officer erred in awarding a Federal Skilled Worker Class applicant zero points for Arranged Employment because the officer was not satisfied by Service Canada’s Arranged Employment Opinion (“AEO“).  Specifically, the officer had concerns with the employer’s ability to employ the applicant as the company was losing money.  The applicant was unable to alleviate the officer of his concerns.

At Federal Court, the applicant’s lawyer argued that the visa officer erred in overriding the AEO.

The Court, however, disagreed, and stated that Service Canada’s opinion is only the first step in the validation of an employment offer, and does not end the inquiry.  Citing Bellido v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), the Court also noted:

HRDC validation is not, as the Applicant submits, sufficient evidence of arranged employment. Such validation does not remove the obligation of the Visa Officer to assess whether the Applicant is able to perform the job described in the validation.

In this case, the visa officer was not satisfied that the applicant could perform the work sought because the officer concluded that the employer’s financial circumstances meant that it could not even pay the applicant to do work.

The Court described the division of responsibilities between Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Service Canada as being:

It is the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration who is accountable,

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PR Cards will no Longer be Mailed to Permanent Residents’ Representatives

24th Jan 2013 Comments Off on PR Cards will no Longer be Mailed to Permanent Residents’ Representatives

Last Updated on January 24, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

On January 14, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) issued Operational Bulletin 491 – Mailing Permanent Resident Cards (“PR Cards“) to Representatives (“OB-491“).  OB-491 is an update to the 2012 Pilot Project to mail permanent resident cards directly to applicants instead of having them attend at a CIC office.

Many permanent residents have been requesting that CIC mail their PR Cards to their authorized representatives.  This apparently caused CIC to be concerned that authorized representatives would forward the PR Cards to permanent residents overseas, which is (possibly) contrary to (the somewhat unclear) subsection 55 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the “Regulations“), which states:

DELIVERY

55. A permanent resident card shall only be provided or issued in Canada.

OB-491 accordingly clarifies that CIC will mail PR Cards issued to new immigrants (also known as “Phase I Cards“) to third parties in Canada, including friends, relatives, service providers or paid representatives, in order to facilitate the processing and issuance of PR Cards to new immigrants as they may not yet have a permanent address in Canada.

OB-491 also stipulates that CIC will only mail renewal or replacement PR Cards (also known as “Phase 2 Cards“) directly to applicants with permanent residential addresses in Canada.  CIC has accordingly already started sending the following letters (the “CIC letters“) to permanent residents who request that their Phase 2 Cards be mailed to third parties:

Your application indicates your representative’s address as your home and mailing address. As per subparagraph 56(2)(a)(iv) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, we require that applicants provide their personal mailing address, as Permanent Resident Cards are not mailed to third parties.

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Canadian Government Erects Billboards in Hungary

23rd Jan 2013 Comments Off on Canadian Government Erects Billboards in Hungary

Last Updated on January 23, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

As employees at Citizenship and Immigration Canada brace themselves for the next round of office closures and layoffs, the Canadian government appears to have found the money to erect billboards in Hungary warning potential fraudulent refugee claimants that they will be quickly deported if they attempt to claim refugee status in Canada.
billboard

In English, the sign reads:

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA

To reduce abuse, the refugee system of Canada has changed.

Refugees whose claims are found to be without grounds
are sent home much more quickly.

Further details: valtozas.kanada.hu

Of course, if the plight of Roma continues to deteriorate in Hungary, it is unlikely that such billboards will deter people from attempting to flee.

But hey, maybe the solution is that the Canadian government should erect more detailed billboards around Hungary explaining the complicated legal concepts of internal flight alternatives, adequacy of  state protection, and the distinction between discrimination and persecution.

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Due Process When Everything is a Crime: Court Strikes Down Human Smuggling Law

21st Jan 2013 Comments Off on Due Process When Everything is a Crime: Court Strikes Down Human Smuggling Law

Last Updated on January 21, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

The British Columbia Supreme Court (“BCSC“) in R v. Appulonappa has struck down s. 117 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA“).  Section 117 theoretically prohibited human smuggling.  Its exact wording was:

117. (1) No person shall knowingly organize, induce, aid or abet the coming into Canada of one or more persons who are not in possession of a visa, passport or other document required by this Act.

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) with respect to fewer than 10 persons is guilty of an offence and liable

(a) on conviction on indictment

(i) for a first offence, to a fine of not more than $500,000 or to a term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years, or to both, or

(ii) for a subsequent offence, to a fine of not more than $1,000,000 or to a term of imprisonment of not more than 14 years, or to both; and

(b) on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $100,000 or to a term of imprisonment of not more than two years, or to both.

(3) A person who contravenes subsection (1) with respect to a group of 10 persons or more is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction by way of indictment to a fine of not more than $1,000,000 or to life imprisonment, or to both.

(4) No proceedings for an offence under this section may be instituted except by or with the consent of the Attorney General of Canada.

As the BCSC noted, it is legitimate, necessary, and laudable for the Canadian government to attack and criminalize what is commonly referred to as human smuggling.

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Guest Post: Safeguarding a Divorce Order Against Social Assistance Debt

15th Jan 2013 Comments Off on Guest Post: Safeguarding a Divorce Order Against Social Assistance Debt

Last Updated on January 15, 2013 by John Nelson

(Note from Steven: I met John at the Canadian Bar Association British Columbia branch annual conference in San Francisco.  He is currently involved in some fascinating litigation representing an individual who sponsored a spouse only to watch her  immediately divorce him after she immigrated.  She also left him on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in social assistance payments.  I invited John to some write articles for this blog, and here is the third of what will hopefully be many into this issue.)

The issue of resolving a fraudulent marriage tied to an immigration application is completely separate from the need to get divorced. Fraudulent marriage is not grounds for a divorce and it is not necessary to prove that marriage was fraudulent in order to get a divorce. The issue of the fraudulent marriage can only be dealt with in civil court, not family, court as explained in an earlier post.

Generally speaking, it is understood that the sponsored spouse may receive social assistance or they may receive maintenance (i.e. spousal support), but they cannot receive both. Where the divorce order or separation agreement explicitly states that maintenance is not to be provided or has been provided in a lump sum payment, it can be argued that the sponsoring spouse should not be responsible for social assistance debt despite the undertaking.

It would be prudent for family law lawyers who represent a sponsoring spouse in a family matter to inquire about whether the sponsored spouse has received social assistance and determine for how long the sponsoring spouse is obligated by the undertaking to provide the necessities of life. Ideally, the divorce order should explicitly forbid the sponsored spouse from applying for social assistance during the term of the undertaking.

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Guest Post: The Undertaking & Social Assistance Debt

13th Jan 2013 Comments Off on Guest Post: The Undertaking & Social Assistance Debt

Last Updated on January 13, 2013 by John Nelson

(Note from Steven: I met John at the Canadian Bar Association British Columbia branch annual conference in San Francisco.  He is currently involved in some fascinating litigation representing an individual who sponsored a spouse only to watch her  immediately divorce him after she immigrated.  She also left him on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in social assistance payments.  I invited John to some write articles for this blog, and here is the second of what will hopefully be many into this issue.)

Sponsoring a spouse or fiancé into Canada requires signing an undertaking with Immigration and Citizenship Canada. The undertaking explicitly states that the sponsoring relative must provide the necessities of life, even if there is a change of circumstance including divorce. The law concerning the undertaking was recently set out by the Supreme Court of Canada in a case called Canada (Attorney General) v. Mavi.[1]

In Mavi, there were eight petitioners who were found to owe the government for social assistance paid to each of they’re sponsored relatives because of the terms of the undertaking. However, none of the sponsored relatives were divorced spouses. An argument can be made that a divorce order that addresses maintenance releases the sponsoring spouse from the undertaking. The courts have yet to determine whether the sponsoring spouse or the sponsored spouse should be responsible for reimbursing the government where a divorce order states that either maintenance is not to be provided by the sponsoring spouse or sets it at a specific amount.

The Court did hold in Mavi that the undertaking is more than just a contract,

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The Federal Skilled Trades Class

7th Jan 2013 Comments Off on The Federal Skilled Trades Class

Last Updated on January 7, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

On January 2, 2013, the Federal Skilled Trades Class (“FSTC“) began accepting applications.  This is a new program from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

From January 2, 2013, to January 1, 2014, the FSTC will be limited to 3,000 applications.  As described in more detail below, the program will also contain numerous occupation specific sub-caps.

To be eligible for the FSTC, applicants must:

  1. Have twenty-four months of work experience (after being qualified/certified in the country where the work was performed, where applicable) in an eligible skilled trade during the five year period preceding the application;
  2. Have an offer of employment for continous full-time work for a total period of at least one year from up to two employers in that skilled trade occupation, or possess a Certificate of Qualification from a provincial or territorial Apprenticeship Authority;
  3. Satisfy employment requirements as described by the occupation’s National Occupational Classification, except for certification and licensing requirements
  4. Meet or exceed the minimum language threshold; and
  5. Intend to reside in a province other than Quebec.

Eligible Occupations

Forty-three occupations are eligible under the FSTP.

Within the total FSTP cap of 3,000 applications, seventeen of the forty-thirty occupations are further capped at 100 applications per occupation.  These occupations are:

  • 7202 Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
  • 7204 Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
  • 7205 Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
  • 7271 Carpenters
  • 7301 Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
  • 7302 Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
  • 8211 Supervisors, logging and forestry
  • 8221 Supervisors,

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Refugees, Article 1F, and Rehabilitation

3rd Jan 2013 Comments Off on Refugees, Article 1F, and Rehabilitation

Last Updated on January 3, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

Article 1F of the 1951 Refugee Convention excludes individuals who have committed serious crimes from being eligible for refugee status under the Convention.  It states:

Article 1F of the 1951 Refugee Convention states:

F. The provisions of this Convention shall not apply to any person with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that:

( a ) He has committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes;

( b ) He has committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge prior to his admission to that country as a refugee;

( c ) He has been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Section 98 of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the “Act“) provides that a person encompassed by the 1951 Refugee Convention is not a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection pursuant to the Act.

In Hernandez Fables v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2011 FC 1103, the Federal Court certified the following question:

When applying article 1F (b) of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, is it relevant for the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board to consider the fact that the refugee claimant has been rehabilitated since the commission of the crime at issue?

In other words, should a refugee claimant who has committed a serious non-political crime abroad, but has since been rehabilitated, be precluded from claiming refugee status?

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