When an Applicant’s and a Visa Officer’s Account Differs

24th Feb 2016 Comments Off on When an Applicant’s and a Visa Officer’s Account Differs

Last Updated on February 24, 2016 by Steven Meurrens

It is not uncommon for applicants to have a differing account of what transpired during a visa interview or a port of entry matter from what an immigration officer says occurred.  As such, it is very important that applicants take detailed notes of every interaction that they have with government officials.

The Federal Court recently dealt with the issue of inconsistencies in Gedara v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2016 FC 209.  The Federal Court stated (emphasis added, and citations removed for ease of reading):

The affidavits filed by the Applicant and by the Interviewing Officer present opposing accounts of the tone of the interview and whether concerns were specifically communicated. I find the Applicant’s affidavit more persuasive and assign it more weight for the following reasons.

I agree with the reasoning in Rukmangathan, above, at paras 30, 31, citing Parveen v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), that “…[v]isa officers deal with many applications, one can expect that they will not have as precise a memory of the event as does the applicant” The interview took place on March 11, 2015, yet the Officer’s affidavit was sworn in December 4, 2015 – approximately nine months later. The extended passage of time and the number of interviews this Officer would have conducted in the interim calls into question the reliability of her attested statements made months later.

As well, the Officer’s affidavit essentially reiterates the GCMS notes, adding very little to their substance.

The takeway from this decision is clear, and it is the importance of taking notes at the same time (or as shortly thereafter) as the interaction with the government official.

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LMIA Exemption for the Performing Arts Sector

3rd Feb 2016 Comments Off on LMIA Exemption for the Performing Arts Sector

Last Updated on February 3, 2016 by Steven Meurrens

On February 3, 2016, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”, previously “CIC”) introduced new Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA“) exemptions, and expanded the Business Visitors category for certain foreign nationals so that they may work in Canada without a work permit.

The specific changes are:

  • the introduction of a LMIA exemption for prospective foreign workers whose work is essential to a television or film production and would create and maintain significant economic benefits and opportunities to Canadians and permanent residents;

 

  • the introduction of a LMIA exemption to prospective foreign workers working in dance, opera, orchestra and live theatre whose work contributes to competitive advantages and reciprocal benefits for all Canadians, including Canadian performing artists and performing arts organizations; and

 

  • that foreign nationals who are employed as film producers, essential personnel for commercial (i.e,, advertising) shoots, and film and recording studio users may now be considered as Business Visitors.

The LMIA exemptions described above take affect on February 17, 2016.  The expansion to the Business Visitor category is effective immediately.

Significant Benefit Guidelines

As noted above, starting on February 17, 2016, an LMIA exemption will exist for prospective foreign workers whose work is essential to a television or film production and would create and maintain significant economic benefits and opportunities to Canadians and permanent residents.

The IRCC website notes that such positions are typically unionized and pay above the provincial median wage for all occupations.

Applicants are advised to provide both a letter of support from the production as well as a letter from the relevant union or guild.

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Abolish PR Cards and Implement a Residency Obligation Amnesty

1st Feb 2016 Comments Off on Abolish PR Cards and Implement a Residency Obligation Amnesty

Last Updated on February 1, 2016 by Steven Meurrens

Permanent residents of Canada are currently required to possess a Permanent Resident Card, commonly referred to as a “PR Card,” in order to board commercial transport to Canada.  Processing times for new PR Cards currently exceed 100 days, and the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) Twitter account recently advised permanent residents seeking to renew their PR Cards to apply 9 months in advance of travel in order to avoid trip disruptions.  Permanent residents are often left stranded abroad, or find themselves stuck in Canada unable to travel internationally, for months. The situation is untenable, and it is time for the Government of Canada to eliminate PR Cards, let permanent residents travel to Canada using the new Electronic Travel Authorization system, and implement a “residency obligation amnesty” until the government develops a better system to track entries and exits to and from Canada.

This will focus on the impact of PR Card processing delays to those travelling by air to Canada, as this is where the issue is most pronounced.  However, it is important to note that the PR Card requirement applies to all commercial transport to Canada, including air, boat, rail, and bus.

The Residency Obligation

When someone immigrates to Canada they don’t automatically become a Canadian citizen.  Rather, they become a permanent resident. A permanent resident has the right to reside in any Canadian province, attend any educational institution, and work in any legal employment.   Permanent resident status can only be lost in prescribed circumstances, including when a permanent resident becomes a citizen, when the Government of Canada establishes that the permanent resident is inadmissible to Canada for having engaged in serious criminality or misrepresentation, and, most commonly, where it determines that the permanent resident has not complied with Canada’s permanent resident residency obligation.

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