On March 8, 2016, John McCallum, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) tabled the 2015 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration (the “2015 IRCC Report”) It states that in 2016 Canada will welcome between 280,000 and 305,000 immigrants, with a target of 300,000. While this target if fulfilled would be Canada’s highest annual immigration number in over a century, not all immigration categories are being increased.
The 2015 IRCC Report reveals that 2016 will be a good year for the spouses and common-law partners of Canadians. It also suggests that it will be a frustrating one for economic migrants, especially international graduates seeking to transition to permanent residency.
Before proceeding, it is important to note that while IRCC in the 2015 IRCC Report released a detailed breakdown of immigration statistics to Canada in 2014, it did not publish data for 2015. As such, as of writing it is only possible to compare what the Liberal Government of Canada (the “Liberals”) is planning in 2016 with what the previous Conservative Government of Canada (the “Conservatives”) achieved in 2014, and what it planned in 2015.
Economic Immigration Programs
In 2016, Canada will accept between 54,000 to 58,400 immigrants in its federal economic immigration programs, which include the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Class. This represents a significant reduction from the 62,487 individuals admitted through these programs in 2014, and an even greater reduction from the 68,000 to 74,000 immigrants that the previous Conservative Government of Canada targeted for these programs in 2015. The practical consequence of this reduction will be that the threshold number of points that is required in IRCC’s Express Entry application intake management system to apply for permanent residency will remain higher in 2016 than many people would have hopped.Read more ›
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.
The Federal Court issued a similar statement in Rukmangathan v.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Last updated on May 4th, 2020
On January 27, 2016, the British Columbia Provincial Nomination Program (“BC PNP“) re-opened its Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC programs, and introduced the Skills Immigration Registration System.
The Skills Immigration Registration System is an expression of interest system to manage BC PNP Skills Immigration application intake. It is similar to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (“IRCC”, previously “CIC”) Express Entry system, as only registrants who are invited by the BC PNP to submit full nomination applications can actually apply for nomination certificates. Simply meeting program requirements does not guarantee an Invitation to Apply for nomination.
The BC PNP determined that an application intake management system would be necessary in 2016 as the BC PNP had to frequently suspend intake to its programs in 2015. On March 31, 2015, the BC PNP announced a 90-day pause on intake to its Skills Immigration programs. On July 2, 2015, the BC PNP re-opened its Skills Immigration program to limited intake, and the programs were full within 36 hours. On September 1, 2015, the BC PNP suspended intake to its Express Entry BC programs, and, with the limited exception of a 50 spot opening in November, the BC PNP has not accepted applications to its programs since.
While the Skills Immigration Registration System is designed to prevent similar program closures in 2016, it does mean that many individuals who qualify for BC PNP Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC programs will be unable to apply this year.
The Skills Immigration Registration System is open, and is now accepting registrants. Potential applicants must qualify for a BC PNP Skills Immigration program, or an Express Entry BC program, at both the time of registration and application.
Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC
The BC PNP Skills Immigration stream contains the following programs:
- Skilled Workers
- Health Care Professionals
- International Graduates
- International Post-Graduates
- Entry Level and Semi-Skilled
- North East Pilot Project
While the detailed requirements of each program are beyond the scope of this newsletter,Read more ›
A challenge that arises in many refugee claims where a claimant has used fraudulent documents to travel to Canada is the balancing of the need to determine a claimant’s identity with jurisprudence that cautions against drawing negative credibility findings from the use of false documents where refugee claimants have little choice but to to use false documents to leave their country.
In Gulamsakhi v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2015 FC 105, for example, the Federal Court stated that:
… this Court has repeatedly cautioned against drawing negative conclusions based on the use of smugglers and forged documents to escape violence and persecution. Travelling on false documents or destroying travel documents is of very limited value as a determination of the claimant’s credibility. This is partly because it is not uncommon for a person fleeing persecution to follow the instructions of the person(s) organizing their escape.
Another, and perhaps the most frequently cited case on this principle, is Rasheed v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2004 FC 587, where the Federal Court stated that:
Where a claimant travels on false documents, destroys travel documents or lies about them upon arrival following an agent’s instructions, it has been held to be peripheral and of very limited value as a determination of general credibility. First, it is not uncommon for those who are fleeing from persecution not to have regular travel documents and, as a result of their fears and vulnerability, simply to act in accordance with the instructions of the agent who organized their escape. Second, whether a person has told the truth about his or her travel documents has little direct bearing on whether the person is indeed a refugee.Read more ›
The following is a summary of the Environmental Overview of the immigration functions at the Canadian Embassy in Rome (the “Environmental Overview”). The Environmental Overview was prepared as part of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada 2015-2016 planning exercise.
The Canadian Embassy in Rome (“CIC Rome”) provides visa services to residents of Albania, Greece, Italy, Malta, San Marino, and the State of the Holy See. Economic turbulence in Greece resulted in an increased interest in Canada from Greek nationals.
The economic crisis in Greece and Malta, as well as, the political and economic crisis in Italy continue to affect our programs. We continue to receive an increasing number of inquiries related to both our TR and PR programs. We receive approximately 2000 emails per month from persons inquiring about our programs. Our VACs indicate that they too have not only seen an increase in the number of walk-in inquiries on TR programs but also on PR programs. Clients are all referred to the CIC website.
Since arriving this summer, new IPM has made several changes to better leverage GCMS and improve processing times across all lines of business. Backlogs and long processing times
have been eliminated and Rome is back to well within all CIC published processing standards.
With the reduction in backlogs and processing times, Rome is now in an excellent position to help with any new mission-to-mission file processing sharing.
Permanent Resident Program
Somewhat surprisingly, to me at least, there is “a lot of fraud” in the family class, and marriages of convenience are a concern.
Temporary Resident Program
Rome processed 3,755 TRV applications in 2014. The approval rate was 50.35%. The study rate approval was 59.2%.Read more ›
The following is the Environmental Overview of the immigration functions at the Canadian High Commission in Colombo, Sri Lanka (the “Environmental Overview”). The Environmental Overview was prepared as part of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada 2015-2016 planning exercise.
Read more ›
On December 10, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada issued its most significant immigration judgment in almost twenty years. Its decision in Kanthasamy v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) will likely result in visa officers assessing applications for Canadian permanent residence on humanitarian & compassionate grounds in a much more holistic and equitable manner than previously.
People who would not normally be eligible to become permanent residents in Canada may apply to immigrate on humanitarian & compassionate (“H&C”) grounds. A typical H&C applicant is someone who does not meet the requirements of any of Canada’s economic or family reunification programs. As well, applicants who do qualify for more traditional immigration programs, but who are inadmissible to Canada, may also request (with narrow exceptions) that their inadmissibility be waived for H&C reasons.
When visa officers review H&C applications, they analyze several factors, including the person’s establishment in Canada, their family ties to Canada, the best interests of any children involved, and what could happen to the applicants if their H&C applications are not granted.
Prior to Kanthasamy, the criterion for an H&C application was whether applicants would suffer “unusual and undeserved or disproportionate hardship” if their applications were refused. Indeed, Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s guidelines on numerous occasions explicitly instructed officers that the assessment of a H&C application was a determination of whether the applicant met this test. “Unusual and undeserved hardship” was defined as hardship that was not anticipated or addressed by immigration legislation, and was “beyond the person’s control.” “Disproportionate hardship” was defined as an “unreasonable impact on the applicant due to their personal circumstances.”
In Kanthasamy, the Supreme Court of Canada found that while immigration officers should treat the “unusual and undeserved or disproportionate hardship” factors described above as descriptive,Read more ›
On November 4, 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed John McCallum as the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship. He replaced Chris Alexander, who had been the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration since July 15, 2013. Mr. Alexander was one of 60 Conservative Party of Canada Members of Parliament who lost their seats in the October 19, 2015, federal election.
Had the Canadian public on election night not replaced CPC with the Liberal Party of Canada as government, or had Chris Alexander at least even won his own seat, it would have perhaps been difficult to summarize Mr. Alexander’s tenure as the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. However, at least one of the causes of the Conservative defeat was the Canadian public’s rejection of a party that increasingly encouraged what can only be described as intolerance and callousness. Both of these descriptions will likely be remembered as the defining features of Mr. Alexander’s term as Minister.
It is difficult to write this because I do not know how much influence Chris Alexander actually had within his own department. It was often speculated by immigration policy observers that Mr. Alexander was running CIC under the subtle direction of his predecessor, Jason Kenney, and that Canadian immigration policy was also increasingly being dictated by the Prime Minister’s Office. I do not know how accurate how these theories are. Nonetheless, regardless as to what extent Chris Alexander’s actions were dictated by either Jason Kenney or the PMO, I can only judge Mr. Alexander’s tenure based on what occurred, and not on whatever deliberations may have transpired internally.
With this caution aside, I will now review below what I consider to be The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Chris Alexander’s tenure as the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.Read more ›
The following is a summary of the Environmental Overview of the immigration functions at the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok (the “Environmental Overview“). The Environmental Overview was prepared as part of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada 2015-2016 planning exercise, and is current as of March 2015.
The Canadian High Embassy in Bangkok (“CIC Bangkok”) provides temporary resident visa services to residents of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. It assists in permanent resident applications where possible, as it is a sub office of the Regional Processing Centre based in Singapore.
It is a small office and does not have the resources to undertake sites visits.
Temporary Resident Program
As with other visa posts, CIC Bangkok is reporting that E-apps “sap considerable resources” due to the time that it takes to process an E-app compared to a paper file. The fact that Thai police certificates take 4-6 weeks also significantly impacts processing times.
The TRV approval rate is 87%. For study permits the overall approval rate is 65%, with most refusals being based on lack of medicals.
The full report is below. Please note that this report did not occur with the affiliation of the Government of Canada, and the report was obtained through an Access to Information Act request.
Read more ›
Please note that none of the information on this website should be construed as being legal advice. As well, you should not rely on any of the information contained in this website when determining whether and how to apply to a given program. Canadian immigration law is constantly changing, and the information above may be dated. If you have a question about the contents of this blog, or any question about Canadian immigration law, please contact the Author.
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