I was recently provided with Access to Information Act results that an immigration consultant obtained which lists for 2016, 2017 and Jan – Aug 2018 the number of applications finalized, the approval rate, and the processing time, for the following applications from every IRCC office:
- Temporary Resident Visa
- Study Permit
- Work Permit
- Electronic Travel Authorisation
The results can be found in the embedded PDF below.Read more ›
In recent years, more than one million people annually have been applying for visitor visas to visit Canada. Several hundred thousand more apply for work permits or study permits each year. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will refuse around 20 per cent of these applications, sending a generic refusal letter, providing vague reasons off a checklist.
What most refused applicants don’t realize is that behind these decisions are additional, often very detailed reasons that aren’t provided in the refusal letter. These internal reasons can range from a few short sentences, to sometimes even more than a page of reasoning that IRCC does not share with the applicant. It is important for refused applicants to apply for and obtain the full internal reasons for IRCC’s refusal of their application before they try to reapply. (Learn how at canadianimmigrant.ca/immigrate “Application refused? What CIC states in refusal letters is not the whole story.”)
It is also important to understand the numerous factors that visa officers consider when assessing temporary residency applications to determine whether someone will leave Canada by the end of their authorized stay. By knowing what these factors are, applicants can maximize the likelihood of successfully assembling a strong visa application.
The first, and arguably most significant, factor is travel history.
Lengthy travel history?
It is probably not surprising that a lengthy travel history is a very positive factor for visa officers when determining whether to issue someone a temporary visa. Indeed, if there’s no significant change in someone’s personal history since their last trip, a passport that is filled with entry stamps to other countries is a good sign. If those stamps are from developed countries, and there is nothing to suggest that a visa applicant failed to comply with the laws of other countries that they visited,Read more ›
On April 13, 2017 the Government of Canada introduced several regulatory amendments to the Electronic Travel Authorization (“eTA”) regime. The changes to the eTA program came into effect on May 3, 2017. Before reading about the changes, those who are unfamiliar with the eTA should read my previous posts on this topic titled ETA Regulations Announced and Electronic Travel Authorizations.
In brief, the eTA is an electronic document requirement for visa-exempt air travellers to Canada, excluding citizens of the United States. Travellers who are visa-exempt must apply online for an eTA by providing basic biographical, passport and personal information. An automated system then compares this information against immigration and enforcement databases to determine if the traveller is admissible to Canada. The vast majority of applications are approved automatically, with a small percentage referred to an officer for review.
It is similar to ESTA in the United States.
Brazil, Bulgaria and Romania
Effective immediately, citizens of Brazil, Bulgaria, and Romania no longer need to apply for temporary resident visas to visit Canada and can instead apply for eTAs if they have held a temporary resident visa at any time during the 10-year period immediately preceding the day on which they make their application or hold a valid United States nonimmigrant visa on the day on which they make their application.
However, Brazilians, Bulgarians and Romanians will still generally need a visitor visa if driving to Canada from the U.S. or arriving by bus, train or boat, including a cruise ship from Alaska (even if someone is not leaving the ship).
This requirement for a visa will be lifted for Bulgarians and Romanians on December 1, 2017.
There is no indication when it will be lifted for Brazilians.Read more ›
During Canada’s 2015 federal election, the Liberal Party of Canada, led by Justin Trudeau, promised that if they were elected government that Canada would lift its visa requirement on Mexico. This campaign promise is reflected in now Prime Minister Trudeau’s mandate letter to John McCallum, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, which states that one of Minister McCallum’s top priorities will be to lift the visa requirement on Mexico.
The decision by the previous Conservative Government of Canada in 2009 to implement a visa requirement for Mexican citizens was extremely controversial. It is difficult to determine whether it was a good public policy decision because of the numerous factors involved, each with corresponding benefits and costs. It is clear, however, that the implementation of the visa requirement did achieve the government’s primary objective, which was to dramatically reduce refugee claims from Mexican citizens in Canada. However, subsequent changes to Canada’s immigration refugee system, likely mean that the visa requirement is no longer necessary to achieve this objective.
The Visa Requirement
Canada imposed a visa requirement on Mexican citizens on July 14, 2009. The Canadian government stated that it did so to dramatically reduce the number of unfounded refugee claims made by Mexican nationals due to their visa-free access to Canada. Mexico was at the time the top source country for asylum claimants in Canada, and had been so since 2005.
The imposition of the visa requirement imposed a significant burden on Mexican citizens wishing to travel to Canada. Instead of being able to simply board an airplane and travel to Canada, Mexican citizens now prior to travel have to apply for a temporary resident visa at a Canadian consulate, or online. In addition to completing numerous forms,Read more ›
It is not uncommon for people who are applying for temporary residency are scared to admit anything that could convey a future desire to immigrate to Canada. However, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC“) recognizes that having two intents (one temporary and one permanent) is legitimate. Its policy on this is commonly known as “dual intent.”Read more ›
There are generally two types of religious workers who seek entry to Canada to work. The first are clergy (which includes Buddhist monks, Sikh granthis, rabbis, priests, preachers, pastors, etc.) whose employment in Canada will consist mainly of preaching doctrine, presiding at religious functions, or providing spiritual counselling. Section 186(l) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR“) provides that such people may work in Canada without a work permit. IRPR r. 186(l) states:
186. A foreign national may work in Canada without a work permit
(l) as a person who is responsible for assisting a congregation or group in the achievement of its spiritual goals and whose main duties are to preach doctrine, perform functions related to gatherings of the congregation or group or provide spiritual counselling;
Generally, applicants applying to work in Canada without a work permit under IRPR r. 186(l) need to demonstrate that they have a genuine offer of employment from the religious denomination that seeks to employ them, that the organization employing them can provide for their care and support, and that they are able to minister to a congregation under the auspices of that congregation’s denomination.
To demonstrate this, applicants should provide the following documents, where applicable:
- Certificate of Incorporation of the employer;
- Proof of registration as a charity or non-profit;
- Statement from the religious organization showing:
- the date and place of founding of the religious organization;
- length of time in continuous operation in the province or territory of destination;
- description of the structure of the organization;
- copies of relevant corporate and society documents;
- financial statements;
- copy of residential lease if a residence is not supplied to the foreign national;
How can temporary foreign workers show that they will leave Canada at the end of their work permit?Read more ›
Canada has imposed visa requirements on five new countries. The countries are St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Namibia, Botswana, and Swaziland.
In its press release the government stated that the reasons for the imposition of the visa requirement on these countries were to:
- Reduce the risk that individuals engaged in organized crime or the trafficking of persons could gain entry to Canada, and to address concerns over fraudulent documents.
- Address the issue of unreliable travel documents from St. Lucia and St. Vincent because criminals from these countries can legally change their names and acquire new passports. In some instances, people who were removed from Canada as security risks later returned using different passports.
Of course, the unspoken reason behind any decision to impose a temporary resident visa requirement on the country is that the government is concerned that people will not leave Canada at the end of their authorized stay, and in some cases claim refugee status.
Data from the Canadian Council of Refugees confirms that concern over refugee claims was likely a factor in imposing visa requirements on at least two of the above-mentioned countries.
In 2011, the Immigration and Refugee Board decided, or claimants abandoned, 824 refugee claims for individuals from Saint Vincent. Indeed, this small island nation with a population of 120,000 was the 8th highest source country for refugee claims in Canada. Of the 824 individuals, 76 abandoned their claims. Only 38.5% of the remaining claims were accepted, which was below the 2011 global average.
To put the 824 individuals into perspective, in 2011 almost 0.7% of Saint Vincent’s population had a refugee claim decided in Canada.
There was also a large number of refugee claims (604) from Saint Lucia,Read more ›
A couple days ago I received a question regarding whether someone who is a Hong Kong national needs a medical exam to study in Canada.
Foreign students have the same medical requirements as those that apply to work or simply visit Canada.
Generally, no medical examination is required for people who intend to visit Canada for six months or less unless they intend to work in certain designated occupations.
If the duration of the student’s visit is more then six months, then a medical examination will be required if they will also work in one of the above designated occupations, or, if they have resided or stayed temporarily for six or more consecutive months in a designated country or territory in the one year immediately preceding the date that they seek entry to Canada.
In other words, it is not a country of nationality or citizenship. It is a question of where you have been. An American who spent six months volunteering in a designated country will need a medical examination.
The designated country list can be found here.
As for the Hong Kong national, assuming that he spent six months or more in Hong Kong prior to seeking entry to Canada, then the answer would be “yes, he needs a medical if his intended period of studies is six months or more.”Read more ›
Good news to those who have complained (and there are many) that while they had no problem getting a 10-year multiple entry visa to the United States they could only get a 6 month-single entry visitor visa to Canada.
On June 3, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada wrote an e-mail to all embassies abroad. The e-mail encourages embassies to issue long term multiple-entry visas wherever possible, especially for those who are already in the permanent resident (PR) queue and business travelers.
Recently re-iterated in an Operational Bulletin, CIC has specifically instructed that such visas should be issued for as long a validity period as possible. Immigration guidelines states that the maximum validity period of a multiple entry visa is for the validity of an applicant’s passport, minus one month. According to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada e-mail, embassies should issue multiple-entry visas up to the expiry of an applicant’s passport where appropriate, and even cites the example of the 10-year multiple entry visa as an appropriate example.
Indeed, the Operational Bulletin specifically notes that “the Department is moving towards the issuance of long term multiple-entry visas as the norm.” It then goes on to add teeth to that statement, instructing that:
If an officer chooses to issue a long term multiple-entry visa for less than the full validity period of the passport (up to 10 years minus one month), the reasons are to be entered in the case notes.
Visa officers need to take note that issuance of a multiple-entry visa should now be considered to be the norm and any single-entry visa issuance needs explanation if a multiple-entry visa could have been issued (fee paid).
If the applicant requests a single-entry visa and the officer could have issued a multiple-entry visa,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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