Weeding Out Crooked Immigration Consultants

4th Jul 2017 Comments Off on Weeding Out Crooked Immigration Consultants

The following is an article that I wrote for Policy Options.

The first paper that I wrote in law school was about legal ethics. I submitted a seven-page essay arguing that restricting the practice of law to graduates of law school was unethical, given the crisis of access to justice that so many face, and that the free market should instead regulate who can and cannot charge fees to provide legal representation. I got my lowest mark in law school.

The study and practice of law moderated many of my views, and my opinion on who should be able to practise law has been adjusted accordingly. It has become clear to me that those who receive fees in exchange for the provision of legal advice must be regulated, and that in an era of easy Internet marketing, paid-for reviews and fake news, the free market is incapable of performing this role. However, I still believe that access to the ability to practise law should be extended beyond those who have completed three years of law school.

It may not be surprising then that, unlike many immigration lawyers, I do not consider the existence of immigration consultants to be inherently problematic. When I started practising immigration law, a local immigration consultant was an important mentor to me, and some of the most passionate people I know who are advocating for greater justice and fairness in Canada’s immigration system are consultants.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to practise immigration law for long before encountering people who have been the victims of immigration consultants who provided extremely bad representation, ranging from sheer incompetence to fraud. In many other cases, the prospective immigrants were not victims of fraudulent consultants but willing participants in their schemes.

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Retrospective Legislation

25th Dec 2016 Comments Off on Retrospective Legislation

In a recent Borderlines episode, Garth Barriere, Eric Purtzki, Peter Edelmann and I discussed the constitutionality of laws that are retroactive or retrospective.  This episode can be found here:

A link to this episode’s synopsis can be found here.

The following post provides a more detailed written summary of retroactive and retrospective legislation in the immigration context.

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The 2016 Liberal Immigration Numbers

9th Mar 2016 Comments Off on The 2016 Liberal Immigration Numbers

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.

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The Green Party of Canada’s Immigration Platform

10th Sep 2015 Comments Off on The Green Party of Canada’s Immigration Platform

The Green Party of Canada (the “Green Party“) is a Canadian federal political party which currently has just one Member of Parliament, Elizabeth May.  In the nine federal elections that it has run candidates in it has only once gotten more than 5% of the popular vote.  Nonetheless, it is important to pay attention to their Green Party platform for three reasons.  First, the Canadian media gives the Green Party, and especially Ms. May, a considerable amount of coverage.  Second, much like the New Democratic Party of Canada has done it is foreseeable that the Green Party will also increase in popularity.  Third, Ms. May’s suggestion that the Green Party could wield significant influence in a minority Parliament, though not probable, is not impossible.

On September 9, 2015, the Green Party released its election platform.

As well, the Green Party also has on its website a document titled Vision Green 2015, a document which contains numerous Green Party commitments.

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Impacts of Budget 2013 on Immigration

21st Mar 2013 Comments Off on Impacts of Budget 2013 on Immigration

The Government of Canada has released its budget for 2013 (“Budget 2013″).  Budget 2013 contains several announcements of changes to immigration programs which the Government of Canada will introduce this year, including (my editorial comments in maroon):

  • Providing $42-million in funding to support enhanced program capacity within the Temporary Resident program, and giving the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (the “Minister“) the ability to set fees in a timely and efficient manner.  (Budget 2013 actually refers to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada as the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.  I’m not sure if this means that the Department is about to change its name or if it is a typo.)
  • Providing $44-million in funding over two years to improve the processing of Citizenship applications, and allowing the Minister to set fees in a timely and efficient manner. (This is fantastic.  Processing times have ballooned to more than four years in many cases.)
  • Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations to restrict the identification of non-official languages as job requirements when hiring through the Temporary Foreign Worker process.  (Not sure about this.. in a global economy some positions require fluency in languages other than English or French.) 
  • Introduce processing fees for Labour Market Opinion applications. (I’ve never understood why this was free.  In 2012 Service Canada processed 112,897 LMO applications for free.  An application fee of say $100 would have saved taxpayers over $10-million.) 
  • Increase the recruitment efforts that employers must make to hire Canadians before they will be eligible to apply for temporary foreign workers (presumably this means Labour Market Opinions), including increasing the length and reach of advertising requirements.
  • Assist employers who employ foreign workers to find ways to ensure that they have a plan to transition to a Canadian workforce over time. 

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Legislating Away the Immigration Backlog

16th Mar 2012 Comments Off on Legislating Away the Immigration Backlog

On March 7, 2012, Jason Kenney delivered a speech to the Economic Club of Canada which has generated considerable attention.  He implied that the Government of Canada was considering legislating an end to Canada’s immigration backlog.

His statements were:

New Zealandlegislated an end to its backlog in 2003 and put in place a system where prospective applicants can be selected from a pool made up of all persons who have applied. Rather than wasting time and energy processing old applications, their resources can now be put towards actively matching the best qualified applicants to current jobs and economic needs.

Now, in recent months, Prime Minister Harper has spoken about doing more in the economy of the future than just passively accepting applications. He has talked about the need to actively recruit people to come to Canadato fill specific skill shortages.

There are exciting possibilities before us when it comes to the future of immigration toCanada. But of course, the first step is to eliminate this huge unfair backlog as soon as we can. Again, we’re open to creative suggestions and we will continue to consult with Canadians about the best way forward in immigration reform.

Canada’s immigration backlog is not small.  According to a report by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration titled Cutting the Queue: Reducing Canada’s Immigration Backlogs and Wait Times, as of July 1, 2011, the backlog was:

 

Category

Number of People

Federal Skilled Workers
482,117

QuebecSkilled Workers
33,167

Federal Business (Investors and Entrepreneurs)
94,271

QuebecBusiness
10,518

Provincial/Territorial Nominees
39,076

Canadian Experience Class
6,002

Live-in Caregiver
15,416

Spouses, Partners, and Children
42,238

Parents and Grandparents
168,530

Government-sponsored Refugees
9,917

Privately-sponsored refugees
23,212

This backlog translates into some very high processing times. 

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Paying to Wait to Immigrate

21st Mar 2011 Comments Off on Paying to Wait to Immigrate

In the immigration world, the waiting game is a fact of life.

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Canada’s Ageing Demographics Compared to Other Western Nations

17th Aug 2010 Comments Off on Canada’s Ageing Demographics Compared to Other Western Nations

Last updated on July 21st, 2018

In today’s Daily Reckoning, Dan Denning analyzes the age demographics of numerous Western countries to determine the attractiveness of government treasuries. He summarizes the relationship between aging countries and government finances as follows:

Through either low immigration or low birth rates, or a combination of both, aging countries face some grim demographic math. Pension (private and public) pensions are likely to increase even as the tax base shrinks. Taxes go up on younger people. But government borrowing probably increases too, unless benefits get cut. If the borrowing is not from domestic savings (where it would then NOT go to private enterprise) it must be done on global markets at whatever the market price for money is.

Mr. Denning presents numerous US Census Bureau charts showing population tendencies for certain Western countries (and Iran).

I have reproduced some of these to analyze how Canada compares to other Western countries.



The charts show that the anglophone nations tend to not have as noticeable an aging pattern as other developed nations (in this case Italy and Japan).  This suggests that our pension “crisis” will not be nearly as severe as what will be experienced in other Western nations. These nations have traditionally not been as receptive to immigration as have the anglophone nations, and as such their ability to adopt policies to mitigate the effects of an aging population will likely be limited.

Amongst anglophone nations, however, Canada’s low fertility rate – currently 1.6 – results in their being fewer children than in the United States (with a fertility rate of 2.1), Australia (1.8), and the United Kingdom (1.9).

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Decline in Chinese Immigration to British Columbia : 渥京改政策 省推薦名額增

1st Jul 2010 Comments Off on Decline in Chinese Immigration to British Columbia : 渥京改政策 省推薦名額增

On Tuesday, June 29th, I was quoted in Ming Pao, Vancouver’s largest Chinese daily newspaper.

另一本地移民律師辛湉王(Steven Meurrens)則認為,技術移民及新推出的加拿大經驗類別(Canadian Experience)移民均甚多限制,有意申請人士最好另走他途,他認為PNP仍是移民最快增長點,但許多人對PNP仍認識不夠。

辛湉王 續稱,雖然近日投資移民的投資額及資產額都提高了一倍,但聯邦及省府均有充分信心,認為投資移民金額提高一倍不會影響申請人數,這是政府迅速增加收入的有 效途徑。

My comments were a response to recent Chinese immigration trends to British Columbia.

The interviewer wanted to know my response to the following statistics compiled by BC Stats:

PRC LANDINGS TO BC

Family
Refugee
FSWP
PNP
LIC
Entrepreneur
Investor
Other
Total

2009
2,269
59
1,702
872
73
101
3,977
322
9,375

2008
1,957
43
3,235
654
32
120
3,712
161
9,914

2007
2,387
90
2,872
369
6
222
2,162
151
8,259

2006
2,412
147
4,795
229
8
259
2,894
186
10,930

2005
2,065
210
7,749
52
3
209
3,306
94
13,688

It is clear that in the 2005 to 2009 period there has been a decline in PRC immigrants to British Columbia. This certainly runs counter to popular myth.

Second, that decline can be largely explained in the near collapse of immigrants under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (“FSWP“).  This decline has occurred across Canada, and is not limited to China.

Third, there has been a huge increase in the amount of immigrants under the Provincial Nominee Program.

I was also asked whether I thought that there was a deliberate effort on the part of Citizenship and Immigration Canada to keep Chinese people out. I think that the answer is clear that except for the FSWP the amount of Chinese immigrants in the other categories remain steady.  Some have speculated that this is due to Chinese people failing to meet the language requirements. In my opinion, if this were the case, then there would have ALWAYS been a low acceptance rate. Surely the amount of Chinese people that are proficient in English is equal to,

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