Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Immigration Corner: I Want To Move To Canada

Dear Miss Powell,
I am a professional and I would like my family to move to Canada. The problem is that I don't have a job offer. I have paid two companies to help me find a job and nothing. I feel like I'm wasting time and money now that the system has changed. Some of my friends did self-sponsorship under the old system and they are gone. I spoke to a consultant who said the only way I can get through is through a job offer or go to school.
I have a master's degree, my husband has a bachelor's degree and we have two children and we are already qualified so school is not an option. Can you help us? Life in Jamaica has become unbearable and I want the best for my children.
 Dear F.M.,
There are a number of ways you can immigrate to Canada without a job offer. Some of the ways may not apply to you, but I'm mentioning them for the benefit of other readers. You can immigrate to Canada under family sponsorship class, refugee and humanitarian programme. There are also the federal skilled worker programme, federal skilled trades programme, Canadian experience class via the express entry system and the Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP). I will however focus on the Express Entry System and the PNP.
Do not pay employment agencies. 
Before I elaborate about the various options, I want to caution you about hiring employment agencies. A legitimate employment agency will not ask you, the prospective employee, to pay them for sourcing a job for you. Usually the agencies are paid by the prospective employer to find personnel.
In any event, there are numerous free job posting websites such as Workopolis, Kijiji, LinkedIn, Indeed, Job Bank. Once you have submitted an express entry profile, you will be required to establish a job bank account, through the government of Canada and to apply for jobs posted.
You may continue with your job search after you have entered the express entry pool. The key thing to note is that anyone who is offering you a job should have a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Report and be in a position to share this with you. Once you have this report you can upload that information to your Express Entry profile. If a perspective employer cannot produce this report, then chances the offer is not valid; unless the position fall within the very limited scope of a jobs that are exempted from LMIA.
 Skilled Worker And Trades Programme
The Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP), the Federal Trades Programme(FSTP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) are still operational and applications are being accepted under the Express Entry Programmes. Many individuals call these the self-sponsorship programmes, as you do not need a relative or a company to vouch for you. You can use your credentials and financial ability to show that you can successfully integrate into the Canadian society.
The qualifying process has not changed. It is still a points-based system. Through the above programmes applicants without a job offer can apply to become permanent residents via the express entry portal. You will still need to score a minimum of 67 points out of 100 on the points grid. The points are awarded based on your age, work experience, education, language and adaptability. A job offer is a bonus, but not a requirement. Once you are able to score the minimum of 67 points, then you will be admitted into the express entry pool and given a Comprehensive Ranking Score based on similar criteria. You will be selected based on the minimum CRS that is drawn while you are in the pool.
 Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP)
Many provinces have implemented their own immigration programmes, known as the PNP. Each province evaluate their economic and social needs; set their own rules and guidelines for selecting individuals and nominate them to become permanent residents.
The most popular PNP are from Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, British Columbia and Ontario. You must have an intention to settle in the province with your family and committed to economically establish yourself in the particular province. There is usually a cap on the number of applications that will be accepted by any one province each period. So if this is a programme that you are interested in, you should be prepared to submit your application promptly, once the opportunity presence itself. Quebec will be accepting new applications in January and so now is the time to get your ducks in a row.
How do you prepare?
You will need to get all the documents required to substantiate your application. For PNP some provinces require proof of tax compliance in your country, while others only require letters from your present and past employers.
Spouses should maximise their potential points by obtaining an Educational Credential Assessment Report (ECA), if your degree/ diploma/ certificate is from a post secondary school outside of Canada. You should submit a sealed transcript to one of the designated organisations for ECA in order to get an official report.
Every potential immigrant must prove their language ability in at least one of Canada's official languages. For English, your results in the IELTS, General Training Exam or the CELPIP examination is required. For proof of your French language skills, you will need to sit the TEF examination. These examinations cannot be done online. You must contact the relevant centres to sit the exam. You will be tested on your ability to write, speak, listen and read. You should strive to get a minimum of 7 in each category, so that you can be competitive.
Your aim is to get as many points as possible, so that you can receive an invitation to apply. Many individuals and their family have received an invitation to apply for permanent residence without a job offer under these programmes. Hopefully, over the next few months the minimum score under express entry will continue to fall to under 400, so that many more of the qualified individuals, without a job offer, can be selected.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Contact her by sending your questions or comments to: info@deidrepowell.com. Please put in the subject line: Immigration or fax: 613.695.8778  Find out if you qualify complete our online form.
Published: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20151124/immigration-corner-i-want-move-canada

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

PR Card Expired

Dear Ms Powell,
I became a permanent resident of Canada in 2010. I went up and tried without success to get a job and couldn't get one. I returned to Jamaica and got a really good job. I have since got married and had a child. I used to go back to Canada quite often to try to maintain my status. However the last time I visited was in 2014 when I was questioned a lot by the immigration officer. I felt so intimidated and harassed by the whole process that I haven't been back. My permanent residence card is now expired and I would like to return to Canada as I have a job offer and would like to take my family with me. What can I do?
- ED
Dear ED,
There are several issues at stake here and I will outline the steps that you may take to deal with each issue. The first step is to deal with your expired permanent residence (PR) card.
Your PR card is your ticket to leave and re-enter Canada, as long as, it is valid. The PR card is valid for five years. You must satisfy your residency obligation during this five-year period, if you wish to maintain your status as a permanent resident. That does not mean you can't live outside of Canada during the five-year period. It means that you will need to prove that you have been physically present in Canada a minimum of two years or 730 days during the past five years. To prove the time there are several factors to consider, such as whether you were travelling with a Canadian citizen or whether you were employed to a Canadian company while physically outside of Canada.
You will need to ensure that you meet the residency requirement before you apply, as the fee for the application for a travel document is non-refundable and you could expose yourself to an inquiry that you were not prepared for.
If you are able to satisfy your residency obligation, then your next step would be to apply to renew your PR card while you are outside of Canada. You can download the application information online, complete the forms accurately and attach the supporting documents and submit with the requisite fee. This application should be submitted to the nearest Visa Application Centre (VAC).
Once you have received your travel document, you will need to return to Canada immediately and take up that job offer. The travel document is only valid for one entry. Therefore, you will need to remain in Canada, apply for the actual PR card and remain there until the new card is received. In some emergency cases, you may apply for a travel document to permit you to have multiple entries on a travel document. However, you indicated that you have a job offer, so you should accept the job and remain in Canada to be able to substantiate your sponsorship application for your family.
You may apply to sponsor your husband and child under 19 years old, to become permanent residents. To do so, you will need to satisfy the sponsorship requirements as outlined by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). This will include undergoing medical and security checks, as well as making sure that you are able to financially support your family.
This is a two-step application process so it is imperative that you are able to meet the various criteria. For more information you may visit the CIC website, review my past articles on sponsoring a family member, that may be found on my blog and The Gleaner website.
If you are unable to prove the residency requirement you may not be eligible for a travel document and you could lose your PR status. The good thing is that it is not an automatic process. You will not lose your PR status just because your PR card expires and you are outside of Canada when it expires.
You will need to go through the official process and an adjudicator will need to conduct an inquiry, before CIC makes a determination that you are no longer eligible to be a permanent resident. It is therefore critical that you seek legal advice if you are in this situation. You will need to provide several documents and submissions to CIC to justify retaining your permanent resident status. You appear to have some strong points to support your application and so may be able to overcome any breach of residency obligation.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Send your questions to info@deidrepowell.com, subject line- immigration. Find her on Facebook: jamaicanlawyer or Call 613.695.8777/ 876.922.4092

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Seeking A Better Life For My Son

Dear Ms Powell,
I have a child with a Canadian citizen. I have not been able to get in touch with him or to get any support from him. He got in touch with me via Facebook to say that he was sorry for not keeping in touch and that he would like to sponsor his son. The problem is that he was not here when I had my child, and so his name isn't on the birth certificate. Will he be able to sponsor him still? How do I get his name on the birth certificate? Should I do a DNA test? I'm sure the results would show that he is the father, so I'm not scared of doing that. I just want my son to have a chance at a better life and would like to do what is best for him. Do I have to go to court to get this done? ME
Dear ME,
Your son's father may be able to sponsor his son under the family class category provided that both can satisfy the requirements. You did not indicate your son's age; however, you should know that since August 1, 2014, a child is considered a dependent and eligible for sponsorship provided that he is less than 19 years old. Although your son's father's name is not on the birth certificate, this does not mean that he is ineligible. You will only need to take steps to prove the relationship and add his father's name to the birth certificate.
This is not a court process. You will need to make an Addition of Father's Particulars (Status) application at the Registrar General Department (RGD) in Jamaica. The application is available online at www.rgd.gov.jm, or you may visit the RGD office. You will need to provide a completed form, supporting documents, and pay the requisite fee.

The father must consent to the application. He will need to sign the application in the presence of a justice of the peace (Jamaica) or a notary public, or a commissioner of oath. To avoid delays with the processing of the application for the addition of name and the sponsorship, I strongly recommend that you do the DNA test and attach this proof with both the addition of name and sponsorship application.
With the amended birth certificate in hand, your son's father would be in a position to apply for his son to become a permanent resident of Canada under the family class sponsorship provided that he would be able to qualify as a sponsor.
He will be required to submit an application to be approved as sponsor. This first step takes approximately two to three months if his son remains outside of Canada. He will need to submit completed forms, supporting documents, and will need to prove that he can provide for his family and will not need social assistance. He will also need to undertake to be fully responsible for his son's food, clothing, shelter, household and personal supplies, dental, eye care, and any other medical needs not provided by public health care. He will be financially responsible for his son until he is at least 22 years old.
Once he has been approved, then the next step is to submit a completed application with all the relevant supporting documents for your son to become a permanent resident. Your son will need to undergo the usual medical and security checks.
 Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public. Submit your questions toinfo@deidrepowell.com.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20151006/immigration-corner-seeking-better-life-my-son

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Immigration Corner: Ready And Able To Work In Canada

Dear Ms Powell,
Are there any opportunities for someone in construction? I went to trade school and I'm very talented. I just didn't have the money for college or university. I'm good at plumbing, drywall finishing, carpentry. Anything in building construction, I'm good at. I don't want to live in Ontario but I know Canada is very big. I have a six-year-old daughter and want to help her and her mother, too. How can we get to Canada?
- PP

Dear PP,
There are many opportunities for tradesmen in Canada. In fact, the province of Saskatchewan just announced that they will be accepting 1,000 new applications under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Programme (SINP). This programme is one of the most generous programmes to date, so if you are interested you should apply immediately.


There are 57 eligible occupations. Included in this are skilled workers and tradesmen such as: carpenters, drywall installers, plasterers, brick layers, contractors, painters, insulators, supervisors, construction managers, construction finishers, concrete finishers, plumbers, welders, mechanics, repairers and other construction trades.
I don't know what your child's mother does but other occupations on the list are supervisors in food and beverage, decorators, business-development officers, university professors and lecturers, software engineers, telecommunications workers and computer programmers. A complete list of the opportunities are on the province's website.


Not all occupations will need formal certification. However, you must have a minimum of one year's work experience. The key is to get a minimum of 60 points based on experience, age, language ability, adaptability education and training.
Individuals between the age of 22 and 34 will get the highest-possible points. You will need to show proof of language ability. You will need to sit the International English Language Testing System examination. I know that the examination centre is fully booked for months down the road, so you may want to consider sitting the examination in another country.
Couples tend to score higher points. If you both sit the English examination and have the requisite education and work experience, you should stand a good chance. Also, if you have close relatives in Canada, such as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, you could have a high score for adaptability.
While it's good to have previous work experience in Saskatchewan, or a valid job offer, under the SINP this is not a precondition for you to submit an application.
The programme is very competitive so if you are interested in applying, you should submit your application immediately. To find out more about this programme or other opportunities to work and live in Canada, contact an immigration lawyer.
- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public. Submit your questions toinfo@deidrepowell.com.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner:  http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20150929/immigration-corner-ready-and-able-work-canada

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Immigation Corner: Telephone Love! Can We Get Married Over The Phone?

Dear Ms Powell,
I am a Canadian citizen and I have been dating a woman in Jamaica for two years. She applied to get a visitor's visa and was denied twice. I visit her every Christmas as I don't get much time off from work. I've heard of marriage by phone or proxy. I want to find out if we can get married that way. Can they send the documents to me and I just sign them and return them to the minister? Would I be able to sponsor her if we get married this way? She said she could get the ceremony arranged in Jamaica and that she heard of cases where people got married using a big-screen TV. Can this work? I really love her, but I can't get the time off work and she can't get a visa. Can I authorise someone to sign the documents on my behalf?
- KF
 Dear KF,
A Canadian citizen can marry and sponsor anyone provided that both you and the person sponsored are able to satisfy all requirements.
First, let's look at what would be considered a valid marriage. Both parties must be at least 18 years old and consent to have certain legal rights and obligations to each other. Most countries do not allow marriage where the parties are not present at the time the wedding is being performed. There are, however, some countries that allow marriage by proxy, but Jamaica is not one of those places. Furthermore, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) no longer recognises marriages that are conducted via proxy, telephone, fax, Internet, or other electronic means. Both parties must be present, be of sound mind, and be willing and able to consent to the marriage. The parties must be physically present to sign all the relevant documents to legalise the marriage. The marriage must be recognised by the relevant authorities in the country where the marriage is performed and by CIC in order for someone to be able to sponsor a spouse.
The only exception to the rule would be if you are a member of the Canadian armed forces currently in service and unable to travel at the particular time due to travel restrictions related to your service. Then, CIC would grant a special exception and your marriage would be recognised.
The marriage cere-mony would need to be held in a country where marriage by proxy is legal. Some states in the US such as Texas, Alabama, Montana, and countries such as Mexico and Paraguay allow marriage by proxy. You would also need to satisfy the requirements of the individual country before you are able to get a valid marriage licence.
A Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, who is at least 18 years old, may sponsor a family member to Canada under the Family Class category. This means that you may sponsor a spouse/wife, common-law, or conjugal partner of the same or opposite sex and also your spouse or common-law partner's dependent child and the dependent child of a dependent child. All should be under the age of 19.
The application is a two-step process, and the time that the application takes depends on whether the person being sponsored is in Canada or outside of Canada at the time of sponsorship and the visa office responsible for your file.
There would be an assessment of you, the sponsor. You would need to prove that you are over 18; that you are financially able to take care of your spouse; that you haven't sponsored anyone else within the past five years, are not bankrupt; have not defaulted on child-support payments; are not on welfare; and do not have a criminal record.
The next step is the assessment of the person being sponsored. This involves the usual medical and criminal checks. I do not know the reason that your spouse has been refused a visa, but you should make sure that it is not one of the reasons that makes someone inadmissible. If it is, you may need to consult with an immigration lawyer.
You will also need to submit proof of your relationship such as marriage certificate, wedding pictures, emails, phone records, photographs, and a list of activities in which you have been involved. You may also provide proof of joint assets such as bank accounts, land, vehicles, and any other information that would prove that you are in a genuine committed relationship.
All the forms and guidelines are on the CIC website. There are country-specific rules and forms, so it is imperative that you check the website to ensure that you have the latest information and forms before you submit your application.
Since you may be able to take time off for Christmas, I would suggest that you plan your wedding for that time instead of trying to get married via proxy, Internet, or phone.
-Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public. Submit your questions to info@deidrepowell.com.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner: http://www.jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20150922/immigation-corner-telephone-love-can-we-get-married-over-phone

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Thinking about selling everything and moving to Canada ( Express Entry Rounds)

Dear Ms Powell,
I've been thinking about applying under the express entry system to go to Canada, and I have my English exam results and credentials report ready to apply. I am, however, short on funds in my bank account but have an apartment and a car that I could sell, and I would have more than enough money for myself and my family. My concern is that I might sell my apartment and car and then never receive an invitation to apply, leaving my life in a shambles as I'm sure I couldn't replace those things easily. I checked my score and I realise that even though I could get in the pool, I only have 389 points. Can you tell me, based on my points, when I expect to get an invitation to apply?
- YT
 Dear YT,
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) released a report on the express entry system that provided some clarity about the selection process, yet it did not increase our ability to predict when they will select a particular score.
In March, many practitioners and applicants were hopeful that there appeared to be a downward trend in the lowest Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score that was selected only to have their hopes dashed by the wayside in May when the lowest score went back up to 755.
I am really sorry that I do not have a crystal ball, or the ability to see into the future, as I would love to help individuals like you make important life decisions such as the one you described.
What I can glean from the report are the maximum and minimum points held by individuals currently in the pool. You can be comforted that there are even individuals who have fewer than 100 points that are in the pool, and a majority of the applicants seem to score between 350 and 399. Unfortunately, we are still left in the dark about when a selection will be made and the exact score that will be chosen.
The CRS is a points system that gives an individual a particular score based on factors such as age, education, experience, marital status, spouse's credentials, adaptability, and language skills. Individuals are then selected based on the highest-ranking candidates in the pool at the particular time that CIC conducts the draw.
Below is a chart which reveals the trend of selection. What is clear is that there is no predictable pattern, except that most of the individuals who are selected have Canadian work experience or a valid job offer.

Express Entry Rounds

Date of Draw
Lowest CRS/ Points
# Invitations
January 31, 2015
February 7, 2015
February 20, 2015
February 27, 2015
March 20, 2015
March 27,2015
April 10, 2015
April 17, 2015
May 22, 2015
June 12, 2015
June 26, 2015
July 10, 2015
July 17, 2015
August 7, 2015
August 21, 2015
September 8, 2015
*The CRS score of lowest ranked candidate invited has been 451.

You should note that once an individual is admitted into the pool, a score is given and he will be obliged to simply wait on CIC to send an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence. What you could do while waiting is apply for jobs via the job bank, improve on your English results, or even get higher education. You will be allowed to update your profile and improve your score while you are still in the pool.
I, therefore, strongly recommend that you submit your application, get all the necessary proof, and continue living your life. Now is not the time to hesitate. I am sure that you would be very upset if CIC announced that the lowest score was 355 and you had not submitted your application. You do not want to miss an opportunity to be selected.
You should, however, note that CIC has made it clear that unless you are currently authorised to work in Canada and have a valid job offer from an authorised Canadian employer, or you have received an ITA under the Canadian Experience Class, you must show that you have the required settlement funds, which is based on the number of persons in your family.
Once you have received an ITA, you will have up to a maximum of 60 days in which to provide proof that you have the required amount of money. Acceptable proof are cash, savings, investments, stocks, bonds, debentures, treasury bills, bankers' drafts, cheques, travellers' cheques, or money orders. A letter from your bank or investment company detailing the amounts held on your behalf would be sufficient. The account must be in your name or joint with your spouse. An account with your parents' name would not be acceptable. The letter must be on the bank's letterhead and signed by and authorised agent. An ATM slip will not be sufficient. A copy of the Certificate of Title for your apartment or car will not be acceptable. You will need to provide proof of readily disposable funds. 
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public. Submit your questions and comments to info@deidrepowell.com. Find her on Facebook: jamaicanlawyer.