Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Authorization to Return to Canada

Immigration Corner | How Do I Fix This Misunderstanding?

Dear Ms Powell,
About three years ago, I visited my aunt who was ill in Canada. I had a return ticket but my grandmother had surgery, so I stayed an extra 10 days to help out. I bought a one-way ticket back home. My aunt has recently passed away and I would like to attend the funeral. I tried to visit her last year and I was turned back. What can I do?
- E.E.
 Dear E.E.,
When an individual stays longer than the time granted, this could lead to a removal order and you will be deemed inadmissible to Canada. In order to overcome this hurdle, you may need an Authorisation to Return to Canada (ARC).
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) 52 (1) states that if a removal order has been enforced, the foreign national shall not return to Canada unless authorised by an officer or in other prescribed circumstances.
There are three types of removal orders and whether you need to apply for an ARC depends on the circumstances surrounding your departure from Canada. What document did you receive before you departed? (Certificate of Departure) Did you receive a departure order, exclusion order or a deportation order?
For a departure order, where you left within the 30 days required and you verified your departure, you do not need an ARC. However, you will be subject to scrutiny by an immigration officer upon landing in Canada. Similarly, if you were issued an exclusion order, have a certificate of departure and 12 months have passed, you do not need an ARC. A deportation order requires an ARC application.
In your circumstances, since you were turned back the last time you attempted to travel to Canada, it appears that you will need to apply for an ARC. This could be because you left without notifying the Canadian authorities of the date you actually left Canada.
The ARC application fee is CDN$400. You must provide a detailed letter explaining the circumstances or reasons for your overstaying. This is bearing in mind that you had the option to submit an application to change conditions or extend your stay in Canada as a visitor and you failed to do so at the time.
You will need to provide proof of your grandmother's illness and surgery. You will also need to provide additional proof that you, in fact, left at the time you indicated. Also submit details of your reason for wishing to return to Canada and convincing arguments to show that you will not overstay again. Your aunt's death certificate is also very important.
A completed Temporary Resident Visa application form and all the usual documents to show your ties to your home country are also necessary. You also need to show proof that you are committed to returning at the end of the time granted. Include documents such as a job letter, bank statement, proof of assets, membership in professional or community organisations, marriage certificate and birth certificates of your children, if applicable.
Meeting the minimum requirements for the issuance of a temporary resident/ visitor's visa is not enough. The authorities will look at the circumstances leading to the removal order and whether the circumstance has changed. Therefore, you must submit compelling arguments to convince a visa officer that you are not a threat to the Canadian society and that they can trust you to comply with their rules and regulations this time.
You appear to have compelling arguments. Therefore, your challenge will be to provide the relevant proof. Bare statements will not be accepted. You must submit documents to substantiate your application.
- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Submit your questions and comments to email: info@deidrepowell.com. Subject line: Immigration, or call 613.695.8777.  We provide assistance with Authorization to Return to Canada, Express Entry, Study Permit, Work Permit, Sponsorship, Citizenship, Appeals and more. Call or email to book your consultation.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner:

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Canada Immigration: Thinking Of Studying In Canada

Post graduate work permit

Dear Ms Powell,
I heard about a school in Halifax where I can study 'massage and hydrotherapy'. Can you tell me how I can find out if this school is accredited? Can I get a permit to stay in Canada when I finish?
- CR
Dear CR,
It is a good idea to check if a school is accredited or is considered to be a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), before you embark on studies as a pathway to becoming a permanent resident in Canada.
There is a list of DLIs which may be found on IRCC's official website: www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/study-institutions-list.asp.
On the successful completion of your studies, you may apply for a post graduate work permit (PGWP). The work permit will allow you to work in Canada for a specific period of time. The amount of time that you will be granted will be based on the length of your studies. The permit will not be granted for a period longer than the period of study. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you undertake a programme that lasts a minimum of one year. This will allow you to have a minimum of one year's work experience in Canada. You will then qualify to apply under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) via the express entry system.
You should apply for your post graduate work permit as soon as you have confirmation that you have successfully completed your programme. You do not have to wait until you have the certificate in hand. Submit your application before your study permit expires, to ensure that you are not staying in Canada without the relevant permits.
Permanent Residence
In order to qualify under the CEC for permanent residence, you will need to have a minimum of one year post graduate, full-time work experience in Canada or the equivalent number of part-time hours. Work experience as student, intern or under a co-op programme does not count.
Your work experience must fall within one of the qualifying Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes. That means that your experience should be in a managerial, professional or technical job. That is, your job title must fall within the list of NOCs O , A or B.
Since you will have Canadian post graduate certification, you will not need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). However, if you have additional international certification you should get the ECA as it will boost your qualifications. You should also sit the English examinations and ensure that you score is high to maximise your chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence.
Do not just stay in Canada on the completion of your studies without applying for the relevant permits. You want to ensure that you are not deemed inadmissible or become the subject of a removal or deportation order.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Submit your questions and comments to info@deidrepowell.com, Subject line: Immigration or call 613.695.8777
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20160510/immigration-corner-thinking-studying-canada

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Immigration Corner: I Think I've Been Scammed!

Dear Ms Powell:
I'm sure you have heard about the dozens of recruiting companies here in Jamaica taking people's money and not finding them jobs in Canada as promised. My friend told me about one that she thought would have been better than the ones here, so I paid some money to the recruiting company located in Ontario, Canada. They said they could find me a job as a hotel worker or domestic helper, as this would help me to get extra points so I could be admitted in the express-entry programme.
I was very excited as they seemed like a legit company. However, since I paid them, they haven't been taking my calls or responding to my emails. I only get computer-generated responses. I haven't even received one job interview. I emailed and told them to get me the job they had promised or return my money. they haven't answered.
Can I report them to the Canadian High Commission to get back my money or give me a job as promised? Can I sue them in Jamaica? At least four of my friends would join me against this company. All of us work at the same hotel. What can I do?
- JT
Dear JT:
I am sorry to hear about your experience with that Canadian recruiting company. I have written many articles, reminding individuals not to use recruiting companies that ask for a fee for their services.
Most legitimate companies/ recruiters are paid by approved employers to assist with finding suitably qualified and experienced workers.
The employers are usually companies that have a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment Report (LMIA) or are exempt from LMIA requirement.
Furthermore, you do not need a job offer in order to be admitted into the express-entry pool.
If the recruiter has failed to uphold promises and has taken money from you, you may make a complaint, not to the Canadian High Commission in your home country, but you may contact the Ministry of Labour in Canada and make a claim under the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act, 2009. You can find the claim form and other information on the website: www.Ontario.ca/EPFNA.
Under the EPFNA, recruiters involved in finding employment for foreign nationals, employers and their representatives are prohibited from charging or attempting to recover recruiting costs from foreign nationals.
The recruiter and prospective employer are prohibited from charging you costs linked to the hiring process. Such costs include hiring fees, application fees, advertising costs, LMIA application fees and cost.
 Some Employers Exempt
 You should also note that some employers are exempt from this strict requirement. These are employers who hire individuals under the federal government's Seasonal Agricultural Worker Programme (SAWP).
Under SWAP, certain employment contracts allow the employer to deduct the costs of air travel and work permit costs. The employer and recruiting company would need to provide the employee with this information up front, if applicable. If this was not provided beforehand, a claim can be made to recover these funds.
The act expressly prohibits recruiters from charging any fees to foreign nationals to find them a job and prohibits them taking your passport, work permit and other original documents.
Remedy is available to any foreign national working in or attempting to find work in Ontario under an immigration or foreign temporary-employee programme. The recruiter has a duty to provide you with the required information sheets about your rights and duties. This should be provided free of cost.
You can submit a claim against the recruiting company, a recruiter, a person acting on behalf of a recruiting company, an employer or a person acting for the employer, provided that you have your relevant proof.
In your case you may make a claim against the recruiting company and anyone who purports to be an agent or agents of the recruiting company.
You will need to provide background information and have credible facts in support of your claim. That means providing the full name, mailing address, telephone number, email and website of the recruiter.
If there is a local representative, then you should put the name, address and telephone number of the local recruiter as well. You will also need to submit proof of payment of fees and correspondences and contract with the recruiter.
You should provide details of your claim, including dates and all relevant information to assist the employment standards officer to investigate your claim.
You will have up to three-and-a-half years of the alleged misconduct, to file your claim. You may submit your completed claim form and supporting documents to:
Provincial Claims Centre
Ministry of Labour
70 Foster Drive,
Suite 410, Roberta Bodar Place,
Sault Ste Marie
Ontario, Canada P6A 6V4.
Fax: 1888.252.4684. Telephone 1416.326.7160
Once your file has been received by the Ministry of Labour and your form has been properly completed, you will be provided a claim number and your case assigned to an investigator.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Submit your questions and comments to: info@deidrepowell.com or call 613.695.8777.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner: http://www.jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20160503/immigration-corner-i-think-ive-been-scammed

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Immigration Corner: What Are 'Settlement Funds'?

Dear Ms Powell,
I hear that Canada has a programme that allows professionals to sponsor themselves and their families, but I hear I will need to have at least US$10,000 as settlement funds. What are settlement funds? Do I need to give the government of Canada that money for them to approve my application? Can I just show them that I own a BMW and a house that I can sell when they approve my application?
- H.D.
 Dear H.D.,
Any individual who has the education, work experience, settlement funds and who can satisfy a few other criteria can apply to become a permanent resident in Canada. Many individuals call this self-sponsorship.
The key would be to apply to qualify under one of the existing programmes such as the Federal Skilled Worker Programme, the Federal Skills Trade Programme, the Canadian Experienced Class Programme (CEC) or the Provincial Nominee Programme.
Part of the qualifying process is to show that you have enough funds to assist you and your family to settle in Canada. This is called settlement funds. This is required of persons without a job offer and all other categories except under the CEC programme. The amount of money you need to show is based on the number of persons in your family.
For example, for 2016, if you are the only person applying you will need to show that you have a minimum of CAD$12,164; family of two - CAD$15,143; family of four - CAD$22,636, and so on.
It is indeed recommended that you save your funds in US currency due to the fluctuating value of the currencies. As long as you have the equivalent of the Canadian dollars required, in Jamaican, US or any other currency, then you would satisfy the requirement.
The purpose of the funds is to ensure that you have enough funds to help you with settling in Canada, can support yourself and not require government assistance until you are able to obtain employment and establish yourself in Canada. You will not have to give this to the government of Canada. You will just need to have the funds ready to take with you to Canada. The recommended minimum amount is calculated annually by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and a new list is published every year.
You cannot just show proof of ownership of a car or house. Do you have a lien or mortgage on these properties? Furthermore, a car is a depreciating asset and there is no guarantee that you will be able to sell these assets and have the minimum amount available when it is time to go to Canada. So, this would not be acceptable proof.
You will need to submit proof of liquid funds with your application for permanent residence. Acceptable proof are cash, letter from your bankers or investment brokers showing that you own stocks, bonds, debentures, treasury bills or other investments.
To find out more about acceptable proof of settlement funds and how to make an application to become a permanent resident of Canada consult with an immigration lawyer.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public. Submit your questions and comments to: info@deidrepowell.com Find her on Facebook: jamaicanlawyer or call 876.922.4092 or 613.695.8777.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner: http://www.jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20160426/immigration-corner-what-are-settlement-funds

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Temporary Foreign Worker / Caregiver/ Work Permit

Dear Ms Powell.

I am 68 years old and I used to help my son with his children, but I can't manage anymore as my health has been failing me. I would like to hire someone from Jamaica to assist me and my grandchildren. I have someone in mind, but I am not sure how to get her here. What do I need to do? Also, I'm concerned that after I get her here she could up and leave me and my family. Is there a way to ensure that she is restricted to only working with me or return to Jamaica if she quits?
Dear D.S.,
A Canadian citizen or permanent resident can hire a foreign national to provide care for children, individuals with medical needs and the elderly, provided that all the parties are able to satisfy the requirements of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Qualified foreign individuals may apply for a work permit under the Temporary Foreign Worker Programme to become caregivers in Canada. The caregiver will be required to live in or live out of a private residence and provide a minimum of 30 hours per week to the private household.
Caregivers are usually hired to provide care to children under 18 years old, individuals over 65 years old or individuals who have disabilities, chronic or terminal illnesses.
You as the employer, and the prospective employee, will need to satisfy various requirements. The job must be a legitimate one and the main focus must be on caregiving for the children or you as an elderly person and the job cannot be for simple house-cleaning.
Since you have someone in mind for the position, you will need to ensure that the person has the required education and experience before you start the process. To qualify as a caregiver the individual will need to demonstrate that she has the required education and work experience as a babysitter, nanny or parent helper in order to care for children. If her main duties will be to work as a caregiver for you, as an elderly person, the individual will need to show that she qualifies as a home-support worker, nurse aide, practical nurse or registered nurse.
The caregiver must be able to prove that she has at least the following minimum requirements:
1. Completed the equivalent of a Canadian secondary school diploma, (Canadian High schools go up to grade 12.).
2. Have formal training of at least six months in caregiving; OR
3. A minimum of one year work experience as a caregiver or in a related job within the past three years. At least six months of ongoing work must be with one employer.
4. Proof of qualifications as a trained home-support worker, nurse aide, practical nurse or registered nurse is required if the application is submitted for care of anyone over 65 years. So, if training is done in Jamaica, then an Educational Credential Assessment is required to show that the education and training is equivalent to a similar training in Canada.
5. Demonstrate language ability by sitting and passing the General Training Examination.
Once the prospective caregiver has the required qualifications, you the employer will need to prepare a written employment contract that outlines the working arrangements. This job offer must have details about the pay, transportation, duties, hours of work, housing arrangements, medical and workplace insurance, holiday and sick leave. It should also have a termination clause.
The employment contract should be submitted with the application for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) report.
It is the employer's duty to apply for and pay for the LMIA report. This is a report that verifies that there is a genuine need for a temporary foreign worker, as all efforts to find someone in Canada to fill the position have been futile. You will need to apply to the Employment and Social Development Canada/Service Canada for the LMIA by submitting the completed forms, the required supporting documents and pay the fee.
Once the LMIA has been granted, the individual will need to submit her application for a work permit before the LMIA expires.
It will be up to the prospective caregiver to submit all the required documents and proof that she is qualified. This includes submitting a police report and doing medical tests.
You should know that even though you will be named as the employer on the application and the work permit, the caregiver has the right to change jobs without your permission. She will be free to work for another employer and you cannot stop the individual from doing so, as long as she has a legitimate job offer and the new employer has a LMIA.
A live-in caregiver can also apply for permanent residence after she has worked under the programme for a minimum of two years or 3,900 hours and within four years of entry into Canada. She will also be able to apply for an open work permit, so that she is not restricted to accepting jobs only as a caregiver.
Although I understand your concern about the time and investment you will need to make to bring in a foreign worker, you must be sure that you choose your employee carefully and treat them right so that they will be inspired to remain loyal.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner

Immigration Corner: I Want To Hire A Jamaican

: http://jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20160412/immigration-corner-i-want-hire-jamaican
 Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Ontario, Canada and Jamaican Bar. Submit your questions and comments toinfo@deidrepowell.com or call 613.695.8777/ 876.922.4092

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Immigration Corner: Thinking Of Being With My Woman In Canada

Dear Ms Powell,
I have been a farmer for the last 10 years and have been seeing a nice Canadian woman for about two years.
She visits all the time and stays with me. She said she could help me become a citizen and set up a farm in Canada.
However, I don't want any woman to have any control over me, so I want to know if there is a way for me, as a decent farmer man, to go to Canada.
My lady is nice but I want to be independent, just in case things don't work out. I have some savings and don't have a chick or child here in Jamaica. I want to explore how I can get to Canada and set up a farm there. What can I do?
Dear WN,
Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), formerly known and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), has always encouraged self-employed individuals, such as farm managers, cultural and athletic individuals, with relevant experience and qualifications, to apply for and become permanent residents of Canada.
There are several immigration programmes for self-employed individuals who can make a valuable contribution to the growth and development of Canada. I will highlight a few of the options available to you.
Options In Quebec
Quebec has a generous immigration programme for individuals who are interested in being self-employed or investing in Quebec. If qualified, you could be granted permanent residence and become eligible for Canadian citizenship.
To be eligible under the Quebec investor programme, you will need to show that you have net assets of at least CAD$1.6m and have experience managing a legal farm.
This means you will need to show that you have been in a legitimate business as a farmer in your home country and be able to substantiate your business-management experience.
You must intend to settle in Quebec and sign an agreement to invest CAD$800,000 in Quebec.
You also have the option of buying and managing a farm in any other province such as: Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia or New Brunswick making you eligible for permanent residence, without the assistance of your lady friend.
To do this, you will need proof that you have a minimum of two one-year periods of managing a farm within the last five years.
So if you have managed a legitimate farm, continuously, for the last 10 years, then your next step would be to score a minimum of 35 out of 100 points in order to qualify under this programme.
This is the point structure, which is subject to change without notice.
IRCC will examine your application and award you points based on your education, experience and age, ability to speak English / French and adaptability.
There is a range of points based on each criterion. The maximum you can get for each category is as follows:
Experience - 35 points
Age - 10 points
Education - 25 points
Language - 24 points
Adaptability - 6 points
The good thing about this programme is, that if you have more than five years experience as a self-employed individual of a legitimate business, you automatically get the required minimum points.
It is also mandatory that you sit the International English Language Testing System English (General Training) examination. You will be tested on your reading, writing, listening and speaking ability.
If you have a diploma, degree from a school outside of Canada, you should apply to get an Educational Credential Assessment report to show that your certificate, diploma or degree is valid and equal to a Canadian certification. You will also be required to do medical and criminal checks.
I admire your independent spirit, so if you have the funds to invest, then, I say, go for it. Submit your application now before the policy and rules change.
However, if things should become more serious with you and your Canadian lady friend, then you could consider family sponsorship.
Either way, I recommend that you consult an immigration lawyer, directly, to review your documents and discuss the finer details of your case, to determine the best option for you to immigrate to Canada.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner: http://www.jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20160315/immigration-corner-thinking-being-my-woman-canada
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, send your questions and comments to Email info@deidrepowell.com. Subject line: Immigration or Tel: 613.695.8777

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Immigration Corner: I Lied About Being Gay

Dear Miss Powell,
I'm in a same sex relationship with my Canadian boyfriend.
He wanted me to visit him so in his invitation letter he stated that I was his cousin by marriage and I also placed that information on the application form. That was done to keep my sexuality private and to protect me. Unfortunately the visa was denied.
We plan to get married soon and then he wants to sponsor me as his spouse. I read that I could be banned for misrepresentation. Is this true? What should we do?
- LJ
 Dear LJ,
You should not lie or give misleading information to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) as there are serious consequences. A person is deemed inadmissible under the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for, "directly or indirectly misrepresenting or withholding material facts relating to a relevant matter that induces or could induce an error in the enforcement of the Act."
It is not a criminal offence but goes to the heart of the integrity of the Canadian immigration system and CIC's goal of ensuring that all applicants are treated equally and fairly.
So, even though most people can understand the desire to keep your homosexual relationship private, you did not just conceal that the individual is a friend or partner, which is material fact, but went further to say that your partner is a cousin. This deepens the misrepresentation.
The penalty for misrepresentation (for cases outside of Canada), is that you could be barred from submitting an application for five years following the determination that there was a misrepresentation.


The best way to handle this situation is to deal with it in an honest, upfront manner. Do not make the situation worse. You need to voluntarily come forward and present the details of your misrepresentation; present your apology and an explanation when you submit your application for spousal sponsorship. Do not wait for the immigration authority to discover it on their own, as you will only compound the situation.
The reality is that there is a strong possibility that your spousal application could be denied, even if you provide an explanation with your spousal application. Nevertheless, all hope is not lost, as you could appeal the decision to the Immigration and Refugee Board or wait the five years to reapply. The officer is obliged to follow the Act and cannot extend the inadmissibility period, unless there are additional issues to consider at that time.
If your application is denied and you choose to appeal the decision, you should note that the board will examine all the circumstances of your case and weigh whether they should grant your requests.
Some of the key factors that the board would look at are: the seriousness of the misrepresentation; the circumstances surrounding it; the remorsefulness of the individuals involved; the impact that this could have on your family and your relationship with your spouse; joint investments; property and family obligations; whether you have a child together or other dependent family member who is directly affected; the impact that this could have on them and the degree of hardship that could be caused if your application is denied.
This list is not exhaustive, therefore I suggest that you get legal counsel to assist you with your application. You will need to present credible and convincing facts to show that the circumstances of your case are unique and warrant the considerations of the officer or the board. You should present sufficient evidence that the officer/ board should grant you relief even on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
The key thing to remember is that your marriage will be highly scrutinised by the authorities to ensure that it is genuine and not one entered into so that you can have the benefit of coming to Canada. So, you should be prepared to be honest about how you met, the development of your relationship, details of the ceremony, your financial status and details about your marital commitments.
Best of luck to you and your spouse.
Deidre S. Powell, is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Submit your questions to info@deidrepowell.com  Subjectline: Immigration or via fax to 613.695.8778. 
Published: http://jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20160209/immigration-corner-i-lied-about-being-gay