Tuesday, 12 July 2016

I Have A Child With A Canadian Resident - Canada Immigration

Deidre Powell - Immigration Lawyer

Dear Ms. Powell,
I met a man on the beach a few years ago who said he was a Canadian citizen.
I took him home with me, where he spent the rest of his vacation with me. I showed him all of Jamaica and we had a wonderful time. After he left, I realised that I was pregnant. I told him about the child and he sends money every now and again. Can he sponsor our daughter to be a citizen? I asked him to sponsor her and he said he can't. What would prevent him from making the application? What can I do to make sure my child has a good life? She looks so much like him. I think she would have better opportunities in Canada. What can I do?
- A.W.
Dear A.W. ,
Only citizens and permanent residents of Canada over the age of 18 are permitted to sponsor family members to Canada. Family members, under Canadian laws, include dependent children under the age of 19 years old. The definition of who is deemed to be a child was changed in August 1, 2014, from the previous limit of 22 years. Canadian citizens and permanent residents can also sponsor other family members, such as spouses, common-law or conjugal partners, parents and other relatives, if they can satisfy certain requirements.
In order for your daughter's father to sponsor her, he would have to meet certain specified requirements such as:
1. Ability to provide for her financially.
2. Provide a police certificate.
3. Be in good health.
4. Be willing to sign a commitment agreement stating that he will provide support for her and not cause her to seek financial support from the government.
5. Other requirements based on the details of your case.
There are certain factors which could make him ineligible. You will need to ask him these questions:
1. Is he, in fact, a citizen or permanent residence of Canada?
2. Can he provide you with a copy of his birth certificate, citizenship card, citizenship certificate or permanent resident card?
3. Has he or someone he sponsored breached the terms of a previous sponsorship?
4. Has he failed to provide financial support in accordance with a court order?
5. Has he received social assistance for reasons other than disability?
6. Has he committed a criminal offence of a sexual nature, or involving violence against a family member?
7. Has he defaulted on an immigration loan?
8. Is he now in prison?
9. Has he declared bankruptcy?
Children Of Canadian Citizens
If your child's father was a Canadian citizen before the birth of your child, then he may have the option of not just sponsoring your child, but he can make an application for your child to become a permanent resident or citizen, based on how he got his citizenship and the date when your child was born.
The Canadian laws and immigration system are constantly changing; however, a key fact to note is that if your child was born before April 17, 2009, then your child is deemed to be a Canadian citizen at birth and you will only need to submit all the relevant documents in order for the child to receive Canadian citizenship.
For children born after April 17, 2009, the rules are different. A child born outside of Canada, whose parent is a Canadian citizen, does not automatically become a citizen unless the parent was employed by certain Canadian government departments.
There could be several factors that affect whether or not your child's father can sponsor or apply for your daughter to become a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. I strongly recommend that you both consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer to guide you.
 Published in the Jamaican Gleaner: http://jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20160712/immigration-corner-i-have-child-canadian-resident
Deidre S. Powell is a Lawyer, Mediator and Notary Public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with main office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in Immigration, Personal Injury, Real Estate, Commercial, Family and Administration of Estates. She is on the roster of Mediators for Ottawa, Toronto and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Email: info@deidrepowell.com. Subject line: Immigration Find her on Facebook: jamaicanlawyer.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Immigration Corner | How Do I Sponsor Myself To Go To Canada?

Immigration Lawyer - Deidre Powell

Dear Ms. Powell,
I recently finished my degree at University of the West Indies (UWI) and job prospects here seem very slim. I would like to do the self sponsorship programme to become a citizen of Canada.
I have a half sister living there, plus my Dad said he would give me the funds. How do I sponsor myself? Do I need to have a job offer before I apply? How easy is it to get through? How long will it take? Thank you for taking the time to guide me as I see so many advertisements out there that I don't know who to trust and I don't want to get scammed.
Dear B.L.
Canada has several immigration programmes under which you could apply to become a permanent resident, provided that you can meet the requirements.
The main programmes are the Federal Skilled Worker Programme, Federal Trades Programme, Canadian Experience Class and Provincial Nominee Programme. These programmes are accessible via the Express Entry System. It is a two-step process which involves, firstly, acceptance into the pool and, secondly, receiving an invitation to apply. Once you receive an invitation to apply, you could receive permanent residence within six months.
Immigration Lawyer
Express Entry System
The Express Entry system is a points-based, electronic system implemented in January 2015 by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), formerly known as CIC. It is a system of managing prospective applicants under the above mentioned programmes, both in Canada and the rest of the world.
Although the system is promoted as not being occupation specific, thereby not having a specified list of occupations, the system is more challenging than the previous first come, first serve method. Under the express entry system all applicants are lumped into one pool for selection based on their Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS). That means an individual will be competing with individuals currently in Canada and those internationally.
Points under this system are allotted based on core human factors such as education, work experience, age, language. The number of points that you will be allotted is also affected on your marital status and the ability to combine points as a couple.
To exceed the 500 points threshold, international applicants will need to have Canadian work experience within the last three years, which qualifies them to be classified under the Canadian Experience Class and/ or receive a provincial nominee certificate from one of the Province and / or receive a legitimate job offer from an employer that can produce a Labour Market Impact Assessment Report (LMIA). With any of the above, the maximum points that an applicant can get is 1200 points. So far the lowest CRS that has received an invitation to apply for permanent residence, to date, is 450.
You do not need to have a job offer in order to be accepted into the pool. The challenge is to score enough to receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence. This is where individuals could get scammed.
There are many individuals claiming that they can get you a job. However, the key question to ask them is whether or not the perspective employer has a LMIA report or if the particular job is LMIA exempt. There is a list of LMIA exempt occupations on the Canadian government's website. A quick Google search will reveal that information.
It is your duty to investigate whether or not the offer is legitimate. Furthermore, in most cases, employers pay their own recruiting agencies to find quality workers and you do not need to pay employment agencies to find work for you. Note also that once you have been accepted into the express entry pool, you will have access to the Canadian government's job bank which allows you to apply for legitimate jobs without fear of being scammed.
Do you need a representative?
You do not need to pay a representative to act on your behalf, if you are able to effectively navigate the system yourself. The key thing is to do it right the first time.
There are two types of representatives - compensated and uncompensated. A compensated representative must be authorised in order to assist you with your application. These representatives are limited to lawyers and paralegals who are members in good standing with a Canadian Provincial or Territorial Law Society. Also, immigration consultants who are members in good standing with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).
The individuals who are authorised to practice as a paid representative can easily be found on the various regulatory body websites. Do not be afraid to ask your paid representative for proof that they are authorised to represent you. IRCC will not accept your application or deal with the individual on your behalf, if the person is not authorised.
The key thing to note is that using a representative is a choice. That representative will guide you in the process and show you how to maximise your points. The representative also ensures that you escape some of the pitfalls of the system, based on his/her experience and knowledge.
How do you protect yourself from getting scammed? 
Do your own research and ask questions. Search the Gleaner website (  or this blog ) for previous articles on how to avoid being scammed. Discuss your concerns with your representative before making a decision. Do not blindly turn over your confidential documents and information to individuals that you have never seen or heard of before. Most importantly, check the Canadian government websites for information.
Basic information that you should know before you apply
Your goal is to maximise your points. Pay attention to the following:
1. Education: You will need to get an Educational Credential Assessment Report (ECA) of your university degree/ diploma/certificate if it is from a non-Canadian school.
2. Experience: You need a minimum of one year work experience in a job in certain specified trades, or at a supervisory, management or in certain professionals such as CEO, engineer, lawyer, and doctor. The key thing to check is if your occupation is listed under the category A, B, O. If you have three or more years full time or equivalent part time work experience in the particular job you will be able to get the maximum points under this category.
3. Language: You will need to sit the IELTS, General Training Examination. There is no way around this. To maximise your points, ensure that you get a minimum of eight in each category. Pay attention to your listening skills.
4. Age: Individuals between the age of 20 and 29 can get a maximum of 100/ 110 points. The number of points allotted will decrease as you get older. Individuals over 45 will not get any points under this category.
5. Settlement funds are required: You will need to provide proof of a minimum of CAD$12,162.00 (current figure) based on the number of individuals in your family.
Quebec is an option
You should note that the province of Quebec has its own electronic system for the Quebec Federal Skilled Worker programme (QSWP). This route has been very popular, as the minimum criteria for receiving a Certificat de selection (CSQ), is similar to an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence, and has a lower threshold. Key factors to note: there are no points for adaptability/ having relatives in Canada, there is an area of training list, you do not need to speak French, you do not need a job offer and applications should be submitted through the Mon project Quebec portal.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is admitted to practise in Jamaica and Canada. Submit your questions and comments to info@deidrepowell.comFind her on Facebook: jamaicanlawyer.\ Call 613-695-8777 or 876-922-4092.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Immigration Corner | Haunted By Drunk-Driving Charge

Dear Ms Powell,
I was on vacation in the United States (US) and my family decided to visit our relatives in Toronto, Canada. I wasn't driving, but when I got to the border the immigration officer denied me entry. They said they have evidence of me driving under the influence in the US. I have a valid Canadian visitor's visa and a US visitor's visa. I used to go to school in the States and I was charged in the States for driving under the influence (DUI), but that was years ago. I can't believe they refused to allow me into the country when I have a valid visa. I was forced to leave the car and find a hotel to stay until my family returned. Can I appeal this? What can I do? I don't want this to happen to me again. This is totally embarrassing and I don't want this trouble again. The US did not prevent me from entering, so why is Canada penalising me for something that happened in the US years ago?
- Distressed
Dear Distressed,
Once someone has a criminal record or committed an offence anywhere in the world, the Canadian immigration authorities have the right to determine whether to allow you into their country. The type of offence does not matter. Canada takes driving under the influence very seriously. This applies to individuals with a US green card/ permanent residence status, visitors, students, workers and even individuals applying for permanent residence.
Individuals who have a criminal record of reckless/ careless driving, driving without due care and attention, DUI, driving while intoxicated or impaired (DWI) - which also includes effects of prescribed medications - to name a few, could be barred from entering Canada.
This policy is very strict and applies to everyone, even celebrities and heads of government. Once you are deemed inadmissible, you have to go through the standard procedures to obtain authorisation to return to Canada or an official waiver, as in the case of former US President George Bush, who had a drunken driving offence dating back to the 1970s.
Canada is even more vigilant since the agreement with the US which allows both countries to share data on individuals. This data-sharing initiative means that individuals who have committed a felony or misdemeanour in the US will most likely be stopped at the border, or on entering Canada, and scrutinised by an immigration officer to determine whether they should allow the individual to enter.
It does not matter that you were not the driver at the time and that you do not intend to drive in Canada. What guarantee does the Canadian government have? Their duty is to protect other Canadian citizens, residents and other visitors to Canada. That means not allowing someone with a criminal record from entering without first being admissible.
The procedure for dealing with this is not by way of an appeal. The correct procedure to follow will be based on factors such as the type of offence, the fine or sentence imposed, the severity of the offence and the number of years that have passed since paying the fine or serving the sentence.
It is best to consult with an immigration lawyer to help with determining the best way forward. Handling the situation incorrectly could lead to a delay or even compound the situation, possibly leading to a lifetime ban.
You should note that you could be deemed rehabilitated if more than 10 years have passed from the payment of a fine, or completion of the sentence. You could also apply for criminal rehabilitation if more than five years have passed since the completion of the latest sentence on your criminal record. You may also apply for an Authorisation to Return to Canada as a visitor. In many instances, if there is a compelling or urgent reason for you to visit Canada, an application can be made for a temporary resident permit at the port of entry. You will need to provide the necessary documents to convince the authorities to allow you into the country at that time. A green-card holder will also need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation along with the dealing with the inadmissibility issue as the rules have changed for green-card holders.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, a legal opinion from an accredited lawyer outlining the circumstances of your case and the legal basis upon which you should be authorised to enter Canada could be of significant help to you when you travel.
Do not despair. Based on the information that you have provided, it appears that you can overcome your inadmissibility by consulting with a lawyer and providing the details of the circumstances of your case along with supporting documents, such as a copy of your US criminal record and all communications received from the Canadian authorities. Your application could take anywhere from a few months to just over a year, based on the type of application made. Therefore, you should deal with the issue immediately or well in advance of your next visit to Canada.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner: http://www.jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20160628/immigration-corner-haunted-drunk-driving-charge
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is admitted to practice in Jamaica and Ontario, Canada. Submit your questions and comments to info@deidrepowell.com or call 613.695.8777/ 876.922.4092. Find her on Facebook at: facebook.com/jamaicanlawyer.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Immigration Corner | I Want To Work In Canada

Dear Ms Powell,
I would like an opportunity to visit Canada to work. I just want to get some experience of working in another country. Does Canada have programmes like that? I would just like to get some international work experience and get to know Canada. I could visit some of the universities to see if I would like to do further studies there.
- W.P.
 Dear W.P.,
Canada has a programme known as the International Experience Class (IEC), which allows young people from around the world, who qualify, to come to Canada to travel and work under one of three available programmes. The programmes are The International Co-op (internship); Young Professionals; and The Working Holiday programmes. Your eligibility for these programmes is based on your country of citizenship.
To qualify for an IEC work permit, your country of citizenship must have an agreement with Canada that allows you to apply for the work permit. If your country is not on the list, you will need to use one of the Recognised Organisations (RO) to assist you with your application.
There is no Caribbean country on the list of countries that are in agreement with Canada. So as a Jamaican, you will need to visit the website of one of the ROs to find out how to access the programme with their help.
There are currently 12 organisations on the list of ROs.
You will need to contact them to make an application to the ROs and to see if you will be granted a letter confirming that they will help you to plan your trip or to find work in Canada. Once you have this confirmation letter in hand, you may check to see if you are eligible to enter into the pool of candidates via the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.
Your first step would be to create a profile via the online portal, which is similar to the express entry portal, so that you can be admitted into the pool of IEC applicants. Once you enter the pool, your chances of receiving an invitation to apply for a work permit will be based on programme for which you are qualified. The most competitive is the working holiday programme. Therefore, you should try to get accepted under the Young Professionals and International Co-op (internship) category to increase your chances of receiving an invitation to apply for a work permit. You must wait for IRCC to grant you an invitation to apply for a work permit. You cannot apply for a work permit under this category without receiving an invitation to apply.
You will need the cooperation of the employer, who will be required to pay a fee within the specified time through the employer portal. Once your prospective employer has paid the fee, you should request the reference code in order to complete your application within the specified time.
Also required are medical and security checks. These reports must be uploaded along with other supporting documents to the IRCC portal. Fees associated with this application are C$150 (participation fee), plus C$100, which should be paid to IRCC via the online portal. You will need an international credit card to be able to make this payment.
This process could take approximately eight weeks to be completed. Therefore, university or college students between 18 and 35 years who are interested in this programme should contact an immigration lawyer, visit the IRCC website, or the website of one of the recognised organisations for additional information.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is admitted to practise in Jamaica and Canada. Submit your questions and comments toinfo@deidrepowell.com. Find her on Facebook: jamaicanlawyer. Call 613-695-8777 or 876-922-4092.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Immigration Corner | Application Refusal Putting Strain On Marriage

Dear Ms Powell,
I applied to sponsor my Jamaican husband to come to Canada and the application was refused. How do I appeal? I've been spending too much money going back and forth and this is causing a strain on our marriage. Please help us.
- F.Y.
Dear F.Y.,
I understand the strain that the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) refusals of your application would cause on your marriage. However, the IRCC usually outlines the specific reasons for the denial of the application. What was the reason for the denial? Before you can appeal, you need to ensure that you are able to address, with supporting documents, the issues outlined in the refusal letter.
Your access to the appeal process will not be allowed if your spouse is deemed inadmissible to Canada by reason of his criminal record. If he has a history of committing a serious criminal offence anywhere in the world and that crime is punishable in Canada by a term of imprisonment of two years or more, your appeal will not be allowed. Further, if your spouse is considered to be a general threat to the safety of other Canadians; or found to be involved in organised crime or violated human or international rights, then your appeal will be automatically sent back without a hearing being permitted.
Although misrepresentation to IRCC is a serious issue, you still have a right to appeal and you may have a chance of succeeding, provided that you are able to adequately address the concerns of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).
You have up to 30 days after the decision to submit an appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division of the IRB. This is a very strict timeline and can be very complex. I strongly recommend that you consult with an immigration lawyer to assist you with your appeal. The outcome of your appeal can influence whether you are able to reapply to sponsor your spouse or anyone else in the future.
You will first need to complete a notice of appeal, enclose supporting documents and a copy of the refusal letter and send it to the appropriate registry.
If you live in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, or the city of Ottawa, your appeal should be submitted to the IAD Registry Office in Montreal. If you live in Ontario and not the city of Ottawa, your appeal should be submitted to the IRB registry in Toronto. For all other provinces, the application should be submitted at the IAD registry in Vancouver.
You may also submit an oral appeal and this is usually done when you have the support of counsel.
Once your appeal is received and deemed acceptable, the IAD will decide whether to submit your appeal to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This is a private, fairly informal process and spousal applications are often sent here. This is not a right, but allowed based on the circumstances of the case. If your case is not selected for ADR, it could be sent to be heard by an official of the IAD. This is a formal hearing similar to a court process.
In some instances, you may only need to wait a while then reapply for your spouse, as the appeal process can be lengthy and costly. The decision to do so will ultimately be based on the reason for the denial. Your previous application will be on the record, therefore you must ensure that you have new supporting documents to overcome the concerns of IRCC.
- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Submit your questions and comments to info@deidrepowell.com or call 613.695.8777/ 876.922.4092. You can also find her on facebook.com/jamaicanlawyer
Published in the Jamaican Gleaner: http://www.jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20160614/immigration-corner-application-refusal-putting-strain-marriage

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Immigration Corner | What Should I Submit Re: Relative in Canada

Dear Ms Powell,
I have an urgent question. I applied for my son under the express-entry system and put that he has an aunt in Canada. He got an invitation to apply and they are now asking for proof that he has an aunt there. What documents can I submit? What if I can't get the documents in time?
- WL
Dear WL,
Congratulations to your son for receiving an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence in Canada. The express entry system is points-based. Additional points are awarded for adaptability if there is proof that at least one of the following relatives is in Canada: aunt, uncle, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, niece, nephew, or spouse. He will need to provide documents to substantiate the information presented in the initial express-entry profile.
Since you indicated that your son has an aunt in Canada, the necessary proof required are documents to show how the parties are related, the relative's legal status in Canada and proof that she is living in Canada. The relative will need to be over 18 years old.
So if the relative is your sister, you should provide a copy of your birth certificate, your sister's birth certificate and your son's birth certificate. This is assuming that the birth certificate clearly shows that you share at least one parent.
If she is a paternal aunt, then the required birth certificates would be that of your son's father and the aunt to show that there is at least one common parent.
In some cases, the father's name is not on the birth certificate and so the relationship is not clearly identifiable. In that case, an application to add the father's name to the birth certificate may be necessary. You should contact the Registrar General's Department to obtain additional information on the procedure to apply to get this done. I strongly recommend that you apply for expedited service.
The other document that may be submitted are your aunt's marriage certificate or deed poll, if there was a change of name, or if her name is different from the one shown on her birth certificate.
To prove status in Canada, you should submit one of the following - the relative's record of landing; Canadian passport; permanent resident card; citizenship card or certificate.
Proof of residence in Canada is also required. Therefore, you may submit a monthly utility bill; a current notice of assessment or tax returns; lease or rental contract; or a letter from your aunt's employer, confirming her employment.
If your case is not clear and you cannot obtain the necessary documents within the required 60 days, you should provide a letter of explanation so that you do not miss the deadline. If you submit your application without the required proof, and do not provide an explanation, your application will be cancelled.
• Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Her areas of practice are immigration, real estate, wills, trusts and estates. Submit your questions to Email: info@deidrepowell.com or call 613.695.8777 Find her at: Facebook.com/jamaicanlawyer.

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: