Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Can I sponsor another spouse after previous failed relationship?

Dear Ms Powell,

Thank you for keeping Jamaicans worldwide informed. I live in Alberta and I was born in Jamaica. About two years ago, I sponsored a girl to come to Canada. We weren't married, just common law. Things didn't work out, so we split up. I don't even know where she is right now. I met another really, nice Christian woman from Jamaica and I plan to marry her and take her here. We are planning to be married next June. Will the fact that I sponsored someone before affect my ability to sponsor my fiancée?

- A.B

Dear A.B.,
There are several issues here. We need to look at your duties as a sponsor, the date that your sponsorship application was approved, and the reason for the separation.

The critical date in this situation is October 25, 2012. Was your sponsorship application approved before or after that date?

In October 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) introduced new rules relating to spousal sponsorship. These new rules stipulate that the person being sponsored must live with his or her sponsored spouse, in a legitimate relationship for a minimum of two years, from the day of his or her spouse's permanent residence status in Canada. If your common-law spouse is unable to provide the requisite proof of this when required, she could have her permanent residence revoked.

Finances for support

Now to the most critical question: "Can you sponsor your fiancée?" If you sponsor a spouse to immigrate to Canada, CIC requires that you provide it with proof that you can meet the basic need of your new fiancée, yourself, your family, support your relative financially, and, most important, ensure that your spouse will not require financial help from the government.

When you sponsored your common-law partner, you gave an undertaking to be responsible for her for a minimum of three years from the date that she became a permanent resident. 

This responsibility does not change even if she has left your home. If she is forced to seek government assistance during the three years, then that could become your responsibility. In fact, you will be barred from sponsoring your new spouse if three years have not yet passed.

As mentioned before, if your common-law spouse received a conditional permanent residence and this was not already approved for full permanent residence, then she runs the risk of being returned to Jamaica if it was found out that she is no longer in a legitimate relationship with you. If her permanent residence is revoked, then CIC may evaluate the circumstances that led to the separation and could even bar you for a number of years from sponsoring someone new, even if that person is your wife.

Your case is not a cut-and-dry case, and, therefore, I strongly recommend that you consult with an immigration lawyer and provide additional information before you make any further decisions. It is imperative that you do this to protect yourself and your new fiancée.

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, real estate, commercial, personal injury, family and administration of estates. She is on the roster of Mediators for Ottawa, Toronto and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica.  Tel: 613.695.8777 Email:info@deidrepowell.com  Website: www.deidrepowell.com 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Facts about the New Express Entry Programme - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | December 9, 2014

Facts about the New Express Entry Programme
Published in  Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | December 9, 2014

Dear Ms Powell,
I am very interested in the Express Entry programme and I've searched the Internet and all the information is vague. I'm a professional, and I'm prepared to invest in Canada, and I want to know if the investor-entrepreneur class will reopen.
Dear N.N.
There has been much speculation about the Express Entry Programme as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has not unveiled the full details of the programme. However, on December 1, Minister Chris Alexander made an announcement to clarify many uncertainties and I summarise the basic facts below.
Who can apply?
The Federal Immigrant Investor Class and Federal Entrepreneur class will remain closed until further notice and will not be available under the Express Entry.

The Express Entry is open to skilled workers who qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker Programme, Federal Skilled Trades Programme and the Canadian Experience Class.  You must qualify under one of these programmes in order to qualify.

Information about these existing programmes is listed on my website at www.deidrepowell.com.

How to apply?
There will be an electronic system available for persons to express an interest in being considered under the Express Entry. This system will determine whether CIC should send an invitation for the individual to apply. This will also determine the applicant's rank relative to other eligible foreign nationals around the world. Once an individual ranks high enough, an invitation to apply (ITA) will be sent to the individual or his authorised representative.
If an individual has a physical or mental disability, it is best to use a representative to assist with the application. However, arrangements can be made with CIC to have the applications submitted via paper form. Otherwise, all expression of interest must be submitted electronically.
Selection criteria
In order to be selected, an applicant needs to be able to satisfy the following:
1. Meet the requirement under at least one of the programmes listed above (FSWP, FSTP, CEC);
2. Register with one of the online job banks of the Department of Employment and Social Development within 30 days of submitting an Express Entry application, if the applicant does not have a valid job offer; (special arrangements will be made for the physical or mentally disabled applicant.
3. Applicants will be ranked in the pool based on:
(a) Core human capital factors;
(b) Accompanying spouse or common-law partner factors;
(c) Skill transferability factors;
(d) Factors relating to a provincial nomination; or
(e) Qualifying offer of arranged employment.
4. The total number of points that a single applicant can get is 1,200 under the comprehensive ranking system.
5. An applicant will need to submit English language results. Applicants should endeavour to get the highest possible points to increase their chance of getting an ITA.
6. You will need to have an Educational Credential Assessment Report completed by one of the authorised bodies in respect of any foreign credentials. It is imperative to send an original, unopened transcript to have this assessment done.
Who can represent you?
The Express Entry is a complex, new programme. Therefore, I urge you to use authorised representatives and not to pay attention to vague and unauthorised 'agents' or bodies. You must use a lawyer, a registered immigration consultant, or paralegal that is authorised.
I have written several articles on how to check to see if someone is authorised and past articles are available on my blog and The Gleaner's website. Also, CIC has additional information on how to select a representative on its website. You must note that CIC will only accept applications from an authorised representative. An applicant can waste valuable time and money if he or she uses an unauthorised individual or company.
The application process is critical and more competitive than before. Therefore, applicants should ensure that a complete and accurate application is submitted the first time so they do not miss the opportunity to be ranked highly and to receive an invitation to apply.

Complete our online client information form to find out if you qualify under the 2015 Canada Express Entry which opens .
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, real estate, personal injury, family and administration of estates. Email: info@deidrepowell.com. Subject line: Immigration or Tel: 613-695-8777.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

What can I learn from US visa process?

What can I learn from US visa process?
Deidre S. Powell - Canada 

Dear Ms Powell,

I have a United States (US) visa and I would like to apply for a Canadian visitor's visa. Do I need to submit the same documents that I did to get the US visa? Are they going to ask me pretty much the same questions? What can I expect at the Canadian embassy?

- RM

Dear RM,

Most visa officers are looking for the same basic reassurance. Therefore, you will need to satisfy the visa officer that you have strong social and economic ties to your home country that would motivate you to return at the end of the time granted. Essentially, you need to establish that you will not remain in Canada illegally and that you can afford the expense of the trip.

To establish social and economic ties to Jamaica you will need to provide certain documents such as:

1. Birth certificates of your dependent children.

2. Marriage certificate/proof of common-law relationship such as a statutory declaration of common-law relationship, proof of joint ownership of property.

3. A letter from your employer that should show period of employment, your job title, your main duties, hours worked, your annual salary and benefits.

4. If you are self-employed, you will need copies of your business registration, copies of contracts, and a recommendation from a justice of the peace or a notable member of your community indicating the type of business that you operate and the length of time that you have been operating the business.

5. A bank statement from your bankers that proves that you have sufficient funds to pay for your ticket and expenses associated with your trip without being bankrupt or not being able to provide for your family in your absence.

6. If your trip is being sponsored by another individual, then you will need to establish the relationship or show why the person would be motivated to sponsor your trip. The reason should not be because you will be working for them during your visit. That person will need to submit a letter stating that he or she is are financially responsible for your trip and enclose his or her bank statement, letter from his or her employer, and proof of funds to cover the expense of the trip, without he or she experiencing hardship.

7. Proof of ownership of property such as a registered land title with your name on the title, boat, industrial machinery, vehicle registration/title, if unregistered land, then proof of payment of taxes and a copy of the surveyor's report, if available.

The above list is not exhaustive. The key is to have a valid reason for desiring to visit Canada; demonstrate that you have strong family, social and economic ties to your community; you can afford the trip as well as proof that you have more connection and responsibilities in Jamaica than Canada that would motivate you to return at the end of the time granted.

If you have been able to convince the US Embassy to grant you a visitor's visa, then that is a good indication that you were able to satisfy the basic requirements at the time of your application. If your social and economic situation has changed since your application, for example, if you are now divorced, lost your job or properties, then you should consider waiting until you are able to demonstrate that you have a stable and successful life in Jamaica.

If you do not have a job, you may want to delay applying, particularly if you cannot positively explain the reason for your unemployment as this could be viewed as a strong indication that you may be a flight risk.

Another important factor is that you will now have to submit your fingerprints as part of the application process. If you have additional issues or concerns, consult with an immigration lawyer.

Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are immigration, commercial, real estate, personal injury, 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 Twitter: deidrespowell Facebook: jamaicanlawyer.

Published in the Jamaican Gleaner, December 2, 2014

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Permanent residence in six months! - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | November 25, 2014

Permanent residence in six months! - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | November 25, 2014

Dear Miss Powell,

I wanted to apply under the Federal Skilled-Worker Programme this year, however, by the time I was ready to submit my application, I realised that I was too late to apply as a skilled worker as they were not accepting any more applications under my occupation. I'm very disappointed as I was looking forward to relocating as soon as possible. Are there any other ways that I can move to Canada and find gainful employment?

- KI

Dear KI,

I'm sorry that you were not able to submit your application in time under the Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP). Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has been receiving applications under the FSWP all year, and there is a limit to the number of applications they will accept under any one occupation. The cap has been reached for computer programmers, interactive media developers, and financial and investment analysts. That programme in its current format will come to an end in December 2014.

However, all is not lost as in January 2015, CIC will launch a new programme called the Express Entry.

This new programme has been creating much excitement around the world as many skilled and professional persons are looking forward to the revamping of the way one is selected to become a permanent resident. No longer will one be selected on "a first come, first serve" basis, but one will now be selected based on how one ranks against other applicants around the world.

Processed in six months
This new immigration model is heralded as a more efficient system, one that will ensure that Canada attracts the right professionals and skilled trade persons that satisfy the need of the employers in Canada. It is expected that persons who are granted permanent residence under this programme will have a greater chance of being successful and be able to support the economic needs of Canada.

Under the old system, employers would spend exorbitant sums of money hiring agents, sponsoring job fairs, and advertising internationally, at their own expense, to attract skilled personnel. The processing time was longer and the immigration system was deemed very difficult to navigate.

Under the express system, Canadian employers will play a significant role in the recruiting and the selection of economic immigrants. CIC will match employers to prospective employees, and CIC promises that once an individual receives an invitation to apply (ITA) and all the relevant documents are submitted within the time stipulated, that an individual could have a permanent resident card in his hands in six months or under.

To date, CIC has not unveiled the programme in its totality; however, the programme will be open to persons who qualify under the revamped Federal Skilled Worker Programme, Federal Skilled Trades Programme, Canadian Experience Class, and a portion of the existing Provincial Nominee Programme.

The application will be done in two stages. First, if you are interested, you will be required to show an expression of interest in being considered under this programme by submitting an online application to CIC. This initial stage is very critical as this online application will be the basis on which one is ranked among the pool of individuals worldwide and will determine whether one receives an invitation to apply for permanent residence.

This first stage is not an application for a visa or permanent residence. This is merely an indication to CIC and prospective employers that one would like to be considered. At this stage, one must be accurate and truthful about one's personal information, current occupation, education/qualification, work experience, language ability, and also indicate whether one has any business and investment experience.

Accurate Information

This online application will form the basis on which one is selected to proceed to the next level. One must bear in mind that this first stage will form a part of one's overall application. Consequently, one cannot submit false or inaccurate information at this level just to be able to move to the next level as one's application could be later rejected and one may not be allowed to reapply.

Secondly, one will be ranked based on the pool of applicants received by CIC. This system will be highly competitive only the highest-ranked individuals will be matched with prospective employers. Those with job offers from legitimate Canadian employers, or those receiving provincial nominations, will receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence. 

Persons who receive an ITA will, therefore, need to be prepared to submit a full application with supporting documents within 60 days of receiving the invitation.

Once CIC receives a complete application and all the supporting documentation, then they promise to complete the application for permanent residence within six months.

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, 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 Tel: 613-695-8777. Find her on facebook.com/JamaicanLawyer

Friday, 21 November 2014

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act

November 21, 2014 — Ottawa

Today, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced the coming into force of certain changes under the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act that will further protect the safety and security of Canadians and the integrity of Canada’s immigration system.

The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act is expediting the removal of foreign criminals from Canada, while making it harder for those who pose a risk to Canadians to enter the country. 

The new changes will deter and prevent abuse of the immigration system and safeguard Canadians by:

Increasing the penalty for misrepresentation from a two- to a five-year period of inadmissibility, as well as a five-year ban on applying for permanent resident status. This change will help deter fraudulent applications and sends a strong message to those who would abuse our system that giving false or misleading information has serious consequences.

Barring temporary entry to immediate family members of those who are inadmissible to Canada on the most serious grounds, including national security, human or international rights violations or organized criminality. This new measure will ensure that individuals who pose a serious danger are unable to use their relatives to expand their networks in Canada.

Quick facts

Because of the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act:

Convicted criminals sentenced to more than six months imprisonment in Canada are now being removed more quickly as they no longer have the right to file an appeal to the Immigration and Refugee Board’s Immigration Appeal Division.

As well, those who have a foreign conviction or committed an action outside Canada that carries a maximum sentence of at least 10 years in Canada are also barred from filing an appeal.

Foreign nationals who are inadmissible on the most serious grounds, including national security, human or international rights violations or organized criminality, no longer have access to a program that is meant for cases deserving of humanitarian and compassionate consideration.


“Canada continues to facilitate legitimate trade and travel however we will not tolerate abuse of our immigration system or put our country at risk. The new measures introduced by our government under the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act increase our ability to protect the safety and security of Canadians.”

Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister

Friday, 7 November 2014

Immigration News on Federal Skilled Trade Workers in Canada

I'm worried about my husband's status - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | November 4, 2014

Immigration News on Federal Skilled Trade Workers in Canada and Becoming a Permanent Resident/ Citizen

Dear Ms. Powell,

My husband is a tradesman and has been working in Canada on a work permit for the past three years.  His work permit will expire next year and I’m worried that they won’t renew it this time.  Is there a way for him to apply for citizenship and file for me and our son?

Dear L.L,
The application to become a Canadian citizen will need to be done in stages.  You husband would need to first apply to become a permanent resident under the  Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and then he can apply to become a citizen, after satisfying the residency requirements. 

The CEC is open to temporary foreign workers and  foreign students who have a minimum of 12 months of full time work (or equivalent part – time work) experience within the last 36 months, just before the application is submitted.   

 Your family must plan to live outside of Quebec and satisfy other requirements such as pass the language test, medical and police checks.  Your husband may include you and your son in the application, provided that your son is less than 19 years old.

There is a cap on the number of applications that will be received under the CEC just like the Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP).  Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced that they would be accepting a maximum of 8000 applications for 2014.  The programme will then be changed in 2015 and applicants will need to submit application under the Express Entry.  

Eligible occupations
There is a list of eligible occupations on CIC’s website and my website www.deidrepowell.com . If your husband  has experience in any of the occupations listed then he should apply immediately , before the cap is reached.  Your husband’s work experience will need to be in a managerial (NOC skill type 0), professional job (NOC skill type A) or a technical job/ skilled trade (NOC skill type B). 
Some of the popular occupations are:

·         Supervisors, supply chain, tracking and schedule coordination occupations
·         Conference and event planners
·         Property administrators
·         Human resources and recruitment officers
·         Executive assistants
·         Court officers
·         Legal administrative assistants
·         Health information management occupations
·         Insurance underwriters, adjusters and claims administrators
·         Customs, ship and other brokers
·         Assessors valuators & appraisers
·         Landscape and horticulture technicians
·         Construction inspectors
·         Dental hygienists
·         Firefighters
·         Photographers
·         Graphic designers and illustrators
·         Supervisors – Accommodation, Travel  , Tourism and related services                               
·         Executive housekeepers
·         Cleaning supervisors
·         Bakers, Chefs
·         Hairstylists and barbers
·         Shoe repairers and shoe makers
·         Upholsterers
·         Contractors and supervisors other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
·         Plumbers
·         Carpenters
·         Motor vehicle body repairers
·         Supervisors, food, beverage and associated products processing
·         Computer network technician
·         Real Estate agents and salespersons
·         Supervisor Customer & Information services

Not Eligible

CIC has done an assessment of the number of applications received to date and have announced that that they will not be accepting applications where the working experience in Canada is limited the following categories: 

·         cooks (NOC code 6322);
·         food service supervisors (NOC 6311);
·         administrative officers (NOC 1221);
·         administrative assistants (NOC 1241);
·         accounting technicians and bookkeepers (NOC 1311);
·         retail sales supervisors (NOC 6211).
There is an application fee  payable to CIC, which is based on the number of persons included in the application.  Be sure to check the amount and use the correct currency.  The application process is outlined on the CIC website.  The key is to submit an accurate and complete application, with all the required supporting documents. If your husband is unsure about his eligibility or need help with preparation of the application, he should consult with an immigration lawyer privately.

Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with offices located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, personal injury, family, commercial and administration of estates. Submit your questions and comments to: Email: info@deidrepowell.com.Subject line: Immigration. Tel: 613-695-8777, Twitter: deidrespowell Facebook: jamaicanlawyer.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Common Mistakes of Visa Applicants

What am I doing wrong? - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | October 28, 2014

Dear Ms Powell,
I submitted my application under the federal skilled worker programme. I submitted everything they asked for and the forms came back twice. I'm confused and time is running out. What could I be doing wrong?
- TP
Dear TP,
I'm sorry to hear that your application form was returned. It is not uncommon for persons who do not have the required experience with dealing with applications to the various immigration authorities, to have their application rejected, because of various errors or omissions. I am not able to say the particular problem with your application without first reviewing the documents. However, I will outline below some of the common mistakes made by applicants.
1. Incomplete or inconsistent forms
A major problem with most visa applications is that individuals provide incomplete or inconsistent information in their application. CIC will not overlook that. You have a duty to ensure that basic personal information such as your name, address, age, occupation, and other personal details are complete and consistent. This information should be the same as your supporting documents. So, for example, if they call you 'Tony Powell', but the name on your birth certificate is 'Anthony Powell', you must put that your given name is Anthony and your nickname, or alias, is 'Tony Powell'.
2. Not signing the forms
Another common mistake is not signing the forms or not signing in the designated areas. Some sections on the form are reserved for signing in the presence of a visa officer or an official government representative. You must not sign that area beforehand. This mistake, as innocuous as it seems, will result in your visa application being rejected or returned.
3. Incomplete or missing documents
You must COMPLETE the application and submit all the required documents. Applications that do not have all the necessary information and accompanying documents are usually returned. So if the application calls for ORIGINALS, you must submit originals and not copies. You must answer every question. If a section does not apply to you, you must put N/A, or 'not applicable', or the word 'NONE', depending on the form you are completing.
4. Failing to attach the requisite fees
There is a fee for processing all applications. You must ensure that you submit the correct application fee, which is usually based on the type of visa and the number of persons included in the application. You must use the currency and payment method stipulated. If you chose the option of certified cheque or money order, you must ensure that it is payable to the correct entity as stated in the instruction guide.
5. Picking the wrong visa office 
Another major problem is submission of the application to the wrong visa office. You must send your application to the visa office that is responsible for processing your particular application. If you fail to do so, your application may spend months in the wrong office before it is returned to you.
6. Using outdated forms
I sympathise with applicants who are not in the business of ensuring that they get the updated forms or who do not keep abreast of changing rules and regulations, as immigration professionals routinely do. However, if you choose to submit your application without the help of a professional, you have a duty to yourself to check to ensure that you are using the latest/the most updated forms. Submitting an application with the wrong form will result in the application being returned.
7. Other common mistakes
The other common mistakes are sending application packages with the wrong photo specifications; providing misleading answers to questions; or failing to provide explanations where they are required. Completing the forms online is a good way to safeguard against errors and omissions.
As stated earlier, the list above is not exhaustive. I am not able to advise on your particular case, but as you indicated, time is running out and, therefore, you must be extremely careful. Mistakes, errors, and omissions have very grave consequences and will result in delays, unnecessary expenses, and possibly outright rejection or cancellation of the application.
My concern is that  Citizenship and Immigration Canada has been receiving applications from around the world on a daily basis and there is a limit on the number of applications that they will accept under the federal skilled worker programme this year. Therefore, to prevent further delay and stress, I think it is best to consult with an immigration lawyer immediately to provide you with personal legal advice.
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, commercial, family, and administration of estates. Submit your questions and comments to: Email: info@deidrepowell.com. Subject line: Immigration. Tel: 613-695-8777. Find her on Facebook: jamaicanlawyer