Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Tips To Improve Your CRS Score for Express Entry

Dear Ms Powell,
How can I get permanent residence in Canada? My husband is a chef and we would love to qualify.
- W.L.
Dear W.L.,
I am continuing my answer from two weeks ago, and I hope to provide you with tips on how to improve your Comprehensive Ranking Score, so that you can receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence in Canada.
You will need to provide language reports for English and/or French.
Canada is looking for individuals who can fill the gap in the labour market and contribute to the economy. They are looking for professionals or federal skilled workers, as well as certain specified skilled trade workers.
The skilled trades that are currently eligible for the Federal Skilled Trades Programme and the Express Entry System are those that are classified as industrial, electrical, construction, maintenance and equipment operation, supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production, processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors, central control operators, chefs, cooks, butchers and bakers. All these skills are classified as skill-type B and will be admitted into the pool.
A report from the Canadian government revealed that over 12,000 individuals received invitations to apply for permanent residence in 2015. Majority of the applicants came from occupations such as food service supervisors, cooks, information systems analysts and consultants, software engineers, computer programmers, university professors and lecturers, financial auditors, accountants and investment analysts.
You will need to show proof of training and education by way of an Educational Credential Assessment report, as well as a minimum of one year's work experience in the occupation.
Your profile will be reviewed and points will be given based on factors such as core human capital; accompanying spouse or common-law partner; skill transferability and factors relating to a provincial nomination or a job offer from a qualified employer.
A single applicant can get up to 500 points just based on core human capital factors. Points will be awarded based on age, level of education, language proficiency and Canadian work experience (minimum of one continuous year).
Additional points can be obtained from receiving a valid job offer or provincial nomination. You can get an additional 600 points if you have a valid job offer with a Labour Market Impact Assessment report or a provincial nomination. You will need to submit a separate application to the provinces in order to receive a provincial nomination.
Here are examples of possible scores:
Mary is 27 years old with a master's degree. She scored the maximum points in each band in her English test; no French language exam; five years' post graduation work experience outside of Canada; no job offer; no provincial nomination. She is married to John 38, who has a bachelor's degree, received the maximum in the English test. They have one child and CDN$20,000 in savings.
Mary and John could get a score of approximately 488 based on the combined Core/Human, Spouse and Skill Transferability factors and likely to get an invitation to apply for permanent residence within six months.
Andrew is 24 years old; has a bachelor's degree; three years' work experience; English test scores of 8.5 in each band; French exam: 120 in each band; CDN$13,000 in savings; no children; no provincial nomination; no job offer.
He would get an approximate CRS of 441. He would be admitted into the express entry pool. However, his chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence would greatly improve if he does a one-year master's degree or re -sits the French examination and gets a minimum of 300 points in each band. That would result in his score improving to 452.
Alan is a 45 years old, PhD from UWI, No children, 10 years work experience outside of Canada, CAD$50,000 savings, no PNP, No job offer. IELT maximum scores. TEF score 300 in each band. Brothers in Canada.

Alan could get approximately 350 points.  Although he has the highest possible points in Languages and Education, he would not receive points for his age.  He should still apply under express entry and also apply for a Provincial Nomination from a Province or Territory and also try to get a job offer via the job bank portal to increase his chances of receiving an invitation to apply.

Alan also has a girlfriend, Janice, 28 year old, ( dating less than 1 year and not living together), She has  a Masters, 3 years work experience, maximum IELTS scores, maximum French scores, No job offer, No PNP.

If Alan and Janice gets married their combined points would be approximately 516 and  they both stand a good chance of receiving an ITA and permanent residence of Canada within 6 months.

Lisa is single, 26 years old, Master Degree, scored the maximum on her IELTS, No French test, has 3 years’ post graduation work experience, no letter of nomination from a province, has CAD$12,500.00 in savings. No children.

Lisa could get a CRS of approximately 481 and could get an invitation to apply for permanent residence within 6 months.

Andrea is a single 35 years old with a PhD from University of London, Master and Bachelor degrees from UWI, maximum scores on her CELPIP, No job offer, No PNP, No children, 2 years work experience. Investments of US$12,000.00.

Andrea could get a CRS of approximately 466 and receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence within 6 months.  She should also apply for PNP to increase her chances of getting an additional 600 points.

Marcus is 32, Single, One year post secondary certification, 1 year work experience in Canada as a chef, 6 years work experience in Jamaica, has a relative in Canada, IELTS scores are 7 for reading, speaking, writing, 7.5 for listening, for French Exam he got basic score- Reading 125, Speaking 190, Listening 150, Writing 200, one child, Saving CAD$15,000.

Marcus would get approximately 416 for his CRS.   If he repeats the English examination and get a minimum of 8 in each band, his score would jump to approximately 448.  If he also repeated the French examination and scored a minimum of 230 in each band he could get a CRS of 454 and could get an invitation to apply for permanent residence within 6 months. He will need to have full legal custody of his child or have a written consent from his child’s mother.

Andrew is 24 years old, Bachelor Degree, 3 years work experience, IELTS scores 8.5 in each band, French Exam: 120 in each band, CAD$13,000 in savings, no children, No PNP, No job offer.
He would get an approximate score of 441.  He would be admitted into the express entry pool.  However, his chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence would greatly improve if he does a one year masters degree or re-sit the French, TEF examination and get a minimum of 300 points in each band. That would result in his score improving to 452.
So, you see it is important to get the highest possible scores for the language examinations. That is the easiest ways to increase your score and improve your chances of getting permanent residence in Canada. Pay special attention to the listening examination and aim for a minimum of nine in this particular category. This is a sure way of maximising your overall points.
To find out your score based on your particular situation and for additional tips on how to maximise your scores, consult with an immigration lawyer.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Send your questions and comments to or call 613.695.8777 or 876.922.4092. Find her on Facebook: Jamaicanlawyer.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Immigration Corner |Frustrated By Express Entry Application Process

Dear Ms Powell,
In 2014 I applied under the Federal Skilled worker programme to become a permanent resident of Canada. I was sure I would get through as I have relatives in Canada and high scores on my language exam. However, my package was returned as they said they had reached the cap. In 2015, I submitted my application under the express entry system. The computer system miscalculated my scores and there was nobody to speak with to complain. I stayed in the system hoping to get an invitation to apply. One year passed and I got notice that my profile expired. My problem is that my language exam results have expired and I have to re-sit. Why is the English report only valid for two years? I am from an English-speaking country and I have a master's degree. The date for sitting the exam is far away and the cost is high. Should I even bother trying?
How can I sponsor myself and my family to go to Canada? My husband is a chef and I thought that would help our application. Do I need to get an employment agency to help me get a job?
- W.L.
Dear WL,
I feel your frustration. Many individuals worldwide are asking the same questions, so I will do my best to answer you as comprehensively as possible.

I will begin with the English examination. You must have a valid International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training Report in order to apply. This is a standard requirement for all applicants. That said, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has stipulated that the language examinations are only valid for two years. I cannot comment on the rationale for this. However, that is the current rule. It would be wonderful if IRCC changes this rule to a minimum of five years, just as they have done with the Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report.

You are not restricted to the IELTS. Some individuals, who already have their Canadian temporary resident or visitor's visa, have been opting to visit Canada to sit the CELPIP General Examination for immigration purposes (see
I will elaborate some more on the IELTS since it is the most popular examination.
Here are the best tips I can give you with respect to the IELTS: study hard and do the online practice test. Go to classes if they are available in your area. Most importantly, practice speaking and writing in English all the time, months before the exam. Even in your Facebook updates!
Try to avoid patois or any other language for at least a month before the exam, especially if English is not your first language. (This is for my international readers). Encourage your family and friends to do the same with you. Remember you will be tested on your ability to read, speak, listen and write British English.
Getting the highest possible score under the language section is one of the easiest ways to improve your comprehensive ranking score (CRS) and increase your chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence to Canada.
I usually recommend to all my clients and their spouses, to get at least eight in each category to maximise their chances. The key to note is that, to get the highest possible score for English, both you and your spouse should sit the English exam. You, as the principal applicant, should try to get no less than the following in each band: Listening - 8.5, Reading - 8, Writing 7.5, Speaking: 7.5.
If you really want to maximise your scores for Canada's first and second languages, you should consider sitting the Test d'Evaluation de Francais.
Many individuals in Jamaica shy away from sitting this examination because of a fear of not passing or lack of information about the availability of the test in Jamaica. However, I encourage you to study and practice French. Lessons are available at the Alliance Francais Office in Kingston. You may send an email to request information.
I encourage you to go online and download the candidate handbook for each test and begin practising. You will be tested on the same criteria as the English examination.
Do you need a job offer to get permanent residence?
Your goal is to get a CRS over 450 based on the current trend. Although having a job offer will give you an extra 600 points, you DO NOT need a job offer to get an invitation to apply. I do not recommend that you pay employment agencies to find you a job. Most employment agencies are paid by the employers to find skilled labour. If you choose to use an agency instead of the Government of Canada, job bank portal, you must ensure that you receive a copy of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) report and investigate its validity.

There is no cap on the number of applications that IRCC will admit into the express entry pool. There is no specific occupation that is required. You are however required to have at least one year work experience in your primary occupation.
Your primary occupation means the job that you have experience in within the past five years, that you want your immigration application to be based on. Although there is no specified list of eligible jobs, your experience must fall within the National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes that are within the category of skill type A, B, O. Usually, professionals, managers, supervisors and some officers fall within that category.
That does not mean that individuals who are qualified in certain trades won't qualify. As a chef, your husband's occupation should play a significant role in the overall scores that you get as a couple.
I will continue to answer your question next week.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Send your questions and comments to Put in the subjectline: immigration. Call 613.695.8777 or 876 922 4092. Find her on Facebook: jamaicanlawyer

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Immigration Corner | Offered A Job In Canada

Dear Miss Powell,
I got a job offer from a Canadian company and I wanted to update my express entry profile, but I keep getting asked about an 'LMIA'. What is that? How do I get one? I know that if I have a job offer then I would get all the points I need to get permanent residence. Do I really need one?
- AR
Dear AR,
LMIA is an acronym for Labour Market Impact Assessment Report. This was previously called the Labour Market Opinion (LMO).
Usually an employer is required to apply to Service Canada for permission to offer a legitimate job to someone who is outside of Canada. The permission is usually granted once the applicant employer can prove to the authorities that there is a genuine shortage of individuals in Canada who can fill the position.
After the employer submits the completed application, supporting documents and fees, a report will be prepared to show the impact that hiring a foreign worker has on the current Canadian job market.
Service Canada will examine the benefit of hiring an international worker to the prospective employer and to the overall development of Canada. Once a review is completed, then an LMIA will be issued. Your prospective employer will need to provide you with a copy of that positive LMIA in order for you to add the information to your express entry profile.
If you receive a job offer, it is your duty to do your own due diligence by either consulting with a Canadian immigration lawyer or doing some research on your own to find out about the company and whether the job offer is legitimate.
Although most companies have a website that you can peruse, this will not be enough. In some cases, employers may even present a copy of the LMIA, but this LMIA could be revoked or cancelled. Although this is rare, it is your duty to do your research in order to avoid disappointments.
It is recommended that you examine the Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website to find out if the company is eligible to offer a job in the first place. There is a list of all the employers who are blacklisted or ineligible to hire foreign workers. The list is short, however it is important to check to ensure that an LMIA has not been revoked or cancelled after it was granted.
These companies usually make it on that list due to a breach of immigration rules; or the employer or a group of employers have provided false or misleading information when the application was made. Other reasons for the cancellation or revocation could also be as a result of new information that has been brought to the attention of the authorities that implies that employment of a foreign national, in this particular job, could cause a significant negative effect on the Canadian labour market.
The key thing to note is that your prospective employer will need to submit an application to one of the designated centres, demonstrate that efforts were made to fill the position locally in Canada and that in spite of their efforts, including taking advantage of the employer assistance programmes, they have not been able to find suitable workers in Canada.
They would have to show that there is a genuine need for this position to be filled and explain the impact that the lack of having that person could have on the viability of their business. If this is a job for personal services such as live-in caregiver, the process would be similar except that the prospective employer's home may be inspected.
The employer should expect to be scrutinised by the authorities. They will evaluate the employer to ensure that the individual or company is a suitable employer and that the correct salary, employment contract and work conditions are suitable. This investigation is also for your own protection.
This type of investigation does take time, especially if your employer is applying for the first time.
LMIA has some exemptions, such as jobs under the International Mobility Programmes (IMP), young people entering Canada through the International Experience Canada (IEC) initiative, international students who have graduated and received a post-graduation work permit, and some foreign nationals who are working in Canada while they wait for their application for permanent residence to be finalised. This is not an exhaustive list. Additional information can be found on the IRCC website.
ADDENDUM:  It is best to rely on jobs via the Government of Canada Website - the Job Bank Portal. Those employers have been screened by the relevant authorities. Note however that you do not need a job offer to receive and invitation to apply for permanent residence.  The key is to have a CRS score over 450 based on the latest selection trends by IRCC. 
- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Submit your questions and comments to or call 613.695.8777/ 876 922-4092
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner -

Monday, 12 September 2016

Settlement Funds - 2016

Unless you are currently authorized to work in Canada and have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada, or you have been invited to apply under the Canadian Experience Class, you must show that you have enough money to support yourself and your family after you get to Canada.
You cannot borrow this money from another person. You must be able to use this money to pay the costs of living for your family (even if they are not coming with you).
You will need to show proof to the Canadian visa office in your home country that you have enough money when you apply to immigrate.
The amount of money you need to support your family is set by the size of your family. We update these amounts every year.

Number of Family Members               CAD$ Required
          1                                                         12,164
          2                                                         15,143
          3                                                         18,617
          4                                                         22,603
          5                                                         25,636
          6                                                         28,913
          7 or more                                           32,191

You do not have to show that you have these funds if:

  • If you have a valid offer of arranged employment in Canada AND
  • you are currently working or authorized to work in Canada.

Immigration Corner | I'm Being Booted

Dear Miss Powell,
I got permanent residence in Canada about five years ago and I moved there with my family and stayed a few months. However, I wasn't able to get a job, so I returned to Jamaica. I had only taken a leave of absence from my job to see if I could settle in Canada and since I didn't get a job, I went back to work in Jamaica. My wife and two children stayed. I continued to support them and went up every holiday, when I got leave, and any chance I got. I am now back in Canada and just got a good job, so I quit my job in Jamaica with the intention to stay in Canada. My permanent residence (PR) card expired recently and my wife submitted the application to renew all our cards together. My wife and children's cards were renewed, but mine was rejected. Can I appeal this decision?
- PJ

Dear PJ,
When you are granted permanent residence of Canada and you receive a PR card, you have an obligation to ensure that you are present in Canada a minimum of 730 days over a period of five years in order to maintain your permanent resident status. Once you are able to establish that, then your card is usually renewed for another five years. Since your renewal application was rejected, I am going to assume that you were not able to satisfy the authorities that you met the minimum requirement.
You could appeal to the Immigration and Refugee Board and you should do so immediately, before you receive a departure order. If you receive a departure order, you may also submit an appeal.
As part of the appeal process, you will be required to provide credible explanation for your absence from Canada and urge the board to reconsider you application. You will need to show that you seriously intend to remain in Canada and will not breach the requirements in the future.
You may appeal the refusal and any departure order on the basis that you have sufficient humanitarian and compassionate grounds to overcome the breach of the permanent residence requirement. Your appeal has to be carefully prepared as Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada view these cases strictly and could deem that you did not take your residency requirement seriously and really do not see the value of your status in Canada.
You will need to provide facts, supported by documents, to show a genuine intention to integrate into the Canadian society. Part of the proof will be proof of establishment of significant ties by you and your family in Canada over the past five years. So they will need proof of payment of taxes, acquisition of property, savings, investments and overall proof that your ties to Canada are greater than your ties to Jamaica.
You said that you now have a job, so will need to present a job letter that details your role, responsibility and the amount of income that you are getting. I hope that this is not just a contract, temporary or part-time job, as if so, that will not be deemed as substantial enough to show significant establishment of connection to Canada.
Another important factor is if you are a member of a community organisation and play an active role in the viability of the organisation. So being on a committee or on the executive and providing proof could help your case.
The appeal board will look at whether your family will suffer hardship if you depart from Canada. One of the popular arguments they use is that you could apply for a visitor's visa instead of permanent residence, if you only plan on visiting your family occasionally.
The board will consider all the factors and evidence presented to see if your appeal should be granted and your permanent resident status restored.
I strongly recommend that you consult an immigration lawyer to assist you with the process. Remember that time is of the essence.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Submit your questions and comments to or call 613.695.8777.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner:

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Immigration Corner | I Want My Mom To Visit

Dear Ms Powell,
My mom is in Jamaica and she is healthy and strong. I want her to come and spend some time with me in Canada as I'm scheduled to have a baby soon.
She says she doesn't want me to file for her as she doesn't want to live here, but that she would come and spend a year with me to help my husband and I with our new baby.
Is there a way to apply for her to stay longer than six months? Would I need to apply for a work permit for her?
- I.B.
Dear I.B.,
It is not uncommon for parents and grandparents to visit their family members and spend an extended period of time, especially to assist with the birth of a child, celebrate marriage, assist with a loved one who is ill or help a bereaved family member.
Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is the department of government that handles these applications. As long as you are a permanent resident or citizen of Canada, you may apply for a 'supervisa' for your parents and/or grandparents to visit for a period in excess of six months at a time. Your application could be successful if both you (the sponsor) and your mother (the applicant) are able to satisfy the requirements.
Under this programme, the applicant will be expected to be coming to Canada only as a visitor and not work without a valid work permit during the time that they are visiting. If your mother would like to work and receive compensation as a nanny with you or to accept work from a third party, she will need to apply for a work permit and satisfy the work permit requirements.
A supervisa does not grant you permission to work in Canada. A separate application would need to be made for a work permit or an application for permanent residence under the Parent and Grandparent Programme, which is different from the supervisa application.


 The application process for a supervisa is similar to that for a regular temporary resident or visitor's visa, except that there are a few additional requirements.
These are:
1. Provide proof of Canadian medical insurance that is valid for a minimum of one year with a minimum coverage of CDN$100,000. The medical insurance should cover health care, hospitalisation and expenses associated with emergency return to her country, if necessary;
2. Do an upfront medical check with an approved medical doctor, who will send the report directly to the Visa Application Centre (VAC). This medical includes, but is not limited to, checking of blood pressure and various blood tests;
3. Provide a recent police record to ensure that there are no security concerns;
4. IRCC will also check their own system to ensure that your mother is not deemed ineligible due to past breeches of IRCC rules;
5. Present her biometric information, which means attending the VAC to deliver her fingerprints and photograph;
6. Well drafted invitation which provides proof of your ability to support your mother and provide accommodations;
7. Pay the required fees and provide other supporting documents.
Your mother will need to first establish that she is a genuine visitor and that she will be providing emotional and physical support for you and your family. This is different from coming to Canada as an employee and working for monetary value equivalent to that which you would normally pay a nurse, nanny or caregiver. She will also need to show strong ties to her home country that would warrant her voluntary return at the end of the time granted.
Essentially, her ties to Jamaica will need to be greater than her ties to Canada. Such ties could include a job, from which she is taking a valid leave or leave of absence; ownership of property, savings, investments, motor vehicle, community involvement, and other dependents or family members.


 You, as the sponsor, will also need to satisfy the immigration officer that you have the means and ability to accommodate your mom for an extended period of time. You will need to submit a job letter and notice of assessments/tax returns statements.
If you are living alone, you will need to show a minimum income of approximately CDN$25,000; a family of two, income of CDN$31,000; or a family of three, income of approximately CDN$38,000. These figures change on an annually, so you should always check the IRCC's website for the updated information.
These documents should be submitted with the completed application forms and the required fee.
You should note that there is a limit to the number of supervisa applications that are accepted annually, so you will need to check if they are accepting applications at the time that you plan to apply. The application process can take up to two months, so you should plan for that.
If your mother is planning to go to Canada as an employee, she must apply for a work permit. This would require you to have a labour market impact assessment report. For more information, you should consult with an immigration lawyer directly.
- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public in Jamaica and Canada. Submit your questions and comments to Subject line: Immigration. Visit her website or call 613-695-8777 for more information about her services.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner:

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Seeking A New Life - Provincial Nominee Programme - Canada

Provinces & Territories of Canada
Dear Ms Powell,
I am a professional in Jamaica. I'm turning 30 next month and need to get out of Jamaica and start a new life. I have been working hard and saving. I've even sold my car and taking the bus, as I want the change badly. I heard you speak in Jamaica and I made detailed notes of what you said I need to do. I did the language exam and I have an educational assessment report. My Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores are not very high, but I heard that if a province nominates me that my score could increase dramatically. How do I go about getting a provincial nominee? It doesn't matter to me which province. Which province has the fewest immigrants? I would apply to that province as I just need a new life for myself and my son, outside of Jamaica. How long would this take? The sooner, the better.
- Anonymous
 Dear Anonymous,
Canada has 10 provinces and three territories that you can explore for opportunities. The latest statistics show that in 2014 Canada welcomed approximately 260,000 immigrants; with Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories receiving the least number of immigrants. I must caution you that those are the coldest areas with unusual weather patterns, long days and nights. New Foundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Manitoba also showed low immigrant intake and the weather in these provinces is not so extreme.
Most, but not all provinces/ territories have the provincial nominee programme (PNP) and each has its own rules and regulations. The key to note is that the rules are subject to change at any time and the application process varies. Some applications may be made electronically and others are paper-based.
The following provinces have the programme and details are outlined on their websites: Alberta, British, Manitoba, New, Newfoundland, Territories, Nova, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Yukon.
You should note that the PNP is designed to assist employers who are having difficulty recruiting certain qualified, skilled workers to fill certain approved positions. The website will outline the list of occupations that the provinces are looking for at this time. You will also find out if they are accepting applications now or when they will resume accepting applications.
All applications must be sent directly to the province that you are interested in, detailing your qualifications, along with information which demonstrates that you intend to settle and be productive in the province of choice.
The province will review your application to ensure that you satisfy certain criteria as outlined on their website. If you qualify under their programme, you will be provided with a Provincial Nominee Certificate.
Once you have been nominated by a province or territory you will need the Provincial Nomination Certificate to submit via the express entry system. This is the process established by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for application for permanent resident status. This is another step and you will need the following:
1. A letter from all your past employers showing details of your work experience;
2. Proof of finances, and be able to demonstrate that you have enough money to establish yourself in the particular province;
3. A medical test;
4. A criminal record report from all countries that you have resided for six months or more.
5. Any other document that is requested by IRCC.
6. Processing fee.
If you have satisfied all the above, submitted all the required documents, passed your medical and security tests, your application is usually processed within six months and you and applicable family members could be in Canada in less than a year.
On a different note; you sound as if you are running from something in Jamaica. I urge you to deal with the issues before your departure, as you may put a physical distance between you and the problem, but remain emotionally tied to whatever you are running away from. Consider talking to a professional to ensure that you are able to make a clean break, if you are granted permanent residence in Canada.
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, Family and Administration of Estates and Commercial Law. She is on the roster of Mediators for Ottawa, Toronto and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Subject line: Immigration
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner: