Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Why do Jamaicans have to do an English Exam?

Why do Jamaicans have to do an English Exam?

Why do I have to do an English exam to Immigrate to Canada? I have a Bachelor’s Degree from the UWI and a Master’s Degree from UOL. Why do I need to sit an English exam when I am from an English speaking country and have a Master’s degree?  What is this IELTS? Can I do the exam online? Since I have a Master’s degree do I still need to do an English exam? Can I do this test online?

MK

Dear MK,

The requirement to prove your language skills is not unique to Jamaicans. Everyone submitting an application under certain immigration programmes must provide proof of language proficiency.  This is a requirement for most of the immigration programmes that have been established by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).  The test results are mandatory for the Federal Skilled Worker programme and must be submitted with your application or your application will be returned.

The acronym IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System which is one of the three recognized language tests that will be accepted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada as part of your application for permanent residence to Canada.  This test is required for programmes such as Federal Skilled Worker, Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Trade and Start up Visa.

The other acceptable language examinations are the CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program) and TEF (Test d'evaluation de francais).

Why is the test needed?

Canada is constitutionally a bilingual Country with English and French as the official languages.  You test results will assist Citizenship and Immigration Canada in determining whether you will be able to adapt and quickly integrate yourself successfully into the Canadian society. Your test results will also give CIC a fair indication of your ability to become socially and economically established in Canada.   This language results determine your overall points under the FSWP and how you will be ranked under the new Express Entry programme.

The examination cannot be done online.  You must physically attend one of the test centres to complete the test.  The IELTS seeks to test an applicants' level of proficiency in four areas namely: listening, reading, writing and speaking.  

If you are planning to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Class, the minimum bench mark that will be accepted by CIC is the CELPIP Benchmark of 7. This is the national standard used in Canada for measuring the English language proficiency of adult immigrants and prospective immigrants.  The IELTS equivalent is that the applicant must score a minimum of 6.0 for Listening, 6.0 for Speaking, 6.0 for Writing and 6.0 for Reading.

Although this is the minimum grade required, you should strive to get an overall average of 8, in each category in order to receive the maximum of 24 points for language, which is one of the many factors taken into account when assessing an applicant’s eligibility.  

With your Masters Degree training, no doubt you will do well and get the maximum points under this category.  There is no way around it. You must submit your test results or your application will be rejected.  I know that the IELTS Examinations are fully booked in Jamaica; however there are test centres all around the world and many of our clients have opted to travel to sit the examinations in other countries.

I must close with a word of caution.   Although you may be fluent in English, do not take the examinations for granted.  You should review the examination structure to ensure that you are prepared.  It’s not a “walk over”.  Practice reading aloud and with expression.  There are several free and paid practice tests online.  Take the online tests to ensure that you get the best possible score in all four categories.  The only way to pass an exam is to prepare and put in the extra time and effort required.

Best of Luck!

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, Canada. Her areas of practice are in immigration, personal injury, commercial, family, and administration of estates. She is on the roster of mediators for Ottawa, Toronto, and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica.  Submit your questions and comments to: Email:info@deidrepowell.com. Subject line: Immigration. Find her on Facebook: jamaicanlawyer. Tel: 613-695-8777.



Published in the Jamaica Gleaner 
October 14, 2014

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Do I qualify for the skilled worker programme? - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | October 7, 2014


Do I qualify for the skilled worker programme? - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | October 7, 2014



Dear Ms Powell,
I am 47 years old and have a degree in tourism management. I am currently working in a hotel in Canada. I would like to know if I qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP), Canadian Experience Class, to remain in Canada as I am sure that my employer would say yes to my sponsorship, if I request it. The only thing is that I do not want to get stuck in the job I currently have. How can I apply to stay in Canada permanently?
- JJ
Dear JJ,
Since you are already working in Canada, you stand a good chance of qualifying under one of the programmes to become a permanent resident.  The programmes that you could qualify under are usually based on your current occupation, work experience, age, education and whether or not you can get a valid job offer.

Federal Skilled Worker Programme
You have indicated that you have a degree in tourism management, but did not state your current occupation. To qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP), you would need to prove that your current occupation is one of the 50 listed eligible occupations as stipulated by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). A full list of the eligible occupations is posted on my website at www.deidrepowell.com.
Also, you will need to be able to get a minimum of 67 points, based on your age, work experience, adaptability and results of the English examination. You will also need to submit an Educational Credential Assessment Report from one of the authorised institutions.
You should note that only a maximum of 25,000 applications will be accepted under the current programme which will end in December and a new programme will be introduced in January 2015, which is called the express entry programme.
It sounds as if you are not currently working in a supervisory or managerial position with your current employer. However, based on your qualifications, if you have a minimum of one work experience working in a supervisory or managerial position in one of the listed occupations, then you may qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker Programme. We would need additional information from you to make a proper assessment.

Canadian Experience Class
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) was implemented to assist persons who have lived in Canada for some time, have certain specified skills and work experience to become permanent residents. These persons are viewed as most likely to successfully adapt and integrate into the Canadian society.
To qualify under the programme, you must have an intention to live in any province, with the exception of Quebec; have 12 months full-time (or an equal amount in part time) skilled work experience in Canada in the three years before you applied; have gained your experience in Canada with the proper authorisation; meet the required language level needed for the job.
Certain professions are not eligible under the CEC programme. They are: cooks, chefs, food service supervisors, administrative officers, administrative assistants, accounting technicians and bookkeepers and retail sales supervisors.
Based on the information that you have provided, it would appear that you may be qualified under the Canadian Experience Class programme. Your occupation should fall under a category accepted by CIC. Most of the occupations include persons who are in supervisory, managerial, or professional positions. You stand an even better chance if you have close relatives living in Canada, which further demonstrates your ability to successfully integrate into the Canadian society.
To ensure that your application is successful, I would recommend that you consult with an immigration lawyer to provide additional information about your background, work experience and qualification, so that a proper assessment can be done on your behalf.
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

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Why so much money? - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | September 9, 2014

Why so much money? - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | September 9, 2014

Dear Ms. Powell,
Iam currently working as an accountant and I am very much interested in migrating to Canada.  I started looking into it and I’m overwhelmed with the number of things they need and the amount of money I need to have in my bank account. Why would they want so much money? If I had that amount of money in my bank account I wouldn’t want to leave Jamaica!  Anyway, my mother keeps telling me that I will have a better life there and she would give me the money, if we can’t get around it.  I was talking with some friends who said that I shouldn’t worry too much about it now, as I can apply next year.  Most of them said they are waiting until then to submit their application, as they are saving up.  Is this true?
Should I just wait until next year? Will the programme be available next year? Is there any way around the money part?
S.T.
Good day S.T.,
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has been accepting applications under the Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP) since May 1, 2014.  They will be accepting a total of 25,000applications from around the world.  CIC will continue to accept applications until the cap is reached.  Applications will be accepted from individuals who can establish that they have a minimum of 67 points based on age, education, work experience, language, adaptability, settlement funds or valid job offer. 
Thereis a list of eligible occupations that can be found on my website at www.deidrepowell.com .  For each occupation, a maximum of 1,000 applications will be accepted.   Accountant is a popular occupation and therefore if you qualify and have the minimum savings required, I would strongly recommend that you seize the opportunity and apply sooner than later.
Settlement Funds
If you do not have a valid job offer from an authorized Canadian Employer, you will need to show proof of savings/ investment. CIC requires that you prove that you have the means to settle in Canada without requiring the assistance of the government. Therefore, you will need to prove that you have funds that are “available, transferrable and not committed to other debts or obligations”.   You will not need to give the funds to CIC.
However, you will need proof that you will have those funds in order to successfully relocate and settle in Canada. The proof that you will need to submit is a letter from your financial institution.  You should bear in mind that it may take some time for you to establish yourself in Canada and therefore it is important that you have at least the minimum amount required, so that you can be independent when you arrive.
So no, there is no way around the money part. The settlement funds requirement is in place to ensure you are able to take care of yourself, in the first few months when you get here, until you can get a job and become integrated into the Canadian Society. Trust me; you will need it! (Especially if you do not have the support of relatives in Canada).
The amount of settlement funds required is based on the number of persons in your family. The following chart may be used as a guide:


Number of Persons in Family
(Including spouse & children
under 19 years)

Funds Required (CAD$)

(approximately)

1

$12,000

2

$15,000

3

$18,100

4

$22,000

5

$25,000

6

$29,000

7
or more

$32,000
Last chance
This year is the last time individuals will be able to submit an application under the FSWP and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program in its current format. In 2015, CIC will be transitioning to a new immigration selection system known as ‘Express Entry’.
Under this new system, if you do not have a valid job offer and you are interested in coming to Canada as an economic immigrant, you must first complete an online
Express Entry profile. If you meet the criteria of one of the federal economic immigration programs, you will be placed in the job bank/ pool for possible selection.   You will be matched with employers and jobs in Canada based on your skills, knowledge and experience.

Employers will have the opportunity to review the pool of express entry applicants and select qualified candidates.  This means that individuals that are placed in the pool will be assessed against others within the pool, and be ranked based on your ability to succeed and make a valuable contribution in Canada.

Only the highest-ranked candidates, and those with valid job offers or provincial/territorial nominations, will be invited to apply for permanent residence. Those candidates will then be given an “Invitation to Apply(ITA).

Once candidates receive an ITA, they will have 60 days to apply for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). It is expected that this application will take less than a year to process.

Should you wait for the Express Entry Programme in 2015? It is entirely up to you!  It is a new programme and we currently do not have all the information about it, yet.   However, my father used say, “don’t give away surety, for “unsurety”!  Bird in hand principle!

To find out if you are eligible for the current FSWP, CEC, PNP or any other immigration programs, contact an immigration lawyer to provide you with personalized service.

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, commercial, family, wills and estates. She is on the roster of mediators for Ottawa, Toronto and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Submit your questions and comments to: Email: info@deidrepowell.com Subject line: Immigration.  Find her on Facebook and Twitter. Tel: 613-695-8777.



Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Canada university dreams

Dear Ms Powell,
I am 40 years old and would like to attend university in Canada. I also have a 19-year-old son who I would like to take with me. Can you tell me if they would give me a visa for both of us to go? I really want to upgrade myself and set a good example for my son, but I do not want to leave him when I go to study. Can I work when I get there? How do I proceed?
- BT

Dear BT,

First of all, I have to say I am very proud of you. In the modern economy, learning is a lifelong process and Canada has very favourable programmes for adult education. Adults can apply to attend colleges or universities as mature students, and applications to schools by mature students are evaluated differently from applicants who have just finished high school.

Many schools in Canada recognise that mature students have life experiences that younger students may not have, such as work experience, experience as a parent or independent learning. Therefore, schools consider this experience and any academic credentials you have when you apply for admission.

Your first step would be to contact the individual college or university directly to find out about their mature student admissions programme and submit an application. You must ensure that the school is a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), a complete list is on Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website. Once you have your letter of acceptance, then you may apply for a study permit.

The next step will be to ensure that you are eligible and admissible before you actually submit your application for a Canadian study permit and a temporary resident visa. You will need to prove that you:
1. Have the required amount for tuition and living expenses;
2. Are able to present a clean police certificate;
3. Are in good health and passed the medical examination; and
4. Intend to return to your country at the end of your study.

Once you receive your study permit for full-time study, you will be permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours per week. You do not need to apply for a separate work permit.

Children/ Dependent
You indicated that your son is 19 years old. CIC changed the definition of a child/ dependent. Previously, as long as your child was in full-time school and under 22, he would qualify as a dependent and be included as part of your application. However, under the new rules which came into effect on August 1, 2014, the only way your son would be considered to be a dependent is if he has a physical or mental condition and has always been dependent on you.

If your son does not have a mental or physical disability, he will be treated as a young adult. He will need to apply for his own study permit and temporary resident visa on his own merits. His first step would be to also get a letter of acceptance from a designated school as well. He should also be prepared to provide his official school records/ transcripts, his immunisation records, and medical and police report. You may, however, include your financial records as part of his application.

Once again, congratulations on your brave move! I'm proud of you. If you feel overwhelmed by the process, consult an immigration lawyer to guide you.

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. Visit her website at www.deidrepowell.com Submit your questions and comments to: Email: info@deidrepowell.com. Subject line: Immigration. Tel: 613-695-8777. Find her on Facebook: jamaicanlawyer.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Immigration Corner: Do I qualify for migration to Canada? - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | August 26, 2014

Immigration Corner: Do I qualify for migration to Canada? - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | August 26, 2014

I have been working on an ambulance for the past five years. My friends said they heard that I can move to Canada if I sponsor myself to go there. I checked out the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website, but I'm confused and I'm not sure if I qualify. I was also wondering what the salary range is for paramedics in Canada.

 DK
Dear DK,

In Canada, the field of paramedics, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and emergency medical services is growing in popularity and Citizenship and Immigration Canada ( CIC)  has included paramedic occupations as one of the professions that may apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Programme. That programme is often called locally, the "professional self-sponsorship programme". 
Paramedic jobs include workers who administer pre-hospital emergency medical care to patients with injuries or medical illnesses and transport them to hospitals or other medical facilities for further medical care. They are employed by private ambulance services, hospitals, fire departments and government departments.
There are various levels of paramedic occupations. They are:
Primary Care Paramedic (PCP),
Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP), and
Critical Care Paramedic (CCP).
To apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Programme(FSWP) as a paramedic you must be a graduate of a recognised college, university, hospital-based or other recognised paramedical or emergency medical technology program. Those operating emergency vehicles will also need to have the appropriate class of drivers' licence.
Paramedics are persons fully trained and qualified to do jobs such as:
  • Patient assessment;
  • Immobilisation and traction;
  • Oxygen administration via various methods;
  • Basic airway management;
  • Trauma care, including basic wound care; and
  • Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.
Paramedics jobs include the following; flight paramedics, ambulance attendant, emergency medical assistant, ambulance technician, EMA (emergency medical attendant), medical assistant (paramedic),medical technician, paramedic worker, ambulance services, ambulance driver, advanced life support coordinator and other specialised positions.
Although salaries fluctuate, jobs in the field often start at around CAD$50,000 per year. Graduates of specialty programs, like advanced care paramedic, have an average starting salary of CAD$73,000. With experience, demonstration of skill and competence, your salary would, no doubt, increase.
In order to meet the FSWP requirement, you must be able to get at least 67 points based on factors such as; education, age, language skills, work experience and adaptability.
You will need to have at least one year of continuous full-time paid work experience in an eligible occupation in the last 10 years. You will need to provide proof of the requisite funds based on the number of persons in your family. Most importantly, you will need to have your educational credentials assessed to ensure that it is equivalent to the Canadian educational standards.
Immigration application procedure can be complicated and time consuming. The Federal Skilled Worker Programme is subject to a cap. That is, there is a limit to the number of applications that they will be accepting. Therefore, if you are serious about applying under this programme, then I suggest that you act immediately, as time is of the essence.

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.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Is he forever inadmissible?

Good day Ms. Powell, 

My husband was ordered to leave Canada.  Is he now considered “inadmissible”? Does that mean that he cannot apply again?
M.R.

Dear M.R.

Anyone who is the subject of a removal order will need to deal with this issue before reapplying for any form of visas or permit to re-enter Canada.  That however does not mean that your husband can never return to Canada if he is the subject of what is called a removal order.  His ability to return to Canada will depend on the reason he was required to leave and how soon after the order he actually left the country.  The solution may be to make and application for an Authorization to Return to Canada (“ARC”) before he is able to re-enter Canada.

Types of Removal Orders
There are three different types of removal orders and depending on which one he was a subject to, he may not be required to apply for an ARN.

Departure order: A departure order requires that a person leave Canada within 30 days after the order becomes enforceable. If your husband left within the 30 days, then he may reapply for a visa without applying for an ARC.  Of course he will need to satisfy the visa officer that he has strong ties to his home country, is gainfully employed and demonstrate that he will not over stay again.  

Exclusion order: A person who has been removed as a result of an exclusion order cannot return to Canada for one year after the date of removal, unless he has received a written consent of the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). The CBSA is responsible for removing people from Canada who have been issued a removal order.  

If your husband has a Certificate of Departure and 12 months have passed since the order, he does not need to apply for an ARN.  If, however, the period of time is less than 12 months, he will need to apply for an ARC.

Deportation order: This is the most serious of the removal orders.  If a person has been removed from Canada as a result of a deportation order, he is permanently barred from returning to Canada. Usually such an order is for serious violations or criminal activities and so he would be deemed “criminally inadmissible”.

Reasons for inadmissibility
Individuals may be deemed inadmissible under nine different categories. They are: (1) security (2) human or international rights violations (3) organized criminality (4) serious criminality (5) health (6) financial reasons (7) misrepresentation (8) non-compliance and (9) as a result of an inadmissible family member.

All three removal orders require an individual to confirm his or her departure from Canada with the CBSA. A departure order automatically becomes a deportation order when someone who has been issued a departure order does not leave Canada within the time stipulated or if he leaves without confirming his departure with the CBSA. Departure and exclusion orders are usually issued for less serious violations.

Important information
There is no absolute guarantee that once he applies for the ARC that he will be automatically granted the authorization to return. He needs to bear in mind that he will need to convince a visa officer that he will not make the same mistakes again.  

Some of the things the officer will consider are:
  •   The reasons for the removal order;
  • Whether or not there is a possibility that he will repeat the behaviour that caused the order to be issued;
  •   The length of time that has passed since the order was issued;
  •   Current situation, including social, economic and emotional ties to his home country;
  •   Reasons for wanting to return to Canada;
  • Ability to afford the trip and expenses while in Canada.
The processing fee for ARC is $400 CAD.

If your husband needs to make an application for ARC, apply for record suspension/ pardon, or apply for rehabilitation as result of an exclusion or deportation order, I strongly recommend that he consults with an immigration lawyer before approaching CIC. 


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, Canada. Her areas of practice are in immigration, personal injury, commercial, family, and administration of estates. She is on the roster of mediators for Ottawa, Toronto, and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica.  Submit your questions and comments to: Email:info@deidrepowell.com. Subject line: Immigration. Find her on Facebook:jamaicanlawyer. Tel: 613-695-8777. 

Published in the Jamaican Gleaner - 18.8.2014
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20140819/news/news3.html  

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Money spent and still no job - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | August 12, 2014

Money spent and still no job - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | August 12, 2014


Dear Miss Powell,
I travelled to Canada via a recruiter who promised to provide employment. I was charged CAD$3,000 prior to departing Jamaica for his efforts. To date, he has not provided any employment. He says I need an LMO. What is that? How can I acquire an LMO if I am offered employment? In addition, my visa will expire in July 2016. Can I file for an extension?
- WP
Dear WP,
I'm very concerned about your letter as I'm unclear about your status in Canada. I have many questions. Are you in Canada on a temporary resident visa? Study permit?  Work permit? How long have you been in Canada? The answers to these questions can affect the approach that you should take at this time.
I trust that you have not exceeded the time that you were granted to stay in Canada under a temporary resident visa/visitor's visa. Usually, the maximum amount of time that individuals are granted is six months at a time. In order to stay longer than the six months granted, you will need to apply for an extension of time and must provide a valid reason for your request. The application should only be made approximately 30 days before the time that you were told that you should leave Canada. Such an application can be done online via Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website : www.cic.gc.ca.
scammers
I will not elaborate on the issue that you have paid CAD$3,000 to someone and have yet to receive a job offer. I have written too many articles advising how to spot scammers and have warned readers not to give away your money to people who are not able to follow through on their promises. You may visit my blog, website www.deidrepowell.com, or The Gleaner's website to view past articles on how to spot scammers and what to do if you are scammed. That's all I will say on that issue.
LMO/ LMIA
You should note that in June 2014, the Canadian government revamped the temporary foreign worker programme, and so employers in Canada who wish to hire a temporary foreign worker, for most job categories, must now apply to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This is a change of name from the old Labour Market Opinion (LMO), but the requirements are essentially the same. The fee is now CAD $1,000 and is payable by the employer.
ESDC will evaluate the impact that hiring you, a foreign worker, will have on the current  Canadian job market and whether there is a genuine shortage of persons in Canada who can fill the particular position. They will examine the prospective employer's application to see if there is a genuine need to hire you and to see if you are qualified and able to do the job that no other person in Canada can do. Once they make an assessment that there is a genuine need for your services, then they will issue a positive LMIA or a confirmation letter to the employer so that your prospective employer may hire you. You will then be able to apply for a valid work permit.
Your prospective employer will need to submit documents and proof of the following:
1. A genuine need to fill the position.
2. Means to hire someone at the standard rate for that particular job.
3. Demonstrate the efforts made to find someone within Canada to fill the position and failure to find a suitable person.
4. Suitability as an employer to ensure that the correct salary and work conditions are met. Also verification that they have not breached labour laws, rules, or regulations.
This type of investigation does take time, especially if your prospective employer is applying for the first time. If the employer has previously been approved, then the application may be processed in approximately two weeks. Once a confirmation letter has been granted, then you can use that letter to apply for a valid work permit. You should note that once you have been in Canada under a valid work permit for a number of years, this could also provide you with opportunities to become a permanent resident, and later, a citizen of Canada.
If you and your prospective employer need assistance with the application, I recommend that you contact an immigration lawyer to guide you with the process.
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 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 or Tel: 613.695.8777 Follow her on Facebook: jamaicanlawyer