Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Application for Visitor's / Temporary Resident Visa

Dear Ms Powell,
I have a good friend in Canada and he is willing to sponsor me for a visit to Canada. I?m not working but he will pay for the ticket and I can stay at his place. How do I go about applying for a visitor?s visa? My friend said he will send all the documents I need to show that he can afford to have me there for the visit. Can I just send the application to the Canadian embassy with all his information?
Dear LK,
When an individual is seeking to apply for a visitor's visa or a temporary resident visa to Canada, the person applying, the applicant has to satisfy the Visa Office that has strong social and economic ties to his home country that would motivate you to return to your home country. That means that the onus is on you to show that you can afford the trip and that you will return to Jamaica at the end of your trip.
The person sponsoring you would only need to send an invitation letter, enclosing proof of his status in Canada and financial situation. He would need to show the reason that he is motivated to sponsor your trip. The reason should not be because you will be working for him during your visit.
Your responsibility is to establish social and economic ties to Jamaica. Some of the documents you may submit are:
1. Letter from your employer, or provide reasonable explanation for being unemployed.
2. Your birth certificate
3. Valid Passport
4. Your bank statement from your bankers to show your savings.
5. Proof of ownership of property such as land, house, motor vehicle.
6. Membership to professional organisations.
7. You will also need to pay for an submit your biometrics (photograph and fingerprint)
8. The completed application forms and fees.
Additional information on documents to submit to prove your status is available on my website.
If you do not have a job you may want to wait until you are employed to make this application. Evidence of a stable job is usually one of the ways to establish social and economic ties to your home country. You should note that if you are retired or on leave from a job, then you should not be penalised for this.
Where To Submit Application

You should not bring your application to the Canadian Embassy. You will now need to use their electronic system or submit your application to the Visa Application Centre (VAC) closet to you. You should also note that you will now need to submit your finger print to the VAC as well.
forms and checklist may be found at: :www.csc-cvac.com/en-JM/selfservice.
Visa Application Centre -  Kingston
31 Upper Waterloo Road,
Kingston 10
Phone Number: (876) 632-7370
Visa Application Centre - Montego Bay
14 Sunset Boulevard
Montego Bay, St James
Phone Number: (876) 632-7370
Common Law/ Spousal Relationship
If you are in a common law, conjugal or marital relationship you should note that your application should be for sponsorship under the Family Class and not merely for a visitor visa. This is an application for permanent resident visa based on your relationship with your sponsor. This application is a two step one and both your sponsor and you would need to be approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. If that is the type of relationship that you are in, then I suggest that you consult with an immigration lawyer, before you apply for a temporary resident visa to ensure that you are submitting the correct application.
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, 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

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

How To Navigate Life In Canada

Dear Ms Powell,
Thank you for your guidance over the past few months, as I am pleased to say that I now have landing papers for me and my family in less than a year. Will they give me everything I need at the airport or do I have to go to different places to get registered? How do I get my children into schools? How do I get a job?
- TT
Dear T.T.
Last week, I answered some of your questions on what to do as a newcomer to Canada and what to expect at the airport when you first land. If you missed that article, you may check The Gleaner's website for the previous article, 'What should I expect in Canada?'. This week, I will focus on the things you should do in your first weeks of landing in Canada.
You should receive a book titled Welcome to Canada from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). You may receive it before in your package or at the airport when you land in Canada. That book has useful information about what you should know about settling into Canada. It will be your guide to transitioning into your new home in Canada. You can also find useful videos and additional information at the CIC website: www.cic.gc.ca.
You should apply to get your most important documents processed in your first week in Canada. It generally takes up to three months for these documents to be processed, so the sooner you put in your application, the better. The key documents that you will need are:
1 Permanent Resident (PR) Card: You do not need to apply for your first PR card. It will be automatically sent to you, once you have provided an address to CIC. If you did not have your address at the time of landing you have up to 180 days after your arrival to submit your permanent address in Canada to CIC via their online portal or at a Service Canada office.
Your Permanent Residence Card should be used in place of your Confirmation of Permanent Residence document in order to travel outside of Canada. It is your official proof of your status in Canada. You should not travel outside of Canada without this card. If you have an emergency and need to travel outside of Canada before you receive the card, you can make an emergency application to have your application expedited. You will need to provide proof of the emergency.
You may also use your PR card as a means of identification. The card is valid for five years and so you should ensure that it is renewed when it expires.
Social Insurance Number (SIN): This card will be needed in order for you to work or apply for government programmes and benefits. It may also be used as an identification card. There is no fee for this card.
3 Provincial Health Card: Health services such as access to clinics, doctors and hospitals are funded by taxpayers and so you will not need to pay to access these services, but you will need a provincial or territorial health card. Apply for one using forms that are available at doctor's offices, pharmacies, hospitals, and at your provincial websites. You must present this card when you seek medical care. Most health cards have an expiry date, so you should pay keen attention to the date to ensure that your health card is renewed in a timely manner.
You may visit a Service Canada office and a provincial office such as Service Ontario, nearest to you, to request forms or additional information. The application forms are online, so you can download, complete and take the application form, your passport and confirmation of permanent residence document in order to take your photographs and process your application. It is also a good idea to take your birth certificate as a supplemental means of identification.
Once you have your SIN card in hand, you can apply to work anywhere in Canada in any unregulated occupations. If you are in one of the regulated occupations such as engineering, law, health services, financial services, you will need to get your credentials assessed and sit the necessary licensing examinations before you can start working in these fields. If you are not in these regulated fields, you may start applying immediately for a job.
Ensure that you have your cover letter, resume, copies of your educational credentials and references to share with a prospective employer.
There is the Federal Internship for Newcomers ( FIN) Programme which is available to individuals who live in the Toronto, Ottawa and Victoria area. This programme provides newcomers with temporary valuable training and work experience, provided that you qualify. Additional information is found on CIC website.
There are several ways that you may apply to get a job. You may visit your local Employment Resource Centre, websites such as www.jobbank.gc.ca,www.workopolis.ca and www.monster.caThere are other job agencies locally and online that you should explore.
If there is a company or organisation that you are interested in working for, you should visit the company's website to see if they have posted a career opportunity. You should also consider applying directly to the CEO/human resource manager so that they may consider you for a job within their organisation.
Children are required by law to attend school from age 5/6 until 16/19 years, depending on the province where you live. It is the parents' responsibility to ensure that their child attends school. Home schooling is permitted. There are both public-funded and private schools. You may visit the nearest school to your home to obtain information on how to register your child for school. Be sure to bring your child's passport, COPR, birth certificate, vaccination records, transcripts, health card and permanent residence card (if available). You may also visit one of the immigrant servicing organisations within your area for additional information.
Most major towns/cities have immigrant-serving organisations that are there to serve you. You should visit one of these offices in your first week. These offices are a good source of information and there are many volunteers who can guide you with information on how to get settled. You may visit www.citizenship.gov.on.ca for information on how to connect with these organisations.
Good luck to you and your family,and feel free to visit my website at www.expressimmigrationcanada.com for additional information about settling in Canada.
Published:Tuesday | May 12, 2015 in the Jamaica Gleaner:
-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, 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.comsubjectline: immigration, Call 613.695.8777/ 876.922.8899

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Confirmation of Permanent Residence: What Should I Expect In Canada?

Confirmation of Permanent Residence of Canada

Dear Ms Powell,
Thank you for your guidance over the past few months. I am pleased to say I got landing papers for my family and me in less than a year. I'm excited and nervous at the same time as I do not know what to expect when I get there. I have some friends there who say that we can stay with them for a while until we get settled, but I want to know that I bring everything I will need to settle in quickly, especially as I am bringing my children with me. Can you please tell me how to prepare and what to expect at the airport when I arrive in Canada? Will they give me everything I need at the airport or do I have to go to different places to get registered? How do I get my children into schools? How do I get a job?
 Dear TT,
Congratulations to you and your family. It was my pleasure to serve you and I'm excited that you and your family are now on your way to making Canada your new home. You would have received a package from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) along with your passports. That package should have some useful information on how to settle in Canada. You should take the time to read the information.
You have asked many questions, so I will answer you in two separate articles.
Your passport will be stamped with your immigrant visa and you will be given a Confirmation of Permanent Residence document. This document is very important and must be kept in a safe place as you will need to refer to it from time to time as a permanent resident. You will need it to also apply for citizenship at a later date.

What To Do Now?

Each family member must have his or her own passport stamped with an immigrant visa and a confirmation of permanent residence.
2. Check the documents received from CIC to ensure that there are no errors. Pay specific attention to the spelling of your name, date of birth and passport number. If there is an error, you should notify CIC immediately to have the document corrected before departure.
3. Locate all important original documents and at least one certified copy of each document for each family member such as:
a. Birth certificate.
b. Marriage certificate.
c. Baptismal certificate.
d. Divorce certificate (Decree absolute).
e. Court orders/ formal orders.
f. Adoption records.
g. Death certificates of spouse or close family members, e.g. parents.
h. Medical records, immunisation/vaccination booklets/records, prescription, and a letter from your doctor if you are taking certain medications.
i. School records: copies of certificates, degrees, transcripts ( sealed copies).
j. Certificate of membership from professional organisations.
k. Letters of good standing from professional organisations
l. Letters of recommendation from former employers and teachers.
m. Driver's licence
n. Recommendation from your motor vehicle insurance company about your driving experience and claims record (NB not all insurance companies in Canada recognise these records, but you should take the letter of recommendation, just in case you are able to use this record).
o. Cash or certified cheque, draft, and traveller's cheque for any amount of fund you wish. Just remember you need to declare the amount you are taking in if it over CAD$10,000.
4. Make a detailed list of the items you plan to take on the plane, or plan to ship at the same time or at a later date to Canada. Ensure that you know the fair market value of these items. You should have at least 2 copies of this list.
5. You can choose to make several trips to bring your personal or professional items to Canada, or you may choose to ship them. The choice is yours. The key is to declare your intentions when you first land and to keep a detailed list and have a good plan for dealing with shipment of goods at a later date.
6. Scan a copy of all important documents and ensure that you store this information in a safe place. If your documents are lost, stolen or destroyed, it is good to have an electronic version to refer to.
7. Choose a departure date that is memorable to you as you will need to refer to that date on several occasions when completing official documents in Canada.

What To Bring On The Plane?

1. Passport.
2. The complete package received from CIC.
3. All official and important documents.
4. Certified cheque, securities, bonds, stocks, drafts, traveller's cheque or cash.
The above items should be kept in your handbag or carry-on luggage and not left in your check-on luggage.
Before you land in Canada, the flight attendant will give you a customs declaration card. You will need to complete the information accurately. You will need to record the full address of where you intend to stay. Pay attention to the section that requires you to declare if you are bringing funds in excess of CAD$10,000; if you have unaccompanied bags or if you are bringing meat/meat products, fruits or vegetable. You are allowed 1.5 litres of rum. Ensure that you declare everything that you are bringing with you. You do not have to list the items shipped, but you may refer to the list in hand and provide the detailed list to the officer.
I know you are going to miss the ackee, fried fish, mango, and all the wonderful foods from Jamaica. However, this is your landing trip; leave the fried fish, ackee and other tasty foods behind this trip, as you do not want to have any anxieties and additional things to think about on this important day. Furthermore, many of those foods can be found in the Caribbean grocery shops around and even the regular supermarkets.

What To Expect At The Airport

When you alight from the plane, you will be directed to the Immigration section at the airport or port of entry.
You should have your passport, declaration card and your confirmation of permanent residence in hand. Expect the officer to welcome you to Canada and examine your documents to ensure that they are correct, and that they are not expired. He will ask you a few verifying questions. The questions will be similar to those asked in your application for permanent residence.
Usually, you are directed to another officer thereafter to complete the landing process, so expect at least 2 screenings or interviews with a Canadian Border Security Officer.
Be prepared to answer additional questions such as:
1. How did you receive your permanent residence?
2. What was your occupation?
3. What is your intended occupation?
4. Who are staying with?
5. What is your relationship to the person you are staying with?
6. What is your intended address and telephone number?
7. How long do you intend to stay in Canada?
8. Have you been convicted of any serious crime in your home country?
9. Have you visited any country with any serious diseases within the last 3 months?
10. Are you suffering from any serious illness?
11. Have you ever been to Canada before?
12. If so, when? How long? Were you required to leave?
13. How much money are you bringing?
14. How many bags did you bring?
15. Will you be shipping any other items? Ensure that you have a list of items you plan to return for. It is better to list them and change your mind about bringing them than to not list them and not be able to bring them in duty free at a later date.
Be calm and answer the questions truthfully and clearly. If all goes well, you should be out in a short time. Relax! These officers are usually kind and welcoming if you are organised and honest. Next week, I will continue to answer your questions and focus on what you should do in the first month after you land in Canada as a permanent resident.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with main office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, commercial, family and administration of estates. She is on the roster of Mediators for Ottawa, Toronto, and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Email: info@deidrepowell.comsubjectline: immigration, Call 613.695.8777/ 876.922.8899
Originally Published in the Jamaica GLeaner : http://www.jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20150421/immigration-corner-what-should-i-expect-canada 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Immigration Corner: I Want To Live And Work In Canada

Dear Ms Powell,
I am a Jamaican and I'm graduating from a school in Ontario this year. I would like to stay in Canada to get some experience and hopefully get permanent residence in the long run. Can I apply for a work permit? Do I need a labour market report? Can I apply before I get my results? Can you tell me how long the work permit would be valid for? What do I need to apply? Can I start working before I get the work permit?
- NB
Dear NB,
International students who have completed post-secondary studies in Canada may be granted a work permit to remain in Canada to obtain work experience, provided that they are eligible. You may apply under the Post Graduate Work Permit Programme (PGWPP). After you have worked for a number of years in Canada, you may be eligible to apply under the Express Entry system to become a permanent resident.
You do not need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) report in order to apply for a postgraduate work permit. The work permit will be granted based on the length of your programme, up to a maximum of three years. So if you graduated from a programme that lasted eight months, your work permit will be valid for no more than eight months. If you graduated from a three- or four-year degree programme you could receive a three-year work permit, if you are eligible.
  • Eligibility
  • Not Eligible
  • Application Procedure

In order to be eligible you would need to satisfy the following:
1. Be at least 18 years;
2. Undertake full-time study for not less than 900 hours or 8 months;
3. Successfully completed a programme of study from one of the designated learning institutions (DLI) or participating schools such as a public post-secondary institution, a college, trade/technical school, university or CEGEP (in Quebec), or a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as public institutions;
4. Have a valid study permit at the time of the application;
5. Have a letter from your school confirming your successful completion of the programme, the duration of the programme and their DLI number;
6. Application must be made within 90 days of written confirmation of completion of your studies. You do not have to wait until you have the actual diploma in hand to apply, as long as you enclose a confirmation letter from the school with the application.
Some of the reasons that you would not be deemed eligible for a postgraduate work permit are if:
1. Your programme of study was less than eight months;
2. You were previously issued a postgraduate work permit on the completion of another programme of study in Canada;
3. Have a criminal record;
4. Your programme was funded by your country or an international organisation such as Government of Canada Awards Programme, CIDA, DFATD, OAS, an exchange programme;
5. You are bonded by your country or a company in your home country without being released.
Can you start working before you get the work permit? You can only work in Canada if you have a valid work permit. So if you have a valid off-campus work permit, you can start working while you are waiting for your postgraduate work permit. However, if you do not have a valid off-campus work permit, you must wait until you have the work permit.
You may consult with an immigration lawyer to assist you with your application. However, if you choose not to use a representative, you may download the application package from CIC website, pay the requisite fee, and submit the application with the supporting documents online or to the address as outlined in the application package. Be sure that you are using the current and up-to-date application forms, as your package will be returned, unprocessed.
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. Email: info@deidrepowell.com subjectline: immigration, Call 613-695-8777/ 876-922-8899 Facebook: jamaicanlawyer

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

How do I get back to Canada

Dear Ms Powell,
I worked in Canada last year on a contract as a skilled labourer. I was hoping that my employer would rehire me this year and I could get a work permit. He however said he can't do so this year as the Canadian government is not allowing him to hire any more temporary foreign workers. He said if I come back he would be happy to hire me, but he is having a hard time and can't help me to get the work permit this year. How can I get to go back?
- KE
Dear KE,
I sympathise with you and your former employer, as many temporary foreign workers (TFW) and employers alike are up in arms about the recent changes under the Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Programme (TFWP). Most employers are limited to only 20% of their workers being temporary foreign workers especially in the food and accommodation sectors. That is because the government is focusing on reducing unemployment rate and ensuring that persons who are already in Canada can fill these positions.
 Apply For Permanent Residence
 All is not lost as you now have the opportunity to not just apply for a work permit, but to apply for permanent residence, provided that you qualify. You may apply on your own or with the support of your employer.
If you apply for a work permit, you will need a valid job offer from an authorized Canadian employer. This would be a temporary option, as the work permit will grant you a limited time to work in Canada and you would not have the full benefits of a permanent resident or citizen.
You can apply on your own through the Express Entry to become a permanent resident of Canada, provide that you can get cross the threshold for selection.
The express entry system which was introduced in January 2015, is opened to everyone who has a strong combination of skill, education, training, work experience and language skills. There is no restriction on who can apply under the express entry system. As long as you qualify as under one or more categories of the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) or Federal Skilled Trade (FST) or Canadian Experienced Class (CEC) and under some of the Provincial Nominee Programmes (PNP), you may apply.
 No Cap
The Express Entry system is based on the number of points or scores you can get. There is no cap on the number of applications that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will accept. Person like yourself who have Canadian work experience will get additional points for having worked in Canada. If your former employer has a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), he can assist you by providing you a job offer and the LMIA number. This would strongly improve your chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence under the Express Entry system.
Job Bank
Canadian employers are being encouraged to seek workers from the Express Entry pool who are also entered into the job bank. Therefore, once you are in the pool, an employer will have access to information about your training and skills and can offer you a job. This means that you do not have to rely solely on your former employer to offer you a job.
Many provinces have Provincial Nominee Programmes opened to TFW. You may qualify if you have a valid trade certificate in a compulsory or optional trade category.
 Find Out If You Qualify
You did not provide enough information about yourself and so I cannot tell you what your Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) would be and what would be your chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence.
You may however, receive a free online assessment of whether or not you qualify by submitting information about yourself such as age, occupation, level of education, work experience, language proficiency and marital status on my website www.deidrepowell.com . Once you provide details about yourself and family, I will be able to advise you on whether or not you are a strong candidate and likely to receive and invitation to apply under the Express Entry system.
The key to having a successful application is to get a high score under the language examinations and having your educational credentials assessed by one of the institutions authorized to provide the educational credential assessment (ECA) report.
The good news is that recently, CIC released the first batch of invitation to apply for permanent residence to persons without job offers or provincial nomination. Persons interested in becoming permanent residents of Canada can feel optimistic, as the trend is that more persons are being selected with lower CRS scores and without a job offer.
So if you are serious about making Canada your new home, I strongly recommend that you consult privately with a CIC authorised, immigration lawyer who can discuss the details of your case and provide you with options based on your skills, education and family situation.
Published in the Jamaica Gleanerhttp://jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20150331/immigration-corner-how-do-i-get-back-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, 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. Email: info@deidrepowell.com subjectline: immigration. Tel: 613.695.8777/ 876.922.8899 Facebook: jamaicanlawyer.