Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Immigration Corner: What Are 'Settlement Funds'?

Dear Ms Powell,
I hear that Canada has a programme that allows professionals to sponsor themselves and their families, but I hear I will need to have at least US$10,000 as settlement funds. What are settlement funds? Do I need to give the government of Canada that money for them to approve my application? Can I just show them that I own a BMW and a house that I can sell when they approve my application?
- H.D.
 Dear H.D.,
Any individual who has the education, work experience, settlement funds and who can satisfy a few other criteria can apply to become a permanent resident in Canada. Many individuals call this self-sponsorship.
The key would be to apply to qualify under one of the existing programmes such as the Federal Skilled Worker Programme, the Federal Skills Trade Programme, the Canadian Experienced Class Programme (CEC) or the Provincial Nominee Programme.
Part of the qualifying process is to show that you have enough funds to assist you and your family to settle in Canada. This is called settlement funds. This is required of persons without a job offer and all other categories except under the CEC programme. The amount of money you need to show is based on the number of persons in your family.
For example, for 2016, if you are the only person applying you will need to show that you have a minimum of CAD$12,164; family of two - CAD$15,143; family of four - CAD$22,636, and so on.
It is indeed recommended that you save your funds in US currency due to the fluctuating value of the currencies. As long as you have the equivalent of the Canadian dollars required, in Jamaican, US or any other currency, then you would satisfy the requirement.
The purpose of the funds is to ensure that you have enough funds to help you with settling in Canada, can support yourself and not require government assistance until you are able to obtain employment and establish yourself in Canada. You will not have to give this to the government of Canada. You will just need to have the funds ready to take with you to Canada. The recommended minimum amount is calculated annually by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and a new list is published every year.
You cannot just show proof of ownership of a car or house. Do you have a lien or mortgage on these properties? Furthermore, a car is a depreciating asset and there is no guarantee that you will be able to sell these assets and have the minimum amount available when it is time to go to Canada. So, this would not be acceptable proof.
You will need to submit proof of liquid funds with your application for permanent residence. Acceptable proof are cash, letter from your bankers or investment brokers showing that you own stocks, bonds, debentures, treasury bills or other investments.
To find out more about acceptable proof of settlement funds and how to make an application to become a permanent resident of Canada consult with an immigration lawyer.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public. Submit your questions and comments to: info@deidrepowell.com Find her on Facebook: jamaicanlawyer or call 876.922.4092 or 613.695.8777.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner: http://www.jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20160426/immigration-corner-what-are-settlement-funds

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Temporary Foreign Worker / Caregiver/ Work Permit

Dear Ms Powell.

I am 68 years old and I used to help my son with his children, but I can't manage anymore as my health has been failing me. I would like to hire someone from Jamaica to assist me and my grandchildren. I have someone in mind, but I am not sure how to get her here. What do I need to do? Also, I'm concerned that after I get her here she could up and leave me and my family. Is there a way to ensure that she is restricted to only working with me or return to Jamaica if she quits?
Dear D.S.,
A Canadian citizen or permanent resident can hire a foreign national to provide care for children, individuals with medical needs and the elderly, provided that all the parties are able to satisfy the requirements of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Qualified foreign individuals may apply for a work permit under the Temporary Foreign Worker Programme to become caregivers in Canada. The caregiver will be required to live in or live out of a private residence and provide a minimum of 30 hours per week to the private household.
Caregivers are usually hired to provide care to children under 18 years old, individuals over 65 years old or individuals who have disabilities, chronic or terminal illnesses.
You as the employer, and the prospective employee, will need to satisfy various requirements. The job must be a legitimate one and the main focus must be on caregiving for the children or you as an elderly person and the job cannot be for simple house-cleaning.
Since you have someone in mind for the position, you will need to ensure that the person has the required education and experience before you start the process. To qualify as a caregiver the individual will need to demonstrate that she has the required education and work experience as a babysitter, nanny or parent helper in order to care for children. If her main duties will be to work as a caregiver for you, as an elderly person, the individual will need to show that she qualifies as a home-support worker, nurse aide, practical nurse or registered nurse.
The caregiver must be able to prove that she has at least the following minimum requirements:
1. Completed the equivalent of a Canadian secondary school diploma, (Canadian High schools go up to grade 12.).
2. Have formal training of at least six months in caregiving; OR
3. A minimum of one year work experience as a caregiver or in a related job within the past three years. At least six months of ongoing work must be with one employer.
4. Proof of qualifications as a trained home-support worker, nurse aide, practical nurse or registered nurse is required if the application is submitted for care of anyone over 65 years. So, if training is done in Jamaica, then an Educational Credential Assessment is required to show that the education and training is equivalent to a similar training in Canada.
5. Demonstrate language ability by sitting and passing the General Training Examination.
Once the prospective caregiver has the required qualifications, you the employer will need to prepare a written employment contract that outlines the working arrangements. This job offer must have details about the pay, transportation, duties, hours of work, housing arrangements, medical and workplace insurance, holiday and sick leave. It should also have a termination clause.
The employment contract should be submitted with the application for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) report.
It is the employer's duty to apply for and pay for the LMIA report. This is a report that verifies that there is a genuine need for a temporary foreign worker, as all efforts to find someone in Canada to fill the position have been futile. You will need to apply to the Employment and Social Development Canada/Service Canada for the LMIA by submitting the completed forms, the required supporting documents and pay the fee.
Once the LMIA has been granted, the individual will need to submit her application for a work permit before the LMIA expires.
It will be up to the prospective caregiver to submit all the required documents and proof that she is qualified. This includes submitting a police report and doing medical tests.
You should know that even though you will be named as the employer on the application and the work permit, the caregiver has the right to change jobs without your permission. She will be free to work for another employer and you cannot stop the individual from doing so, as long as she has a legitimate job offer and the new employer has a LMIA.
A live-in caregiver can also apply for permanent residence after she has worked under the programme for a minimum of two years or 3,900 hours and within four years of entry into Canada. She will also be able to apply for an open work permit, so that she is not restricted to accepting jobs only as a caregiver.
Although I understand your concern about the time and investment you will need to make to bring in a foreign worker, you must be sure that you choose your employee carefully and treat them right so that they will be inspired to remain loyal.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner

Immigration Corner: I Want To Hire A Jamaican

: http://jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20160412/immigration-corner-i-want-hire-jamaican
 Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Ontario, Canada and Jamaican Bar. Submit your questions and comments toinfo@deidrepowell.com or call 613.695.8777/ 876.922.4092

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Immigration Corner: Thinking Of Being With My Woman In Canada

Dear Ms Powell,
I have been a farmer for the last 10 years and have been seeing a nice Canadian woman for about two years.
She visits all the time and stays with me. She said she could help me become a citizen and set up a farm in Canada.
However, I don't want any woman to have any control over me, so I want to know if there is a way for me, as a decent farmer man, to go to Canada.
My lady is nice but I want to be independent, just in case things don't work out. I have some savings and don't have a chick or child here in Jamaica. I want to explore how I can get to Canada and set up a farm there. What can I do?
Dear WN,
Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), formerly known and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), has always encouraged self-employed individuals, such as farm managers, cultural and athletic individuals, with relevant experience and qualifications, to apply for and become permanent residents of Canada.
There are several immigration programmes for self-employed individuals who can make a valuable contribution to the growth and development of Canada. I will highlight a few of the options available to you.
Options In Quebec
Quebec has a generous immigration programme for individuals who are interested in being self-employed or investing in Quebec. If qualified, you could be granted permanent residence and become eligible for Canadian citizenship.
To be eligible under the Quebec investor programme, you will need to show that you have net assets of at least CAD$1.6m and have experience managing a legal farm.
This means you will need to show that you have been in a legitimate business as a farmer in your home country and be able to substantiate your business-management experience.
You must intend to settle in Quebec and sign an agreement to invest CAD$800,000 in Quebec.
You also have the option of buying and managing a farm in any other province such as: Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia or New Brunswick making you eligible for permanent residence, without the assistance of your lady friend.
To do this, you will need proof that you have a minimum of two one-year periods of managing a farm within the last five years.
So if you have managed a legitimate farm, continuously, for the last 10 years, then your next step would be to score a minimum of 35 out of 100 points in order to qualify under this programme.
This is the point structure, which is subject to change without notice.
IRCC will examine your application and award you points based on your education, experience and age, ability to speak English / French and adaptability.
There is a range of points based on each criterion. The maximum you can get for each category is as follows:
Experience - 35 points
Age - 10 points
Education - 25 points
Language - 24 points
Adaptability - 6 points
The good thing about this programme is, that if you have more than five years experience as a self-employed individual of a legitimate business, you automatically get the required minimum points.
It is also mandatory that you sit the International English Language Testing System English (General Training) examination. You will be tested on your reading, writing, listening and speaking ability.
If you have a diploma, degree from a school outside of Canada, you should apply to get an Educational Credential Assessment report to show that your certificate, diploma or degree is valid and equal to a Canadian certification. You will also be required to do medical and criminal checks.
I admire your independent spirit, so if you have the funds to invest, then, I say, go for it. Submit your application now before the policy and rules change.
However, if things should become more serious with you and your Canadian lady friend, then you could consider family sponsorship.
Either way, I recommend that you consult an immigration lawyer, directly, to review your documents and discuss the finer details of your case, to determine the best option for you to immigrate to Canada.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner: http://www.jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20160315/immigration-corner-thinking-being-my-woman-canada
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, send your questions and comments to Email info@deidrepowell.com. Subject line: Immigration or Tel: 613.695.8777

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Immigration Corner: I Lied About Being Gay

Dear Miss Powell,
I'm in a same sex relationship with my Canadian boyfriend.
He wanted me to visit him so in his invitation letter he stated that I was his cousin by marriage and I also placed that information on the application form. That was done to keep my sexuality private and to protect me. Unfortunately the visa was denied.
We plan to get married soon and then he wants to sponsor me as his spouse. I read that I could be banned for misrepresentation. Is this true? What should we do?
- LJ
 Dear LJ,
You should not lie or give misleading information to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) as there are serious consequences. A person is deemed inadmissible under the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for, "directly or indirectly misrepresenting or withholding material facts relating to a relevant matter that induces or could induce an error in the enforcement of the Act."
It is not a criminal offence but goes to the heart of the integrity of the Canadian immigration system and CIC's goal of ensuring that all applicants are treated equally and fairly.
So, even though most people can understand the desire to keep your homosexual relationship private, you did not just conceal that the individual is a friend or partner, which is material fact, but went further to say that your partner is a cousin. This deepens the misrepresentation.
The penalty for misrepresentation (for cases outside of Canada), is that you could be barred from submitting an application for five years following the determination that there was a misrepresentation.


The best way to handle this situation is to deal with it in an honest, upfront manner. Do not make the situation worse. You need to voluntarily come forward and present the details of your misrepresentation; present your apology and an explanation when you submit your application for spousal sponsorship. Do not wait for the immigration authority to discover it on their own, as you will only compound the situation.
The reality is that there is a strong possibility that your spousal application could be denied, even if you provide an explanation with your spousal application. Nevertheless, all hope is not lost, as you could appeal the decision to the Immigration and Refugee Board or wait the five years to reapply. The officer is obliged to follow the Act and cannot extend the inadmissibility period, unless there are additional issues to consider at that time.
If your application is denied and you choose to appeal the decision, you should note that the board will examine all the circumstances of your case and weigh whether they should grant your requests.
Some of the key factors that the board would look at are: the seriousness of the misrepresentation; the circumstances surrounding it; the remorsefulness of the individuals involved; the impact that this could have on your family and your relationship with your spouse; joint investments; property and family obligations; whether you have a child together or other dependent family member who is directly affected; the impact that this could have on them and the degree of hardship that could be caused if your application is denied.
This list is not exhaustive, therefore I suggest that you get legal counsel to assist you with your application. You will need to present credible and convincing facts to show that the circumstances of your case are unique and warrant the considerations of the officer or the board. You should present sufficient evidence that the officer/ board should grant you relief even on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
The key thing to remember is that your marriage will be highly scrutinised by the authorities to ensure that it is genuine and not one entered into so that you can have the benefit of coming to Canada. So, you should be prepared to be honest about how you met, the development of your relationship, details of the ceremony, your financial status and details about your marital commitments.
Best of luck to you and your spouse.
Deidre S. Powell, is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Submit your questions to info@deidrepowell.com  Subjectline: Immigration or via fax to 613.695.8778. 
Published: http://jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20160209/immigration-corner-i-lied-about-being-gay

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

I'm In School And Plan To Move To Canada

Dear Ms. Powell
I am a final-year student at the University of Technology, where I am completing my studies in computer science. I would like to become a citizen of Canada. I have an uncle there. Can you tell me how I can qualify to go to Canada when I finish studying?
- O.J.
 Dear O.J.,
Canada is one of the many countries that encourage qualified professionals to become permanent residents based on their education, experience, savings, and demonstration of ability to integrate and become a productive member of the Canadian society.
Being trained as a computer scientist is a viable skill and you could have a bright career path in Canada. You may be eligible to immigrate to Canada through the express entry system as a Federal Skilled Worker (FSW). Under this category, a person is chosen based on his or her education, work experience and ability to integrate and make a valuable contribution to the Canadian economy.
You indicated that you are currently completing your studies in computer science. Are you completing a bachelor's degree? Do you have a post-high school diploma or associate's degree in computer science? Do you have any work experience in computer science? To qualify to apply as a FSW, you will need to have a minimum of one year post-certification, work experience in your related field.
Based on the information submitted, you do not appear to be quite ready to submit an application. However, it is good to have a goal and plan in mind and to start preparing yourself to apply. I will, therefore, provide you with some basic information to assist you with your preparation.
You will need to sit the (IELTS) general training, English examination that is offered at the University of the West Indies. You should contact them immediately, as the waiting time to sit the examination is very long. Once you have completed your studies, you will need to request an Educational Credential Assessment Report to show that your degree or diploma is equivalent to one being offered in Canada. This can be requested from various accredited bodies in Canada after you have provided them with your transcripts and details of your studies. Medical and security checks will also be required to ensure that you are admissible to Canada.
The express entry system is very competitive, and so many individuals have chosen to do further studies such as a master's or PhD degree at a Canadian university, then apply for a post-graduate work permit in order to get Canadian work experience. Once an individual is able to demonstrate that he or she has the minimum required Canadian work experience, this usually increases the chances of gaining sufficient points to qualify to receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence under the express entry system. You may also be eligible to apply for one of the provincial nominee programmes. This is a longer and more expensive route, but one worth considering.
You should also note that the Canadian immigration rules and procedures are constantly changing. You should keep reading The Gleaner to stay informed and take advantage of the opportunity should one present itself. The key is to be prepared.
Best of luck in your final year!
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Submit your questions and comments to info@deidrepowell.com. Subjectline: Immigration. Fax: 613.695.8778

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Published: http://www.jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20160125/im-school-and-plan-move-canada

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Canada Immigration: How Do I Get A 'Super Visa'?

Dear Ms Powell,
I heard that I can get a Super Visa to go and stay in Canada for up to five years without going back and forth every six months. Can you tell me how to apply for a Super Visa?
- B.D.
 Dear B.D.,
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has a category called the Super Visa that is usually granted for a maximum of five to ten years. Qualified individuals will be authorised to stay longer than the usual six months - from the date of entry, up to a maximum of two years - without paying a fee to apply to extend the time authorised to remain in Canada. However, this visa is only open to parents or grandparents of permanent residents and citizens of Canada, who are able to satisfy certain requirements.
The main requirement is that you must be a genuine visitor and do not intend to work without a permit during your visit. You must also leave at the end of the time granted to stay within Canada.
If you are a parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and able to demonstrate that you are eligible and admissible, you may submit an application to the nearest Canadian visa application centre.
It is a two-step application process, so both you and your child or grandchild must meet the requirements in order to be granted the visa.

The first step is to ensure that your child or grandchild meets the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) threshold as established by Statistics Canada. This is a formula which is used to estimate how much the average family is expected to devote to its basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing. This is used to ensure that your relative will be able to provide for the family and that your visit will not be an economic burden on him or her.
The LICO is updated annually. Currently, if your relative is single, he or she will need to provide proof of income for two (including you). Therefore, income will need to be in excess of approximately CDN$30,300; a family of three - CDN$37,300; family of four - CDN$45,300, and so on. This table is available on Statistics Canada or the CIC website.
Your relative will need to submit a notice of assessment and/or T1/T4 for the most recent tax returns, job letter and proof of other assets and income.
You will also need to submit the usual qualifying documents to show that you are financially capable of maintaining yourself and that you have ties to your home country that will prompt you to return at the end of the time granted. CIC also looks at the economic stability of your home country as a part of the evaluation process.
Additionally, you will need to do a parent-grandparent medical examination, as well as provide proof of private medical insurance that covers hospitalisation and medical expense for a minimum of one year. You will not have free access to medical facilities in Canada if you become ill while visiting.
The parent and grandparent visa is a unique visa and is usually utilised by individuals who choose not to go through the sponsorship application process to become permanent residents. Usually, a parent and grandparent visit to assist their relatives in a time of need for an extended period of time and then return to their home country.
If you intend to stay longer than two years and have a child or grandchild who is a citizen or permanent resident, then now is the time to submit an application for sponsorship before the cap is reached.
If you do not have a child or grandchild who is a citizen or permanent resident, then you should apply for a 10-year multiple-entry visa. However, bear in mind that if you intend to stay longer than six months, you must submit an application to extend the time before the six months expires. You will be required to pay the requisite application fee and provide valid reason for the application for extension.
 Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Submit your questions to :info@deidrepowell.com. Subject: Immigration Fax: 613.695.8778
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20160119/immigration-corner-how-do-i-get-super-visa

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

IMMIGRATION CORNER: Can I Use A US Visa To Enter Canada?

Dear Ms Powell,
I am on long leave from my job as a teacher, and I'm visiting with my fiancÈ in New York. He wants us to visit his mother in Canada for the Christmas. Do I need a Canadian visa if I have a United States (US) visa? If I need a visa, can I just apply for it online or can I just visit the Canadian embassy here in New York?
- I.J
Dear I.J,
Each country has its own rules and requirement for granting entry by a foreign national. So, if you are from a 'visa-required' country or territory such as Jamaica, Trinidad, St Vincent, Guyana, Sierra Leon and Bangladesh, you will need to apply for a temporary resident/tourist or visitor's visa to enter Canada. You cannot just use your US visa to enter Canada. Although you may have satisfied the US government that you should be granted a visitor's visa, you will still need to satisfy the Canadian authorities that you qualify for a tourist visa to visit Canada.
If you are from a 'non-visa country' such as a British overseas territory, like Cayman Islands, the BVI, or a citizen of the Bahamas, Barbados or Antigua & Barbuda, you will not need a visitor's visa at this time. However, as of March 16, 2016, citizens of non-visa countries and individuals with a US green card will be required to get and present an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) in order to travel to or through Canada. The ETA is valid for five years or until the passport expires. Only individuals who are citizens of certain countries such as the US, or a 'transit without visa' country, will be exempted from this ETA requirement in 2016.
Assuming you are a citizen of a 'visa-requirement' country, like Jamaica, you will need to apply for a temporary resident. Therefore, if you are in the US on a visitor's visa and not as a citizen or permanent resident, you will be required to have a Canadian temporary resident/ visitor's visa in order to visit your friends and relatives in Canada for Christmas.
Although you may submit your application online and scan and upload your documents, you will still need to provide your biometric information and your passport to the Visa Application Centre (VAC) in your country of permanent residence. The VAC in New York only serves residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Bermuda. You will, therefore, need to attend the VAC nearest to your permanent residence in Jamaica to present your fingerprints and original passport, as part of the identification and application process.
In submitting your application for a tourist/ visitor's visa, you will need to prove that you have strong social and economic ties to your home country, and that you intend to return to your home country within the time granted, or before the end of six months. Ensure that you submit a letter from your employer to confirm that you will have a job to return to at the end of your vacation. You should also have a well-written invitation letter from your mother-in-law and documents to show that you are able to afford your trip.
You have the option of submitting an online application plus scan and upload the necessary document via www.csc-cvac.com/en-JM/selfservice; or submit a paper application to the VAC nearest to your permanent residence. The contact information for the centres in Jamaica are:
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
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Submit your questions and comments to: Email: info@deidrepowell.com. Subject line: Immigration
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner: http://jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20151208/immigration-corner-can-i-use-us-visa-enter-canada