Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Immigration Corner | Afraid to go home

Immigration Corner | Afraid to go home:

Dear Ms Powell,
I am a Jamaican attending school in Canada. I have a job for the summer and plan to take a quick trip to Jamaica before the summer is over. My concern is that my study permit says something about the fact that it does not authorise re-entry. It doesn't say anything about me not being able to work. My programme doesn't end until 2018. I'm worried that if I go back to Jamaica I won't be able to come back to finish my programme. I want to see my family, but I don't want to get stuck in Jamaica. Is there a way to check before I leave to make sure I don't have problems?
- J.E.
Dear J.E.,
There is a distinction between a study/work permit and a visa. A study permit without restrictions may authorise you to work within Canada on a part-time basis, up to a maximum of 20 hours, and on a full-time basis during breaks/holidays. You do not have to apply for a separate work permit, provided that there is no clear restriction endorsed on your permit.
Your study permit is not a visa. You will not be allowed to re-enter Canada using just your study permit. Your study permit is endorsed with 'This Does Not Authorise Re-Entry'. This means that you will need to have a valid temporary resident visa or be a citizen of a visa-exempt country. You should always ensure that you have a valid temporary resident visa to be able to travel to and from Canada.
You will need a temporary resident visa (TRV) to return to Canada. Check your passport. You must have had a TRV. The period of time granted varies. It could be as little as three month, and up to five or 10 years. It could be a multiple-entry visa or a one-entry visa. Sometimes, individuals submit an application for TRV for a one-entry visa, because of the cost of the application, without looking at the long-term effects. Usually, a visitor can stay in Canada up to six months with a TRV. However, a work/study permit allows you to stay in Canada up to the expiry of the permit without reapplying. This, however, does not grant you authority to leave and return to Canada without a valid TRV.
When applying for a work permit or study permit, it is always best to indicate on your TRV application that you are applying for a multiple-entry TRV. It saves you reapplying during the course of your studies.
If you are not a green-card holder and your TRV will expire while you are in Jamaica, then you may reapply for your TRV when you are in Jamaica. There is no guarantee that you will be granted the TRV when you are there. You will be evaluated based on the requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations, just like any other applicant who lives in Jamaica. It will be your duty to submit the same documents as when you first applied for the TRV. You will need to show ties to your home country or country of permanent residence, proof that you will return and that you are motivated to return to your home country on the completion of your studies. Most important, you will need to submit proof that you can afford to complete your studies in Canada.
Can you apply within Canada? The answer is yes and I strongly recommend that you do so before you leave Canada. The application process is faster and less stressful. It also alleviates your fears of not being able to return to Canada in time for school. Bear in mind that you should also submit the same documents as if you were outside of Canada, as noted above. This application should be submitted at least two months prior to your departure from Canada or two months before the expiry of your visa, whichever is first.
 Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Send your questions or comments to info@deidrepowell.com, put in the subject of your email 'immigration question'. Follow her at Facebook/jamaicanlawyer. Call 613.695.8777 or 876.922.4092.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Immigration Corner | Do I need a visa? ( Greencard Holders)

Immigration Corner | Do I need a visa?  ( Tips for USA Greencard Holders)

Dear Ms Powell,
Do I need to apply for a Canadian visa if I have a US green card and a Jamaican passport? I am planning to visit my aunt and family for Christmas and I don't want any trouble at the airport.
- GH
Dear GH,
A Jamaican citizen with a valid US green card, which is a card granted to permanent residents of the US, is not required to get a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or visitor's visa in order to travel to Canada. This, provided that they are not deemed inadmissible to Canada and have an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA).
Effective March 2016, an individual with a US green card is required to get an eTA. This is also applicable to individuals who are planning to travel to other countries via Canada (in transit).
You do not need an eTA if you are a citizen of the US and have a valid US passport.
 How To Apply For An eTA
The application must be submitted online via the Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. You will need to have a valid credit card and email address in order to pay the fee of CAD$7 and to receive emails from IRCC within 72 hours.
You will be required to enter all information as it appears in your passport and green card. Be very careful and ensure that you enter accurate information to avoid delay or rejection of your application. It is critical that you enter the 'A-Number' exactly as it appears on your card.
Other information that will be required and questions to expect:
1. Whether you have made previous applications to enter Canada. This includes work or study permit applications
2. The amount of money you have available for your trip
3. Occupation/ job title
4. Name and address of employer/ school
5. Urgent reasons for your trip
6. Have you ever committed, been arrested for, been charged with or convicted of any criminal offence in any country?
7. Have you or anyone close to you had tuberculosis?
8. Do you have a health condition for which you are currently receiving ongoing medical treatment?
What Happens After You Submit An Application?
You will receive an email within minutes confirming that your application has been received.
If you do not receive a confirmation email shortly, then you should check your spam folder. If IRCC requires additional documents from you then you will receive an email to check your online account and upload the documents there.
You should ensure that you receive confirmation that the eTA has been granted before you book your ticket to travel to Canada. It is mandatory for Jamaican citizens with a green card, regardless of age. You should apply for your eTA immediately just in case there are delays with your application.
The eTA is usually valid for five years. If you have issues or concerns about how to apply for an eTA or visitor's visa, you should consult with an immigration lawyer immediately.
Deidre S. Powell is an immigration lawyer, mediator and notary public. Submit your questions and comments to info@deidrepowell.com or call 613.695.8777/ 876.922.4092. You may also find her on Facebook.com/jamaicanlawyer.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Immigration Corner | How Do I Get My Helper To Canada?

Dear Miss Powell,
I am 83 years old and I usually spend winters in Jamaica. I have a helper who works with me when I am there. The doctors do not recommend that I go on any extended trip and I'm in need of some help here in Canada. I do not want to be in a nursing home. I would like my helper in Jamaica to come to Canada to work for me. How can I get my helper here? My neighbour said she sponsored her helper some years ago, but that the rules have changed a bit since then. Is there a way to get my Jamaican helper to come to work for me in Canada?
- L.M.
Dear L.M.,
A Canadian permanent resident or citizen can hire an international worker to assist them in their home in Canada, provided that both the Canadian employer and the international employee can satisfy certain requirements.
Before you can make a job offer, you will first need to get a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from the Canadian government. The LMIA will be your authority to hire an international employee. You can get this document from the Employment and Social Development Canada Services. If you qualify, this report will allow you to hire your helper under the Temporary Foreign Worker Programme (TFWP).
Once obtained, you should send a copy of the LMIA, along with a contract of employment, to your helper so that she can apply for a work permit under the TFWP.
Your helper/potential international employee will need to apply for an employer-specific work permit from the Visa Application Centre (VAC) nearest to her in Jamaica. She should submit the required application forms, proof of her education, work experience and other documents to show that she meets the requirement of the job that you are offering her.
 She should also be careful to show her ties to Jamaica and that she intends to return to Jamaica at the end of her employment contract or on the expiry of her work visa. Examples of documents that she can submit are: proof that she is in a committed relationship; that she has children; tangible assets such as a house, car, bank statements, and any other information to show that she has strong reasons to return to Jamaica when her contract expires.
She will also need to submit her biometrics data, so her fingerprints will be taken at the VAC. She must also pay the required processing fee when submitting the application.
This is essentially a two-step process, so you should consider contacting an immigration lawyer to ensure that both you and your employee do a pre-assessment of your eligibility before even submitting an application to the Canadian immigration authorities. That way, you will be fully aware of all the requirements beforehand and ensure that you can both meet them. This could save you both a lot of time, and money and prevent undue stress.
- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Send your questions and comments to info@deidrepowell.com or call 613-695-8777 or 876-922-4092

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Immigration Corner | Tell me about these changes to the Canadian Immigration System

Immigration Corner | Tell me about these changes:

Dear Ms Powell,

I saw online that professionals can sponsor themselves to become citizens of Canada. I tried a few years ago, but I didn't get through. A friend said that there have been changes to the system, and since I am a manager at a bank and my husband is a mechanic, we stand a good chance. My sister is also interested, and she works at a hotel as a chef. Can you please tell me what the changes are and how we can qualify?
- C.J.
Dear C.J.,
The Canadian government has several programmes under which individuals can apply to become permanent residents, and later, citizens. The programmes are monitored by Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Although family sponsorship is possible for parents, grandparents, children under 18 years, to name a few, many individuals have found that self sponsorship is a viable option.
To qualify, individuals need to satisfy the requirements under the Federal Skilled Trades Programme, Federal Skilled Worker Programme, Canadian Experience Class, and Provincial Nominee Programme. These are called economic programmes, and applications are accepted through the express entry system.
The express entry system was introduced in January 2015 as an electronic system used to select individuals who qualify under one of the above programmes to invite them to apply for permanent residence of Canada. There is no cap on the number of applications being accepted and there is no strict occupation list. Individuals who receive an invitation to apply can expect to get permanent residence in approximately six months.
The key is to have the highest possible score based on age, adaptability, language ability, education, work experience, job offer, and provincial nominee. The aim is to get a maximum of 1,200 points based on those criteria.
Each individual will be required to enter personal information accurately into the Canadian government system. Points will be awarded using the comprehensive ranking system. In previous articles, I outlined how to maximise your scores and to receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence. IRCC has been having regular rounds of invitation to qualifying individuals. Therefore, it will be up to the individuals to take steps to improve their scores to over 450, based on the past trends.
Recently, the Canadian government made changes to the points granted to applicants based on their job level or national occupational classification and job offers with or without labour market impact assessment report (LMIA) and study in Canada.
Previously, there was a scramble to get a job offer from a legitimate employer who had an LMIA report as only LMIA- exempt jobs or jobs with LMIA reports were worth 600 points. No point was granted to offers without an LMIA.
However, under the new rules, which came into effect on November 19, 2016, an individual can get between 50-200 points for a qualifying job offer. A professional or manager who has education and experience in certain jobs, or a CEO, directors, or managerial jobs such as legislators, managers in the financial, trade, communications, broadcasting health, education, social services, community services, membership organisations, construction, transportation, production, would could gain an extra 200 points just for occupation.
Occupations such as human resource manager, purchasing manager, financial managers, fire chiefs, police officers, administrative assistants, legal assistants, insurance underwriters, bookkeepers with a qualifying job offer could get 50 points.
This is a relief to many potential applicants as there is no longer a strict requirement for LMIA. However individuals with an LMIA would still get additional points under the new system.
The skilled trades occupations are still eligible and in demand. These include cooks, bakers, chefs, butchers, industrial, electrical, construction, equipment operation, technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture, processing, manufacturing, utilities supervisors, and central control operators. All these skills are automatically classified as skill type 'B' and will be admitted into the pool. If an individual has a job offer, then an additional 50 points will be granted.
Previously, no extra point was awarded for Canadian study. The only benefit was that those individuals who studied in Canada were exempted from providing the standard educational credential assessment report.
Under the new system, additional points are being awarded for Canadian study as follows: 15 points for one-or two-year post-secondary programme; 30 points for a three-year programme, master's, or PhD. The applicant will need to prove that they were physically present in Canada in a programme for at least eight months.
Many international students are relieved to see this change as this means that their chances of receiving permanent residence after a minimum of one year of study have improved significantly.
The provincial nominee programme is still the most valuable way of gaining 600 points to get an ITA for permanent residence.
Once an ITA has been granted, a candidate has 90 days instead of 60 days in which to submit all the supporting documents for final processing.
It is expected that around 51,000 international applicants will receive permanent residence in 2017. The key is to have a strategy to ensure that you maximise your points in order to be selected.
I strongly recommend that you meet with an immigration lawyer to assess your eligibility and have an immigration plan.
- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public. Send your questions and comments to info@deidrepowell.com. Call 613.695.8777 or 876.922.4092/8899. Find her on Facebook: jamaicanlawyer.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Immigration Corner | Can my granddaughter sponsor me?

Dear Miss Powell,
My granddaughter lives in Canada. Can she file for me? My daughter died recently and I don't have any other relatives here in Jamaica. I'm retired and she is 28, married, with one child. I think I could be helpful to her, plus it would be a joy to just be close to my granddaughter and her family.
Dear SW,
If your granddaughter is a permanent resident or a citizen of Canada, she can sponsor you to become a permanent resident of Canada under the family class category of parent and grandparent sponsorship. Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has limited the number of applications that it will accept on an annual basis to 10,000. The quota is currently full; however, the programme will be reopened on January 3, 2017. Therefore, now is the time to prepare your documents so that you can submit them promptly when they begin accepting applications.
Your granddaughter must prove that she is financially able to sponsor you. This means that she must not have had government financial assistance for any reason other than as a result of a disability and not declared bankruptcy or defaulted on an immigration loan payment. She will be required to sign a sponsorship agreement indicating that she will be financially responsible for you for a period of time ranging anywhere from three to 10 years from the time that you have been granted permanent residence.
She will need to be earning a minimum of CAD$38,272 per annum, and the amount increases based on the number of persons in your granddaughter's family. There is a federal income table for sponsors of parents and grandparents that you will need to examine, and you will also need to provide the Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for the past three years.
To be eligible, she must not have been convicted of a criminal offence or an offence against a family member.
Your granddaughter must submit an application to sponsor you. To do so, she will need to complete the required forms which are available online. The forms must be done accurately and be consistent with the facts and supporting documents. Examples of the forms to be submitted are the application to sponsor and sponsorship agreement. If she is using an authorised representative such as a lawyer, she should also complete a use of representative form.
The required supporting documents are a photocopy of her passport, permanent resident or citizenship card/certificate, and birth certificate that shows her status in Canada. She must also submit a photocopy of her parent's birth certificate, with your name as the mother to prove that you are her grandmother. If she is using a co-sponsor such as a spouse or another family member, similar documents will be required of the co-sponsor.
The required fee must be paid online and proof of payment submitted with the application. You will be required to do criminal and medical checks as part of the process.
This process can take anywhere from 12 to 24 months to process, so you should ensure that you and your granddaughter are prepared to submit a completed application along with all the required supporting documents on January 3, 2017. All documents must be mailed to the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga.
I strongly recommend that you consult with an immigration lawyer immediately to ensure that you get personalised responses to all your questions.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public Email: info@deidrepowell.com Subjectline: Immigration or Tel: 613.695.8777/ 876.922.4092 or contact her on Facebook: Jamaicanlawyer

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Immigration Corner | I fled abuse in Canada

Immigration Corner | I fled abuse in Canada:

Dear Miss Powell,
I got married to a Canadian citizen and he filed for me. I got through and went to Canada. I was excited about my new life. However, from the day I landed in Canada I started getting all kinds of abuse. I decided to stick it out as I really love my husband. I found out that I was pregnant and I wasn't sure how he would take the news, so I asked a minister to talk to him about the way he is treating me. The minister called and talked to him and he got mad at me, saying I had no right to bring his business to the public. He hit me on my face and flung me across the room. I was so scared, I called my family in Jamaica and they said that I should leave him and come back to Jamaica before he kills me and the baby. I packed a bag when he went to work and returned to Jamaica to my parents.
I've been in Jamaica about three weeks and my husband has called and threatened me almost every day. He said he is going to tell Immigration that I left him so that I cannot go back to Canada. I don't know what to do as I'm pregnant and I'm scared that if I go back he will cause me to lose my baby. I am also worried that if I stay in Jamaica, he could jeopardise my right to live in Canada. What can I do? Help me and my baby, please.
- A.Y.
Dear A.Y.,
I am sorry to hear about your situation. Abuse is a serious offence. It is not tolerated in Canada and should be reported, especially since you have a genuine fear for your safety and the safety of your child.
Your immigration status in Canada depends on the terms under which you were granted permanent residence. If at the time when you were sponsored, you were in a relationship for less than two years and you did not have a child together, you may have received 'conditional' permanent residence.
This policy was introduced by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formally known as CIC) which came into effect in 2012. This policy was implemented in an effort to cut down on fraudulent marriages or marriages of convenience by individuals who were seeking Canadian permanent residence.
Based on the brief information provided, your situation is different. You did not state the length of time that you were in a relationship or if you had a child with your husband at the time of the application. Your rights as a conditional permanent resident are the same as those of a permanent citizen. This includes being permitted to leave Canada and to return to Canada, and you do not need the permission of your husband to do so.
In any event, your conditional status in Canada would have ended once the two-year period expired. If you received conditional permanent residence less than two years ago, you are not forced to stay in the relationship just to maintain your permanent residence in Canada.


If you are being abused by your husband, who is your sponsor, then you have a responsibility to yourself and your unborn child to protect yourself and to report it the authorities. The police in Canada can be very helpful plus there are a number of support groups that you may contact.
Abuse can take many forms, including physical, sexual, psychological and failing to provide the necessities for life.
You can request an exception to your conditional permanent residence limitations, which can be done anytime during the two- year period. You can do this by calling the Canadian government immigration call centre at 1-888-242-2100.
When you are reporting the abuse to IRCC, you must show evidence that the abuse was the reason for the breakdown of the marriage. A written statement from your minister and medical reports would be helpful.
IRCC may contact you within five days for a phone interview. You will be required to submit statements and evidence later. This evidence will be used to make a decision on whether to grant the exception. This will be based on whether the IRCC officer believes there is sufficient evidence of the abuse and does not depend on the severity of the abuse. It is best to provide the officer with as much details and evidence as you can.
You did not state whether you were working at the time or if you had other friends or family members in Canada who provided support to you. However, this is a serious issue and you do not need to suffer alone or stay in Jamaica if you do not want to. Remember, remaining outside of Canada for an excessive amount of time could jeopardise the renewal of your permanent residence card when it expires.
There are many options available to you. Some are: contact an immigration lawyer directly; call the Canadian police, department of justice or health services. You can also go directly to the hospital, medical clinic or your family doctor. There are many legal aid clinics, crisis hotlines, victim support organisations and immigrant serving agencies all over Canada. Please get the personal help you need.
 Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Email: info@deidrepowell.com Subject line: Immigration or Tel: 613.695.8777 or contact her on Facebook: Jamaicanlawyer.

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 info@deidrepowell.com or call 613.695.8777 or 876.922.4092. Find her on Facebook: Jamaicanlawyer.