Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Spousal Work Permits - Canada Immigration

Dear Ms Powell, 
I am a hard-working Jamaican man and my wife sponsored me to stay in Canada. She said I can't leave as I may not be allowed to return, and that could affect the application. I've been here over a year now and I can't work. I help out around the house, but that alone is not enough as my wife used to do two jobs and I can't do one.

My concern is that she is now pregnant and I can't sit around anymore. If I can't work, I may as well go back to Jamaica and work and send back the money for her, so she doesn't have to continue to work so hard. I know her family must be thinking it's not fair to her. Can you help us?

- K.J.

Dear K.J.,
Persons who have already submitted an application for permanent residence under the Spouse and Common Law Partners in Canada Class (SCLPC) can now apply for an open work permit within Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced in December 2014 that it will begin issuing open work permits to qualifying spouses and common-law partners before the formal approval of your sponsorship application. You must have the same address as your sponsor and have a valid temporary resident status in Canada.

What is the procedure?

You should complete an Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker. This application may be done online, depending on the stage of your permanent residence application. Otherwise, the application should be mailed to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta.

You will be required to pay the requisite fee, submit a copy of your passport and provide details of your travels. You will also need to do a medical examination and answer pertinent security questions.

You will also need to state your qualifications and the kind of job that you would be seeking. If you have a job offer, then you should include that information in your application.

The application should be processed within four months and will be valid for two years or until your passport expires, whichever is earliest. Therefore, if your passport expires within the next year, I strongly recommend that you take steps to renew it before you submit your application to ensure that you maximise the time granted.

Continue to be a supportive husband, and I wish you and your family the very best here in Canada. Should you have issues or concerns about your application, consult privately with an immigration lawyer for additional information.

Published in the Jamaican Gleaner:  See:  Should I return to Jamaica: http://mobile.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20150120/news/news9.php

Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars. She is a CIC authorized representative. Her areas of practice are immigration, real estate, personal injury, commercial, family, wills and estates in Jamaica and Ontario. Submit your questions and comments via email: info@deidrepowell.com  Subject line: Immigration.  Tel: 613-695-8777. Find her on Facebook

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The facts about Canada's express entry - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | January 13, 2015

I work at a hotel in Jamaica and all I seem to hear is everyone talking about express entry to Canada. A friend just lost her job, and now she claims that she is leaving her baby father to go to Canada. She said she emailed a consultant who told her about express entry and that anyone can get a green card for Canada. I am confused. Can you give me the basic facts so that I can be better informed and all my friends can stop hyping up about moving to Canada as I can't see why Canada would want anyone who is unemployed, has six children, and no money. Can you please just give me the truth about this new programme?
- H.Y.
Good day H.Y.,
Express Entry is not a new programme. It is a system to manage the existing economic immigration programmes to Canada. That means for one to qualify, he would need to be eligible under at least one of the existing economic programmes such as Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), Federal Skilled Trade (FST), Canadian Experience Class and part of the Provincial Nominee Programme. Once a candidate is deemed eligible, he could be granted the right to permanent residence in Canada. What is issued is a permanent resident card, not a green card.
How does one qualify?
A candidate will need to satisfy the minimum requirements under one of the existing programmes. The following are the top requirements:
1 Plan to live outside the province of Quebec.
2 Provide proof of English and/ French language proficiency. The two approved examinations are The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Programme General Test and The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training Examination.
Candidates will need to physically go to the test location and be tested on the following areas: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Candidates should strive to get a minimum of seven in each section to be competitive.
In Jamaica, a candidate may sit the IELTS English, General Training Examination at the University of the West Indies. The fee is £175. The current contact telephone number for the examination centre is 876-977-0887.
There are examinations centres in 140 countries, so candidates have the option of applying online to sit the examination in other countries such as Trinidad, Cuba, the USA, and Canada. The link for these centres is posted on my website: www.deidrepowell.com. The test is not a walkover, so be sure to prepare for it. Practice questions are posted on my Facebook page.
3 Provide proof of work experience. FST candidates must prove a minimum of two years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade while FSW must prove a minimum of one year full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience ) in a professional occupation.
4 Meet the minimum job requirement  based on the National Occupational Classification of Canada. This is very important!
5 A candidate must have a post secondary certification from a Canadian institution or have the non-Canadian credential assessed by one of the authorised bodies. A list of these institutions is posted on my website.
6 You must have the required settlement funds. If a candidate does not have a valid job offer  from an authorised Canadian employer, then it is a requirement that you have enough funds to facilitate your settlement in Canada.
The amount of settlement funds required is based on the number of persons in your family.
Selection process
Applications will be processed in two stages. The first step requires a candidate to "express an interest in being considered for permanent residence by submitting an electronic application. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will then rank the candidate against other candidates based on core human factors such as grade received in the language examination in English and/or French, education, work experience, age, whether there is a valid job offer. A candidate can get a maximum of 500 points under this category. An additional 100 points is possible based on adaptability or how well a candidate is likely to settle in Canada.
Although a provincial nomination or proof of job offer is not required in order to enter the Express Entry pool, if a candidate has a job offer, is nominated by a province, or is selected by an employer an additional 600 points will be awarded.
The next step is that CIC will conduct a monthly draw and select the highest-ranking candidates and grant them an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence. At this point, a candidate will be required to submit supporting documentation in order to be granted a permanent resident card.
How long will the process take?
CIC promises that once a candidate has submitted a completed application after being granted an invitation to apply, the application will be processed in six months or less.
Who can represent you?
This is a time-consuming application that demands understanding of the Canadian immigration system and laws. You must be careful to submit all information accurately. If a candidate has the time, experience, patience, and ability to submit an accurate and complete application, then he does not need a representative.
If, however, a candidate chooses to use a representative, then he must select someone who is authorised by CIC. CIC will not accept applications from persons who are not members in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society, the Chambres des notaries du Quebec, or the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council. For example, for the province of Ontario, you should visit the Law Society of Upper Canada, www.lsuc.on.ca, to find out if a representative is in good standing. These are the only authorised representatives. It is your duty to check the provincial organisations to find out whether someone is authorised to represent you.
Once a candidate receives an ITA, documents to substantiate your information will be required in 60 days.  Medical and Security checks will also be done. 
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, Call 613.695.8777. Find out if you qualify: Free Express Entry Assessment

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Can I sponsor another spouse after previous failed relationship?

Dear Ms Powell,

Thank you for keeping Jamaicans worldwide informed. I live in Alberta and I was born in Jamaica. About two years ago, I sponsored a girl to come to Canada. We weren't married, just common law. Things didn't work out, so we split up. I don't even know where she is right now. I met another really, nice Christian woman from Jamaica and I plan to marry her and take her here. We are planning to be married next June. Will the fact that I sponsored someone before affect my ability to sponsor my fiancée?

- A.B

Dear A.B.,
There are several issues here. We need to look at your duties as a sponsor, the date that your sponsorship application was approved, and the reason for the separation.

The critical date in this situation is October 25, 2012. Was your sponsorship application approved before or after that date?

In October 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) introduced new rules relating to spousal sponsorship. These new rules stipulate that the person being sponsored must live with his or her sponsored spouse, in a legitimate relationship for a minimum of two years, from the day of his or her spouse's permanent residence status in Canada. If your common-law spouse is unable to provide the requisite proof of this when required, she could have her permanent residence revoked.

Finances for support

Now to the most critical question: "Can you sponsor your fiancée?" If you sponsor a spouse to immigrate to Canada, CIC requires that you provide it with proof that you can meet the basic need of your new fiancée, yourself, your family, support your relative financially, and, most important, ensure that your spouse will not require financial help from the government.

When you sponsored your common-law partner, you gave an undertaking to be responsible for her for a minimum of three years from the date that she became a permanent resident. 

This responsibility does not change even if she has left your home. If she is forced to seek government assistance during the three years, then that could become your responsibility. In fact, you will be barred from sponsoring your new spouse if three years have not yet passed.

As mentioned before, if your common-law spouse received a conditional permanent residence and this was not already approved for full permanent residence, then she runs the risk of being returned to Jamaica if it was found out that she is no longer in a legitimate relationship with you. If her permanent residence is revoked, then CIC may evaluate the circumstances that led to the separation and could even bar you for a number of years from sponsoring someone new, even if that person is your wife.

Your case is not a cut-and-dry case, and, therefore, I strongly recommend that you consult with an immigration lawyer and provide additional information before you make any further decisions. It is imperative that you do this to protect yourself and your new fiancée.

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.  Tel: 613.695.8777 Email:info@deidrepowell.com  Website: www.deidrepowell.com 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Facts about the New Express Entry Programme - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | December 9, 2014

Facts about the New Express Entry Programme
Published in  Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | December 9, 2014

Dear Ms Powell,
I am very interested in the Express Entry programme and I've searched the Internet and all the information is vague. I'm a professional, and I'm prepared to invest in Canada, and I want to know if the investor-entrepreneur class will reopen.
Dear N.N.
There has been much speculation about the Express Entry Programme as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has not unveiled the full details of the programme. However, on December 1, Minister Chris Alexander made an announcement to clarify many uncertainties and I summarise the basic facts below.
Who can apply?
The Federal Immigrant Investor Class and Federal Entrepreneur class will remain closed until further notice and will not be available under the Express Entry.

The Express Entry is open to skilled workers who qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker Programme, Federal Skilled Trades Programme and the Canadian Experience Class.  You must qualify under one of these programmes in order to qualify.

Information about these existing programmes is listed on my website at www.deidrepowell.com.

How to apply?
There will be an electronic system available for persons to express an interest in being considered under the Express Entry. This system will determine whether CIC should send an invitation for the individual to apply. This will also determine the applicant's rank relative to other eligible foreign nationals around the world. Once an individual ranks high enough, an invitation to apply (ITA) will be sent to the individual or his authorised representative.
If an individual has a physical or mental disability, it is best to use a representative to assist with the application. However, arrangements can be made with CIC to have the applications submitted via paper form. Otherwise, all expression of interest must be submitted electronically.
Selection criteria
In order to be selected, an applicant needs to be able to satisfy the following:
1. Meet the requirement under at least one of the programmes listed above (FSWP, FSTP, CEC);
2. Register with one of the online job banks of the Department of Employment and Social Development within 30 days of submitting an Express Entry application, if the applicant does not have a valid job offer; (special arrangements will be made for the physical or mentally disabled applicant.
3. Applicants will be ranked in the pool based on:
(a) Core human capital factors;
(b) Accompanying spouse or common-law partner factors;
(c) Skill transferability factors;
(d) Factors relating to a provincial nomination; or
(e) Qualifying offer of arranged employment.
4. The total number of points that a single applicant can get is 1,200 under the comprehensive ranking system.
5. An applicant will need to submit English language results. Applicants should endeavour to get the highest possible points to increase their chance of getting an ITA.
6. You will need to have an Educational Credential Assessment Report completed by one of the authorised bodies in respect of any foreign credentials. It is imperative to send an original, unopened transcript to have this assessment done.
Who can represent you?
The Express Entry is a complex, new programme. Therefore, I urge you to use authorised representatives and not to pay attention to vague and unauthorised 'agents' or bodies. You must use a lawyer, a registered immigration consultant, or paralegal that is authorised.
I have written several articles on how to check to see if someone is authorised and past articles are available on my blog and The Gleaner's website. Also, CIC has additional information on how to select a representative on its website. You must note that CIC will only accept applications from an authorised representative. An applicant can waste valuable time and money if he or she uses an unauthorised individual or company.
The application process is critical and more competitive than before. Therefore, applicants should ensure that a complete and accurate application is submitted the first time so they do not miss the opportunity to be ranked highly and to receive an invitation to apply.

Complete our online client information form to find out if you qualify under the 2015 Canada Express Entry which opens .
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, family and administration of estates. Email: info@deidrepowell.com. Subject line: Immigration or Tel: 613-695-8777.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

What can I learn from US visa process?

What can I learn from US visa process?
Deidre S. Powell - Canada 

Dear Ms Powell,

I have a United States (US) visa and I would like to apply for a Canadian visitor's visa. Do I need to submit the same documents that I did to get the US visa? Are they going to ask me pretty much the same questions? What can I expect at the Canadian embassy?

- RM

Dear RM,

Most visa officers are looking for the same basic reassurance. Therefore, you will need to satisfy the visa officer that you have strong social and economic ties to your home country that would motivate you to return at the end of the time granted. Essentially, you need to establish that you will not remain in Canada illegally and that you can afford the expense of the trip.

To establish social and economic ties to Jamaica you will need to provide certain documents such as:

1. Birth certificates of your dependent children.

2. Marriage certificate/proof of common-law relationship such as a statutory declaration of common-law relationship, proof of joint ownership of property.

3. A letter from your employer that should show period of employment, your job title, your main duties, hours worked, your annual salary and benefits.

4. If you are self-employed, you will need copies of your business registration, copies of contracts, and a recommendation from a justice of the peace or a notable member of your community indicating the type of business that you operate and the length of time that you have been operating the business.

5. A bank statement from your bankers that proves that you have sufficient funds to pay for your ticket and expenses associated with your trip without being bankrupt or not being able to provide for your family in your absence.

6. If your trip is being sponsored by another individual, then you will need to establish the relationship or show why the person would be motivated to sponsor your trip. The reason should not be because you will be working for them during your visit. That person will need to submit a letter stating that he or she is are financially responsible for your trip and enclose his or her bank statement, letter from his or her employer, and proof of funds to cover the expense of the trip, without he or she experiencing hardship.

7. Proof of ownership of property such as a registered land title with your name on the title, boat, industrial machinery, vehicle registration/title, if unregistered land, then proof of payment of taxes and a copy of the surveyor's report, if available.

The above list is not exhaustive. The key is to have a valid reason for desiring to visit Canada; demonstrate that you have strong family, social and economic ties to your community; you can afford the trip as well as proof that you have more connection and responsibilities in Jamaica than Canada that would motivate you to return at the end of the time granted.

If you have been able to convince the US Embassy to grant you a visitor's visa, then that is a good indication that you were able to satisfy the basic requirements at the time of your application. If your social and economic situation has changed since your application, for example, if you are now divorced, lost your job or properties, then you should consider waiting until you are able to demonstrate that you have a stable and successful life in Jamaica.

If you do not have a job, you may want to delay applying, particularly if you cannot positively explain the reason for your unemployment as this could be viewed as a strong indication that you may be a flight risk.

Another important factor is that you will now have to submit your fingerprints as part of the application process. If you have additional issues or concerns, consult with an immigration lawyer.

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 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.

Published in the Jamaican Gleaner, December 2, 2014

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Permanent residence in six months! - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | November 25, 2014

Permanent residence in six months! - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | November 25, 2014

Dear Miss Powell,

I wanted to apply under the Federal Skilled-Worker Programme this year, however, by the time I was ready to submit my application, I realised that I was too late to apply as a skilled worker as they were not accepting any more applications under my occupation. I'm very disappointed as I was looking forward to relocating as soon as possible. Are there any other ways that I can move to Canada and find gainful employment?

- KI

Dear KI,

I'm sorry that you were not able to submit your application in time under the Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP). Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has been receiving applications under the FSWP all year, and there is a limit to the number of applications they will accept under any one occupation. The cap has been reached for computer programmers, interactive media developers, and financial and investment analysts. That programme in its current format will come to an end in December 2014.

However, all is not lost as in January 2015, CIC will launch a new programme called the Express Entry.

This new programme has been creating much excitement around the world as many skilled and professional persons are looking forward to the revamping of the way one is selected to become a permanent resident. No longer will one be selected on "a first come, first serve" basis, but one will now be selected based on how one ranks against other applicants around the world.

Processed in six months
This new immigration model is heralded as a more efficient system, one that will ensure that Canada attracts the right professionals and skilled trade persons that satisfy the need of the employers in Canada. It is expected that persons who are granted permanent residence under this programme will have a greater chance of being successful and be able to support the economic needs of Canada.

Under the old system, employers would spend exorbitant sums of money hiring agents, sponsoring job fairs, and advertising internationally, at their own expense, to attract skilled personnel. The processing time was longer and the immigration system was deemed very difficult to navigate.

Under the express system, Canadian employers will play a significant role in the recruiting and the selection of economic immigrants. CIC will match employers to prospective employees, and CIC promises that once an individual receives an invitation to apply (ITA) and all the relevant documents are submitted within the time stipulated, that an individual could have a permanent resident card in his hands in six months or under.

To date, CIC has not unveiled the programme in its totality; however, the programme will be open to persons who qualify under the revamped Federal Skilled Worker Programme, Federal Skilled Trades Programme, Canadian Experience Class, and a portion of the existing Provincial Nominee Programme.

The application will be done in two stages. First, if you are interested, you will be required to show an expression of interest in being considered under this programme by submitting an online application to CIC. This initial stage is very critical as this online application will be the basis on which one is ranked among the pool of individuals worldwide and will determine whether one receives an invitation to apply for permanent residence.

This first stage is not an application for a visa or permanent residence. This is merely an indication to CIC and prospective employers that one would like to be considered. At this stage, one must be accurate and truthful about one's personal information, current occupation, education/qualification, work experience, language ability, and also indicate whether one has any business and investment experience.

Accurate Information

This online application will form the basis on which one is selected to proceed to the next level. One must bear in mind that this first stage will form a part of one's overall application. Consequently, one cannot submit false or inaccurate information at this level just to be able to move to the next level as one's application could be later rejected and one may not be allowed to reapply.

Secondly, one will be ranked based on the pool of applicants received by CIC. This system will be highly competitive only the highest-ranked individuals will be matched with prospective employers. Those with job offers from legitimate Canadian employers, or those receiving provincial nominations, will receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence. 

Persons who receive an ITA will, therefore, need to be prepared to submit a full application with supporting documents within 60 days of receiving the invitation.

Once CIC receives a complete application and all the supporting documentation, then they promise to complete the application for permanent residence within six months.

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, real estate, 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 Tel: 613-695-8777. Find her on facebook.com/JamaicanLawyer

Friday, 21 November 2014

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act

November 21, 2014 — Ottawa

Today, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced the coming into force of certain changes under the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act that will further protect the safety and security of Canadians and the integrity of Canada’s immigration system.

The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act is expediting the removal of foreign criminals from Canada, while making it harder for those who pose a risk to Canadians to enter the country. 

The new changes will deter and prevent abuse of the immigration system and safeguard Canadians by:

Increasing the penalty for misrepresentation from a two- to a five-year period of inadmissibility, as well as a five-year ban on applying for permanent resident status. This change will help deter fraudulent applications and sends a strong message to those who would abuse our system that giving false or misleading information has serious consequences.

Barring temporary entry to immediate family members of those who are inadmissible to Canada on the most serious grounds, including national security, human or international rights violations or organized criminality. This new measure will ensure that individuals who pose a serious danger are unable to use their relatives to expand their networks in Canada.

Quick facts

Because of the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act:

Convicted criminals sentenced to more than six months imprisonment in Canada are now being removed more quickly as they no longer have the right to file an appeal to the Immigration and Refugee Board’s Immigration Appeal Division.

As well, those who have a foreign conviction or committed an action outside Canada that carries a maximum sentence of at least 10 years in Canada are also barred from filing an appeal.

Foreign nationals who are inadmissible on the most serious grounds, including national security, human or international rights violations or organized criminality, no longer have access to a program that is meant for cases deserving of humanitarian and compassionate consideration.


“Canada continues to facilitate legitimate trade and travel however we will not tolerate abuse of our immigration system or put our country at risk. The new measures introduced by our government under the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act increase our ability to protect the safety and security of Canadians.”

Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister