Tuesday, 31 March 2015

How do I get back to Canada

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

Friday, 27 March 2015

Changes to Settlement Fund Requirement

On the January 27, 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada ( CIC) updated the requirement for settlement funds.  Individuals applying under the Express Entry system must provide proof of settlement funds if you do not have a valid job offer.

The amount required is based on the number of persons in your family.

Number of Persons in Family
Minimum Funds Required (CAD$)
7 or more

What proof will you need to submit? 
  1. Cash
  2.  Bank statement from your bank showing that you have savings or investments  accounts in your name or the name of a spouse or common law partner
  3.  Investments in the form of Cash Deposit ( CD), fixed deposits, stocks, bonds, debentures, treasury bills
  4.  Bankers draft, cheques, travellers cheques, money orders
  5. Other source of investments that can be easily liquidated at a short notice. 

Not acceptable

1. Bank statements in the name of someone else, even if the person is a close relative;
2. Letter of guarantee from an individual;
3. Bank statements  which show joint account with someone other than your spouse or common law partner;
4.  Business Valuation;
5.  House Valuation
6.  Trust account or Estate Account bank statements
7. Property Valuations
8. Vehicle, Boat Valuations
9. Jewellery or Fine art valuations
10. Pension statements,  unless you have full control over these funds and can cashed in at anytime to be able to produce a valid statement

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

I Got HIV from My Canadian Husband

Dear Miss Powell,
I met a Canadian man about three years ago. We fell in love and got married last year November. I have been faithful to him all these years. After we got married, he told me that he has HIV. He has shown no signs or symptoms and neither have I. However, after he told me that he has HIV, I got tested and realise I, too, have HIV. He is now putting together papers to sponsor me and I'm worried that I will be denied the opportunity to join him in Canada as he says a medical will be necessary. I love my husband and I forgive him for not telling me about this. I just want us to be able to live together. Is it possible for persons who are HIV positive to get a visa to Canada? Will this affect the sponsorship application? If it's possible, what steps would I need to take. I am a professional and I have been in excellent health since I was diagnosed.
- Anonymous
Dear Anonymous,
I am sorry to hear that both you and your husband have contracted HIV. However, I do not want either of you to be discouraged as life goes on and there are many persons who have the virus and are able to live successful and happy lives. In fact, Canada has excellent medical and support workers who are trained to help Canadians and their spouses to deal with this issue.
Medical Inadmissibility Rules
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the Act) does not specifically mention HIV or AIDS. However generally speaking, an applicant may be refused both temporary and permanent visa and deemed 'medically inadmissible' if their condition is:

1. Is likely to be a danger to public health and safety or
2. Might reasonably be expected to cause 'excessive demand on health and social services'.
It is very rare for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to ask an individual who is applying for a temporary resident visa to do a medical examination as part of the application process.
However, for sponsorship application, study permits, work permits, supervisas and applications under express entry, this is required.
In fact, CIC policy is that "all permanent resident applicants, who are 15 years of age and over, as well as children who have received blood or blood products, who have a known HIV-positive mother, or who are potential adoptees, are required to undergo an HIV test as part of the medical examination."
Exemption For Spousal Sponsorships
Applicants for permanent residence will be required to disclose whether he or she, or any family members listed in the application for permanent residence, "have ever had any serious disease or physical or mental disorder." Arguably, this includes HIV infection. Furthermore, all persons applying for permanent residence in Canada are required to undergo an immigration medical examination (IME), which includes doing an HIV test. A positive result could deem you medically inadmissible.
However, citizens or permanent residents of Canada may sponsor their spouse, including same-sex spouses, common-law partner, conjugal partner, dependent child.
This means that your husband will be able to sponsor you to go to Canada, under the Family Class. Your HIV status will not be a barrier to entering Canada. You are exempt from the excessive demands provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. You should both consider living in an area where you will have adequate access to medical and treatment and counselling and support services to assist you both to live happy and productive lives.
If you need advice or assistance with respect to Canada's immigration policies, you should consider a private consultation with a Canadian immigration lawyer. Best of luck to you and your husband.

Published in the Jamaica Gleaner:
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public, who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with main office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, commercial, personal injury, family and administration of estates. She is on the roster of Mediators for Ottawa, Toronto, and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Email: info@deidrepowell.com subjectline: immigration, Call 613.695.8777/ 876.922.8899 Facebook: jamaicanlawyer.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Immigration Corner: How Do I Get Express Entry?

Dear Ms Powell,
I'm thinking of applying under the express entry programme, but I don't know if I would qualify. I understood the selection process under the skilled worker programme, but I'm now a little confused about this new programme. I'm 28 years old, married to another professional, and we both have bachelor's degrees from the University of the West Indies. Would I qualify? How much points would I get? Can you tell me how they are now selecting persons to go to Canada?
- P.A.
Dear PA,
The express entry system is not a new programme. It is an electronic system to manage the existing economic programmes, that is, the Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSW) the Federal Skilled Trade Programme (FST), The Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and some of the Provincial Nominee Programmes (PNP).
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has introduced a new way of awarding points to individuals. Under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), individuals are awarded points based on core human capital, skill transferability, and whether there is a valid job offer from a Canadian employer or a provincial nomination from a province or territory. An individual can get a maximum of 1,200 points based on these core factors.
 Core Human Capital
 These factors are not so different from the previous point system under the old FSW. CIC will still be awarding points based on the factors which they believe will help to determine how successful an applicant will be at integrating, and whether they will become economically successful and productive in the Canadian society.
Individuals can get up to 460 points based on their age, education, language proficiency, work experience and skill. An extra 40 points can be had based on spouse or common-law status. An individual can also get up to another 100 points based on their skill transferability. That is, a maximum of 600 points under this factor.
 Job Offer Or Provincial Nomination
 CIC will also award an additional 600 points if an individual has a valid job offer/arranged employment or a nomination by a Canadian province or territory.
 Draws And CRS
 Since January 2015, CIC has already made its fourth draw from the pool of express entry. Individuals with a CRS of 735 or more points have received an invitation to apply. They now have 60 days to submit the final set of documents and information, in order to get permanent residence in six months or less.
The trend shows that CIC is selecting more candidates based on lower CRS scores. This is positive news for individuals who do not have job offers or nominations, as once the pool has been cleared of these applicants, CIC will start choosing individuals who have scored highly, based on core human capital factors only.
If you are between the age of 20 and 29 and married, you will receive a score of 110 points under the age factor. That is the highest point you can get under the age category. Since both you and your spouse have bachelor's degrees, you would score another 128 points. If you have a professional degree or master's degree, you will receive 135 points for your level of education.
In order to accurately calculate your additional CRS points, I would need to know more about both you and your spouse. I will need to know your IELTS, English General training examination results, number of years of work experience, whether or not the work experience was in Canada, and other factors. If you are interested in a full assessment of your eligibility, you may visit www.expressimmigrationcanada.com to complete the free online assessment. You will be asked a series of question to be able to calculate your personal CRS score.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, commercial, personal injury, family and administration of estates. She is on the roster of Mediators for Ottawa, Toronto, and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Email: info@deidrepowell.com subjectline: immigration. Call 613.695.8777/ 876.922.8899
Published in the Jamaican Gleaner: http://www.jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20150310/immigration-corner-how-do-i-get-express-entry

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Can My Spouse Work In Canada?

Dear Ms Powell,
I should say thank you very much for your encouragement about pursuing further studies in Canada as someone who is a little bit older than the average student. My new problem is that I do not want to separate from my husband during my study. Can he accompany me and work in Canada? If yes, that would be great for us since we could still be together and he could work and help offset our expenses. Also, does he need to first get an employer to help with the application? Can we apply for permanent residence at the end of my studies? Thanks again for your valuable guidance.
Dear MK,
Congratulations and thank you for keeping me updated. I am very happy and proud of you for having the courage to pursue studies in Canada. It is never too late to learn and to pursue further studies. Education is the key to success.
Under Canada immigration regulations, spouses or common-law partners of full-time international students are eligible for open work permits, provided they are able to satisfy the requirements. If you had consulted with an immigration lawyer to submit the application on your behalf, I'm sure you would have been advised that both applications could have been processed at the same time.
Open Work Permit
Nevertheless, all is not lost as you may still submit an application for an open work permit, which is a permit that is not job-specific. Since the work permit is not job-specific, you do not need a job offer in order to apply. Spouses or common-law partners of certain international students are allowed to accept employment in the general labour market without need of a job letter from an employer. That being said, if your husband has a job offer, you should submit it with your application as this will further strengthen his application.
In order to be eligible for a work permit, an applicant must provide evidence of the direct relationship to the spouse or common-law partner who is already in receipt of a valid study permit from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The study permit must be granted to a spouse who is/intends to be a full-time student at one of the following:
1. A public post-secondary institution such as a college or university or college d'enseignement general et professionnel (CEGEP) in Quebec; or
2. A Canadian private institution authorised by provincial statute to confer degrees.
The work permit is usually issued for a period that coincides with the period that the spouse is permitted to work or study in Canada, as the case may be. So, for example, if you are going to attend a school for two years, on a full-time basis, then your husband would most likely be issued an open work permit that expires around the same time that yours does. It will most likely not be for more than two years.
On the completion of your studies, you may apply for a postgraduate work permit and also apply for extension of your husband's work permit. Once you have the required work experience in Canada, you may both apply for permanent residence. Currently, those applications fall under the Express Entry System
However, the Canadian government may change its laws, procedures, and regulations without notice, so I strongly suggest that you consult with an immigration lawyer privately to ensure that your application is submitted at the correct time, with the required supporting documents and taking into consideration your long-term plans.
Published in the Jamaica Gleanerhttp://www.jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20150224/can-my-spouse-work-canada
Deidre S. Powell, is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public, who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada, bars, with office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, personal injury, family, commercial, and administration of estates. Submit your questions and comments to Email:info@deidrepowell.com, Tel: 613.695.8777 or 876.922.8899 Facebook: jamaicanlawyer Twitter: deidrespowell