Tuesday, 21 April 2015

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

Confirmation of Permanent Residence of Canada

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

What To Do Now?

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

What To Bring On The Plane?

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

What To Expect At The Airport

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

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Immigration Corner: I Want To Live And Work In Canada

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

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

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

How do I get back to Canada

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

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