August 31, 2014
Ontario Says, “No” to Removing Citizenship by Birth in Canada
The Ontario government says it will not support Ottawa’s proposal to remove citizenship rights to children born in Canada to non-citizens and non-residents.
“In our view, there is not enough evidence to justify the effort and expense required for such a system-wide program change. Citizenship and immigration Canada has not quantified the extent of fraud resulting from ‘birth tourism,’’ said Ontario Deputy Immigration Minister Chisanga Puta-Chekwe.
August 29, 2014
Extension of Measures for Haitians in Canada
The Government of Canada implemented these measures in response to the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. The recovery from the earthquake has been slow and compounded by various additional challenges. As a result, Haitian nationals in Canada may reasonably be expected to continue to remain in Canada and require work permits to support themselves.
These measures remain in effect and apply to all Haitian nationals who were in Canada prior to January 13, 2011, who have maintained their temporary resident status, and who are applying for a work permit or extending a work permit. The requirement for a Labour Market Opinion remains in place for all those who arrived in Canada after that date.
Eligible individuals will have until November 30, 2014, to apply.
August 27, 2014
Canada Border Services Agency Charge Woman with Immigration Fraud
The CBSA’s Criminal Investigations Section received a complaint against the woman in 2011. Through the course of their investigation, the CBSA discovered the woman was not an authorized immigration consultant and represented corporate and individual clients for a fee on up to 190 work permit applications.
It is also alleged the woman represented up to 10 individuals with permanent residence applications. She was paid to complete and submit these applications, but failed to do so. Instead, it is alleged that she provided her clients with forged documents.
The woman allegedly committed the offences between 2006 and 2012 in Edmonton. Most of the work permits were approved. For each of the permanent resident applications, the woman is accused of providing clients with forged government documents purportedly from Citizenship and Immigration Canada as evidence their applications for permanent residency were completed. In one case, the woman provided a client with a fraudulent letter stating the client was authorized to work while awaiting a work permit, when in fact the client was not authorized to work.
“Immigration fraud is a criminal offence in Canada. Crooked consultants pose a challenge to the integrity of Canada’s immigration system. The CBSA is taking action to combat this fraud, and to identify, investigate and prosecute the perpetrators.” Kim Scoville, Acting Regional Director General, CBSA Prairie Region.
Janet Chen Macaulay faces two offences under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and two offences under the Criminal Code. Macaulay is expected to appear in Edmonton Provincial Court Thursday.
August 21, 2014
Canada Border Chief Fired
Members of Justin Bieber’s entourage with criminal records allegedly used bribery to cross a Canadian border.
Two Canada Border Services Agency officers (CBSA) reportedly revealed a female chief at a Niagara Falls border crossing has been fired, for allegedly accepting up to $10,000 worth of palm-sweetening backstage passes to allow individuals in Bieber’s crew — some of whom reportedly have criminal records — to enter the country.
Under Canada’s immigration law, anyone convicted of an offence in Canada – or elsewhere (and considered a crime in Canada, including a drunk driving conviction), may be excluded as “criminally inadmissible.” A waiver of exclusion may be issued but weeks are required to arrange it and a processing fee must be paid, according to the Canadian embassy.
Although Bieber, 20, who hails from Stratford, Ontario, has a criminal record, he is a citizen and can’t be stopped from entering his native land.
NOW Toronto reports that the two CBSA officers – who spoke on condition of anonymity – said at least two Americans among Bieber’s crew with criminal records received temporary resident permits to enter Canada for several days to perform in shows.
The alleged bribery was exposed when a different group of Bieber’s friends turned up at the same border several weeks later expecting similar preferential treatment. According to the source officers, the officer on duty notified internal authorities and did not play ball with the entourage members.
August 19, 2014
150,000 New Citizen of 2014 Welcomed
Today, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced that Canada has welcomed its 150,000th new citizen of 2014. This is double the number of new citizens compared to the same period in 2013 and thanks to the action taken by the government to reduce backlogs and improve processing times.
Alexander attended a citizenship ceremony in Scarborough and welcomed the country’s newest Canadians. At the event, Alexander highlighted the government’s recent changes to the citizenship system, which have led to improved processing times and an eight percent reduction to the citizenship backlog.
Recent changes to the Citizenship Act, which received Royal Assent on June 19, 2014, will allow for further improvements to the efficiency of the Citizenship program. The new streamlined decision-making process and other changes to the Citizenship Act are expected to bring the processing time for citizenship applications down to under one year, reduce the citizenship application backlog by more than 80 percent and achieve a working inventory of applications in fiscal year 2015-2016.
August 13, 2014
Oath to Queen Stands in Appeal Court
When new citizens swear an oath to the Queen, they are not pledging allegiance to her personally, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled on Wednesday, rejecting a challenge by three permanent residents who have refused citizenship over an oath they say violates their political or religious beliefs.
The group launched a constitutional challenge last year, arguing that forcing candidates for Canadian citizenship to swear allegiance to the Queen violates the protections for free speech and freedom of religion in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
But in a decision issued on Wednesday, Ontario’s top court dismissed their objections to the oath, ruling the group was wrong to take the oath literally. The decision, citing previous rulings, says that would-be citizens are not actually swearing allegiance to the Queen herself as “the reference to the Queen is symbolic of our form of government and the unwritten constitutional principle of democracy.”
August 03, 2014
“Dependent Child” — Term Redefined
Canada’s federal government is changing the definition of the term “dependent child” for all of its immigration programs.
As of August 1, 2014, the age at which a child will be considered as a “dependent” by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will drop from the current ‘under 22’ to ‘under 19’ years of age.
CIC is also removing the existing exception for full-time students. As a result, children of immigration applicants who are 19 or over—but are financially dependent on their parents and are studying full-time—will no longer be considered as dependents.
However, CIC will continue to allow a child, regardless of age, to be considered a ‘dependent’ if they rely on their parents due to a mental or physical condition.
The change to the dependent age for immigration programs will not be retroactive; all immigration applications submitted prior to August 1st will be processed under the existing dependent age—that being, 22 or under.
CIC will also allow for “transitional measures” for those who are involved in the immigration application process, but may not have submitted their application prior to the August 1st change in dependent age.
July 19, 2014
Foreign Credential Requirements Eased
Employment Minister Jason Kenney is slated to announce an agreement with the provinces to recognize 10 new occupations, including welders, carpenters and electricians, to improve foreign-credential recognition.
The precise list of occupations includes several skilled trades, a government official said. The official also said one of the goals of easing credential requirements is to help lessen the need for temporary foreign workers by making better use of the talent that’s already in Canada.
July 18, 2014
Ex-Passport Officer Charged for Passport Fraud
Officers with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested 50-year-old Aline Rozeline Zeitoune, a former passport processing officer with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), on Thursday at her parents’ home in Toronto. She was to appear in court in Toronto on Friday.
“It was alleged that the actions of a former CIC employee resulted in 22 people having been able to fraudulently obtain Canadian passports using false names and other false identification,” the police force said in a Friday news release.
The woman faces a total of 97 charges in the case, including one count of breach of trust and multiple charges related to the production and distribution of fraudulent travel documents.
Police have arrested four foreign nationals who are believed to have obtained illegal passports in the case. Two of those men – a 49-year-old from Jamaica and a 54-year-old from Uruguay – have been deported, Rollings said. A 38-year-old Indian national and a 36-year-old from Israel remain in custody. The RCMP are searching for additional recipients, Rollings added.
July 14, 2014
Express Entry – Information
The Express Entry electronic application management system will apply to four existing economic programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian Experience Class, and a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program. Through Express Entry, foreign nationals who meet the criteria for one of the federal immigration programs will be placed into a pool, from which employers will be able to consider candidates who meet their needs when they cannot find a Canadian or permanent resident for the job. The Government of Canada’s new and improved Job Bank will help facilitate matches between Canadian employers and Express Entry candidates.
Express Entry candidates who receive a qualifying job offer from a Canadian employer or nomination under the Provincial Nominee Program will be invited to apply for permanent residence soon after – a key distinction between the Express Entry system and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which is only used to fill temporary labour and skill shortages. Job offers will be subject to Employment and Social Development Canada’s Labour Market Impact Assessment in place at that time.
July 10, 2014
Edmonton Couple Charged (Illegal Employment)
An Edmonton couple is facing charges for allegedly arranging illegal employment contracts for workers from outside Canada. Raquel Obras Figueroa and Enriquito Balbin Figueroa are charged with aiding and abetting foreign nationals to contravene the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Raquel Figueroa faces an additional charge of being an unauthorized immigration consultant for a fee. The charges were laid by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
According to information from the CBSA, the people who dealt with the couple came to Canada legally as visitors, students or workers, and came into contact with the couple searching for work. The Figueroas then allegedly arranged illegal work as health care aides or community support workers in Calgary, or as hotel housekeepers in Edmonton and British Columbia.
The couple allegedly promised work permits and legal work status but did not follow through. CBSA says the workers were also victimized by employers who didn’t comply with employment contracts or provide protections to the workers as required by law.
One of the Edmonton employers, Jennilyn Morris, has been charged under the IRPA. The other employers are not currently facing charges.
July 09, 2014
Five Charged (Illegal Employment)
Five people in the Greater Toronto Area have been charged with identity theft and forgery in an alleged scam involving the federal temporary foreign worker program.
The RCMP say the charges stem from a year-long investigation into allegations that some people who work at a foreign worker recruitment and placement agency, called Platinum Care, used falsified documents to create fake offers of employment to foreign workers.
Police allege the suspects are responsible for bringing 53 people to Canada “under fraudulent means.” “It is alleged that the accused persons would use various methods of identity theft to obtain personal information from unsuspecting Canadians,” the Mounties said in a news release Wednesday. “The accused would then use this personal information to create fictitious employment offers for foreign workers.”
Five people have been charged with “numerous counts” of identity theft, forgery and uttering forged documents. They have been released from police custody on certain conditions and are scheduled to appear in a Toronto court on Aug. 6. The accused, all from the Greater Toronto Area, are:
- CEO of Platinum Care Rosanna Lim, 51
- Leahnette Acuna, 50
- Shannon Lim, 25
- Normita Mandoza, 58
- Fazeina Sarlat, 52
July 05, 2014
Be Mindful of Days Spent in the US
A new cross-border security program that’s unfolding has Canadian and U.S. agencies automatically sharing entry and exit data, using computer technology and bar codes on passports.
That means Canadians who don’t mind their time carefully are more likely to face tax penalties or even arrests for violating immigration laws. Canadians who remain in the United States for more than 180 days (in a rolling 12-month period) risk being deemed unlawfully present and face a three-year travel ban by U.S. immigration officials. They also could be liable for U.S. taxation on their worldwide income if they go over the IRS’s 182-day limit.
According to Canadian news accounts, the Canadian government plans to use the data for such varied purposes as catching unemployment insurance cheats, thwarting would-be terrorists and ensuring people ineligible to stay in Canada have left the country.
Canada also aimed to begin collecting information on people exiting by air — something the United States does — by requiring airlines to submit passenger manifest data for outbound international flights.
The cross-border data exchange was to kick in fully Monday. However, the news division of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. on June 25 reported that deadline would be missed because legislative and regulatory changes needed to be made. No new date was mentioned.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service considers a person a U.S. resident for income tax purposes if he or she meets the “substantial presence” test. That means you are physically present in the United States at least:
31 days during the current year, and
183 days during the three-year period that includes the current year and two years immediately before that, counting:
All the days you were present in the current year, and
One-third of the days you were present in the first year before the current year, and
One-sixth of the days you were present in the second year before the current year.
July 04, 2014
Federal Government to Appeal Court Decision
Earlier Friday, the Federal Court released a decision giving the government four months to change federal cuts to refugee health care. The court threatened to strike down the changes.
June 26, 2014
Quebec Investor Immigration Program to Reopen for 10 Days
Quebec’s Immigrant Investor Program will soon reopen for a short period of time [from 8th to 17th September 2014] and for a specific number of applications [1,750 worldwide with a maximum of 1250 per country].
Under Quebec’s Immigrant Investor Program (IIP), investors and their family may become eligible for citizenship of Canada. Businessmen with a net worth of $1.6 million CAD or more can establish in Canada by loaning the government an interest-free loan of C$800,000 for a period of five years.
The program is seeking individuals with business experience, who are willing to make a passive investment in Canada.
To qualify under the Quebec Investor program, applicants must be able to demonstrate and fulfil the following criteria:
•Personal assets worth at least $1,600,000 CAD.
•At least two years of business management experience within the preceding 5 years from the date the application is filed.
Language and age are not factors that have an influence over the selection process. If the applicant can demonstrate that it meets the aforementioned criteria, their application will be analysed by an Immigration Quebec officer and a positive answer should result.
June 23, 2014
Definition of Dependent Child Changes
Effective August 1, 2014, the definition of a dependent child is changing for Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC’s) immigration programs.
The age at which a child will be considered a dependant is being reduced, from under 22 to under 19. The exception for full-time students is also being removed.
In all cases, a child will continue to be considered a dependant, regardless of age, if they have depended on their parents for financial support because of a mental or physical condition.
All permanent resident applications in CIC inventories before August 1, 2014 will continue to benefit from the pre-amendment definition of dependent child. In addition, as of August 1, 2014, to ensure that children who meet the definition of dependent child at the first stage of a multi-step permanent resident immigration program remain eligible throughout what can be a multi-year process; the child’s age will be “locked in” at the first formal step of the immigration process. For example, the age of a child whose parent applies to the Provincial Nominee Program will be “locked in” on the date that the application for nomination is made to the province.
June 21, 2014
Visitors to Canada to Pay $7 Fee
Millions of visitors to Canada will pay a $7 application fee beginning next April under a new electronic security screening plan.
The federal government announced the fee Friday for online travel applications, a key element of the perimeter pact with the United States intended to protect the continent from security threats. Foreign nationals who currently do not need a visa to visit Canada — including people from Britain, France and many other countries — would have to successfully apply for a so-called electronic travel authorization before arriving by air. U.S. citizens would be exempted from the requirement.
Visitors would apply through the Citizenship and Immigration website by entering biographic details, passport and background information — the kind of data now requested by officers at Canadian entry ports or in a visa application. Officials would verify the information against immigration and enforcement databases and conduct a risk assessment of the applicant.
“The information required by these proposed amendments would allow Canada to determine the admissibility of foreign nationals before they arrive at the border and whether their travel poses migration or security risks,” says the federal notice published Friday. Under the new system, unwelcome travellers would be advised before getting on a plane to Canada.
The $7 fee is intended to cover processing costs for each travel authorization, which would be valid for five years from date of issue or until the applicant’s passport or travel document expires.
During consultations, some expressed concern that the fee would discourage tourism.However, the notice says, the price is competitive with similar systems in place elsewhere including the U.S. and Australia.
June 20, 2014
Temporary Foreign Worker Program Overhauled
Major Points of Reform:
- Wage levels will now be used as the main criteria for administering the TFWP, as wages constitute a more accurate reflection of occupational skill level and local labour market conditions.
- The Labour Market Opinion is being replaced by the LMIA.
- Employers with 10 or more employees applying for a new LMIA are subject to a cap of 10 percent on the proportion of their workforce that can consist of low-wage temporary foreign workers.
- Applications for the lowest-wage, lowest-skill, entry-level occupations in the food services, accommodation and retail trade sectors will be barred from the TFWP in areas of high unemployment (6 percent or higher).
- LMIAs for low-wage temporary foreign workers will be reduced from the current two-year standard duration to one-year periods.
- To reinforce the temporary nature of the TFWP, the cumulative period during which general low-wage temporary foreign workers will be allowed to remain in Canada will be reduced.
- Annex agreements with provinces and territories are being changed so that employers that used to bring temporary foreign workers to Canada through these agreements will now be subject to an LMIA.
- Employers seeking to hire high-wage temporary foreign workers (with very limited exceptions) will now be required to submit transition plans to demonstrate how they will increase efforts to hire Canadians, including through higher wages, investments in training and more active recruitment efforts from within Canada.
June 19, 2014
Termination of Backlog Applications in Investor & Entrepreneur Programs
The Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, (Bill C-31), received Royal Assent and became law today which resulted in the termination of applications in the backlog of the federal Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) and federal Entrepreneur Program (EN).
IIP and EN applications have been terminated if a selection decision was not made by an immigration officer before February 11, 2014. There are a small number of cases where a selection decision was made on or after February 11, 2014, and the application was processed to completion and a final decision was made before Bill C-31 became law. Those applications are not affected by the legislation.
If your application was terminated, CIC will contact you – directly or through your immigration representative – to provide information on how your fees will be returned. CIC has set up a central task force based in Ottawa to handle the fee return process.
June 19, 2014
Royal Assent of Bill C-24
Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced today that reforms to the Citizenship Act received final passage and Royal Assent. The reforms will strengthen the rules around access to citizenship to ensure that new citizens are better prepared for full participation and integration into Canadian society, with the goal of fostering in new Canadians a stronger attachment to Canadian values and traditions.
Key reforms include:
Canada’s citizenship program is being improved by reducing the decision-making process from three steps to one. It is expected that, by 2015–2016, this change will bring the average processing time for citizenship applications down to under a year. It is also projected that by 2015-2016, the current backlog will be reduced by more than 80 percent.
Reinforcing the value of Canadian citizenship
The government is ensuring citizenship applicants maintain strong ties to Canada. These amendments to the Citizenship Act provide a clearer indication that the “residence” period to qualify for citizenship in fact requires physical presence in Canada.
More applicants will now be required to meet language requirements and pass a knowledge test to ensure that new citizens are better prepared to fully participate in Canadian society. New provisions will also help individuals with strong ties to Canada, such as by automatically extending citizenship to additional “Lost Canadians” who were born before 1947 as well as to their children born in the first generation outside Canada.
Cracking down on citizenship fraud
The updated Citizenship Act includes stronger penalties for fraud and misrepresentation (a maximum fine of $100,000 and/or five years in prison) and expands the grounds to bar an application for citizenship to include foreign criminality, which will help improve program integrity.
Protecting and promoting Canada’s interests and values
Finally, the amendments bring Canada in line with most of our peer countries, by providing that citizenship can be revoked from dual nationals who are convicted of serious crimes such as terrorism, high treason and spying offences (depending on the sentence received) or who take up arms against Canada. Permanent residents who commit these acts will be barred from citizenship.
As a way of recognizing the important contributions of those who serve Canada in uniform, permanent residents who are members of the Canadian Armed Forces will have quicker access to Canadian citizenship. The Act also stipulates that children born to Canadian parents serving abroad as servants of the Crown are able to pass on Canadian citizenship to children they have or adopt outside Canada.
June 06, 2014
US Consulates in Canada Temporarily Suspend Most Interviews for Non-Canadian Third Country Nationals
On June 4, 2014 the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA) reported that the Department of State is experiencing a heavy backlog for visa interviews at the seven US visa processing posts in Canada. During this “peak period” – specifically during the summer months of June, July and August of 2014 – the Canadian posts will not be able to accommodate, as they normally do, the same number of Third Country Nationals who wish to get US visas. The US officials in Canada will still consider emergency cases. The US consulates in Canada encourage non-Canadian third country nationals to seek appointments in other countries during these peak months.
June 06, 2014
Nova Scotia & International Students
Nova Scotia announced today that any international graduate from a Canadian college or university can apply for permanent residency if they have a job offer from a Nova Scotia employer.
According to the recent Ivany report, immigration would help to combat that. The report stated that Nova Scotia must find a way to attract immigrants and keep them.
The policy change will also help colleges and universities attract international students.
The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration negotiated the change with Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Through the Nova Scotia Nominee Program, the province can nominate potential immigrants, but Citizenship and Immigration Canada makes the final decision.
June 06, 2014
Canada Embassy Opens in Qatar
The services offered to the public at the embassy include consular assistance, passport renewal, and the Trade Commissioner Service support to aid Canadian companies in identifying business related opportunities in Qatar besides helping citizens of Qatar in identifying investment chances in Canada.
Canada and Qatar, which share common interests on local issues and as emerging business opportunities, have a positive relationship between them with around 7,200 Canadians residing in Qatar and working across sectors of the Qatari economy.
May 30, 2014
Vancouver, Next “Sanctuary City”?
Immigration advocates are pushing for Vancouver to become the latest “sanctuary city” for undocumented immigrants in North America.
The policy would prevent the Vancouver Police Department from reporting a person’s legal status to the Canada Border Service Agency, unless that person was suspected of a crime.
It’s a concept that has already been implemented in dozens of cities across North America, including Toronto, Hamilton, Portland, Seattle and Chicago. Activists argue undocumented immigrants should be able to feel safe enough to access basic services that they need.
May 30, 2014
Egypt & Central African Republic – Changes to Pre-Removal Risk Assessment
Individuals from Egypt and the Central African Republic may be eligible for a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) if they received a final decision from the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) or a final PRRA decision on or between May 12, 2013, and May 11, 2014. Prior to removing them from Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency will advise individuals from Egypt and the Central African Republic if they are now eligible to apply for a PRRA.
Individuals from Egypt and the Central African Republic are exempted from the bar on accessing a PRRA as conditions in each country have worsened. As a result, individuals could face a situation of risk that may warrant an additional assessment.
It is important to note that the ability to apply for PRRA does not guarantee the outcome of the risk assessment. Officers at Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will continue to decide cases individually, based on the information provided.
Please note that individuals are responsible for keeping their PRRA application up-to-date. It is the applicant’s responsibility to inform CIC of any changes to their application. This is required, so that decision makers have all the information an individual wants considered for their application.
Individuals from Egypt and the Central African Republic who receive a final IRB or PRRA decision after May 11, 2014, are not entitled to a PRRA for 12 months.
The majority of people who seek a PRRA are failed refugee claimants. These individuals will have had their asylum claim heard before the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) at the independent IRB.
Under Canada’s asylum system, most claimants have the opportunity to appeal a negative RPD decision to the new Refugee Appeal Division at the IRB. All claimants can ask the Federal Court to review a negative decision.
In considering what countries to exempt, CIC considers any event that has recently arisen in a country that could place all or some of its individuals in a situation of risk similar to those defined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (sections 96—definition of a Convention Refugee and 97—definition of a person in need of protection). For example, these changes could include a change in government, laws or policies that indicate government sanction of persecution against certain groups or a lack of state protection.
May 28, 2014
Outdated Job Postings on Canada Job Bank
There are several thousand fewer jobs on the federal job bank this week than there were two weeks ago as government officials work to remove postings that languished on the site for months after jobs were filled.
“We have been working with our partners to ensure that their job feeds are as current as possible,” an official at Employment Minister Jason Kenney’s department said in an email Tuesday. “They have taken steps to clean up glitches they were experiencing.”
The employment website Workopolis is among the partners that have attempted to fix a technical snafu that allowed thousands of outdated postings to linger on the site.
Two weeks ago, more than 116,000 jobs were posted on the job bank. On Tuesday, there were fewer than 111,000 job listings.
The job bank also plays a critical role in Canada’s besieged temporary foreign workers program. The rules require would-be employers to post ads seeking Canadian workers for four weeks before they apply to hire temporary foreign workers. As well, the government uses the job bank to point employment insurance recipients to openings.
But until recently, the site showed a litany of job postings in dozens of communities across Canada that had long since been filled. They included ads for food servers, pipeline engineers, auto mechanics and retail sales clerks.
Even on Tuesday, there were still outdated postings online. An ad for kitchen workers at a Little Caesar’s Pizza restaurant in Regina, Sask. — posted in late November with an application deadline of Feb. 28 — was just one of many outdated postings, including several posted in mid-November in Red Deer, Alta.
A restaurant lobby group, meantime, is requesting an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to urge the federal government to lift the moratorium on the food services sector that bans restaurants from hiring temporary foreign workers.
Garth Whyte, head of Restaurants Canada, said the moratorium, in place for almost a month, is creating a labour shortage in the industry.
May 12, 2014
Multiple Entry Visa Successful
Today Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister, announced that in April 2014 approximately 95 percent of the visitor visas issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada were Multiple-Entry Visas (MEVs). MEVs are a fast and convenient option allowing qualified visitors to enter and exit Canada for six months at a time for up to 10 years. Last month alone, Canada issued more than 95,000 MEVs to individuals coming to Canada on vacation or to spend time with family.
May 12, 2014
CAN+ Program to Facilitate Trade and Travel with Mexico
Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced today that the government is taking real action to make it faster and easier for Mexican visitors to come to Canada.
Under the CAN+ program, Mexican nationals who have travelled to Canada or the United States within the last 10 years will be eligible for expedited visa processing. CAN+ is yet another option to make it easier for Mexican travellers to come to Canada.
By fast-tracking a large number of applications, CAN+ is freeing up visa officers to work on other cases. As a result, the program is improving overall processing times for all Mexican travellers who will see their visas processed in 10 days or less.
Alexander highlighted how the government is increasing legitimate trade and travel to Canada. The success of the Canada Multiple-Entry Visa (MEV) program is another example of ways the government is providing fast and convenient options for travellers wishing to visit Canada. In April 2014 alone, more than 95,000 MEVs, which allow visitors to come and go from Canada for six months at a time for up to 10 years, were issued to individuals coming to Canada on vacation or to spend time with family.
May 01, 2014
Bangalore Visa Office to Open
Canadian visas and immigration services from Bangalore will be launched by September end. The consulate general in the City opened on February 27.
Indo-Canadian ties have been very strong. Among 650 Canadian firms in the country, Bangalore alone hosts 30.
The collaboration between Canada and Bangalore is in the fields of aero, defence, ICT and life sciences. Canadian technology and IT company, CGI has presence in Bangalore apart from than Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad.
An estimated 9,500 professionals work for CGI, spread across the four cities, out of the 72,000 employed worldwide. Canada plans to make Bangalore a part of the overall supply chain of services, not limited only to products.
Apart from these ties, Canada also currently hosts 30,000 Indian students for graduate and postgraduate studies, double the number in 2008.
Canadian Governor General David Johnston who launched the consulate in the City in February had said Canada was keen to get more Indian students into its education sector.
In an interview to this paper, Johnston had said: “India has splendid human capital and a huge population base. We are just 33 million, and you are 1.2 billion, a country with tremendous diversity and pluralism. We are also pluralist and inclusive. We would want people to come and seek permanent residency in Canada.”
“A student can apply for permanent residency even while studying and working. There is no need to come back to India in the time it takes to process applications. The skills we have sought are available on the web. Anyone can apply based on that information.”
May 01, 2014
New Trial Ordered in the Smuggling of Tamil Assylum Case
A new trial has been ordered for four men accused of human smuggling in connection to one of the cases that prompted a federal government crackdown on the offence.
In a unanimous ruling Wednesday, the B.C. Court of Appeal overturned a January 2013 decisions by the B.C. Supreme Court that found a section of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act was too broad.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Arne Silverman ruled Section 117 infringed on charter rights because humanitarian workers could be prosecuted under the act. Silverman ruled the section was unconstitutional and the charges were dismissed against the men.
But B.C. Court of Appeal Justice Kathryn Neilson disagreed, saying the act was not too broad. “Parliament intended to create a broad offence with no exceptions, directed to concerns of border control and the particular issue of deterring and penalizing those who assist others in entering Canada illegally,” said Justice Kathryn Neilson in a written ruling.
Neilson said while there may be difficult cases in which prosecutions are unpalatable, she noted that Parliament also enacted a centralized process so attorneys general could assess all circumstances, including motive, before proceeding with charges.
Neilson set aside the acquittals and ordered new trials for Francis Appulonappa, Hamalraj Handasamy, Jeyachandran Kanagarajah and Vignarajah Thevarajah.
The Crown alleged the men organized the voyage of the MV Ocean Lady and were the captain and chief crew members. The ship was stopped off the west coast of Vancouver Island Oct. 17, 2009, and authorities found 76 Tamil migrants aboard. None of the people aboard had the proper documents to enter Canada.
Phillip Rankin, legal counsel for Kanagarajah said the decision was bad for refugee rights. He said the court “moved the gates even wider” on who could be prosecuted under the act. “We had said that it was too broad to know when you were going to be prosecuted for that particular offence … and they said basically it’s even broader than that. It’s basically dealing with even non-refugee issues.” Rankin said all four men will be seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Peter Edelmann, counsel for Handasamy, said he was also disappointed with the results.
Josh Paterson, executive director of the BC Civil Liberties Association, an intervener in the case, said the organization believes the law is still to broad.
He said the legislation could still be used, hypothetically, against a brother helping his sister to leave a country where she is being persecuted, or church groups who are trying to help refugees.
“If you don’t intend to prosecute the brother helping his sister, the church group helping a refugee, then don’t write a law that lets you do it,” he said. “Why should you write a law so broad to allow you to make those kinds of prosecutions, and then say, ‘oh, yes, but we won’t do that?”‘
Paterson said if the four men decide to appeal the case to the Supreme Court of Canada his organization has “every intention of intervening.”
The B.C. Appeal Court ruling stated the migrants told Canadian authorities they paid $5,000 when they boarded the ship in Indonesia or Thailand and were to pay $30,000 to $40,000 for the voyage.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed in February 2011 to toughen asylum laws as he stood aboard one of two ships used to bring Tamil migrants to Canada in 2009 and 2010.
Another ship carrying 492 Sri Lankan migrants, the MV Sun Sea, arrived in August 2010.