December 28, 2015
St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program
The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis had harsh words for the excesses of the buy-a-passport program that got his Caribbean country on Canada’s bad list.
Anybody with $250,000 could buy a St. Kitts and Nevis passport without so much as visiting the island nation. The country even started selling diplomatic credentials, most notably for Iranian businessman Alizera Moghadam, who entered Canada with a diplomatic passport he claims to have purchased for $1 million.
The United States soon warned that “illicit actors” were freely roaming the globe under the St. Kitts and Nevis name. Canada then upped the ante by ending a much-cherished visa waiver for visiting Kittitians and Nevisians.
Canada’s decision to kill the visa waiver was cited as a friendly government “publicly telling the world it could not endure a relationship that had become risky to its national security interests.” At which time prompted a recall of 15,000 St. Kitts and Nevis passport to remove a controversial feature that did not display the place of birth of the passport holder.
December 23, 2015
Four Year Old Boy to be Reunited with Family
It took Immigration Minister John McCallum less than a day to do what his predecessors wouldn’t in the last three years: Clear the way for a little boy from India to be reunited with his parents — both permanent residents in Canada.
Four-year-old Daksh Sood will soon be given a temporary resident permit (TRP) to enable him to come to Canada early next month. His father, Aman Sood, travelled to India at the beginning of December to visit Daksh, whom he had not seen for almost three years. The boy has been living with his paternal grandparents.
The Barrhaven couple’s nightmare stemmed from their failure to disclose they had a young son. Nor did they disclose their intention to sponsor the little boy before they arrived in Canada in January 2013.
Daksh was only about 1 1/2 at the time and stayed behind in India. The parents, allowed into Canada as permanent residents under the skilled workers category, wanted to be settled into jobs and a home in Ottawa before having their son join them.
Using his ministerial discretion, McCallum gave the order Wednesday after a chance meeting Tuesday afternoon with Daksh’s mother, Bhavna Bajaj, and her supporters outside his office on Slater Street. After hearing her story, he promised to look into the matter right away. He kept his word.
December 18, 2015
Phone Scammers Target Newcomers to Canada
A Toronto woman almost became the victim of an elaborate scam targeting newcomers after she received a phone call Thursday from someone purporting to be from Citizenship and Immigration Canada demanding payment of a $2,500 fine.
Georgina Perez told CBC News the caller said she had failed to file some paperwork with the Mexican consulate and that she had to pay a penalty. “This guy kept saying, ‘You have to make a decision, you have to make a decision,'” she said. “For the first 40 minutes I thought it was legit and I was scared.”
If she didn’t pay the fine immediately, Perez said the caller told her she would have to go court and potentially face deportation. The Toronto woman was completely confused by the call, having lived in Canada since 2002. Perez checked the call display screen and saw that it identified the caller as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The caller gave her his badge number and offered to let Perez talk to a supervisor, she said.
While this was happening, Perez used her cellphone to call CIC and was told that all her paperwork was in order.
The department has issued several public service alerts this year telling new immigrants to be wary of these types of calls. But staff at CIC would never accept fine payments over the phone by pre-paid credit cards or private money transfers.
December 18, 2015
Class Action Lawsuit Filed by Temporary Foreign Workers Against Mac’s Convenience Stores
Hundreds of temporary foreign workers have launched a class action lawsuit against Mac’s Convenience Stores, claiming they paid more than $8,000 to get jobs in Canada that did not exist.
The notice of claim, filed with the B.C. Supreme Court, alleges that from December 2009 onwards the workers were recruited in Dubai to work at Mac’s stores in B.C., Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
But, the claim says, when the workers arrived in Canada, they found the more than 425 jobs they had been contracted to perform — the only jobs they were allowed to perform under their TFW permits — were non-existent.
The migrant workers are also suing three immigration firms — Overseas Immigration Services, Overseas Career and Consulting Services and Trident Immigration Services — all based in Surrey, B.C. The firms allegedly charged the workers an illegal $8,000 recruitment fee and made them pay their own transportation to Canada.
December 17, 2015
Saskatchewan Ready for Another Round of Intake
500 additional applications will be accepted by the Province of Saskatchewan under its International Skilled Worker – Express Entry Stream. The cap is expected to be reached within days.
December 16, 2015
Statement From Minister McCallum and Honourable Wilson-Raybould
They issued the following statement:
“Today, the Government of Canada announced that it will not pursue its appeal in the case of The Attorney General of Canada and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration v. Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care et al. The case involves changes made in 2012 to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) for refugees, refugee claimants and claimants who were denied refugee status.
Withdrawing this appeal is an important step toward fulfilling our commitment to review the government’s litigation strategy to address positions that are inconsistent with our values.”
December 12, 2015
Ikea Canada Offers $180,000 Worth in Furniture to Help Refugees Feel at Home
In order to be approved, applicants must be supporting a family or household within a one hour drive from the nearest Ikea unit, and the request must be not for more the $5,000 worth of products.
December 11, 2015
Update: Work Permits for Spouses and Common-Law Partners Applying for Permanent Residence Within Canada
Foreign nationals in Canada applying to immigrate as a spouse or common-law partner will continue to have the opportunity to work while waiting for their application to be finalized. A pilot program giving them open work permits is being extended for one year, until December 22, 2016.
December 11, 2015
Refugee Advocates See Victory as Smuggling Laws Read Down
The Supreme Court’s recent twin rulings that individuals cannot be criminally punished — or denied refugees status — as “people smugglers” simply because they aided illegal entry to the country constitute a critical victory, refugee advocates say.
December 09, 2015
Metro Vancouver Hospitals Refer Immigration Cases to Canadian Border Services Agency
From January 2014 to October 2015, Fraser Health referred approximately 500 patients to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).
The issue of CBSA referrals gained widespread attention in 2014 when it was reported that the previous year transit police forwarded 328 incidents to CBSA.
Since then, the City of Vancouver has worked to designate itself a “sanctuary city”, where undocumented immigrants can access municipal services regardless of their status. But the rest of the region has not shown the same enthusiasm for such policies.
December 03, 2015
Canada’s Border Agents Armed with New Information to Screen Visitors
Canadian front-line border agents now have access to more information on travellers contained in Canada’s law enforcement database, a significant change in the way visitors are checked for potential security risks, CBC News has learned.
Until now, front-line border agents did not have access to information contained in the Canadian Police Information Centre database when checking the backgrounds of the millions of travellers who arrive at Canada’s border crossings every month.
But as of November 23, 2015, the Canada Border Services Agency gave border agents at primary checkpoints access to some of the information normally contained in the database.
“This means the border service officers can now identify wanted individuals earlier in the border process,” the border agency told CBC News Thursday night in a written statement, although it’s not clear whether all border agents have been trained to access this data.
Canada’s national law-enforcement database contains information about outstanding arrest warrants, criminal convictions and other sercurity information.
December 01, 2015
Update: Bridging Open Work Permit
Currently, work permits are being processed within shorter timelines as a result of the waiving of the requirement to send an official acknowledgement of receipt letter to applicants.
Applicants may now submit their bridging open work permit (BOWP) at the same time as their application for permanent residence. Once the completeness check has been performed, the application for a BOWP will be processed. BOWP applications received before the completeness checks have been performed will be held until they are ready to be processed.
November 30, 2015
Canadian Federal Government to Pay Refugees’ Travel Cost
Syrian refugees’ arrival in Canada will be made slightly easier as the Federal Government waives repayment of any cost incurred to come over here, along with costs refugees typically have to pay for medical exams and other fees.
November 30, 2015
Refugee Processing Centre Opens in Jordan
A trickle of Syrian refugees seeking to leave Jordan flowed into Canada’s processing centre in Amman on Sunday, the first day operations at what will eventually become the hub of much of the Syrian refugee resettlement program.
November 30, 2015
International Experience Canada — New Application System
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is launching a new e-application system for the International Experience Canada (IEC) Program. Beginning with the 2016 season, IEC is moving from a “first come, first serve” to a pool invitation model through this new system.
When the 2016 season opens, candidates will be invited to create and submit profile which will be a part of a pool of profiles for each IEC partner country or territory and their categories. Eligible candidates will be invited from the pools to apply for a work permit at regular intervals throughout the year, and in line with periods of high demand, as long as space is available for their country and category.
November 25, 2015
Permanent Resident Card Redesign
The permanent resident card (PR card) has been updated with enhanced security features and to keep pace with changing technology.
New permanent residents (PRs) will automatically receive the new card as part of the immigration process. Current PRs only need to get a new card once their existing card expires. In the meantime, their existing card is still valid.
Some of the changes include:
- new specifications for the cardholder’s photograph
- the removal of the immigration category from the card
- an increase to the number of characters permitted for a holder’s name, from 20 characters for the last name and 15 characters for the given name, to 28 characters each for both the given and last names
- new security features, including inks that are resistant to copying, a new foil graphic embedded in the card and a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip with an identification number unique to the card
The RFID chip does not contain personal information. The RFID chip contains only a unique identifier.
When a PR is moving through a land border crossing, an RFID-enabled PR card is securely and accurately read by readers. As the RFID chip is read, the unique identifier is transmitted to a secure database and acts as the key to authorize the return of the traveller’s biographical information from the database. The information is displayed to the Border Service Officer as the vehicle pulls up to the inspection booth.
The installation of RFID chip readers at land border crossings is scheduled to begin in 2016.
November 16, 2015
Statement Regarding Oath of Citizenship
The Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada today issued the following statement:
“On November 16, 2015, the Attorney General of Canada notified the Supreme Court of Canada that it has discontinued its application for leave to appeal in the case of Minister of Citizenship and Immigration v. Ishaq. The Federal Court of Canada found that the policy requiring women who wear the niqab to unveil themselves to take the Oath of Citizenship is unlawful on administrative law grounds, and the Federal Court of Appeal upheld this ruling. The government respects the decision of both courts and will not seek further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
“Canada’s diversity is among its greatest strengths, and today we have ensured that successful citizenship candidates continue to be included in the Canadian family. We are a strong and united country because of, not in spite of, our differences.”
November 13, 2015
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Mandate Letter to Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Dear Mr. McCallum:
I am honoured that you have agreed to serve Canadians as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
We have promised Canadians a government that will bring real change – in both what we do and how we do it. Canadians sent a clear message in this election, and our platform offered a new, ambitious plan for a strong and growing middle class. Canadians expect us to fulfill our commitments, and it is my expectation that you will do your part in delivering on those promises to Canadians.
We made a commitment to invest in growing our economy, strengthening the middle class, and helping those working hard to join it. We committed to provide more direct help to those who need it by giving less to those who do not. We committed to public investment as the best way to spur economic growth, job creation, and broad-based prosperity. We committed to a responsible, transparent fiscal plan for challenging economic times.
I expect Canadians to hold us accountable for delivering these commitments, and I expect all ministers to do their part – individually and collectively – to improve economic opportunity and security for Canadians.
It is my expectation that we will deliver real results and professional government to Canadians. To ensure that we have a strong focus on results, I will expect Cabinet committees and individual ministers to: track and report on the progress of our commitments; assess the effectiveness of our work; and align our resources with priorities, in order to get the results we want and Canadians deserve.
If we are to tackle the real challenges we face as a country – from a struggling middle class to the threat of climate change – Canadians need to have faith in their government’s honesty and willingness to listen. I expect that our work will be informed by performance measurement, evidence, and feedback from Canadians. We will direct our resources to those initiatives that are having the greatest, positive impact on the lives of Canadians, and that will allow us to meet our commitments to them. I expect you to report regularly on your progress toward fulfilling our commitments and to help develop effective measures that assess the impact of the organizations for which you are answerable.
I made a personal commitment to bring new leadership and a new tone to Ottawa. We made a commitment to Canadians to pursue our goals with a renewed sense of collaboration. Improved partnerships with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments are essential to deliver the real, positive change that we promised Canadians. No relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.
We have also committed to set a higher bar for openness and transparency in government. It is time to shine more light on government to ensure it remains focused on the people it serves. Government and its information should be open by default. If we want Canadians to trust their government, we need a government that trusts Canadians. It is important that we acknowledge mistakes when we make them. Canadians do not expect us to be perfect – they expect us to be honest, open, and sincere in our efforts to serve the public interest.
Our platform guides our government. Over the course of our four-year mandate, I expect us to deliver on all of our commitments. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we fulfill our promises, while living within our fiscal plan. Other issues will arise or will be brought to our attention by Canadians, stakeholders, and the public service. It is my expectation that you will engage constructively and thoughtfully and add priorities to your agenda when appropriate.
As Minister, you will be held accountable for our commitment to bring a different style of leadership to government. This will include: close collaboration with your colleagues; meaningful engagement with Opposition Members of Parliament, Parliamentary Committees and the public service; constructive dialogue with Canadians, civil society, and stakeholders, including business, organized labour, the broader public sector, and the not-for-profit and charitable sectors; and identifying ways to find solutions and avoid escalating conflicts unnecessarily. As well, members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, indeed all journalists in Canada and abroad, are professionals who, by asking necessary questions, contribute in an important way to the democratic process. Your professionalism and engagement with them is essential.
Canadians expect us, in our work, to reflect the values we all embrace: inclusion, honesty, hard work, fiscal prudence, and generosity of spirit. We will be a government that governs for all Canadians, and I expect you, in your work, to bring Canadians together.
You are expected to do your part to fulfill our government’s commitment to transparent, merit-based appointments, to help ensure gender parity and that Indigenous Canadians and minority groups are better reflected in positions of leadership.
As Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, your overarching goal will be to reopen Canada’s doors to welcome those who want to contribute to our country’s success. Canadians are open, accepting, and generous – qualities that should be reflected in Canada’s immigration policies and in our approach to welcoming those seeking refuge from conflict and war. Our communities are strengthened when we come together to welcome newcomers who want to build a better Canada and to help those in need.
In particular, I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory, and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities:
- Lead government-wide efforts to resettle 25,000 refugees from Syria in the coming months.
- As part of the Annual Immigration Levels Plan for 2016, bring forward a proposal to double the number of entry applications for parents and grandparents of immigrants to 10,000 a year.
- Give additional points under the Entry Express system to provide more opportunities for applicants who have Canadian siblings.
- Increase the maximum age for dependents to 22, from 19, to allow more Canadians to bring their children to Canada.
- Bring forward a proposal regarding permanent residency for new spouses entering Canada.
- Develop a plan to reduce application processing times for sponsorship, citizenship and other visas.
- Fully restore the Interim Federal Health Program that provides limited and temporary health benefits to refugees and refugee claimants.
- Establish an expert human rights panel to help you determine designated countries of origin, and provide a right to appeal refugee decisions for citizens from these countries.
- Modify the temporary foreign workers program to eliminate the $1,000 Labour Market Impact Assessment fee to hire caregivers and work with provinces and territories to develop a system of regulated companies to hire caregivers on behalf of families.
- Lead efforts to facilitate the temporary entry of low risk travelers, including business visitors, and lift the visa requirement for Mexico.
- Work with the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to repeal provisions in the Citizenship Act that give the government the right to strip citizenship from dual nationals.
- Eliminate regulations that remove the credit given to international students for half of the time that they spend in Canada and regulations that require new citizens to sign a declaration that they intend to reside in Canada.
These priorities draw heavily from our election platform commitments. The government’s agenda will be further articulated through Cabinet discussions and in the Speech from the Throne when Parliament opens.
I expect you to work closely with your Deputy Minister and his or her senior officials to ensure that the ongoing work of your department is undertaken in a professional manner and that decisions are made in the public interest. Your Deputy Minister will brief you on issues your department may be facing that may require decisions to be made quickly. It is my expectation that you will apply our values and principles to these decisions, so that issues facing your department are dealt with in a timely and responsible manner, and in a way that is consistent with the overall direction of our government.
Our ability, as a government, to successfully implement our platform depends on our ability to thoughtfully consider the professional, non-partisan advice of public servants. Each and every time a government employee comes to work, they do so in service to Canada, with a goal of improving our country and the lives of all Canadians. I expect you to establish a collaborative working relationship with your Deputy Minister, whose role, and the role of public servants under his or her direction, is to support you in the performance of your responsibilities.
In the coming weeks, the Privy Council Office (PCO) will be contacting you to set up a meeting with PCO officials, your Deputy Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office to further discuss your plans, commitments and priorities.
We have committed to an open, honest government that is accountable to Canadians, lives up to the highest ethical standards, and applies the utmost care and prudence in the handling of public funds. I expect you to embody these values in your work and observe the highest ethical standards in everything you do. When dealing with our Cabinet colleagues, Parliament, stakeholders, or the public, it is important that your behaviour and decisions meet Canadians’ well-founded expectations of our government. I want Canadians to look on their own government with pride and trust.
As Minister, you must ensure that you are aware of and fully compliant with the Conflict of Interest Act and Treasury Board policies and guidelines. You will be provided with a copy of Open and Accountable Government to assist you as you undertake your responsibilities. I ask that you carefully read it and ensure that your staff does so as well. I draw your attention in particular to the Ethical Guidelines set out in Annex A of that document, which apply to you and your staff. As noted in the Guidelines, you must uphold the highest standards of honesty and impartiality, and both the performance of your official duties and the arrangement of your private affairs should bear the closest public scrutiny. This is an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law. Please also review the areas of Open and Accountable Government that we have expanded or strengthened, including the guidance on non-partisan use of departmental communications resources and the new code of conduct for exempt staff.
I know I can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted in you. In turn, please know that you can count on me to support you every day in your role as Minister.
I am deeply grateful to have this opportunity to serve with you as we build an even greater country. Together, we will work tirelessly to honour the trust Canadians have given us.
– See more at: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/minister-immigration-refugees-and-citizenship-mandate-letter
November 07, 2015
Update: Sierra Leone and Ebola
The World Health Organization (WHO) no longer identifies Sierra Leone as a country with widespread and persistent/intense transmission of the Ebola virus. The Department has resumed the processing of temporary resident and permanent resident applications of individuals who have been in Sierra Leone.
CBSA officers screen international travellers arriving in Canada for communicable diseases and refer any travellers suspected of having a communicable disease to Public Health Agency of Canada quarantine officers who have the authority to implement public health measures under the Quarantine Act.
The Department continues to monitor the situation very closely and will take appropriate actions when warranted.
November 02, 2015
Update: Oath of Citizenship
Following the recent decision of the Federal Court of Appeal in Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada v. Ishaq, operational instructions related to the delivery of the Oath of Citizenship have been updated.
The operational policy requires applicants to remove their face covering when taking the Oath, but applicants who are unwilling to do so for religious reasons must now be accommodated and allowed to recite the Oath of Citizenship privately, in front of a female judge or official who is authorized to administer the Oath, before joining the public ceremony.
October 24, 2015
Richmond Immigration Scam Mastermind Sentenced
A Richmond man who made millions from illegal immigration consultancies in Metro Vancouver has been sentenced to seven years in prison and fined more than $900,000 for a number of fraud-related charges, including making fake Chinese passports, and evading taxes.
Wang’s charges included six counts under the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, like defrauding the government and altering passports, as well as two counts under the Income Tax Act for failing to report $2,722,305 of taxable income and evading payment of $730,837 of federal income tax.
Xun “Sunny” Wang, a 46-year-old father of two teenage boys, pleaded guilty in July to eight charges in connection with his businesses New Can Consultants (Canada) Ltd. and Wellong International Investments Ltd — which, according to an agreed statement of facts, charged 1,200 clients $10 million for its fraudulent services from 2006 to 2013.
While seven other people have also been charged in relation to the case, Harris said “it is clear that (Wang) was the mastermind behind the scheme.”
October 23, 2015
Correction: Inadmissibility for Misrepresentation
October 10, 2015
Parents and Grandparent Program Expected to Re-Open on January 2016
Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and residents wishing to relocate to Canada should prepare their applications now, as the popular parent and grandparent immigration stream will reopen in January 2016.
“The immensely popular Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP) is expected to reopen in January 2016, with sponsors and candidates already preparing for what is expected to be a very short application intake period,” wrote the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
In 2015 the government of Canada accepted 5,000 completed applications, which were submitted in just a couple of days. The year before the same application cap was reached within three weeks. As the system operates on a first come, first serve basis, acting fast is key for sponsors as well as applicants.
October 05, 2015
Update: Transit Without Visa and China Transit Program
The instructions relating to the minor expansion of the Transit Without Visa (TWOV) program and China Transit Program (CTP) have been updated to include Xiamen, Fuzhou, Chengdu, Shenyang and Harbin as last points of embarkation before arriving in Canada.
With this expansion, certain foreign nationals who are eligible to transit through Canada without a visa if they are travelling to and from the United States can now transit through Canada without a visa from five additional departure points.
October 02, 2015
Canadian Immigration Authorities Step-Up Employer Audits
Canadian authorities are auditing employers under the International Mobility Program as the result of new enforcement measures introduced in earlier this year.
What does the change mean? Employers should be aware that the audit program is underway and be prepared in case they are selected for random inspections. The audits seek extensive documentation and proof that employers are in compliance with all laws and requirements for hiring foreign workers.
- Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
- Visas/permits affected: Work permits for foreign employees and assignees who are exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
- Who is affected: Canadian employers recruiting and hiring foreign employees and assignees under the International Mobility Program, including intracompany transferees and NAFTA professionals, among others.
- Business impact: Businesses will have to devote additional resources to compliance and responding to inspectors in the event of an audit. Employers found to be noncompliant face administrative penalties, a ban on hiring foreign workers and criminal prosecution in serious cases.
Background: Citizen and Immigration Canada reformed the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and International Mobility Program last year, introducing increased enforcement with the goal of auditing one in four employers. New compliance and audit measures were introduced in February for LMIA-exempt work permits.
September 19, 2015
Faster Help for Syrian and Iraqi Refugees Without Compromising Canadian Security
Canada is committing new resources and making targeted policy changes designed to speed up processing of our existing commitment to resettle Syrian and Iraqi refugees, without compromising existing security, criminality, and medical screening. As a result of these measures, we anticipate meeting Canada’s current commitment of resettling 10,000 Syrians by September 2016 –15 months earlier than planned. Canada’s existing commitment to resettle 23,000 Iraqis will also be fulfilled by the end of this year.
Visa officers will focus their interviews on security, criminality and medical screening. Going forward, unless there is evidence to the contrary, visa officers will be able to presume those fleeing the conflict meet the definition of a refugee, which will make processing faster. With these changes in place, our goal is for all Syrian applications received as of today to have a decision by the end of December 2015. This will ensure that applicants and their sponsors are aware of the progress on their files.
Recognizing that refugee resettlement alone will not solve the crisis in Syria and Iraq, the Government of Canada has created the Syria Emergency Relief Fund. The Government will match every eligible dollar donated by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities, up to $100 million, effective immediately and until December 31, 2015.
Canada is also at the forefront of international efforts to counter ISIS. To address the significant security threat posed by ISIS, as well as the humanitarian and political challenges it has created, Canada is part of a coalition of partner countries determined to degrade and defeat ISIS.
Since 2009, Canada has permanently resettled nearly 25,000 Iraqi and Syrian refugees including vulnerable groups such as ethnic and religious minorities, out of an overall Government of Canada commitment of 34,300.