2016 Jan to April – Immigration News & Updates

April 28, 2016

Federal Judge Says Unborn Child has “Best Interests”

Great Canadian Gateway Canada immigrationA Canadian federal judge has slapped down an immigration ruling claiming that under Canadian law, unborn children have no “best interests” to consider until they have undergone a live birth.

Rather, Federal Court Judge Michel Shore says an unborn child’s “best interests” must be considered equal to those of a child already born when assessing immigration claims. In his ruling April 21, Shore quashed an Immigration Appeal Division’s decision that upheld the 2012 deportation order of a Chinese man whose Canadian wife was five months pregnant at the time of the IAD’s June 10, 2014 decision.He ordered the IAD to revisit the matter according to the terms of his judgement.

Rather, the “best interests of the child” test in immigration cases applies to unborn and born children without distinction, the judge found. And while this decision is “for immigration purposes,” says Gwen Landolt, a former lawyer and vice president of REAL Women of Canada, “there’s no question that it’s going to be used in future to acknowledge the reality that the child is a child, whether born or unborn.”

Under current Canadian law, an unborn child is not legally recognized as a person until he or she emerges fully from his or her mother’s birth canal.

April 20, 2016

CBSA Detained Hundreds in 1st Month of New Screening Measures

Great Canadian Gateway Canada ImmigrationBorder services officers are identifying and detaining more people with outstanding arrest warrants at Canadian border crossings after making changes to the way travellers are checked for security risks.

Officer who work on the front lines of Canada’s borders were given access to police information late last year, after a CBC News investigation revealed they couldn’t screen travellers against Canadian police records, such as outstanding warrants.

New numbers obtained by CBC News show that in the first month after the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database was introduced at primary inspection points, it flagged 1,800 cases in which travellers had outstanding warrants against them.

While some warrants were for minor infractions, such as outstanding fines, a quarter of the referrals were related to criminal offences and resulted in “further action,” according to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

April 19, 2016

Minister of Immigration Probes Into Immigration Consultants Fees for Syrian Refugees

Immigration Minister John McCallum says he has ordered a three-part investigation into the practice of immigration consultants charging Syrian refugees thousands of dollars to process applications and possibly violating federal rules on private sponsorship by asking them to pay resettlement costs that should be paid by their sponsors.

The minister was responding to a CBC News investigation that found that some immigration consultants are charging Syrians who want to come to Canada under the private sponsorship program between $3,000 to $6,400 per person to process their applications.

The investigation also found that some consultants are asking refugees to pay the cost of their resettlement in Canada up front before even arriving in the country. Under federal rules, these costs are supposed to be covered by private sponsors, not refugees, for a full year. Refugees can contribute to their settlement costs once they arrive in Canada but cannot be made to prepay or repay them, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

April 15, 2016

Quebec to Accept 10,000 Visa Applications in June

Great Canadian Gateway Immigration Canada ImmigrateQuebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil has announced the restart of its skilled worker program (QSWP) from 13th June this year. Quota of 5000 visa applications for skilled employees would be taken and the other 5000 would be granted later on.

This news has came in after months of delay and the applicants of skilled work visa were waiting for submitting their applications. In the coming years, Quebec might get an immigration system for Canada. Under this system, an individual require to make Interest Declaration and based on that they might get selected for further processing of their application.

From June 13 to 20, applicants who had their user accounts could submit their application for Selection Certificate of Quebec and need to pay the fees. As many as 5000 applications would be accepted during this time.

From June 20, 2016 till March 31, 2017, applicants who has user accounts can submit their applications for CSQ and need to pay the fees. As many as 5000 applications would be accepted during this time as well.

April 11, 2016

Top 5 Categories of Workers Invited to Apply in Express Entry

Top 5 categories of workers invited to apply for permanent residence status under the Express Entry system:Great Canadian Gateway Canada Immigration

  1. Food service workers
  2. Cooks
  3. Information system analysts
  4. Software engineers
  5. Computer programmers

April 11, 2016

European Union Considering Visa Requirements for Canadian and American Travellers

Canada Immigration Canadian immigrateEuropean Union officials are expected to meet Tuesday to consider changes to visa requirements for travellers from the United States and Canada if the governments do not agree to add more European Union member countries to their visa-free travel lists.

According to Reuters, the European Commission will make a decision by April 12 on whether to demand visas from countries that opt-out of the European Union common visa policy, including the United States and Canada.

The countries not currently on the visa-free travel list for both the U.S. and Canada are Romania and Bulgaria, while the American government also requires visas from travellers visiting from Croatia, Cyprus and Poland.

The Canadian immigration service has stated that both Romania and Bulgaria do not meet the necessary requirements—such as migration issues, public safety, border management and others—to be included on the visa-free travel list.

April 07, 2016

Vancouver Approves “Access Without Fear” Policy for Undocumented Immigrants

Vancouver city council unanimously agreed Wednesday to approve a policy that will allow residents with uncertain, or even no immigration status, to access city services without having to fear they may be reported and ultimately detained, or deported.

The policy — titled “Access to City Services without Fear (ACSWF) for Residents with Uncertain or No Immigration Status” — states that city staff will not ask for immigration status before providing certain services, and will also not pass information about immigration to other levels of government unless required by law.

The policy will apply to city services including fire and rescue, community services such as homeless outreach shelters and non-market housing, and some other services.

Transit Police announced last year that they would stop detaining fare evaders because they lack immigration documents for the CBSA.

The policy approved by the city does not apply to the Vancouver Police Department, the Vancouver Park Board or the Vancouver Public Library.

April 06, 2016

US – Fake College Created by Feds

Great Canadian Gateway Immigration Canada ImmigrateThe University of Northern New Jersey fielded no sports teams, held no graduation ceremonies and had no instructors, classes or degree programs. It did have a very attractive website that promised an “exceptional” education for foreign students wishing to study in the U.S.

The school was a sham from beginning to end — and it was created by federal authorities, who used it to arrest 21 people on charges they conspired to help more than 1,000 foreigners fraudulently keep or obtain student or work visas over the past 2½ years.

The defendants whose arrests were announced Tuesday knew the school was bogus, as did the foreigners, who pretended to be students there in order to stay in the U.S., authorities said. But they didn’t know it was set up as part of a sting by undercover agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Most of the foreigners who benefited from the scam were from China and India and were already in the U.S. on student visas, federal prosecutors said. Officials said they have been identified and will be dealt with by immigration authorities — meaning they could face deportation — but won’t be prosecuted.

The middlemen under arrest paid the undercover agents running the school thousands of dollars to produce paperwork that made it look as if the foreigners were enrolled at UNNJ, federal prosecutors said. That enabled the “students” to maintain their visa status without having to go to class.

“This was just another stop on the ‘pay-to-stay’ tour,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said.

April 01, 2016

Changes to Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP)

As of April 1, 2016, all individuals eligible for coverage under the IFHP will now receive full health-care coverage, which includes:

      • basic health-care services (i.e. standard physician and hospital care),
      • supplemental services, including limited vision and urgent dental care, and
      • prescription drug coverage.

March 31, 2016

Elimination of Payment Receipt Form (IMM 5401)

As part of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) modernization of payment processing, the payment receipt form [IMM 5401] (previously called an HPM receipt) is being eliminated as an accepted fee payment option as of April 1, 2016.

As of January 29, 2016, clients and immigration representatives can no longer order new payment receipt forms [IMM 5401] via the Call Centre or online via the IRCC website. Previously ordered forms can continue to be used at financial institutions in Canada until March 31, 2016. Otherwise, clients must pay online through IRCC’s online payment tool.

On April 1, 2016, financial institutions in Canada will stop accepting the payment receipt form [IMM 5401]. Forms date-stamped by a financial institution in Canada before April 1, 2016, can be submitted with an application after April 1, 2016, at any time.

March 29, 2016

Lost Passport Found After 13 Years

A woman whose passport was lost in the depths of a federal department for over a decade is finally on her way to becoming a permanent resident.

Janina Ibarra came to Canada 17 years ago from Sri Lanka, which was in the midst of a civil war at the time. She says she had hoped to stay as a refugee. Before her refugee case was settled, Ibarra met and married a Canadian citizen, and he applied to sponsor her for permanent residency status.

As part of that process, 13 years ago Sri Lanka sent her passport to Citizenship and Immigration Canada — but it went missing, leaving her with no official residency status in Canada. Ibarra says for the past two years she has been under a deportation order she was told could be enforced at any time, which would mean leaving behind her husband and their two children.

After the federal election last fall, Ibarra decided to ask her new MP Harjit Sajjan for help. She got the answer she was hoping within three weeks. Buried in a half-metre-tall file was a note that said the passport had been archived by the government at least five years ago, if not longer, and where to find it.

Ibarra’s sponsorship application is on track for the first time since 1999. She says she hopes to have her permanent residency by late summer.

In the meantime, she’s looking for answers from the federal government for the years of her life she feels were put on hold waiting for her paperwork to get processed. “I still have to figure out a career path, I have to get a job,” she said. “How do you put a dollar amount to something that? But at the same time, there has to be some kind of restitution.”

CBC News has contacted Citizenship and Immigration Canada but has yet to hear back.

March 17, 2016

Attracting Francophones

Attracting skilled francophone workers to Canada and encouraging them to settle in communities outside of Quebec is the goal of a new International Mobility Program stream that will launch on the first day of June.

“We want francophone minority communities in Canada to continue to be vibrant and growing,” Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum said today. “That’s why we’re going to encourage skilled francophone workers to come to Canada and settle in communities outside of Quebec, and we’re going to encourage them to apply for permanent residence if they would like to stay.”

Starting June 1, 2016, the Mobilité Francophone stream will exempt employers from the Labour Market Impact Assessment process when they hire francophone workers in managerial, professional and technical/skilled trades occupations from abroad to work in francophone minority communities outside of Quebec.

“Canada’s diversity is enriched by our francophone minority communities all across the country,” said Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly. “We want to see these communities flourish across Canada and immigration is strategic to preserving their vitality and prosperity.”

March 16, 2016

International Students and Canadian Immigration

Federal Immigration Minister John McCallum says the government will be looking at ways to make the immigration process easier for international students. “International students are the best source of immigrants, in the sense that they’re educated, they’re young, they speak English or French, they know something of the country,” he said. “So we should be doing everything we can do to court them.” He said the existing Express Entry System makes it difficult for students to gain permanent residence.

The Express Entry system is a computerized program that matches students with potential employers, but many students have been rejected by the program because it prioritizes immigrants who are skilled workers. The system was introduced on Jan. 1, 2015, by the previous Conservative government; before that, it was a straightforward process for international students to apply for permanent residence.

McCallum said the federal government will work with provinces on ways to reform the points-based system. “The bottom line is that we definitely want to be more welcoming to international students and we will have more concrete proposals in the not too distant future,” he said.

March 13, 2016

Border Security Changes

Canada Immigration Great Canadian Gateway Immigrate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Barack Obama

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Barack Obama

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says a series of border security changes that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed upon this week are designed to make cross-border travel “smoother.”

Speaking on CTV’s Question Period, Goodale said the new rules will impact pre-clearance procedures, information-sharing, and no-fly lists in the two countries.

“The most important thing is an expansion in pre-clearance,” Goodale said. “This is the ability to clear American customs and immigration procedures before you leave Canada, so that once you arrive in the United States … there’s no further checking of passports and so forth.”

Pre-clearance is already available at a number of airports across Canada, including in major cities such as Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Now, following Trudeau’s visit to Washington, D.C., Goodale said Canada and the U.S. plan to add more airports to that list.

In addition to agreeing on new pre-clearance measures, Canada and the U.S. agreed to increase the amount of border-crossing information they will share with each other. Under this deal, the countries will share “tombstone” data on travellers. This information could include names and dates of birth.

While the increased information sharing has yet to be approved by the Canadian Parliament, the proposed measure drew criticism when it was announced earlier in the week. At the time, Canadian Civil Liberties Association Executive Director Sukanya Pillay warned the changes could have negative impacts. “When you collect a huge amount of information about an individual, it can result in profiling,” Pillay told CTV News on Friday.

Speaking on Question Period, however, Goodale touted the agreement as “non-intrusive,” and said it would improve security in both countries. “We’ve been very careful about the privacy considerations,” he said. “The sharing of that tombstone data between the two countries will give us a more complete record (and) enhance our security.”

Beyond “tombstone data,” Goodale said Canada and the U.S. have also agreed to change how they share “no-fly list” information with each other. “(Canadian and American no-fly lists) are not up until this point shared with each other,” he said. “This arrangement will make it possible for that to happen.”

Under the new agreement, Canada will also work with the U.S. to develop a better way of “getting people off the list if they ought not to be there,” Goodale said.

March 09, 2016

Temporary Foreign Worker Reaches Settlement with Langley Farmer

A Mexican in B.C. as a temporary foreign worker has reached an undisclosed settlement with a Langley blueberry farmer following mediation with the provincial Employment Standards Branch.

Canada immigration Great Canadian Gateway Immigrate

Omar Figueroa Ramirez

Omar Figueroa Ramirez, 24, had sought nearly $20,000 in outstanding wages, overtime and vacation pay from his former employer, Randhir Singh Pandher of Pandher Farms.

Terms of the settlement cannot be disclosed, nor can the settlement be construed as an admission of liability by Pandher.

Ramirez said in an interview that he is reasonably satisfied with the outcome and now hopes to find new employment, either in the hotel industry, agriculture or as a construction labourer. He hopes to stay in Canada, become a permanent resident, and eventually obtain a post-secondary education.

“I hope my experience will help other workers, from Mexico, Philippines, India, wherever,” he said. “When they come to Canada, they have to know they have rights.”

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, there were 19,946 seasonal Mexican farm workers in Canada in 2014, compared with 15,817 in 2010. In B.C. alone, the numbers increased to 4,521 from 2,986 in the same five-year period.

Ramirez’s 24-month temporary foreign worker contract provided for pay of $10.50 an hour, a 40-hour work week, time-and-a-half pay beyond that, 60 minutes in breaks per day, two days off a week, and two weeks’ vacation — but no sick days.

His complaint alleged that while working at the farm from Aug., 17, 2014 to Oct. 28, 2015 he received “wages far below his entitled compensation” and no termination pay. He worked mostly alone on a 16-hectare property on 224th Street until he left with the assistance of Erik and Cinnamon Dagsvik, a couple who rented a $1,500-a-month farmhouse on the same blueberry property, and others.

Pandher, a resident of New Westminster, said in a statement earlier that he disagreed with Ramirez’s version of events.

March 08, 2016

Canada’s 2016 Immigration Levels

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum, today announced that Canada will welcome a greater number of immigrants in 2016—with a special emphasis on family reunification.

The Government of Canada has an ambitious plan to bring in between 280,000 and 305,000 new permanent residents in 2016. As we continue to show our global leadership, Canada will reunite families, offer a place of refuge to those fleeing persecution, and support Canada’s long-term economic prosperity.

Through the Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration—which includes the 2016 immigration levels plan—the government outlined how it will increase levels of family class immigration, which will address the application backlog and reunite families more quickly.

March 04, 2016

Canada Gives Visa Exempt Travellers 6 Months to Comply with Electronic Travel Authorization

The Liberal government has given travellers from visa-exempt countries a six-month grace period to comply with a new pre-screening measure that was set to take effect on March 15, bowing to calls from industry representatives who expressed concerns over the timing of the new requirement.

Canada Immigration Great Canadian Gateway Immigrate

Electronic Travel Authorization

Some three million travellers flying to or passing through Canada will be required to have what is known as an electronic travel authorization (eTA) prior to boarding their flight, according to the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

The new requirement, a result of a 2011 joint border project with the U.S., is intended to make it easier and faster for low-risk travellers to come to Canada.

“However, from March 15, 2016 until fall 2016, travellers who do not have an eTA can board their flight, as long as they have appropriate travel documents, such as a valid passport,” said a notice posted on the Canadian government web site Thursday.

“During this time, border services officers can let travellers arriving without an eTA into the country, as long as they meet the other requirements to enter Canada.”

The new requirement applies to foreign nationals who don’t normally require a visa to travel to Canada such as British, Australian and French citizens, among others, as well as permanent residents of the U.S. However, U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa are exempt from the new requirement. Canadian citizens, dual citizens, and permanent residents of Canada do not need to apply for an eTA.

Travellers can apply for an eTA online by answering a few questions and paying $7. According to the government, applicants will get their authorization within minutes of submitting the online form. The authorization is electronically linked to the person’s passport and is valid for five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.

February 29, 2016

Quebec Announces Two Future Intake Periods for Skilled Worker Immigration Program

Canada Immigration Great Canadian Gateway Immigrate


The Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP), one of the few remaining Canadian immigration programs operating on a first-come, first-served basis, will have an application intake period this coming June. Following this, another intake period will take place.

Currently, sponsored spouses of Canadians receive conditional permanent residency upon arrival in Canada and have to wait for two years to obtain permanent-resident status. Immigration Minister John McCallum says that’s about to change.

Immigration Minister John McCallum stated that under the amended Immigration rules, sponsored spouses won’t have to wait for two years to receive permanent resident status. Spouses of Canadian will get Permanent Residency immediately.

February 29, 2016

Cutting Lengthy Wait Times Priority for Immigration Minister

Canada Immigration Great Canadian Gateway Canadian Immigrate

Immigration Minister John McCallum

John McCallum, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship is acutely aware of the problems private sponsors face in bringing in refugees from countries other than Syria. He sat down with the Star earlier this year to discuss his mandate and what he plans to do about some of the lengthy processing delays and what impact the Syrian refugee program has had on other streams. Here is an edited version of that conversation.

Q: There have been a lot of complaints about the length of time to process an application for refugees, as well as applications for everything from citizenship to family reunification.
A: That was probably our core commitment in the election — that processing times have gone up like crazy over the past 10 years. And we’re committed to bring them down. If there was one promise that we made that was central, I would say it was dealing with processing times, and that is principally family members, parents, grandparents, spouses, dependent children; also refugees, also caregivers, also citizenship applicants. All of those groups have seen substantial increases in their processing times over the last decade, in many cases doubling or worse. So we have inherited a situation. The time they have to wait has doubled or worse across the board . . . And economic immigrant processing times have gone down. Everything else has gone up over the last decade.

Q: Do you have a plan to deal with eliminating processing times of all kinds, including for refugees?
A: We’re working on it. I’ve been, as you can imagine, a bit busy on Syrian refugees. In principle there are three ways to get the time down. One, throw more money at it. And we have. We’ve committed in the election platform for $50 million per year for additional funding to hire more civil servants to interview and deal with family class applicants in order to allow more to come in . . . A second thing you can do is reallocate resources. If you have a given amount of money you can have more people doing economic (immigrants) and less people doing family, as the Conservatives did. Or we can do the reverse. We could have more people doing family and fewer doing economic. Everything has a cost. … The third thing you can do is speed up the processing procedures — all the processes the department goes through to vet the spouses, the caregivers and citizens (and refugees). Are all of those necessary? Could we save time and money by streamlining in some way those processes? I’ll tell you one thing, we certainly saw the answer was ‘yes’ in the case of Syrian refugees. We don’t have the resources to do that kind of operation for everything, but once we got those people established, once the wave rose, the medical processing was done 10 times faster than before, when the military got in there to help. There was just a machine that went through everything really fast. So the processing, which normally takes months or years, could be done in days. The quality didn’t suffer. The same medical tests were done as before; the same security processes which were vouched for by CSIS, the RCMP and border services; the heads of all of those said … it was a good process. But there’s an example of, admittedly, in an emergency situation, what can be done to speed up the normal process.

February 29, 2016

Canada Welcomes 25,000 Syrian Refugees

Canada has now welcomed more than 25,000 Syrian refugees as part of the #WelcomeRefugees initiative.

The plan to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of February 2016 has met the commitments of a quick and successful resettlement effort while not compromising security or health requirements.

With the arrival of these refugees, attention now turns to helping them successfully integrate into Canadian society. Syrian refugees have gone to communities where there are settlement supports in place, with consideration given to whether they have family members in Canada, as well as the availability of schools, and housing. Privately sponsored refugees have gone to the community where their sponsor lives. In both cases, Syrian refugees will begin to access to settlement services over the next few months including language classes; employment services such as help finding jobs; professional mentorship programs and workshops that focus on the requirements for building a successful life in Canada and fully integrating into Canadian society.

This significant achievement was made possible by the efforts of multiple organizations including federal departments and agencies, the United Nations Refugee Agency, the International Organization for Migration, other international partners, the governments of Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, provincial and municipal governments, private sponsors, service provider organizations, donations from Corporate Canada and with broad support and generosity from Canadians.

The government’s commitment to resettling Syrian refugees to Canada will continue in 2016 as both government-supported and privately sponsored Syrian refugees will continue to arrive on commercial flights in the months ahead. Approximately 8,500 more government-supported refugees are expected to arrive this year.

February 28, 2016

Canada Ready for Influx of Americans if Trump Wins Presidency?

Americans have said it many times before when eyeing a White House prospect they view as unpalatable: “If that guy is elected president, I’m moving to Canada!”

Is this time for real?

As real estate billionaire Donald Trump inches closer to the Republican presidential nomination, some Canadians have started to prepare for an influx, albeit with some tongues in cheeks.

The island of Cape Breton on Canada’s Atlantic coast is marketing itself as a tranquil refuge, and the mayor of an Ontario border town has noted the greenback is accepted everywhere. Columnists are jockeying to recommend best regions for Americans seeking to escape should Trump capture the party nomination and go on to win November’s U.S. presidential election.

“It’s been quite extraordinary,” said Mary Tulle, chief executive of Destination Cape Breton, the island’s tourism agency. In just over a week, their website got 300,000 visits — more than in all 2015 and two-thirds from Americans — with the top three questions being immigration, employment and housing.

Migration data from after Republican George W. Bush’s 2000 election and 2004 re-election — other moments when liberal Americans pledged to move to Canada in protest — suggests few followed up on their promises. While immigration to Canada increased during the years of Bush’s elections, the rise was not more than increases in other years, data from the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies show.

February 26, 2016

Parent and Grandparent Immigration Program Oficially Doubles Intake Number

The Liberals have raised the cap on the number of applications the government will accept for the coveted parent and grandparent visa program.

The immigration minister issued formal instructions Friday that this year and in each year going forward, 10,000 applications will be accepted, up from 5,000 in each of the previous two years. Raising the cap on applications was a promise the Liberals made during the election campaign. The move signals that the broader Liberal plan on how many immigrants Canada will accept in 2016 is likely nearing release, as Immigration Minister John McCallum had previously said the two were connected.

The parent and grandparent visa program is one of the most popular immigration streams but in 2011, the previous Conservative government shut it down, citing problems with the program and a need to work through a massive backlog in applications.

February 25, 2016

Changes Coming to Canadian Citizenship Act

Proposed changes:
1. Repealing the national interest grounds for citizenship revocation.
2. Repealing the intent to reside provision.
3. Reducing the length of time someone must be physically present in Canada to qualify for Citizenship.
4. Allowing time in Canada before Permanent Residency to count toward the physical presence requirement.
5. Eliminating the 183 days of physical presence requirement.
6. Amending the age range for language and knowledge requirements.
7. Conditional Sentences.
8. Maintaining requirements for citizenship until Oath taking.
9. Ability to Seize Documents.

February 05, 2016

Haiti and Zimbabwe Nationals Given Another 6 Months to Apply for Permanent Residence in Canada

The Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Great Canadian Gateway Canada Immigration Services News UpdatesImmigration, Refugees and Citizenship and the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness today announced that an additional six months have been given to allow certain nationals of Haiti and Zimbabwe to apply for permanent residence without risk of removal from Canada.

This measure gives those who have not applied for permanent residence in Canada based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds a further opportunity to do so. The six months are in addition to the six months that were already given to affected nationals following the lifting of the temporary suspension of removals to Haiti and Zimbabwe on December 1, 2014. In support of this reinstated measure, the Canada Border Services Agency will again defer any removals pending a final decision on the H&C applications. Affected Haitian and Zimbabwean nationals will have the chance to continue to build their lives in Canada.

February 05, 2016

Victoria, BC — Named Destination Community Under Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP)

Great Canadian Gateway Canada Immigration Services News Update ImmigrateFollowing the meeting of Big City Mayors, Minister McCallum announced the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria as the first successful applicant under the recent call for proposals to identify new Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) providers across Canada, with more RAP providers expected to be added in the coming weeks.

The City of Victoria will now join 23 other RAP communities across Canada, outside Quebec, offering comprehensive and expanded services to refugees. The RAP supports government-assisted refugees (GARs), blended visa office-referred refugees and other eligible clients when they first arrive in Canada.

It is expected that the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria will begin to support GARs in the coming weeks. This includes providing direct financial support as well as funding immediate and essential services such as language training and job programs; finding appropriate rental housing; and, the ability to secure other specialized supports including medical care, mental health services, and education.

February 01, 2016

Permanent Residents to BC Drops

Overseas immigration to B.C. is down 22 per cent in the past decade, driven largely by a plunge in migration from China, which has long been this province’s largest source of immigrants.

The number of permanent residents moving to B.C. from China has fallen by half, to just over 6,000 in 2014 from 13,600 in 2005, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. China’s proportion of B.C.’s new permanent residents dropped to 17 per cent from 30 per cent in the decade.

PR to BC GraphAs of Dec. 31, 2014, China was on the verge of being dethroned as B.C.’s largest contributor of permanent residents. It had dropped to being on par with India and only slightly ahead of the Philippines. Those three countries contributed roughly equal shares of permanent residents in 2014. Taken together, those three countries represented half of all new permanent residents to B.C. in that year.

Nationally, India and China traded places as Canada’s top immigrant source country until 2010, when the Philippines surpassed both. But in B.C., China has long held the top spot.

The rise in permanent residents from the Philippines has not been as pronounced in B.C. as in the rest of Canada; it has increased by a third in this province while it doubled nationally in the last 10 years. Immigration from India was consistent over the same period.

The fastest growing source of immigrants is Iran, which was the fourth-largest source country in 2014, up from eighth in 2005. Immigration to B.C. from Ireland has increased ten-fold, although on a relatively small number: 565 in 2014 compared with 55 in 2004.

While there were fewer permanent residents to B.C. in 2014 compared with a decade ago, the number of temporary residents — students, visitors and temporary foreign workers — has skyrocketed. The number of temporary workers alone almost doubled to 65,000 from 34,000.

February 01, 2016

Charged in Regina for Immigration Fraud

Great Canadian Gateway Canada Immigration News and Updates


According to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Qi Wang, 41, and Yujuan Cui, 40, allegedly acted as immigration consultants without a licence and provided false documents containing job offers to foreign nationals between 2007 and 2013.

The CBSA has charged Wang and Cui with three counts pursuant to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and four counts pursuant to the Criminal Code.

Two of the charges include misrepresentation of material facts that could result in an error in the administration of the IPRA and counselling persons to misrepresent material facts that could result in an error in the administration of the IRPA. Each count carries a maximum conviction of a $100,000 fine and five years in prison.

Four of the other charges, including committing forgery by making false job-offer documents, using forged job-offer documents and two counts of possessing $5,000 or more in proceeds obtained by committing an indictable offence, carry a maximum conviction of 10 years in prison.

One of the other charges of representing individuals applying for status in Canada without authorization carries a maximum conviction of a $100,00 fine and two years in prison.

This is the first time the CBSA has prosecuted a case of such kind in Saskatchewan.

Employers seeking consultation services or an individual looking to work in Canada can check the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website to see a list of who is allowed to charge a fee for representation. The list includes lawyers, paralegals and citizenship or immigration consultants in good standing.

January 20, 2016

Mos Def Charged — Breaking South Africa’s Immigration Law

An American rapper has found out Great Canadian Gateway Canada Immigration Services News Updatesthe hard way that a “world passport” isn’t accepted in South Africa. Mos Def must appear in court for allegedly breaking South Africa’s immigration laws, an official said Wednesday.

The rapper and actor was charged with using a false identity, using an unrecognized travel document and helping his family stay in the country illegally, Home Affairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni told a press briefing.

Mos Def, also known as Yasiin Bey, is out on bail and must appear in court on March 8, Apleni said.

Mos Def, born Dante Smith, was arrested last week after he tried to leave South Africa using a document he described as a “world passport.” Mos Def, who has lived in South Africa since 2013, has entered the country 10 times using a U.S. passport, Apleni said.

Mos Def’s world passport was issued by the World Service Authority, the administrative branch of the World Government of World Citizens, a Washington D.C.-based organization founded in 1953, according to a statement published on an entertainment website co-founded by Mos Def. The statement said South Africa must recognize the document as a member of the United Nations.

South Africa does not accept the world passport, officials said.

January 18, 2016

Last Round for Quebec Skilled Worker Program

Great Canadian Gateway Canada Immigration Services Immigrate News UpdatesThe last round of this year’s application cycle for the popular immigration stream the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) to the Canadian province of Quebec will open on Monday, 18 January. With an expected ‘application rush’ those interested are recommended to keep their files ready and apply as soon as they can. The QSWP is a programme similar to its federal equivalent but considered to be more lenient in terms of criteria, especially with the recent changes to the programme.

The stream enables the regular immigrant to move to Canada to live and work there, provided the person settles in the province of Quebec. The intake round could run until March 31, 2016 at the latest, however, the intake cap is expected to be reached before this date. A maximum of 2800 applications will be accepted.

Applications for this intake round will only be accepted through the new online system dubbed the Mon projet Québec online application management system. During the previous intake round, which was closed in November, the province accepted the last applications through post. However, that is not all. In the first week of this year some changes were made to the programme, widening the window of opportunities for applicants.

Previously, recent work experience in the field of education had to be demonstrated of this education was completed more than 5 years ago. This is no longer the case; applicants will receive points for their diplomas regardless of when they were earned.

In August last year Quebec made another welcoming announcement stating that the adaptability interview, judging one’s capability to settle in the province, was scrapped from the requirements and would no longer determine the number of points for applicants.

Although the intake cap has been reduced, applicants have more chances to be accepted this year.

January 14, 2016

Halifax Man Helped Thousands Living Outside Canada Gain Citizenship

Hassan Al-Awaid, 62, an Iraqi national, worked in public relations and marketing for a government-owned petrochemical company in Kuwait before immigrating to Canada in 1992 and settling in Nova Scotia, where he and his wife had three children, including twin girls.

He might have once been a legitimate immigration consultant when he started, at least as far back as 1997. He was a member of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants until he was suspended in 2006. And he didn’t join the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, Canada’s current regulatory body, making him another “ghost consultant,” working in the shadows.

Increasingly, Al-Awaid shifted to black market services and relied on referrals from clients, since his specialization was hard to advertise. “My office is one of the famous offices in Nova Scotia and my services differ from any other office, especially after arrival, and everyone know that,” he boasted in an email to a client.

What he offered clients, mostly from the Middle East, was the opportunity to buy a fake life in Canada to circumvent the requirements of residency and integration here prior to citizenship. So while the would-be Canadians continued their lives abroad, Al-Awaid scurried about mimicking the petty drudgery of their everyday life in Canada — collecting their mail, answering their phones, paying their bills, filing their taxes — as if each one was adapting to Canadian society.

One of Al-Awaid client’s, Wael Kamal, noticing his permanent resident card was about to expire, emailed Al-Awaid saying he hopes to avoid coming to Canada to renew it. Another, Farris Abu-Dayyeh, hired Al-Awaid to fake his and his family’s lives in Canada and, after only a few day’s visit here, was told to come back in three years for their citizenships.

Al-Awaid’s furtive and sometimes frantic business began to unravel in 2007, when Shawna Woodin, an intelligence officer with the Canada Border Services Agency in Halifax, noticed two different signatures for the same person in a citizenship application.

The CBSA and the RCMP started a lengthy investigation. Several of his clients confessed to investigators of the duplicity. Searches in 2010 at Al-Awaid’s office, home and car revealed his meticulous record keeping. Police found more than 140 labelled cell phones and a stack of ATM cards with their PINs among the 20 filing cabinets of records seized, including reams of emails with clients and detailed records.

He was arrested in 2011. Al-Awaid eventually pleaded guilty to eight offences under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and ten under the Citizenship Act, for cases stretching from 2002 to 2011.

At his sentencing this summer, court heard he was being treated for hypertension, hypothyroidism, elevated cholesterol, gout and diabetes. “I am simply not satisfied that the Correctional Service of Canada can safely and effectively monitor and treat Mr. Al-Awaid’s very significant health issues,” provincial court of Nova Scotia judge Anne Derrick said. That allowed him to avoid jail, instead getting a conditional sentence of two years less a day, a $4,000 fine and 240 hours of community service.

For the charges against Al-Awaid, police focused on 53 clients who used eight Halifax addresses to falsify residency. Of those 53, seven provided states to police; nine of the applicants had already obtained their citizenship, 19 withdrew from the process, while the rest were still in the application process at the time his case went to court.

January 13, 2016

Canada Welcomed it’s First 10,000 Syrian Refugees

A significant milestone was reached late yesterday evening. Canada has now welcomed more than 10,000 Syrian refugees to our country as part of the #WelcomeRefugees initiative, bringing us closer to our goal of welcoming 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February 2016.

Working with partners in Canada – and around the world – the government has undertaken an unprecedented effort to help thousands of Syrian refugees find a new home. We are working with our international partners, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the International Organization for Migration, as well as with the host countries of Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, to help those who have been forced to flee their homes.

In provinces and territories across the country, the steadfast support of resettlement organizations, service providers, and private sponsorship groups is essential to this initiative. More than one hundred communities across Canada have welcomed or are preparing to welcome Syrian refugees.

January 08, 2016

Canada to Test Facial Recognition Technology at Borders

Canada’s border agency plans to Great Canadian Gateway Canada Immigration News and Updates Services Immigrate News Updatesbegin using facial recognition technology at entry points following national pilots. Targeted at weeding out terrorists and criminals, the tech will screen people arriving at border points and match them against criminal data-bases and so-called “watchlists”.

Canadian Border Services Agency revealed in a statement that it will be trying out the new technology at a number of unspecified locations, under specific lighting and crowd movement conditions. However, the federal privacy watchdog has responded by cautioning the agency that the scheme could ensnare the wrong travellers, resulting in unwarranted scrutiny for some people at the border. Privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien says his office had already provided advice to the agency on the potential pitfalls, including the possibility of “false positives” that could result in unnecessary secondary screening for travellers.

The agency also said that test would have an “operational context,” and that no trials involving actual travellers have yet taken place.

January 07, 2016

Parent and Grandparent Application Cap Reached

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) received more than 14,000 new Parent and Grandparent applications since the program re-opened on January 4, 2016. Intake is now closed. The first 5,000 complete applications received will be placed in the inventory queue.

Canada is committed to reuniting families and the Government of Canada is seeking to increase the intake of parent and grandparent sponsorship applications from 5,000 to 10,000 per year. In light of this commitment, IRCC will retain the first 10,000 complete applications.

January 06, 2016

Ghost Immigration Consultant Sentenced for Misrepresentation

Great Canadian Gateway Canada Immigration News and Updates ImmigrateThe Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced today that on December 16, 2015, Novlette Morgan (also known as Novette Morgan, Joy Morgan, and Joy Grant) received a suspended sentence of 18-months probation. Morgan was found guilty on May 21, 2015 of four counts of misrepresentation under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act following a jury trial at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Each of the counts relate to an application by a foreign worker under the Live-in Caregiver Program, where false information about a potential sponsoring employer was supplied to immigration authorities in order to obtain a visa for the applicant.

Morgan, a resident of Richmond Hill, was initially charged on April 29, 2011, following a 17-month investigation into the activities of an immigration consulting business operating under the name of Central Domestic Agency, based in Toronto.

Other charges were laid against two associates on July 12, 2011. Fe Malab, a resident of Vaughan, pleaded guilty on July 31, 2012, to one count of counselling misrepresentation and was sentenced to two-years probation. Tatiyana Alleyne, a resident of Mississauga, pleaded guilty on July 25, 2015, to one count of uttering a forged document under the Criminal Code, and was given a conditional discharge.

January 03, 2016

Parent and Grandparent Program Re-Opening

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will resume intake of new applications to sponsor parents and grandparents (PGP) starting January 4, 2016, at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). A limit of 5,000 new and complete applications will be accepted. All applications received after the cap has been reached will be returned to the applicant.

Only applications received on or after January 4, 2016, that have been completed according to the application kit requirements will be accepted. This means that all necessary documentation and fees, as set out in the application kit, must accompany the application.

***As of January 07, 2016, the cap has been reached and no more applications will be accepted by IRCC***