Canada Dominates World’s Most Livable Cities in 2015

August 18, 2015

Each year, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) publishes a list of the top cities in the world in which to live.

This year’s list was just published and 3/5 of the top cities were in Canada: #3-Vancouver, #4-Toronto, #5-Calgary.

According to the EIU, these cities have “relatively few challenges to living standards,” and enjoy a good infrastructure, healthcare system and a low murder rate.

Toronto named best place to live by The Economist

January 30, 2015
Reproduced from the Toronto Star
Toronto has been ranked the best place to live in a recent report on urban safety published by the Economist.
It may not boast a winning hockey team, but Toronto topped a list of 50 cities all measured based on their placement in the Safe Cities Index as well as livability rankings, and three national indexes, including the Democracy Index, Business Environment Rankings and Global Food Security Index.
“Toronto is a consistent performer across the five other indexes, putting it top overall,” the report read. Toronto’s worst performance was in the cost of living category.
Montreal, the only other Canadian city on the list, earned a second-place ranking in the shortlist of 25 cities.
The overall ranking was published in Safe Cities Index report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, which assessed cities around the world based on digital and health security as well as infrastructural and personal safety.
Tokyo, which the report cites as the world’s most populous city, topped the overall safety ranking, having performed “most strongly in the digital security category,” according to the report.
Toronto earned eighth place in the Safe Cities Index. Montreal was 14th, while Jakarta ranked at the bottom of the list.
The report also concluded European cities struggle with digital security more than cities studied in the United States.
Stockholm, San Francisco, Zurich and Washington D.C. also ranked highly in the overall, best place to live shortlist.

Possibly Increasing Your Chances With Express Entry-For Clients of Abrams & Krochak

January 5, 2015

We are writing for three (3) reasons: firstly, to wish you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year; (ii) secondly, to thank you for your patronage in the past; and (iii) lastly, and most importantly, to provide you with valuable information, regarding Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s new Express Entry system, which could prove beneficial to you.


I. YOUR APPLICATION UNDER THE OLD SYSTEM

As you are aware, Abrams & Krochak filed your Federal Skilled Worker Application for Permanent Residence with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) officials BEFORE January 1, 2015. For so long as you have been/are issued a file number by CIC for that Application, your Application will be processed under the OLD system.


II. A POSSIBLE NEW APPLICATION UNDER EXPRESS ENTRY

Even though you have already applied for Permanent Residence in Canada under the OLD system, CIC gives you the option of availing yourself of the new Express Entry system, too, and creating an Express Entry Online Profile, not only for yourself, but also for your spouse/partner (if applicable), if he/she is qualified to be a Federal Skilled Worker principal applicant. In doing so, you are increasing your chances of success, so to speak, because even though you already have an Application in process under the OLD system, CIC might select you OR your spouse/partner from the pool of Express Entry candidates and invite you/him/her to submit another Application for Permanent Residence in Canada. If you/he/she are/is invited to apply, CIC promises processing times of SIX (6) MONTHS OR LESS.

III. COSTS INVOLVED

Legal Fees

If you would like Abrams & Krochak to assist you to create an Express Entry Online Profile, we would charge you an additional payment of 495 CAD per profile (i.e. if you only want an Express Entry Online Profile for yourself, we would charge you 495 CAD; if you want an Express Entry Online Profile for both you AND your spouse/partner, we would charge you 990 CAD (495 CAD x 2). There would be no additional legal fees, other than whatever legal fees are outstanding as per your signed Agreement with Abrams & Krochak. That is to say, if you have already made two (2) payments of legal fees to Abrams & Krochak under your Agreement and you or your spouse/partner are/is invited to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada under Express Entry, you would proceed to make your third payment of legal fees and so on. Likewise, if you have already made three (3) payments of legal fees to Abrams & Krochak under your Agreement and you or your spouse/partner are/is invited to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada under Express Entry, you would proceed to make your final payment of legal fees.

Government Fees

CIC does not charge you to create an Express Entry Online Profile. If you decide to create an Express Entry Online Profile and you are invited by CIC to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada, however, new Government of Canada processing fees and Right of Permanent Residence fees would apply (in addition to those already remitted with your previous Application under the OLD system).

IV. HOW DOES EXPRESS ENTRY WORK

The Express Entry system involves two (2) steps:

Step 1 – Completion of Online Express Entry Profile

Abrams & Krochak will complete an Online Express Entry profile on behalf of interested clients. This is a secure form that gathers information about their:

  • skills,
  • work experience,
  • language ability,
  • education, and
  • other details that will help CIC assess their eligibility.

Those who meet CIC’s criteria will be accepted into a pool of candidates.

Anyone who does not already have a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) (if needed) or a nomination from a province or territory, must register with Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Job Bank. Job Bank will eventually help connect Express Entry candidates with eligible employers in Canada.

Candidates are also encouraged to promote themselves to employers in other ways, such as using job boards, recruiters etc.

In most cases when there is a job being offered to a candidate, employers will need an LMIA from ESDC. The LMIA process ensures employers have made an effort to hire Canadians for available jobs. There will be no LMIA government fee for Permanent Resident Applications.

Step 2 – Highest Ranking Candidates in the Pool Will Be Invited to Apply for Permanent Residence

Candidates will be ranked against others in the pool using a point-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS will assess the profile information candidates submit, including:

  • skills,
  • work experience,
  • language ability,
  • education and other factors.

A candidate can get additional points for:

  • a job offer supported by an LMIA, or
  • a nomination by a province or territory

CIC will choose candidates from the pool through regular “draws”, choosing a pre-determined number of candidates with the highest scores from the pool and inviting them to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada.

Draws will be made from the Express Entry pool on a regular basis. Every draw will have a set of instructions the electronic system will use to draw candidates from the pool. These instructions will be posted on the CIC website before each draw.

These instructions will include:

  • the date of the next draw,
  • the number of candidates that will get an Invitation To Apply, and
  • if it applies, which specific Immigration program(s) will be included in the draw.

If the instructions do not specify which Immigration program the candidates must be eligible for, the draw will be based on the CRS score.

If someone is invited to apply, they will have sixty (60) days to submit an online Application for Permanent Residence.

CIC will process the majority of complete Applications (meaning those with all the necessary supporting documents) in six (6) months or less.

Candidates can stay in the pool for up to twelve (12) months. If they do not get an Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residence within twelve (12) months of submitting an Express Entry profile, they may submit a new profile. If they still meet the criteria, they can re-enter the pool. This will prevent backlogs and ensure quick processing times.

V. HOW TO PROCEED

If you are interested in creating an Express Entry Online Profile with Abrams & Krochak assistance or, if you have any question regarding this e-mail or Express Entry, in general, please send an e-mail to info@akcanada.com and we will respond to you with further instructions/information.

Creating Your Express Entry Online Profile-For Clients of Abrams & Krochak

January 5, 2015

This posting will provide you with a roadmap as to how we will be proceeding with your proposed Canadian Immigration plans under the new Express Entry Processing System.


PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING E-MAIL CAREFULLY! ACTION IS REQUIRED ON YOUR PART REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU ARE IN TERMS OF PROCESSING.


A. YOUR RETAINER AGREEMENT WITH ABRAMS & KROCHAK

Abrams & Krochak has revised its Retainer Agreement to correlate with the milestones associated with the Express Entry system. If you wish to proceed with your proposed Canadian Immigration plans with Abrams & Krochak’s assistance, we require you to sign and date a new Retainer Agreement, which can be accessed by clicking on the following link: http://www.akcanada.com/resources/ind_contract_2.pdf, regardless of whether or not you have already sent a previously signed and dated Retainer Agreement. The signed and dated Retainer Agreement MUST be returned to our office by either scanning it and e-mailing it to or faxing it to +1-416-482-0647. We will NOT resume working on your file until this document is in our possession.

Under the new Retainer Agreement, legal fees of 1,980 CAD remain the same; however, the schedule/timing of payments has changed. Now:

  • 495 CAD is payable now in order for us to be able to commence work on your file by sending you our firm’s preliminary package, which contains all of the necessary documents, instructions and information so as to enable you to complete your Online Express Entry Profile;
  • 495 CAD is payable once you have been invited to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada by Citizenship and Immigration Canada;
  • 495 CAD is payable upon acknowledgment of receipt of your complete Application for Permanent Residence from Citizenship and Immigration Canada; and
  • 495 CAD is payable at the time that Citizenship and Immigration Canada notifies Abrams & Krochak and/or you that an interview appears not to be necessary in your case/an interview appears to be necessary in your case and/or at time of issuance of Immigration Medical Examination Forms (whichever event is earlier).

Because you have already paid the initial payment of 495 CAD to Abrams & Krochak, you can strike a line through Section II, 1(a) of the Retainer Agreement (followed by your initials), which reads:

(a) Upon signing of this Agreement, the client shall make an initial payment of 495 CAD

If you have already made a second payment of 495 CAD to Abrams & Krochak, you can also strike a line through Section II, 1(b) of the Retainer Agreement (followed by your initials), which reads:

(b) Upon receipt by the client or Abrams & Krochak of an invitation from Citizenship
and Immigration Canada to the client to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada,
the client shall make a further payment of 495 CAD

The previous Retainer Agreement that you signed with Abrams & Krochak IS NO LONGER VALID and is being replaced and SUPERCEDED by the new Retainer Agreement as described, above. Furthermore, the Money-Back Guarantee offered in our previous Retainer Agreement NO LONGER APPLIES.

Under the current Retainer Agreement, additional legal fees are only payable if you are invited by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada. If you are invited to apply and do not succeed, your Application would only fail for (i) reasons for criminal/medical inadmissibility; (ii) misrepresentation or fraud; (iii) failure to follow instructions of Citizenship and Immigration Canada and/or Abrams & Krochak, all factors over which Abrams & Krochak has no control and, therefore, cannot offer a guarantee.

If you are NOT invited to apply, after twelve (12) months, you have the option of renewing your candidacy for Permanent Residence in Canada as part of the Express Entry Pool; however, no additional legal fees are payable to Abrams & Krochak, other than your first or (in some cases) second payment of legal fees which you will have already paid.

B. CREATING AN EXPRESS ENTRY ONLINE PROFILE FOR YOUR SPOUSE/COMMON-LAW PARTNER/SAME-SEX PARTNER

Under the Express Entry processing system, candidates have the ability to create an Express Entry Online Profile not only for themselves but for their accompanying spouse/common-law partner/same-sex partner, too, if that spouse/partner could also qualify as a principal applicant in a Federal Skilled Worker Class Application for Permanent Residence in Canada. In doing so, candidates increase their chances of being invited to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada (i.e. Citizenship and Immigration Canada can invite EITHER spouse/partner to apply).

If you are certain that your spouse/common-law partner/same-sex partner could qualify as a Federal Skilled Worker Class principal applicant and you would like Abrams & Krochak to create an Express Entry Online Profile for him/her, additional legal fees of 495 CAD would apply. If either of you are invited to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada, our Retainer Agreement would cover the individual who is invited.

If you are not certain whether your spouse/common-law partner/same-sex partner could qualify as a Federal Skilled Worker Class principal applicant, please send an e-mail to info@akcanada.com with a request that we assess your spouse/partner as a possible principal applicant for the Federal Skilled Worker Class.

C. CREATING YOUR EXPRESS ENTRY ONLINE PROFILE AND APPLICATION FORMS

For most of you, when you retained our services and received our Preliminary Package, we sent you Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Application forms in PDF format. The information requested in these forms is needed by Abrams & Krochak to create your Express Entry Online Profile. Please read the following scenarios, carefully, and follow the instructions as per the scenario that applies to you.

(a) For those who already received computer generated Application forms from Abrams & Krochak

If you already been sent your computer generated Application forms by Abrams & Krochak, when you return your new signed and dated Retainer Agreement to our office, please confirm that the information as contained in your computer generated forms remains the same and that there are no changes and/or updates in information of which the firm should be made aware. We will send you an e-mail with further information/instructions upon receipt of your confirmation.

(b) For those who have sent draft Application forms to Abrams & Krochak for review but have not yet received finalized computer generated Application forms from Abrams & Krochak

When you return your new signed and dated Retainer Agreement to our office, please provide us with the information that was previously requested by our law firm to finalize your forms as this information will be needed to create your Express Entry Online Profile.

(c) For those that never sent draft Application forms to Abrams & Krochak for review

When you return your new signed and dated Retainer Agreement to our office, please send your completed Application forms as per the instructions that were provided to you in your preliminary package.

(d) For those that never received blank Application forms with their Preliminary Package

If you never received blank Application forms with your Preliminary Package, when you return your new signed and dated Retainer Agreement to our office, please include a request for blank Application forms to fill out.

If you have any questions regarding this e-mail, please send an e-mail to info@akcanada.com. Given the volume of clients of our firm affected by the new Express Entry system, please allow us some time to reply to your correspondence. You will receive a reply according to the order in which your e-mail was received.

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT UNDER THE NEW EXPRESS ENTRY SYSTEM, THERE IS NO QUOTA AND NO DEADLINE FOR APPLYING. THEREFORE, YOUR PATIENCE IS MOST SINCERELY APPRECIATED.

Express Entry to Launch on January 1, 2015

December 4, 2014

EXPRESS ENTRY

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has implemented a new method of processing candidates for Immigration to Canada in the Federal Skilled Worker Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class, the Canadian Experience Class and a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program called “Express Entry”, which will take effect on January 1, 2015. The Express Entry system involves two (2) steps:

Step 1 – Completion of Online Express Entry Profile

Candidates will complete an Online Express Entry profile. This is a secure form that gathers information about their:

  • skills,
  • work experience,
  • language ability,
  • education, and
  • other details that will help Citizenship and Immigration Canada assess their eligibility.

Those who meet Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s criteria will be accepted into a pool of candidates.

Anyone who does not already have a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) (if needed) or a nomination from a province or territory, must register with Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Job Bank. Job Bank will eventually help connect Express Entry candidates with eligible employers in Canada.

Candidates are also encouraged to promote themselves to employers in other ways, such as using job boards, recruiters etc.

In most cases when there is a job being offered to a candidate, employers will need an LMIA from ESDC. The LMIA process ensures employers have made an effort to hire Canadians for available jobs. There will be no LMIA government fee for Permanent Resident Applications.

Step 2 – Highest Ranking Candidates in the Pool Will Be Invited to Apply for Permanent Residence

Candidates will be ranked against others in the pool using a point-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS will assess the profile information candidates submit, including:

  • skills,
  • work experience,
  • language ability,
  • education and other factors.

A candidate can get additional points for:

  • a job offer supported by an LMIA, or
  • a nomination by a province or territory
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada will choose candidates from the pool through regular “draws”, choosing a pre-determined number of candidates with the highest scores from the pool and inviting them to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada.

    Draws will be made from the Express Entry pool on a regular basis. Every draw will have a set of instructions the electronic system will use to draw candidates from the pool. These instructions will be posted on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website before each draw.

    These instructions will include:

    • the date of the next draw,
    • the number of candidates that will get an Invitation To Apply, and
    • if it applies, which specific Immigration program(s) will be included in the draw.

    If the instructions do not specify which Immigration program the candidates must be eligible for, the draw will be based on the CRS score.

    If someone is invited to apply, they will have sixty (60) days to submit an online Application for Permanent Residence.

    Citizenship and Immigration Canada will process the majority of complete Applications (meaning those with all the necessary supporting documents) in six (6) months or less.

    Candidates can stay in the pool for up to twelve (12) months. If they do not get an Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residence within twelve (12) months of submitting an Express Entry profile, they may submit a new profile. If they still meet the criteria, they can re-enter the pool. This will prevent backlogs and ensure quick processing times.

    HOW ABRAMS & KROCHAK CAN HELP YOU – OUR SERVICES

    To have your eligibility to immigrate to Canada under the Express Entry system assessed by Abrams & Krochak, please visit http://www.akcanada.com/assessment1.cfm.  You will receive your assessment within one (1) business day.

    If you become a client of Abrams & Krochak, the law firm can help you at both Step 1 and Step 2 of the Application process.

    Step 1 – Requirements to Complete Online Express Entry Profile and Abrams & Krochak’s Assistance

    (i) You must undergo formal language testing by a language testing agency designated by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and achieve minimum scores mandated by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

    Abrams & Krochak will provide you with detailed information regarding which agencies are authorized to test your language abilities; where their offices are located; what fees are involved; which test dates are available; what scores are required; and where to send the test results.

    (ii) You must have your educational credentials assessed against Canadian standards by an agency designated by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

    Abrams & Krochak will provide you with detailed information regarding which agencies are authorized to assess your educational credentials; where their offices are located; what supporting documentation is required; what fees are involved; and where to send the assessment results.

    (iii) You must ensure that your work experience is in accordance with Canada’s National Occupational Classification system, Skill Types 0, A or B.

    Abrams & Krochak will review your employment history and work with you to ensure that your stated work experience is in accordance with Canada’s National Occupational Classification system, Skill Types 0, A or B. Abrams & Krochak will do so by providing you with Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s job definition for your stated occupation(s) and reviewing the associated job duties and responsibilities with you to ensure that they apply to you.

    (iv) You must ensure that the information you provide in your Online Express Entry Profile is accurate.

    Abrams & Krochak will review your supporting documentation, pertaining to such things as your education and work experience, and cross-reference the information in your documents to the information that you provide in your Online Express Entry Profile to ensure that the information provided to Citizenship and Immigration Canada in the Online Express Entry Profile is accurate.

    THIS SERVICE IS EXTEREMELY IMPORTANT! IF CANDIDATES MISREPRESENT THEIR QUALIFICATIONS TO CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION CANADA (WHETHER DELIBERATELY OR INADVERTENTLY), THEY RUN THE RISK OF BEING FOUND INADMISSIBLE FOR MISREPRESENTATION AND BARRED FOR FIVE (5) YEARS FROM APPLYING FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCE.

    Step 2 – Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residence and Abrams & Krochak’s Assistance

    If you receive an Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residence, Abrams & Krochak will assist you, further, by providing you with the following additional services:

    • Preparation and computer generation of any Application forms required for electronic transmission to you for your review and approval prior to our submission of them to Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials;
    • Organization, review and analysis of your documentation to be filed with Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials in support of your Application for Permanent Residence in Canada;
    • Drafting of detailed written, legal arguments for electronic transmission to you for your review and approval prior to our submission of them to Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials in support of your Application for Permanent Residence in Canada (where necessary);
    • Provision of Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s definition(s) of your stated occupation(s) to assist you with the procurement of letters of reference in support of your Application for Permanent Residence in Canada as required by Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials;
    • Review and critique of your draft letters of reference;
    • Regular monitoring of the status of your file and follow up, when necessary, with Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials regarding the status of your Application for Permanent Residence in Canada;
    • Regular monitoring of the status of your file and follow up, when necessary, with other concerned departments of the Government of Canada (i.e. Immigration Health Services/Case Management Branch-Immigration Headquarters) regarding the status of your Application for Permanent Residence in Canada;
    • Assistance and advice in preparation for your interview with visa officials (should an interview be necessary) by providing you with sample interview questions for your responses and Abrams & Krochak’s subsequent review and analysis;
    • Assistance to procure employment in Canada;
    • Assistance to find accommodation and schooling for your children (if applicable) upon your arrival in Canada; and
    • Assistance with applying for health care and social insurance upon your arrival in Canada.

    We invite all clients to meet with us, personally, at our offices in Toronto after their arrival in Canada so as to enable us to help ensure that their move to this country is problem-free.

    If you are not nominated to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada under the Express Entry system OR if your educational/professional credentials are not favourably assessed by the Canadian foreign credentials assessment agency, Abrams & Krochak will work with you to explore other options to make your proposed Canadian Immigration plans a success (i.e. Arranged Employment/Provincial Nominee Programs/Temporary Visas (i.e. Work Permits/Study Permits), etc.).

    Parent/Grandparent Sponsorship Program to Reopen

    November 28, 2014

    Citizenship and Immigration Canada will resume accepting applications of Canadian citizens/permanent residents, wishing to sponsor their parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada, on January 2, 2015.

    Application forms, guides and information on how to apply to the Parent/Grandparent Sponsorship Program became available this week.

    Highlights of the Parent/Grandparent Sponsorship Program include:

    1. The sponsorship undertaking period is twenty (20) years.

    2. Sponsors must meet or exceed a minimum necessary income threshold for three (3) consecutive years prior to the date of Sponsorship.

    3. Income evidence is limited to official documentation from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

    4. Immigration officials have the authority to request updated evidence of income.

    5. A maximum of 5,000 new complete Applications for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents will be accepted, beginning January 2, 2015.

    Because of the quota and the high demand for this category (it was filled, last year, in just THREE (3) WEEKS), individuals who are interested in sponsoring their parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada with Abrams & Krochak’s assistance are encouraged to contact the law firm at http://www.akcanada.com/contact.cfm with a request for assistance as soon as they can or to complete Abrams & Krochak’s Parent Grandparent Sponsorship Program Online Eligibility Assessment Questionnaire at http://www.akcanada.com/assessment4.cfm.