Categories for Uncategorized

Lawyer versus consultant? Immigration data shows visa applicants have best shot with former

December 10, 2018

The following article appeared in the Sunday, December 9, 2018 edition of the Toronto Star newspaper. Its contents have been reproduced in their entirety. The article offers some interesting insights into the advantages of using the services of a Canadian Immigration lawyer over those of a Canadian Immigration consultant; however, we leave it up to our readers to draw their own conclusions.

By NICHOLAS KEUNG Immigration Reporter
Sun., Dec. 9, 2018

Foreign nationals who prepare their own Canadian visa applications are nearly as successful in being accepted as those who spend money on a consultant to do the job.

But chances of success are much higher if they hire an immigration lawyer to help get their study, work or visitor visas, according to immigration data obtained under an access to information request.

Canada received 342,154 temporary resident applications in 2017, the data shows. While 86 per cent of applicants declared themselves as self-represented, 6 per cent were represented by consultants and another 5 per cent by lawyers. The remaining 3 per cent hired Quebec notaries or used “non-remunerated” representatives.

Overall, 18.9 per cent of the applications were rejected. Those who prepared their own applications had a 19.3 per cent refusal rate, slightly higher than the 18 per cent among those who paid a consultant to do it.

In contrast, only 10.4 per cent of applications prepared by a lawyer were rejected. The refusal rates for applications prepared by Quebec notaries and unpaid representatives were 13.1 per cent and 10.1 per cent respectively.

Marina Sedai, chair of the immigration section of the Canadian Bar Association, said she wasn’t surprised lawyers had the highest success rate.

“Canadian lawyers’ rigorous education, legal analysis skills, and high ethical standards enforced by an effective regulator, have long been understood to result in better outcomes,” Sedai said.

“Lawyers’ culture of the law being a calling rather than a business means that although lawyers will often take the tough cases, they will also protect clients by advising them against hopeless cases.”

When it comes to the lower success rate for consultants, lawyers are quick to point out that group has lower educational requirements and a less robust regulatory regime than lawyers. For their part, consultants say the immigration data is too general and doesn’t give the full picture.

“It is based on the flawed assumption that all applications are equally complex. In reality, applications completed by unpaid representatives may be far simpler, thus having a much higher chance of success,” said the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants in a statement to the Star.

Currently, licensed immigration consultants must meet a minimum language requirement and graduate from an accredited immigration practitioner program, which takes about a year to complete full time. While only about 1,000 lawyers practise immigration law, there are five times more licensed consultants in Canada.

“Immigration lawyers typically have completed a four-year bachelor’s degree before undergoing a very competitive process for admission to law school. Law school degrees take three years to complete and are also no cakewalk. Then there is the bar admissions course which must be passed, the articling process, etcetera,” said Toronto immigration lawyer Ravi Jain.

“Many immigration consultants have only completed online courses at a community college. The education and training is just not comparable.”

The immigration consultants’ association, which has more than 2,000 members, said it’s pleased more people are using consultants and believed that’s due to the generally higher fees charged by their lawyer counterparts.

Regulatory bodies for lawyers and consultants do not mandate how much their members can charge clients, but fees can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Jain, who is also vice chair of the bar association’s immigration division, said the success rate for lawyers would likely be even higher if not for the fact lawyers often take up very difficult and complex cases.

“A lot of my clients come to me after they have gone to a consultant or tried on their own,” Jain said, adding many are reluctant to lodge a complaint against their former consultant and prefer just to have him reapply.

“It’s much more difficult to obtain approvals when applications have already been refused,” he added.

Canada Increases Number of Immigrants – Larger Percentage of Skilled Workers

November 2, 2018

On October 31, 2018, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced the new multi-year immigration levels plan for 2019-2021.

The new plan will see the number of permanent residents that Canada welcomes annually grow to 330,800 in 2019, 341,000 in 2020 and 350,000—nearing 1 percent of Canada’s population—in 2021.

According to Minister Hussen, this new immigration plan will benefit all Canadians because immigrants contribute to Canada’s economic growth and help keep Canada competitive in a global economy. With this in mind, the majority of the increase in 2021 will be allotted to those wishing to enter Canada under the Express Entry System.

According to the plan, Canada will see the number of immigrants admitted under the Express Entry System increase as follows:

2018: 72,700-78,200
2019: 76,000-86,000
2020: 81,000-88,000
2021: 84,000-91,000

If you are considering immigrating to Canada under the Express Entry System and you meet the eligibility requirements of the Federal Skilled Worker Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class or the Canadian Experience Class, now would be an excellent time for you to enter the Express Entry Pool of Candidates so that you can be one of the first applicants to benefit from possible lower CRS drawing scores and an increased number of Express Entry candidates invited to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada.

If you have already had your eligibility to immigrate to Canada favourably assessed by Abrams & Krochak and wish to proceed with your proposed Canadian Immigration plans, please follow the instructions that were sent to you, via e-mail, in Mr. Abrams’ favourable eligibility assessment or send an e-mail to askus@akcanada.com for further information/instructions.

If you have not yet had your eligibility to immigrate to Canada assessed by Abrams & Krochak but wish us to do so, please complete our Online Eligibility Assessment Questionnaire at https://www.akcanada.com/assessment1.php and we will assess your eligibility to immigrate to Canada under Express Entry, free of charge, and send you our assessment within one (1) business day.

Federal Government eliminates Family Reunification lottery; accepting 20,000 more Parent/Grandparent Sponsorship Applications

August 20, 2018

Today, Monday, August 20, 2018, the Government of Canada announced that it will be eliminating the lottery system for reuniting immigrant families and reverting back to a first-come, first-served system in 2019.

The federal government announced it will admit up to 20,500 parents and grandparents under its reunification program in 2019, and 21,000 in 2020.

To reach those targets, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada will accept 20,000 parent and grandparent reunification applications next year, up from 17,000 this year and 10,000 in 2016.

But “instead of randomly selecting the sponsors to apply, we will invite them to submit an application to sponsor their parents and grandparents based on the order in which we receive their interest to sponsor forms,” reads a press release.

If you are interested in having your eligibility to sponsor your parent(s) and/or grandparent(s) assessed by our firm, please visit https://www.akcanada.com/assessment4.php

If you are already a client of Abrams & Krochak who has retained our services to sponsor your parent(s) and/or grandparent(s) and you have questions regarding this development, please send an e-mail to info@akcanada.com.

New Deadline for Application Filing Under Express Entry

June 26, 2018

Today, June 26, 2018, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that, effective immediately, the amount of time Express Entry applicants have to submit an Application for Permanent Residence (post receiving an Invitation to Apply) will change from 90 to 60 days. When Express Entry first came into effect and up until November 2016, applicants also had only 60 days to file.

How does this change affect applicants currently in the Express Entry Pool of Candidates? If you were invited to apply before June 26, 2018, you still have 90 days to complete your Application. If you are invited to apply on or after June 26, 2018 you will have 60 days to complete your application.

IRCC’s rationale for going back to the original timeframe of 60 days to apply is that it reflects the intended design of Express Entry as a process leading to expedited results.

Medical Inadmissibility Rules Relaxed

April 19, 2018

On April 16, 2018, The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced changes to the medical inadmissibility provision of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

The changes will loosen the rules than deem some prospective immigrants inadmissible on medical grounds.

The Minister said the medical inadmissibility policy, which has been in place for more than 40 years, is “way out of date” and not in line with Canadian values or government policies of inclusion.

Under the revised policy, applicants will not be denied permanent residence if they or any of their children have developmental delays, special education requirements, or a hearing or visual impairment. The anticipated health-care cost threshold — the sum a prospective immigrant cannot exceed in annual health care costs in order to be admissible — will increase to about $20,000 a year, about three times the previous threshold.

The upcoming policy changes (the removal of certain social services, such as special education, and an increase in the cost threshold) address the issue of inclusion, as they would mean that most people with disabilities would no longer be inadmissible.

By tripling the cost threshold, many applicants, particularly those with conditions that primarily require publicly funded prescription drugs (for example, HIV), would likely become admissible because the cost of most of these medications, particularly the generic brands, would not typically exceed the new cost threshold.

Amending the definition of social services will bring the policy in line with Canadian values on supporting the participation of persons with disabilities in society, while continuing to protect publicly funded health and social services. This would also benefit applicants with intellectual disabilities, applicants with hearing or visual impairments, and others.

To improve client service and enhance transparency, a number of measures will be implemented. These include the following:

  • centralization of medical inadmissibility applications to one office in Canada for greater consistency and efficiency in decision-making
  • plain-language review and revamp of departmental procedures and products to facilitate the application process and ensure clear communication with clients
  • ongoing training of decision makers and medical officers to support these changes

 

Toronto is having a big tech moment

January 21, 2018

The following article, which appeared on CNN’s website on January 20, 2018, speaks volumes about Toronto both in terms of the strength of its technology sector and the cultural/ethnic diversity of the city.  The article makes specific mention of the fact that the percentage of foreign-born residents in the Greater Toronto Area region — 39.7% — exceeds every other city in North America.  Toronto is praised for both its education system and for being the benefactor of Canada’s generous Immigration program.  The article is reproduced in its entirety from the CNN website and is a recommended read for immigrants and intending immigrants, considering where to reside in Canada and whether to settle in Toronto.


After promising to search North America for the perfect home for its next headquarters, Amazon has narrowed its list to 20 cities — 19 of which are in the United States. The one exception? Toronto.

An outlier on Amazon’s list, Toronto has earned the attention of the technology world due to its diverse population, talent pool and welcome stance on immigration.

 “It’s got this incredible aspiration for inclusivity,” Dan Doctoroff, CEO of Sidewalk Labs, the urban innovation arm of Google’s parent company which is developing a Toronto neighborhood, said at an event Wednesday. “If Amazon sees what we see here, it won’t even be a close call.”

Toronto is the fourth largest city by population in North America, with 2.8 million people. Its percentage of foreign-born residents in the region — 39.7% — exceeds every other city on Amazon’s list. Its population has grown by more than 400,000 people in the last five years.

Toronto’s appeal to the tech sector, which relies on foreign workers, has grown amid diverging stances on immigration from the U.S. and Canadian governments. Last year, Canada launched a program to process work permits and visa applications for skilled workers within two weeks.

The Trump administration has moved to tighten access to H-1B visas, a popular route to tech jobs for foreign workers. Its 2017 travel ban for six majority-Muslim countries also rattled the tech industry, triggering foreigners to give more serious consideration to education and work outside the U.S.

“The more inclusive we are, the more we will win against communities that are trying to exclude any group of talent,” Karen Greve Young, vice president of corporate development and partnerships at Mars, a Toronto organization that supports startups, told CNN Tech.

In 2017, the University of Toronto’s computer science program saw a 50% increase in graduate school applicants, according to its director of professional programs, Matt Medland.

The university is also home to a superstar in the world of artificial intelligence, professor Geoffrey Hinton. Tech giants such as Google and Amazon see artificial intelligence as essential to the future of their companies.

In its bid to host Amazon’s second headquarters, Toronto promised to boost the number of the students graduating with STEM degrees. Toby Lennox, CEO of Toronto Global, which organized Toronto’s submission, believes talent is why Toronto was the only non-U.S. city to make Amazon’s list.

“We’re able to meet their needs across the board,” Lennox said. “Once you match that with an immigration system and an education system that is so welcoming, it makes for large employers a real opportunity.”

Lennox said he heard from a company interested in Toronto because it needed workers who could speak four different Portuguese dialects.

“We’ve just made the playoffs,” Toronto Mayor John Tory told CNN Tech. “But it’s a long way to the prize.”