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The Minister said the medical inadmissibility policy, which has been in place for more than 40 years, is “way out of date” and not in line with Canadian values or government policies of inclusion.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
More Changes to Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)
April 4, 2017
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced changes to the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The changes will affect those individuals who have submitted their candidacy for immigrating to Canada in the Federal Skilled Worker Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class and the Canadian Experience Class. The changes will take effect on June 6, 2017.
What are the changes?
1. French Language Ability
On June 6, 2017, Express Entry candidates with strong French language skills, with or without English language skills, will be awarded additional points by the CRS.
A total of 15 additional points will be awarded for test results of the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NLC) at level 7 in all four language skills in French (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and an English test result of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4 or lower.
A total of 30 additional points will be awarded for test results of the NLC at level 7 in all four skills in French and English test results of CLB 5 or higher.
2. Sibling (Brother/Sister) in Canada
Previously, the system did not award any points to candidates with siblings in Canada. On June 6, 2017, the Express Entry system will award 15 points to candidates with siblings in Canada.
To get these points, candidates will need to show that the sibling is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is living in Canada and is 18 years of age or older.
The sibling in Canada must share a mother or father with the principal Express Entry applicant or their spouse or common-law partner. This relationship can be through blood, marriage, common-law partnership or adoption.
3. Job Bank
Previously, candidates were required to create a Job Bank account (after creating their Express Entry Online Profile) if they did not have a valid job offer or a provincial or territorial nomination before they were placed in the pool and became eligible for an invitation round.
On June 6, 2017, Job Bank registration for Express Entry candidates becomes voluntary for all candidates.
Candidates who meet the minimum entry criteria for Express Entry will be automatically placed into the pool and immediately eligible for invitation rounds. If they do not currently have a job in Canada and would like to start their job search, they will be able to register for Job Bank.
Employers will still be able to use all of their existing recruiting methods, including Job Bank, to find Express Entry candidates and Abrams & Krochak will continue to create Job Bank accounts for its clients as part of its services.
Canada Has New Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
January 11, 2017
REPRODUCED FROM “THE GLOBE AND MAIL”
A former Somali refugee is now overseeing Canada’s federal immigration policies after a cabinet shuffle Tuesday.
Ahmed Hussen, who arrived in Canada as a refugee from Somalia at the age of 16, was sworn in as Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship at a Rideau Hall ceremony. He replaces John McCallum, who is leaving politics and heading to Beijing as Canada’s new envoy to China.
The rookie MP for the Toronto riding of York South-Weston is also the first Somali-Canadian to hold a seat in Parliament; his election made news across the world, including on BBC Africa and Al Jazeera.
Mr. Hussen arrived in Canada as a refugee in 1993 and settled in Toronto’s Regent Park community. While he is proud of his Somali heritage, he hopes to be more than the token Somali in the Liberal cabinet.
“As members of Parliament and members of the cabinet, each of us coming into public life are informed … by their different experiences that they bring to the table. And I’m no different in that sense. I’ll bring my experience as an immigrant to Canada, but also an immigration lawyer, someone who worked many, many years before running for office as a community activist, a community organizer and a community advocate,” Mr. Hussen told reporters on Parliament Hill Tuesday.
Mr. Hussen’s commitment to public service began after high school, when he began working for the Hamilton-Wentworth social-services department. He eventually returned to Toronto, where he completed an undergraduate degree in history at York University.
Returning to his roots, Mr. Hussen co-founded the Regent Park Community Council in 2002 and helped secure a $500-million revitalization project for the area.
His first foray into the political realm took place at the provincial level in Ontario, where he worked as an assistant to Dalton McGuinty, who was leader of the official opposition at the time. He followed Mr. McGuinty to the premier’s office after the Liberal win in 2003. Mr. McGuinty spoke highly of Mr. Hussen, describing him as a “natural leader.”
“He sees politics as public service and he is driven in large measure by a sense of indebtedness for the opportunity he found in Canada, his adoptive country. He’s just a great Canadian story. Canada welcomed him and now he will help us welcome others,” Mr. McGuinty said in an e-mail statement.
Mr. Hussen went on to attend the University of Ottawa’s law school and began practising in the areas of criminal defence, immigration, refugee and human-rights law. He continued to maintain links to his heritage as national president of the Canadian Somali Congress and, in that capacity, testified to the U.S. Homeland Security Committee on radicalization within the Canadian Somali community in 2011.
Mahamad Accord, who met Mr. Hussen eight years ago through their work with the Canadian Somali Congress, said Mr. Hussen was always bound for success.
“He’s a natural. He’s an advocate for human rights. He’s a warm-hearted person,” Mr. Accord told The Globe and Mail. “His personality is exceptional, but at the same time his experience, it shows.”
Mr. Hussen comes into his new role amidst growing anti-immigrant sentiments south of the border, as U.S. president-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office next week. Ruby Latif, a long-time friend of Mr. Hussen who worked with him at Queen’s Park, said Mr. Hussen is exactly who Canada needs as immigration minister at this time.
“The portfolio really needs somebody who understands what’s happening to vulnerable people in vulnerable communities, especially with what’s happening across the border,” Ms. Latif said. “Somebody like Ahmed understands the issues of immigrants, visible minorities.”
Mr. Hussen, a father of two boys, is fluent in English, Somali and Swahili.
Changes to Parent/Grandparent Sponsorships
December 14, 2016
Today, Wednesday, December 14, 2016, The Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced changes to Parent and Grandparent Sponsorships that, in his opinion, “will improve access to the application process, given that the number of applications accepted for intake is limited”.
Between January 3 and February 2, 2017, Canadian citizens and permanent residents who want to apply as sponsors must first complete an online form on the IRCC website to let the Department know they are interested in applying to sponsor their parents or grandparents. The online form will be available for 30 days, from noon Eastern Standard Time (EST) on January 3, 2017, to noon EST on February 2, 2017.
At the end of the 30 days, IRCC will remove the duplicates, randomly choose 10,000 people and ask them to complete the full application. IRCC will let everyone who completed an online form know whether they were chosen or not. Only those who were randomly chosen will be invited to apply to the Parent and Grandparent Program. Those who were invited to apply will have 90 days to submit their complete application to IRCC. The 2017 application kit and guide will be available on IRCC’s website on January 9, 2017.
Interested sponsors who are not selected will be able to indicate their interest to apply again in 2018.
If you are an existing client of Abrams & Krochak and were planning to apply to the Parent and Grandparent Program in January 2017, please contact Mr. Peter Krochak at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Ministerial Announcement Regarding Parent/Grandparent Sponsorships Deferred to December 14, 2016
December 8, 2016
The Ministerial announcement regarding Parent and Grandparent sponsorships, which was anticipated today, Thursday, December 8, 2016 has been deferred to Wednesday, December 14, 2016. As soon as it is made, the contents will be made available on this website.
Minister Announces Improvements to Spousal/Partner Sponsorship Application Process
December 7, 2016
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Minister, The Honourable John McCallum, made an announcement today, Wednesday, December 7, 2016, regarding improvements to the Spousal/Partner Sponsorship Application Process. Among the improvements are:
- processing times for all spousal/partner applicants, inside and outside Canada, will be cut from 24 to 12 months
- a simplified guide (reduced from 180 to 75 pages in simpler language)
- one checklist (not clear whether visa office checklists will be removed)
- one relationship questionnaire
- medical, criminality and security screening to be done after applying (no longer up front)
- a new application kit for use by all spousal/partner applicants. Applicants will no longer have to choose between two different kits depending on whether they live in Canada or outside Canada. All applicants will use the same application kit. Since some applicants may have already started filling out their application using the current kit, IRCC will continue to accept new applications using the current kit until January 31, 2017. After this date, only applications using the new kit will be accepted. Applicants are strongly encouraged to begin using the new kit, which is easier to use and understand, as soon as it is available on December 15, 2016.
- along with the new 12-month processing commitment, IRCC will extend its pilot program which gives open work permits to eligible spouses or partners who are being sponsored and are in Canada, giving them the freedom to work while their applications for permanent residence are being processed. This pilot program ensures applicants are able to work, provide for their families and contribute to the Canadian economy while waiting for their applications to be processed. The pilot, currently slated to end on December 22, 2016, will be extended until December 21, 2017.
These changes are to be online on December 15, 2016.
The Minister will be making another announcement tomorrow, Thursday, December 8, 2017 around the 2017 intake process and application kits for the Parents and Grandparents class and the announcement will be posted on our website just as soon as it becomes available.