Tag Archive: Canada visa
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
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.