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Canadian Immigration News Update

January 24, 2012

AKCANADA IMMIGRATION NEWS

2011 is finally at an end. It was a year full of changes and new developments with respect to Canada’s Immigration system. This newsletter is a synopsis of all of those changes/new developments, which will continue to have an impact, well into 2012.

I. PARENTAL/GRANDPARENT SPONSORSHIPS – NEW “SUPER VISA”

Effective November 5, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada was not accepting any new applications to sponsor parents or grandparents for up to twenty-four (24) months. The Department’s rationale for this decision was that the “temporary pause” would allow the Government of Canada to focus on those applicants already awaiting a decision and reduce the backlog in the parents and grandparents category.

As an alternative to sponsorship, the Government of Canada introduced the new “Parent and Grandparent Super Visa,” which will be valid for up to ten (10) years. The multiple-entry visa will allow an applicant to remain in Canada for up to twenty-four (24) months at a time without the need for renewal of their status. The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa came into effect on December 1, 2011, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada will be able to issue the visas, on average, within eight (8) weeks of the application. Parent and Grandparent Super Visa applicants will be required to obtain private Canadian health-care insurance for their stay in Canada.

Before submitting an application for a Super Visa, it is necessary to have a letter of invitation from a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, proof that the Canadian citizen or permanent resident has sufficient income or savings to support the visitor for the duration of the visit, and some evidence of the visitor’s ties to his/her country of citizenship to satisfy the visa officer that the visitor will return home at the end of the visit.

II. INVESTOR CATEGORY QUOTA

For the first time, ever, Citizenship and Immigration Canada imposed a quota on new applications in the Investor Category of the Business Class. Under new rules announced by the Government of Canada on June 24, 2011, a maximum of seven hundred (700) Investor Applications would be considered for processing from July 1, 2011 until June 30, 2012. The quota was quickly met.

If you wish to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada as an Investor with our assistance, it is IMPERATIVE that you retain/engage our services AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE so that we can have your entire Application package prepared and ready for filing by July 1, 2012 when the new quota for Investor Applications for the period of July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 is announced.

III. ENTREPRENEUR CATEGORY MORATORIUM

Also on June 24, 2011, the Government of Canada announced that it is currently reviewing the Entrepreneur Category of the Business Class and imposed a moratorium on new applications. As a result, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has temporarily stopped accepting new applications until the review is finalized (the date of which is currently unknown).

IV. FEDERAL SKILLED WORKER QUOTA, DEMAND LIST AND POSSIBLE CHANGES TO POINTS SYSTEM

A. Quota

Under new rules announced by the Government of Canada on June 24, 2011, a maximum of ten thousand (10,000) Federal Skilled Worker Applications would be considered for processing from July 1, 2011 until June 30, 2012. Within the ten thousand (10,000) cap, a maximum of five hundred (500) Federal Skilled Worker Applications per eligible occupation (any one (1) of the twenty-nine (29) occupations that appears on Canada’s General Occupations (Demand) List) would be considered for processing from July 1, 2011 until June 30, 2012. The General Occupations (Demand) List for the period of July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 remained the same as that for the period of June 26, 2010 to June 30, 2011.

As of January 16, 2012, 6,774 Federal Skilled Worker applications had already been received by the Centralized Intake Office and the quotas for the following occupations had already been filled:

  • Restaurant and Food Service Managers
  • Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management
  • Biologists and Related Scientists
  • Specialist Physicians
  • General Practitioners and Family Physicians
  • Dentists
  • Pharmacists
  • Registered Nurses

B. Demand List

As of January 16, 2012, the quotas for the following occupations remain unfilled:

  • Primary Production Managers (Except Agriculture)
  • Insurance Adjusters and Claims Examiners
  • Architects
  • Physiotherapists
  • Medical Radiation Technologists
  • Dental Hygienists & Dental Therapists
  • Licensed Practical Nurses
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Chefs
  • Cooks
  • Contractors and Supervisors, Carpentry Trades
  • Contractors and Supervisors, Mechanic Trades
  • Electricians (Except Industrial & Power System)
  • Industrial Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Welders & Related Machine Operators
  • Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanics
  • Crane Operators
  • Drillers & Blasters – Surface Mining, Quarrying & Construction
  • Supervisors, Oil and Gas Drilling and Service

If you wish to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada as a Federal Skilled Worker in one of the jobs whose quota has not yet been filled, it is imperative that you do so as quickly as possible so that your Application for Permanent Residence is filed before the quota for your particular occupation is reached OR the quota for ALL Federal Skilled Worker Applications is reached. Otherwise, you may have to wait until the new General Occupations (Demand) List is announced on July 1, 2012; however, should you do so, you run the risk that your occupation might no longer appear on that List, thereby rendering you ineligible to immigrate to Canada as a Federal Skilled Worker.

C. Possible Changes to Points System

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is proposing changes to the Federal Skilled Worker program to help Canada select immigrants who have the best chance of integrating and making a better contribution to the Canadian economy.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is consulting with stakeholders and the public on the proposed changes. The input received through the consultation process will be taken into account in the development of new regulations, which could take effect as early as the late spring/summer of 2012!

What are some of the proposed changes?

  • introducing minimum official language thresholds and increasing points for language;
  • making changes to the assessment of education points to reflect a foreign educational credential’s value in Canada;
  • redistributing points for age to benefit younger immigrants who will be active members of the workforce for a longer timeframe;
  • reducing points for foreign work experience and increasing points for Canadian work experience;
  • increasing the integrity of and simplifying the process for the Arranged Employment factor; and
  • facilitating the immigration of skilled tradespersons through criteria that are more specific to those in the skilled trades.

V. SELF-EMPLOYED CATEGORY AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO FEDERAL SKILLED WORKER CLASS

Although there is a moratorium on new applications from Entrepreneurs, the quota for Investors is full and the quotas for the Federal Skilled Worker Class are quickly filling, one category of Immigration, which remains open and which has no quota is the Self-Employed category.

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, a self-employed person means a foreign national who has relevant experience and has the intention and ability to be self-employed in Canada and to make a significant contribution to specified economic activities in Canada.

Relevant experience means a minimum of two (2) years of experience, during the period beginning five (5) years before the date of application for a permanent resident visa and ending on the day a decision is made on the application in any one of the following occupations:

I. Professional Occupations in Art and Culture

A. Librarians, Archivists, Conservators and Curators

  • 5111 Librarians
  • 5112 Conservators and Curators
  • 5113 Archivists

B. Writing, Translating and Public Relations Professionals

  • 5121 Authors and Writers
  • 5122 Editors
  • 5123 Journalists
  • 5124 Professional Occupations in Public Relations and Communications
  • 5125 Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters

C. Creative and Performing Artists

  • 5131 Producers, Directors, Choreographers and Related Occupations
  • 5132 Conductors, Composers and Arrangers
  • 5133 Musicians and Singers
  • 5134 Dancers
  • 5135 Actors and Comedians
  • 5136 Painters, Sculptors and Other Visual Artists

II. Technical and Skilled Occupations in Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport

A. Technical Occupations in Libraries, Archives, Museums and Art Galleries

  • 5211 Library and Archive Technicians and Assistants
  • 5212 Technical Occupations Related to Museums and Art Galleries

B. Photographers, Graphic Arts Technicians and Technical and Co-ordinating Occupations in Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Performing Arts

  • 5221 Photographers
  • 5222 Film and Video Camera Operators
  • 5223 Graphic Arts Technicians
  • 5224 Broadcast Technicians
  • 5225 Audio and Video Recording Technicians
  • 5226 Other Technical and Co-ordinating Occupations in Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Performing Arts
  • 5227 Support Occupations in Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Performing Arts

C. Announcers and Other Performers

  • 5231 Announcers and Other Broadcasters
  • 5232 Other Performers

D. Creative Designers and Craftspersons

  • 5241 Graphic Designers and Illustrators
  • 5242 Interior Designers
  • 5243 Theatre, Fashion, Exhibit and Other Creative Designers
  • 5244 Artisans and Craftspersons
  • 5245 Patternmakers – Textile, Leather and Fur Products

E. Athletes, Coaches, Referees and Related Occupations

  • 5251 Athletes
  • 5252 Coaches
  • 5253 Sports Officials and Referees
  • 5254 Program Leaders and Instructors in Recreation, Sport and Fitness

If you have self-employed work experience in any of these occupations and would like to be considered for admission to Canada as a self-employed business immigrant, please complete our Online Assessment Questionnaire at http://www.abramsandkrochak.com and we will assess your eligibility to do so within one (1) business day.

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We hope you enjoyed this Newsletter. To keep up-to-date on Canadian Immigration news, please read our blog at http://www.akcanada.com

Abrams & Krochak has been helping people tens of thousands of people from around the world immigrate to Canada since 1996. If you need assistance with respect to applying for:

  • Permanent Residence (Federal Skilled Worker Class/Business Class/Family Class)
  • Citizenship
  • Permanent Resident Card Renewal
  • Super Visa
  • Work Permit
  • Study Permit
  • Visitor Visa

please send us a message at http://www.akcanada.com/contact.cfm and we will respond to your query within one (1) business day.

If you would like your eligibility to immigrate to Canada as a Federal Skilled Worker, Business Immigrant or Member of the Family Class assessed by Abrams & Krochak OR if you would like your eligibility to sponsor a Member of the Family Class assessed by Abrams & Krochak, please visit:

http://www.abramsandkrochak.com

Immigration consultant arrested

January 14, 2011

The RCMP has arrested a Quebec immigration consultant accused of providing Canadian citizenship and immigration documents to hundreds of residents of Middle East countries who then collected tax benefits from Ottawa.

Ahmad El-Akhal, 62, was arrested in Montreal on Thursday following a 2½-year investigation by the RCMP’s Immigration and Passport and Commercial Crimes sections. His wife was also arrested, as well as a suspected accomplice in Mississauga.

The arrests have shed light on an audacious scheme that led to more than 200 Middle East citizens–none of whom lived in Canada — fraudulently obtaining Canadian citizenship, immigration and travel documents as well as a half-million dollars worth of federal tax benefits.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada said on Thursday it was reviewing the matter and may revoke the citizenship and immigration status of those involved. It also said it would ensure that benefits were no longer paid to those not entitled to them.

The alleged crimes date back as far as 1999 but the investigation did not begin until 2008, when CIC officials noticed that 320 permanent residence applicants had given the same addresses as their residence in Canada. Almost all were eventually linked to Mr. El-Akhal.

“Basically, this individual passed himself off as an immigration consultant and assisted these people in obtaining permanent resident status and submitted the applications for them,” said Sergeant Marc LaPorte, the RCMP spokesman for Ontario.

Once they were issued their immigration and citizenship papers, Mr. El-Akhal would then apply for Income Tax benefits for them, Sgt. LaPorte said. “This guy would fill out the tax returns and documents to get benefits back in the names of these people,” he said. “They were getting tax refunds, goods and services tax rebates, child credit tax benefits, so the whole gamut.”

Mr. El-Akhal, who lives in L’ile-Bizard, Que., has been charged with 58 counts, including forgery, fraud and conspiracy. Police said he worked out of his home and was not a registered professional immigration consultant.

Also arrested was his wife, Tahani Mohamad Hassan El-Akhal, 53. She was charged with possession of proceeds obtained by crime in the amount of $155,000. Mississauga resident Hussam Hassan Ali Saif, 44, faces three charges under the Citizenship Act.

“He was the leasor of some of the residences. And also he forged lease agreements and created mail addresses for these people. He actually collected the mail and gathered the information and sent it back to Montreal,” Sgt. LaPorte said.

The three accused were scheduled to appear in a Brampton court on Friday for a bail hearing.

Despite the three arrests, the government still faces a significant challenge: how to reclaim and nullify the scores of Canadian documents it wrongly issued and that are now scattered throughout the Middle East.

“It is important to note that while over 300 files were implicated, we can confirm only five people had obtained Canadian citizenship,” said Melanie Carkner, a CIC spokeswoman.

“Other cases are being reviewed in terms of their continued status of permanent residence, which is the last step before citizenship. In the case of the five, all appropriate action will be taken to ensure that people do not obtain benefits they aren’t entitled to.

“In cases where CIC determines that residence requirements have not been met, Canadian citizenship will be refused or may be revoked and appropriate enforcement measures may be initiated that could lead to loss of permanent resident status and eventual removal from Canada.”

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It’s now official: Santa Claus is a Canadian

January 5, 2011

Now we know why Santa Claus wears only red and white: Because he’s a Canadian.

And that’s official (ho, ho, ho). Canada’s Immigration Minister Jason Kenney confirmed it again  at a citizenship ceremony in Calgary.

The Vancouver Sun reports that the cabinet minister “reaffirmed” the jolly fat man (maybe he’s been eating

too much poutine?) as a Canadian in Calgary, restating his remarks of two years ago.

In his statement, Kenney said, ” We wish Mr. Claus all the best in his Christmas Eve duties again this year. And rest assured, as a Canadian citizen living in Canada’s North, he can re-enter Canada freely once his trip around the world is complete.”

In spreading Christmas cheer to the 100 new Canadian citizens from 32 countries in his audience, Kenney was making a serious point: That Canada claims sovereignty at the Pole — Santa’s workshop, seals, ice floes, and all.

The Russians planted a flag up there two years ago, claiming it’s their territory.

No word yet on whether the elves made off with the Russian flag.

via http://blogs.marketwatch.com/canada/2010

/12/24/its-now-official-santa-claus-is-a-canadian/

New arrivals push up immigration levels in Canada to their highest since 1971

January 4, 2011

Most of parts of Canada have recorded their highest immigration levels since figures began in their present form in 1971.

Data from Statistics Canada for the third quarter of 2010 put Canada’s population at 34,238,000, an increase of 129,300, some 0.4%, since July. During the third quarter, 84,200 immigrants arrived in Canada, 8,800 more than in the same quarter of 2009.

Despite the increase in immigration though, Canada’s third quarter population growth was only slightly higher than what was observed for the same quarter in 2009. The increase in immigration was partly offset by a decline in the net inflow of non-permanent residents.

The population of Newfoundland and Labrador was estimated at 509,200 on October 1, 2010. Despite a net gain ininternational migration, it was the only province to post a population decline in the third quarter.

Prince Edward Island had the nation’s highest third quarter growth rate. Its population increased by nearly 1,000, 0.7%, to 143,200. The increase was largely due to immigration, as the province received 1,200 immigrants, the highest number since 1971.

Nova Scotia’s population grew by 1,400, 0.1%, to 943,900. The increase was in part attributable to a net inflow of non-permanent residents, up 1,400.

New Brunswick’s population totalled 752,800 as of October 1, up by 1,100, 0.1%. The increase was primarily attributable to immigration, as the province received around 700 immigrants, the highest level observed since the second quarter of 1976.

Quebec’s population grew by 24,800, 0.3%, to 7,932,100 during the third quarter. The province received 16,800 immigrants, the highest level since 1971.

During the third quarter, Quebec’s net interprovincial migration was close to zero, meaning that its number of migrants coming from other parts of the country equalled the number of people leaving the province for another location in Canada. With only a few exceptions, Quebec usually experiences losses in its migration exchanges with the other provinces and territories.

Ontario’s population totalled 13,268,600 on October 1, 2010, an increase of 57,900, 0.4%. Net international migration, the most important factor in the province’s population growth, accounted for nearly 70% of Ontario’s third quarter population increase.

Manitoba’s population as of October 1, 2010 was estimated at 1,240,000, up by 4,600, 0.4%, and the growth was primarily attributable to net international migration, estimated at 4,100. Manitoba received nearly 4,700 immigrants in the third quarter, the highest level since 1971.

Saskatchewan’s population increased by 4,100, up by 0.4%, to reach 1,049,700 as of October 1. More than 60% of this growth was due to net international migration. Saskatchewan’s net interprovincial migration during the third quarter, which was slightly above zero, was much lower than in the same period in 2009.

Alberta’s population rose by 14,100. 0.4%, to 3,735,100 in the third quarter. Unlike the situation in other provinces where migration is the key factor of population growth, nearly 60% of Alberta’s growth was due to natural increase, a much higher proportion than in any other province.

British Columbia posted an increase of 20,900, 0.5%, in the third quarter as its population reached 4,551,900. The province received more than 13,200 immigrants in the third quarter, its highest level of immigration since the first quarter of 1997.

via http://www.expatforum.com/canada/new-arrivals-push-up

-immigration-levels-in-canada-to-their-highest-since-1971.html

Immigration bolsters Canada’s population

January 3, 2011
For the third quarter of 2010, 65 percent or 84,200 people of the 129,300 who were added to Canada’s head count were migrants. The new arrivals did not just stay in key urban centers such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, but also spread out into the provinces and territories.
Tiny Prince Edward Island welcomed 1,200 new migrants during the quarter, Quebec opened its door to 16,800 arrivals and Manitoba allowed into the province 4,700 new Canadians.
The only exception was Alberta. Some 60 percent of its growth for the quarter was because of births by established residents.
For the last quarter of 2010, Canada is expected to welcome from 240,000 to 265,000 immigrants.
To help the provinces cope with the surge of arrivals, Ottawa grants subsidies based on 2005 immigration levels. Ontario, a traditional immigrant destination, gets an average of $3,400 per migrant to help the newcomers resettle in their new home. Other provinces, except Quebec, receive about $2,900 per head.
Because of the new patterns of immigration, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Ottawa would redistribute federal funding accordingly. The surge in immigrant arrivals had caused federal settlement funds to triple from less than $200 million in 2005-06 to $651 million in 2010-11. However, by next year, Ottawa will reduce the amount to $598 million.
The $43 million cut may drastically affect settlement services offered by agencies such as the Eritrean Canadian Community Center, South Asian Women’s Center, Ethiopian Association, Afghan Association of Ontario and Bloor Information and Life Skills Center, which are facing budget shortfalls of 70 percent or higher.
Article © AHN – All Rights Reserved

Growth accelerating in Canada based on immigration

December 31, 2010

Ottawa/New York – Canada is growing at a risng pace due to strong immigration rates, the country’s national statistical agency said Thursday in Ottawa.

Canada’s immigration wave is the largest in decades.

In the third quarter of 2010 alone, Canada took in 84,200 immigrants, and some of its provinces had not taken in so many in 40 years. Only a quarter of all new Canadians are born in the country, while three quarters were born elsewhere.