Tag Archive: immigration and refugee protection act

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The Minister said the medical inadmissibility policy, which has been in place for more than 40 years, is “way out of date” and not in line with Canadian values or government policies of inclusion.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

 

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.

Illegal in U.S. and Wish to Immigrate to Canada?

November 10, 2016

Abrams & Krochak receives a significant number of inquiries from individuals, who have no legal status in the country in which they are residing and who wish to immigrate to Canada. The vast majority of these inquiries are from individuals in the United States and the number has increased substantially since the recent U.S. election and talk of mass deportations. The two (2) primary concerns for these individuals, when considering Canada, are:

1. Whether their illegal status in the United States will render them ineligible to immigrate to Canada; and

2. Whether the Immigration process can take place while they continue to reside in the United States, albeit illegally.

Insofar as eligibility is concerned, illegal status in a third country will not render an individual ineligible to immigrate to Canada unless issues of criminality are involved. Even then, there is not an automatic disqualification and Abrams & Krochak advises on a case-by-case basis.

Insofar as the Canadian Immigration process is concerned, all applicants in the Federal Skilled Worker and Federal Skilled Trades categories are processed under a system called “Express Entry”. With the assistance of Abrams & Krochak, applicants create an Express Entry Online Profile and if they are invited by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada, the majority of the Application process takes place online. Therefore, if no interview is deemed necessary by Immigration officials (which applies to the majority of cases filed by Abrams & Krochak, to date), the applicant’s place of residence is irrelevant. Place of residence only becomes relevant if the applicant’s file must be transferred to a Canadian visa office for further processing and/or the scheduling of an Immigration interview.

The general rule is this: if a file needs to be transferred to a Canadian visa office for further processing and/or the scheduling of an Immigration interview, it will be transferred to the Canadian visa office in the country in which the applicant is currently residing if (i) the applicant has at any point in the past lawfully resided in that country for a period of one (1) year or more OR (ii) the applicant is in possession of a valid visa, authorizing him/her to remain in that country for a period of at least one (1) year (such as an H1-B, J-1 or F-1 visa in the United States). Otherwise, the file must be transferred to the Canadian visa office which normally serves the applicant’s home country/country of habitual residence/country of citizenship.

As long as you are accurate about your qualifications when you complete Abrams & Krochak’s Online Eligibility Assessment Questionnaire at https://www.akcanada.com/assessment1.php, should you receive a favourable assessment from Abrams & Krochak, then it is worthwhile creating an Express Entry Online Profile since, as was stated earlier, if you are invited by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada, the vast majority of Abrams & Krochak’s cases are approved without the need for a personal interview and you will have the chance to begin a new life with legal status in Canada instead of continuing to live in fear of deportation from the United States.

Should an interview be deemed necessary in your case and should you be required to attend it in your home country/country of habitual residence/country of citizenship or a third country whose Canadian visa office serves your jurisdiction, you can evaluate your personal circumstances at that moment in time and then decide whether you are willing to take the risk of leaving the United States and travelling to attend your interview or abandoning your Canadian Immigration plans altogether.  Keep in mind, however, the fact that abandoning your Canadian Immigration plans does not necessarily mean that you can apply at a future date, should your personal circumstances change.  Canadian Immigration laws, regulations and policies are always subject to change at any time without advance notice.

Number of 2017 New Arrivals to Canada to Remain the Same; Greater Percentage Economic and Family Class Immigrants

November 1, 2016

On October 31, 2016, the Government of Canada announced in the Canadian House of Commons that it will bring in 300,000 new arrivals in 2017. That is the same number that was established in 2016 to accommodate an influx of Syrian refugees.

While Canada will not increase the number of new immigrants being welcomed to the country next year, the Government claims that it is laying the foundation for a bigger boost in levels in the coming years.

Within this plan, the number of permanent residents selected in economic programs (i.e. Express Entry/Business Class/Provincial Nominee Programs, etc.) will increase. The Government also intends to increase Family Class (i.e. family sponsorship) levels to reduce processing times and reunite more families.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports that Immigration Minister John McCallum to reveal ‘substantially’ higher newcomer targets

October 30, 2016

The article, below, appeared this morning on the website of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. If the announcement is true and, once more information becomes available, Abrams & Krochak will publish it on our website.

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Canada is expected to “substantially” boost the number of immigrants it welcomes to the country each year, but experts warn that any increase must be matched with more robust resettlement assistance.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum is expected to reveal new targets Monday, one day before Finance Minister Bill Morneau presents his fall economic update.

The new levels will seek to offset projected demographic challenges in Canada, including an aging population and growing labour gaps. In 2016, the target was to permit 300,000 newcomers to the country.

The government’s economic growth advisory council has recommended ramping up immigration levels to 450,000 people a year over the next five years, with a focus on skilled, highly educated and business-oriented people. McCallum has suggested that target may be overly ambitious, but said the government will “substantially” raise the number.

There has also been debate among the Canadian public — and among Liberals — about hiking immigration at a time of high unemployment, especially among young Canadians. There are also questions about whether adequate levels of support are in place.

Immigrants worse off?

As the government welcomes more immigrants, it must take steps to ensure smooth integration into communities, said Emily Gilbert, director of the University of Toronto’s Canadian Studies Program. That includes employment that meets their skill levels, so families don’t face undue financial hardship, she said.

“I’m not at all against raising the level, I’m in full support of that. But we’ve had a tendency in the last decade or so for newcomers to Canada to be much worse off economically,” she said.

She’s concerned about the potential emphasis on bringing in business and professional class immigrants.

“I’m worried that the thrust of the levels seems to be to boost Canada’s economy and I’m worried it would be on the shoulders of those who arrive,” she said.

Gilbert said ramping up numbers too quickly without enough supports could lead to potential social and economic problems down the road. She also warned against gearing targets based on economic status.

Not only does that contribute to a “brain drain” in other countries, but it ignores the fact that it takes all kinds of people to build the country, she said.

Raise living standards

The advisory council’s report recommends tapping top business talent and international students to maximize economic benefits from immigration policy that, “if done right, can raise living standards for all Canadians.”

Noting that public opinion to date is largely favourable toward immigration, the report warns that policy makers must be aware of limits.

“Public support is likely to wane if integration of new immigrants is not managed effectively,” it reads. “The recommended increase of 150,000 permanent economic immigrants is not expected to strain public education, transportation, or healthcare systems over the course of the five-year ramp up period, though it should be expected that higher population growth will eventually require increased investments in public services and infrastructure by all levels of government.”

In addition to boosting immigration levels, the council recommends:

  • Reducing red tape to attract and expedite entry for foreign talent.
  • Easing rules to allow more international students to become permanent residents.
  • Improving accreditation processes to help skilled workers find work in their profession.

Dory Jade, CEO of the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants, expects the government will significantly increase the annual target and numbers in various categories. He said it’s difficult to measure actual capacity for newcomers in communities because there are so many regional variations.

Big dilemma

But Jade said any increase in numbers must come with supports ranging from more staff to process applications to a “big injection” of aid to help integrate new arrivals, even though that capacity is hard to determine.

“That’s the big dilemma for the government,” he said.

NDP Immigration critic Jenny Kwan said Canada could reasonably have a policy to bring in a higher number of immigrants, up to 500,000 annually.

Along with setting new targets, she urged the government to bring in policy changes that would help fill regional labour gaps and give live-in caregivers and temporary foreign workers greater and faster opportunities to become new Canadians.

“I think we’re at the juncture in 2016 to look at our immigration policy and say, ‘If you’re good enough to work here, you’re good enough to stay,'” she said.

Kwan also said Canada’s policy should not be geared to favour those with business and professional credentials.

“There’s value to all the different classes,” she said. “All of us contribute to the rich fabric of who we are, and our immigration policy should reflect exactly that — broad-based, diverse groups of immigrants from around the globe.”

Conservative Immigration critic Michelle Rempel said setting immigration levels must not be “arbitrary” and that targets should be established after consultation with the provinces and territories. She hopes to to see an increase in economic immigration to the Atlantic provinces and consideration to Francophonie targets.

Rempel said she is proud that because of a Conservative motion, Yazidi victims of ISIS genocide will be among the priority groups brought in to Canada.

“Our previous Conservative government oversaw the highest sustained levels of economic immigration in Canada’s history, while working to ensure persecuted ethnic, religious and sexual minorities were able to resettle in Canada,” she said in an email.

“We protected the integrity of our fair and generous immigration system by cracking down on crooked consultants who exploit prospective immigrants. Along with introducing the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa, we also enhanced the Caregiver program to ensure faster processing, reunification and more protection against abuse.”

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