Tag Archive: medical examination

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The Minister said the medical inadmissibility policy, which has been in place for more than 40 years, is “way out of date” and not in line with Canadian values or government policies of inclusion.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

 

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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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

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Canada’s new immigration test

December 23, 2010

Canadian immigrants pass current testing with a rate of 97% because of widespread access to the tests on the Internet and an underground market selling the (only) 5 standard tests to would-be citizens.

According to media reports across the country, failure rates of up to 30% since March can be attributed to new, tougher questions introduced to curb the cheating.

A modified test introduced on October 14, 2010 is trying to cut the increased failure rate to 20%, a move hoped to unclog the system.

The only would-be citizens required to take the test are those between the ages of 18 – 54, giving older immigrants no real reason to worry about fitting in to Canadian society or Western norms or in fact even know what a democracy is.

The old test was quite easy, only requiring applicants to pass with a 60% grade with 20 multiple-choice questions within 30 minutes. Compare that to now requiring applicants to complete with a 75% grade to pass.

Typically, an NDP MP (Olivia Chow, an immigrant herself) criticized the government saying “Dramatic increases in both wait times and failure rates for Canadian citizenship tests (are) costing tremendous disappointment for immigrants who passionately want to become citizens,” suggesting the new rules create a bottleneck in the system and going on to say the rules set new immigrants up to fail citizenship tests.

Canada has recently and over the past 20 years faced many voices of criticism due to sub-standard or no background checks, allowing people with terrorist links to enter and country and receive citizenship without having the slightest clue on life in the Western World.

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New Canadian act targets ‘Ghost’ immigration agents

December 17, 2010

(IANS) ‘Ghost’ immigration consultants in India, who dupe people desperate to migrate to Canada, will be put out of business with the passing of new legislation by the Canadian parliament.

Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said the legislation to crack down on crooked immigration consultants has received final approval Tuesday in the House of Commons.

The new Act will crack down on crooked immigration consultants who undermine the integrity of Canada’s immigration system, the minister said.

‘In their quest for personal gain, crooked consultants have displayed a wanton disregard for our immigration rules and bilked too many people out of their hard-earned dollars,’ said Kenney.

‘They are a menace, posing a costly threat not only to their victims, but also to the integrity and fairness of our immigration system. When crooked consultants encourage prospective immigrants to cheat the system, it slows down the immigration system for those following the rules,’ the minister said.

The new Act makes immigration services provided by any unauthorised immigration agent illegal.

‘This includes services offered or performed before an application is submitted or a proceeding begins, thus closing a loophole in the current framework. It would also give the minister the authority to designate a body to govern immigration consultants and authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations to enhance the government’s oversight of this body.’

According to Canadian authorities, India-based ‘ghost’ immigration consultants — who operate in collusion with their Canada-based fraud partners — pose a major challenge to this country’s immigration system.

Operating out of the purview of law, these ‘ghost’ immigration consultant cheat thousands of prospective immigrants each year, defrauding them up to $30,000 each.

Such operators are rampant, especially in Punjab, as migrant families from that state in Canada want to bring their relatives here by hook or by crook.

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via http://www.sify.com/news/new-canadian-act-targets

Gov’t agencies powerless over Canada ‘immigration consultants’

December 9, 2010

MAKATI City – Citing lack of jurisdiction, government agencies responsible for deployment of Filipinos remain powerless over recruiters claiming to help easy entry to Canada.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said foreign and local “immigration consultants” have capitalized on many Filipinos’ desire to pack their bags for the North American market.

“They are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and got business permits from local government units, so they will regulate the work of these consultants,” Baldoz told the OFW Journalism Consortium.

The phenomenon of immigration consultants has caught the attention of the Canadian government, with no less than Canadian Minister of Immigration and Citizenship Jason Kenney coming to the Philippines last month to assess the situation.

In a press conference, Kenney said he is aware that people representing themselves as immigration consultants had been advertising and claiming they can help Filipinos enter Canada.

“But I want Filipinos and Filipinas to know that they do not need to use the services of an immigration representative consultant, or lawyer,” Kenney said in a statement read in the September 18 press briefing.

Kenney said the Canadian government gives “equal consideration to all immigration applications, regardless of whether they use the services of consultants, agents, recruiting agencies, or representatives.”

Nobody has any inside track on immigration to Canada, he emphasized.

There are an estimated 450,000 Filipinos in Canada according to Statistics Canada. The US$1.9 billion they sent last year made up for the visibly lower remittances from Filipinos in the United States given the global economic crisis.

New regulations on Canada’s temporary foreign worker program now require employers to provide contracts that specify wages, benefits, accommodation, duties, hours of work, and holiday and sick leave entitlements.

By April next year, the Canadian government said it will “rigorously assess” job openings for temporary foreign workers and live-in caregivers before it gives employers authorization to hire them. If employers disregard the regulations governing temporary foreign workers, they will be banned for 2 years from hiring workers.

Under the new set of rules, live-in caregivers become eligible for permanent residency after working for 3,900 hours over a minimum of 22 months (with a maximum of 390 overtime hours), or working for two years at regular full-time rates.  Direct

Days after Kenney left Manila, Baldoz and Premier Greg Selinger of the Province of Manitoba signed an updated memorandum of understanding on sending Filipino workers to that Canadian province.

Initially signed in 2008, Baldoz said the MOU adheres to Manitoba’s immigration regulations and is covered by Canada’s new rules for temporary foreign workers and for live-in caregivers.

She said immigration consultants are out of this recruitment set up.

For Manitoba province, labor and immigration assistant deputy minister Ben Rempel said that every recruiter wishing to hire Filipino workers for Manitoban employers must register with his office, Manitoba Labor and Immigration.The MOU states that workers will not pay any placement fees, which should be shouldered by the Manitoban employer.

The MOU states that charging prospective Filipino workers with fees or payment “contravenes [Manitoba’s] Employment Standards Code and/or the Worker Recruitment Protection Act.”

If a worker was found to have paid fees “illegally,” the Manitoban employer and the recruiter must compensate the worker, Rempel told the OFW Journalism Consortium.

As for so-called “immigration consultants,” whether based in the Philippines or in Manitoba, Rempel said they must also register with his office.

However, Rempel said most of the foreigners going to his province “did not pass through immigration consultants.”

The CIC website states that immigration representatives are people who offer immigration advice to visa applicants. These representatives may either be lawyers in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society or immigration consultants who are good-standing members in the nonprofit Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants. They could also be notaries public who are good-standing members in the Chambre des notaries du Quebec.

Relatives, friends or non-governmental or religious organizations can also represent the foreign worker in her/his application.

But the website also says that “The Government of Canada will not deal with non-authorized representatives who charge a fee for their service”.

At the same time, a media notice by CIC warns applicants of immigration scams, as well as informs that

application forms and guides are free.

Courting

Selinger said there are an estimated 60,000 Filipinos in Manitoba. In 2008, when the Philippines and Manitoba signed an initial MOU, 91 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were deployed to Manitoba followed by 162 more in 2009. These Filipinos were mostly nurses, production workers, and service workers.

Manitoba is targeting some 14,000 foreign workers annually until 2016 —and hopes the Philippines will provide 30 to 40 percent of this annual inflow of workers.

These future workers will now be governed by the province’s old laws such as the Employment Standards Code and the Workplace Safety and Health Act, and the new Worker Recruitment and Protection Act passed last year.

As usual, Filipino workers deployed overseas and recruitment agencies abide by the 2002 Rules and Regulations on Deploying Land-based Workers by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

In the updated MOU, DOLE (through POEA) will register and accredit Manitoban employers that will hire Filipino workers, while Philippine-based recruitment agencies will provide the Manitoban employers with lists of pre-qualified Filipino workers. These pre-qualified workers will then apply for Canadian work permits and/or nomination for Manitoba’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

The MOU signed by Baldoz and Rempel recognizes that the Canadian national government will “retain final authority to determine applications for permanent residency and… for temporary work permits”.

The phrase “immigration consultants” is nowhere to be found in the MOU.

The CIC website and Kenney did not say that immigration consultants are disallowed from conducting business.

Nevertheless, Minda Valencia, deputy executive director of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), urged Filipinos to “file their applications on their own.”

Like the Labor Department, the CFO doesn’t regulate immigration consultants either, according to Valencia.

The CSIC website, www.csic-scci.ca, carries a list of accredited immigration consultants

While most of members of their society are based in Canada, there are five CSIC-accredited consultants based in the Philippine cities of Makati, Taguig, and Paranaque, and in the province of Bulacan.

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via http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/global-filipino/11/05/10/gov

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