Tag Archive: medical examination
U.S.A. Extending Ban on Green Cards and Non-Immigrant Visas Also Affected
June 23, 2020
On Monday, June 22, 2020, the Trump administration announced that it was extending a ban on Green Cards issued outside the United States until the end of the year and adding many temporary work visas to the freeze, including those used heavily by technology companies and multinational corporations.
The policy behind the freeze is to free up jobs in the American economy which has suffered because of COVID-19. It is estimated that the restrictions will free up to 525,000 jobs for Americans.
The ban, while temporary, would amount to major restructuring of legal immigration if made permanent. Long-term changes targeting high-tech workers are also being sought.
The ban on new visas also applies to H-1B visas, which are widely used by major American and Indian technology company workers and their families, H-2B visas for non-agricultural seasonal workers, J-1 visas for cultural exchanges and L-1 visas for managers and other key employees of multinational corporations.
By contrast, Canada plans on welcoming 341,000 new permanent residents in 2020, 351,000 in 2021, and 361,000 in 2022 while reducing application processing times and improving service delivery and client services at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, notwithstanding COVID-19.
For those who are/were considering American Immigration, Canada may be a more viable and attractive option right now, especially considering the current uncertainty surrounding U.S. Immigration and all of the political chaos and unrest in the United States.
Canada Remains Open to Immigration while U.S. Threatens to Suspend Immigration
April 21, 2020
On Monday, April 20, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump said that he will sign an executive order temporarily suspending Immigration to the United States as the nation battles the health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a tweet sent out late Monday night, President Trump wrote: “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”
By contrast, Canada continues to welcome immigrants, notwithstanding COVID-19. As was mentioned in our blog of March 13, 2020, on Thursday, March 12, 2020, The Honourable Marco E.L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), tabled the 2020‒2022 Immigration Levels Plan in the Canadian House of Commons. Canada plans on welcoming 341,000 new permanent residents in 2020, 351,000 in 2021, and 361,000 in 2022 while reducing application processing times and improving service delivery and client services at IRCC.
Of those who will become permanent residents of Canada over the next few years, in 2020, 88,500 to 100,000 immigrants will be Express Entry applicants; in 2021, 89,300 to 100,000 immigrants will be Express Entry applicants; and, in 2022, 88,800 to 100,600 immigrants will be Express Entry applicants.
To quote the Minister: “Our immigration system benefits all Canadians by strengthening the middle class, keeping families together and building strong and inclusive communities. This increase in immigration levels supports a system that will help Canadian business create good middle class jobs and grow the economy while ensuring Canada continues to meet its humanitarian obligations around the world.”
Furthermore, as was mentioned in our blog of March 18, 2020, on Sunday, March 15, 2020, IRCC released new instructions for those affected by COVID-19. Like other countries, Canada is working diligently to halt the spread of the virus; however, IRCC is adopting new policies and procedures to minimize any disruption to Immigration processing and to help applicants who are affected in any way by COVID-19. Most importantly, IRCC confirmed that the intake of new Permanent Residence Applications will continue.
For those who are/were considering American Immigration, Canada may be a more viable and attractive option right now, especially considering the current uncertainty surrounding U.S. Immigration and all of the political chaos in the United States.
IRCC Permanent Residence Processing Will Continue Despite COVID-19
March 18, 2020
On Sunday, March 15, 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) released new instructions for those affected by COVID-19. Like other countries, Canada is working diligently to halt the spread of the virus; however, IRCC is adopting new policies and procedures to minimize any disruption to Immigration processing and to help applicants who are affected in any way by COVID-19. Among the steps being taken by IRCC insofar as Permanent Residence Applications are concerned are the following (reproduced from the IRCC website with minor text modifications):
Intake of new Permanent Residence Applications will continue. Files that are incomplete due to unavailable documents will be retained in the system and reviewed in 90 days.
New, complete Permanent Residence Applications under section 10 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) will be processed as per normal procedures.
If a new Application is missing supporting documentation (associated fees are required), the applicant should include an explanation with his/her Application that he/she is affected by the service disruptions as a result of the novel coronavirus. The Application may then be promoted and reviewed in 90 days. New Applications should be promoted in the order they were received. If the Application is still incomplete in 60 days, officers should request the missing documents with an additional 90-day deadline.
Applications found to be incomplete with no explanation provided, or for reasons unrelated to the disruption of services associated with impacts of the novel coronavirus, may be rejected as per section 10 of IRPR, and all fees associated with the Application should be refunded to the applicant. The reason for rejection should be unrelated to the disruption of services.
Approved Permanent Residence Applications (COPR and PRV)
Permanent residence applicants who are in possession of a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and Permanent Resident Visa (PRV) and inform IRCC, by submitting a web form to IRCC, that they are unable to travel within the validity of their documentation should be processed as follows:
Valid COPR and PRV: In an effort to reduce the number of cancelled COPRs and PRVs, a note should be placed in the file explaining that the applicant is unable to travel, and the file should be brought forward to the expiration date of the COPR and PRV. If the applicant informs IRCC that he/she can travel prior to the COPR and PRV expiration, he/she is encouraged to use his/her existing COPR and PRV to land.
Expired COPR and PRV: If the applicant informs IRCC via the web form that he/she was unable to travel after the expiration of his/her COPR and PRV, or if he/she was unable to travel prior to expiration, officers are to re-open the Application, and it should be brought forward for review in 90 days.
Approved Applications can be re-opened by cancelling the COPR and PRV and removing the final decision.
When to Review a Re-opened Application
Once the applicant informs IRCC via the web form that he/she is able to travel, a re-opened Application may be re-approved provided that the applicant and his/her family members, whether accompanying or not, have valid immigration medical examinations, criminal and security checks and passports.
If the 60-day waiting period elapses and the applicant has not informed IRCC that he/she is able to travel, a note should be placed in the Application, and it should be brought forward for review for an additional 60 days.
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.