Category Archives: Canadian Immigration

Economic Recession and Canadian Immigration

Filed under Canadian Immigration

tree-image2Economic recession and the rising unemployment rates in Western countries have had great impacts on their immigration policies.  Under political pressures and economic difficulties, the easiest and short-term solution is to cut immigration to protect the domestic labour market.  This is particularly reflected in recent arguments and debates among the politicians in the U.S. Congress and the U.S. government. In Canada, however, after careful consideration and thorough studies with provinces on the demand for immigration in regional labor markets, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Kason Kenney reconfirmed at the CSIC 2009 National Conference that the need for immigration remains strong in Canada, and Canada will not reduce its immigration levels for 2009.  He emphasized that the federal government is carrying out its immigration policy from a long-term perspective rather than a short-term one.  Canada is facing a long-term labor shortage so the government is not going to turn off the immigration tap only to have to turn it back on later.  Canada have to be fully prepared in human resources when the economy turns better.  This positive message is obviously encouraging for Canadian immigration practitioners as well as prospective immigration applicants during the time of recession.  

As the worldwide economic downturn evolves, Canadian immigration legislation and polices have undergone some significant changes. Since the immigration legislation was amended in September 2008, Canada’s Immigration Minister has been given more power to modify immigration regulations without notice so as to better respond to Canada’s labour market needs.  The current list of 38 qualifying occupations for the Federal Skilled Worker category of immigration is just based on the needs of Canadian labour markets, and this list is subject to change according to the labour markets situations.  Likewise, the Alberta Immigration Nominee Program (AINP) has also been revisiting its list of qualifying occupation for its U.S Visa Holder category, which is a fast track for immigration application without requiring a job offer.  In this situation, potential applicants who are qualifed under current programs, either federal or provincial, are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible in order to avoid being negatively affected by new government reguations.

Why Clients Hire Me

Filed under Canadian Immigration

hand-shakeIn the increasingly competitive service market, clients and consumers have more choices to retain immigration consulting services.  Why will a client hire you?  How can you win clients’  trust and confidence?  Among many elements, I think the following two are most important. First,  you should be a qualified professional, competent in the area of business, knowing what you are doing and doing it right.  In order to serve your clients well, you must keep updating your knowledge and skills, familiarizing yourselves with the latest changes and developments of immigration law and procedures.  In this respect, CSIC’s continuing education and professional development program plays a crucial role.  It requires the CSIC members to keep abreast the most up-to-date knowledge and skills in Canadian immigration and in ethical operation of consulting business.  Secondly, and more importantly, you should have a high level of passion and responsibility towards the services you render to your clients.  You should put customers’ interests above your own interests, giving each and every case adequate personal attention and duty of care.   It is simply irresponsible if you just let your clients’ cases be handled by assistants or from an assistant to another.  Each case’s situation is different, and it deserves careful strategic considerations and skilled preparation  by an immigration professional before it is submitted.  Immigration is such an important matter for those who have dreams to start their new life and career in Canada.  We, as immigration professionals, have the duty to work heart and soul to achieve the best result possible for our clients following the professional standards and rules.

Careful and conscientious preparation in details and rendering personal attention to each client’s different and speicific situations are very important and rewarding.  Most recently,  one of my clients’ immigration application (federal skill worker class) was processed to the fianl stage by a visa office in the United States without the need of having language exam and personal interview.  This case was acutally quite complicated and the applicant was in a situation where the chance of success was not rosy, espeically at the time when the applicant’s occupation was not exactly within the current occupation list.  However, due to my strong, well worded and reasoned representation based on facts and the purpose of the immigration law, I successfully convinced the visa officer that this applicant is exactly the type of person that Canada needs and values.  What a result it was!  My client is so happy and appreciative to the work I have done, which is the highest reward to me.  It made my day!

Family members under Canadian immigration law

Filed under Canadian Immigration

Canadian LawOver the past couple of months, several people have come to me asking the likes of:

“Can my 22-year-old child be considered a dependent family member for Canadian immigration purposes?”

To answer this question, the applicant needs to understand exactly what constitutes a “family member” under Canadian immigration law.

Family members are the immediate members of your family. They include your spouse or common-law partner and your dependent children. A common-law partner is a person of the opposite or same sex who lives with you now and has lived in a conjugal relationship with you for at least one year. Dependent children may be your own children or those of your spouse or common-law partner. A child must meet the requirements of type A, B or C below to be considered a dependent child.

Type A
• He or she is under the age of 22 and single, that is, not married and not in a common-law relationship.

Type B
• He or she married or entered into a common-law relationship before the age of 22 and, since becoming a spouse or a common-law partner, has
– been continuously enrolled and in attendance as a full-time student in a post-secondary institution accredited by the relevant government authority and
– depended substantially on the financial support of a parent.

– OR –

• He or she is 22 years of age or older and, since before the age of 22, has
– been continuously enrolled and in attendance as a full-time student in a post-secondary institution accredited by the relevant government authority and
– depended substantially on the financial support of a parent.

Type C
• He or she is 22 years of age or older, has depended substantially on the financial support of a parent since before the age of 22 and is unable to provide for herself or himself due to a medical condition.

An Alternative Approach for Canadian Skilled Worker Immigration

Filed under Canadian Immigration

toronto_nightImmigration to Canada under the Federal Skilled Worker Class has been increasingly difficult nowadays due to the recent change of Canadian immigration law and policy. Under changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, federal skilled worker applications are assessed for eligibility according to new eligibility criteria.  These criteria directly affect the applicants who applied on or after February 27, 2008 and many of whom would become ineligible to apply for Canadian permanent residence under the federal skilled worker class, because their occupations no longer fall within the amended list of the most-needed 38 occupations.

According to the new policy, in order to be eligible for processing, an applicant must either:

  • have an offer of arranged employment, OR
  • be a foreign national living legally in Canada for one year as a temporary foreign worker or an international student, OR
  • be a skilled worker who has at least one year of experience in one or more of the specified 38 occupations, which include Financial Managers, Managers in Health Care, Geologists, Mining Engineers, Registered Nurses, etc., but exclude most of the occupations listed in Skill type O, Skill Level A or B of the National Occupation Classification List.

Facing such a higher threshold and tougher requirements, many people who do not meet these criteria have to give up their dream to work and live in Canada through skilled worker immigration.  However, there are some ways to cope with the difficulty under certain circumstances.  Some alternative options may be available.  One way is to apply the Provincial Nominee Programs of different provinces of Canada. Each province sets up its own special and preferential treatments or opportunities to attract skilled workers and business people. But the hard part is that an applicant is required to get a job offer from an employer and then obtain a nomination from the province.

Alberta’s program is an exception. In response to the increasing unemployment challenges faced by US H-1B workers as a result of the financial crisis and economic downturn in the United States, Alberta tabled a special category in its Strategic Recruitment Stream—-US Visa Holder Category, aiming at facilitating the entry of U.S. visa holders currently working temporarily in the United States into Alberta’s permanent labor force. A current U.S. visa holder in H-1B, H1B1, H-1C, or E-3, whose occupation fall within the AINP Occupations Under Pressure List for the Strategic Recruitment Stream _ U.S. Visa holder Category, and who has a minimum of one year of work experience in the U.S. in one of the above-mentioned visa categories, may apply for an Alberta Provincial Nominee without the need of the sponsorship of a local employer. This is the beauty and the special feature of the program. If the application is approved, the candidate becomes a Provincial Nominee and will be directed to proceed with the permanent residence application.

Alberta’s U.S. Visa Holder Category Immigration Program has attracted a lot of H-1B workers from the United States so far, among whom a great percentage of applicants are IT professionals. As Alberta does not need so many skilled workers in computer field, AINP Occupations under Pressure List is undergoing substantial change and adjustment, and the new List will be published soon any time. Therefore, those who want to take advantage of the Alberta Program must act quickly before it is too late.

Another option is to get Canadian experience in order to be able to apply for Canadian skilled worker immigration. For those who have had the accumulated points of 67 or so, but their occupations fall outside the list of the Federal Skilled Worker Occupations, they can, if they want, apply to study in Canada as international students, or to work under temporary work visa for at least one year. Once this requirement is met, they will be eligible to apply for Canadian permanent residence under Federal Skilled Worker Class.

Or, if they study and/or work in Canada for two years, they will be able to apply for Canadian permanent residence from within Canada under a new category —- the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

The Canadian Experience Class is a new and pragmatic immigration policy. It looks at what work experience or what type of education the applicant already has. The worker applicant is someone who is already living in Canada and who has two years of work experience. Also, the work needs to be a higher skill level according to the National Occupation Codes (NOC), requiring professional or technical skills. The student applicant needs to have completed at least two years of post-secondary school and have one year’s work experience.

The reason for this change is that the government wants to encourage skilled, educated workers to stay in Canada. These people have already established themselves here while pursuing their education at a Canadian institution or working for a Canadian employer. They are settled in Canada. It will be to the best interests of Canada to adopt the Canadian Experience Class so as to keep these people in Canada using their Canadian education or work experience to work for Canada.