Amidst the Canadian law firms and regulated Canadian immigration consultants who understand and can advise you on Canadian immigration matters, there are also endless travel agencies and foreign companies offering immigration services, including faceless, nameless websites offering their services in Canadian immigration without revealing who is going to prepare the application.

Foreign lawyers can be legitimately practicing law in their native country, but they are not permitted to practice Canadian immigration law as per the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA); the same applies to travel agencies or any other entity or individual who has no official authorization to represent you regarding Canadian immigration law.

Risks of being represented by unlicensed professionals

Being represented by unlicensed professionals comes with many risks.  One of the most problematic is misrepresentation; these unprofessional companies like to take shortcuts and distort or conceal the facts, which may lead to misrepresentation, and thus a 5-year bar for you, the applicant, as the applicant is the one responsible for mistakes on his or her application.

Rules aren’t the only thing they have limited regard for, either. They just fill out the forms, but they do not advocate for your benefit; they submit your application on your behalf as if it is you who is submitting. Their lack of a proper understanding of Canadian immigration laws and guidelines also means that any advice or assistance they do give you may not be trustworthy. They don’t know enough to tell you what you should do. Do these travel agencies and nameless companies really advocate on your behalf?

Who makes the misrepresentation and when?

The applicant is, of course, ultimately responsible for his or her own misrepresentations.   If a procedural fairness letter was sent to what is allegedly your email address (but is actually an email created by your unlicensed representative — let’s say your travel agency), and that letter never reaches you, thereby making you unable to rebut the concerns that an immigration officer may have, it would not be legally defensible that you didn’t know that a travel agency is not permitted to represent you.  As a result, you would be barred for 5 years.

Also, you must disclose if you have received assistance in preparing your application from a person who is compensated or receives a benefit as a result of such assistance. Failure to declare such assistance may result in the refusal of the application or you may be found inadmissible to Canada, as you have not disclosed this fact. If you pay someone to act as your representative, they must meet the requirements for authorized representatives, as listed below.  “Ghost consultants” have no knowledge on how to address the issues that immigration officers might have raised.  The result? Refusal of your application, or worse — a 5-year bar.  Is it worth risking your future?

So who can represent you?

Only Canadian lawyers in good standing with their respectful law society, regulated Canadian immigration consultants (RCICs), and Quebec notaries are eligible to assist in immigrating to Canada for payment (direct or indirect).

Because of the issues with unauthorized representatives, Bill C-35, An Act to Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), came into force on June 30, 2011. The bill created a new offence by extending the prohibition against representing or advising (or offering to represent or advise) immigration applicants or potential applicants to include all stages connected to an application or proceeding, including those prior to the official application being made, and puts penalties in place for those who violate this ruling.  And by using the services of someone who isn’t authorized, you, the applicant, might be found to have misrepresented yourself on your application, as you did not disclose that you retained and paid for the services of an organization or an individual that does not fall under one of the three categories permitted to represent for a fee.

The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (“ICCRC”) is responsible for regulating the activities of the immigration consultants who are its members and who provide immigration advice and representation. ICCRC operates at arm’s length from the Government of Canada. Membership is granted only to those individuals who have demonstrated their knowledge and ability to advise and represent people who seek to immigrate to Canada.

Always check if your representative is a licenced Canadian immigration consultant. The risks to your future are too great otherwise. The representatives at Milmantas Immigration are all members of ICCRC, and we are here to help if you need assistance with a Canadian immigration matter.  If you need help handling an immigration application, contact us

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Avoid a Refusal

Often, we wonder why is it that we need professional help to do something we can do ourselves? I will simply follow the instruction manual and complete the task myself. After all, the instruction manual is provided for a reason.

While in most circumstances you can execute your own DIY project to desired results (while saving a few bucks), yet what if you were told that your future depended on it and you only get 1 chance to do it right? What would you do then? Consider the fact that the risk isn’t just about the effort or time you put into it, a negative outcome will lead to a financial loss along with a lost opportunity you only had one chance to grab.

Immigration Applications

Immigration applications are one such scenario. Yes, you do get an instruction guide and most of the times you may hit the nail on the head, but even a tiny error could result in extensive delays or in more critical scenarios – a long term ban.

As the saying goes, there’s more to it than meets the eye; similarly, in matters concerning immigration to Canada, many issues that an immigration officer may consider when making a decision aren’t addressed in the guide or checklist at all.

The fact that most people do not know is that an immigration officer would rather rely on guidelines set out in the Program Delivery Instructions, than the instruction guide available on the web.

Consider this – have you ever received or known someone who has received a visa refusal stating – ‘’lack of ties to country of origin’’, even when the applicant shared details of ownership of multiple properties, financial holdings, business undertakings of not just themselves but their entire families? Or how about – lack of employment prospects in their home country” despite them submitting official letters from their current employers stating that their positions will be held for them while they studied.

Mistakes Happen

The recent episode of the work permit refusal of Steve and Melanie Whitlow is proof enough that even the slightest error could open doors to significant delays, refusals and the painstaking immigration appeals process.

In a recent scenario, Steve and Melanie Whitlow, moved to B.C. from Wisconsin as part of B.C.’s PNP. While applying for an extension to their work permits, they failed to include the necessary Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemption number from her employer. A small error, a mere oversight as she states. But it led to denial of their extension.

Such errors, although minor, yet unnoticeable to the untrained eye could be the make or break factor for your Canadian immigration application.

As a result, they lost half of their combined income because, the husband became ineligible to work in Canada legally. Although, the wife was able to appeal and get her permit re-instated, the husband’s case is still pending review. Thus, the cumulative stress and loss of income is far more than the RCIC’s professional fee.

These issues aren’t limited to study permits or work permits. Applicants are always at a disadvantage when dealing with Canadian Immigration on their own, because the power and knowledge are both in the hands of the government, and the officer reviewing an application has far less to gain or lose than the applicant. The immigration officer is part of the system that the applicant is trying to work with and therefore knows how to navigate the system, while the applicant is a newcomer to the maze of Immigration forms and lists.

Seek Representation

One way to help level the playing field is to seek representation. A regulated Canadian immigration consultant (RCIC) can provide legal knowledge and support through this difficult process, making dealing with Canadian Immigration less stressful and helping to improve the chances of success. With many years of experience, we know what to anticipate from Immigration officials, and we build your case based on its individual merits, going beyond the checklist provided by Immigration in order to successfully advocate on your behalf.

If you’re intending to come to Canada as a worker, a student or are planning to permanently immigrate to Canada and need help submitting an application, contact us.

Significant Jump in Immigration Target Numbers for the Next Three Years — to More than 400,000 per Year

On October 30, 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced plans to increase Canada’s immigration targets over the next three years. The new targets are as follows:

  • 401,000 permanent residents in 2021 (previously 351,000)
  • 411,000 permanent residents in 2022 (previously 361,000)
  • 421,000 permanent residents in 2023

Such a drastic increase in immigration targets to welcome more than 1.2 million newcomers in three years is part of the Canadian government’s plan to boost economic recovery and job creation, which suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Coronavirus caused a sizeable slump in 2020 immigration numbers — and though files are being processed, the global travel restrictions and border closures led to a dramatic decrease in the number of new permanent residents — 128,430 between January and August. It is evident the target of 341,000 is not going to be reached by the end of this year. Reduced processing capacity also contributed to the slump. Thus, the increased numbers are meant to compensate for the shortfall.

As a part of the economic recovery plan, 60% of the new arrivals will be part of the economic class, the highest increase, followed by the family class and refugees. Increases are being implemented across the board, in Express Entry, PNPs, pilots and in Quebec (which sets its own immigration targets and plans to welcome 47,500 new immigrants in 2021.)

To adapt to a rapidly changing environment, IRCC has adopted a digital transformation approach to increase the capacity of Canada’s immigration system.

Another highlight is further development of innovative and community-driven initiatives to mitigate varied labour market and demographic needs across Canada. As part of this commitment, to spur the growth of French-speaking communities outside of Quebec, additional points for Francophone candidates in Express Entry are now granted.

Over the next two years Canada will accept up to 500 refugees through the new Economic Mobility Pathways Project, an innovative system allowing qualified refugees to apply for permanent residence through existing economic immigration pathways. This comes right after the recently announced pathway to permanent residency for eligible asylum claimants on the front lines of the pandemic providing patient care between March 13 and August 14, 2020 in health care institutions.

“Our plan will help to address some of our most acute labour shortages and to grow our population to keep Canada competitive on the world stage,” announced the Hon. Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada.

[2021-2023 Immigration Targets – Canada – table]

2021 2022 2023
Overall Planned Newcomer Admissions (PR) 401,000 411,000 421,000
Economic Federal High Skilled 108,500 110,500 113,750
Federal Business 1,000 1,000 1,000
Economic Pilots: Caregivers; Agri-Food Pilot; Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot 8,500 10,000 10,250
Atlantic Immigration Pilot 6,000 6,250 6,500
Provincial Nominee Program 80,800 81,500 83,000
Quebec Skilled Workers and Business 47,500 To be determined To be determined
Total Economic 232,500 241,500 249,500
Family Spouses, Partners and Children 80,000 81,000 81,000
Parents and Grandparents 23,500 23,500 23,500
Total Family 103,500 104,500 104,500
Refugees and Protected Persons Protected Persons in Canada and Dependents Abroad 23,500 24,500 25,000
Resettled Refugees – Government-Assisted 12,500 12,500 12,500
Resettled Refugees – Privately Sponsored 22,500 22,500 22,500
Resettled Refugees – Blended Visa Office-Referred 1,000 1,000 1,000
Total Refugees and Protected Persons 59,500 60,500 61,000
Humanitarian and Other Total Humanitarian and Other 5,500 5,500 6,000

Family Class immigration numbers will also increase, though not so drastically: to 103,500 in 2021 and 104,500 by 2023, with spouses, partners and children making up 80,000 of those immigrants in 2021, and parents and grandparents increasing to 23,500.

Last but not least, numbers of admitted Refugees and Protected Persons will also grow through the next three years. The plan is to admit 59,500 refugees in 2021, rising to 61,000 by 2023.

How does this change the immediate future of immigration? Will EE points drop?

We predicted that the points will not drop and facts have proven us right:

The number of new ITAs in EE have grown over the past months; however, the points remain high — the last all-program draw, on November 5, had a pass mark of 478, seven points higher than the previous draw. A subsequent FST draw had 436 as the lowest pass mark.

There are several reasons for stagnating profiles of out-of-Canada candidates with less than 470 points:

  • Additional points allocation to the Francophone candidates;
  • International students getting bonus points for Canadian education credentials graduate in high numbers and enter the job market, earning Canadian experience for extra points;
  • Language testing centres reopen all over the world, ushering in a wave of new test takers;
  • CERB is being doled out indiscriminately, leading to a short-term labour shortage in many low-wage NOC B occupations, where employers are forced to apply for LMIAs, thus boosting the score of their FN employees;
  • Restrictive policies on immigration in the US led to an influx of IT workers through the Global Talent Stream.

Milmantas Immigration specializes in strategic immigration planning, devising an individual tailored strategy leading to permanent residency for every interested candidate. Do not hesitate to contact us to start your first steps towards your immigration goals.

Quebec: new pilot projects and changes to immigration programs coming in 2021

On Wednesday, October 28, 2020, the Quebec government announced details of three new permanent immigration pilot programs it is planning to launch in 2021 to alleviate labour shortages in the province.

The three new pilots are:

  • the pilot program for personal support workers;
  • the pilot program for workers in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), information technology (IT) and visual effects;
  • the pilot program for workers in food processing.

Full text of the regulation project is published on October 28, 2020 in the Gazette officielle du Québec, which also announces a 45-day consultation period to collect comments from stakeholders on these programs before their official launch.

Changes have also been announced in the regulations pertaining to the Entrepreneurial Program, Self-Employed Program and Collective Sponsorship of Refugees.

New pilots are designed to “attract and retain people whose skills meet the specific needs of the Quebec labor market” and will last for five years.

Under the PSW pilot up to 550 principal applicants will be selected per year, and their family members will be also eligible for Quebec selection certificates under this program.

The pilot program for the food processing sector workers will provide a pathway to permanent immigration for 550 temporary foreign workers.

550 principal applicants will also be selected under the pilot for those working in artificial
intelligence, information technology and visual effects areas, evenly split between these areas. The aim is to both retain the temporary foreign workers already working in these areas in Quebec and to attract international talent.

Here is a brief summary of what is new in the business programs:

Self-employed applicants – the quota is set to 50 permanent selection applications for the period from November 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021.

Entrepreneurs – Stream 1 (a new business set up with the assistance of a business incubator or accelerator) will see a maximum of 25 applications that will be accepted between November 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021.

Entrepreneurs – Stream 2 (an independent business set up or purchase) is suspended for the next year to allow sufficient time to review it and introduce further changes.

Note, however, there is no limit to applications submitted by self-employed candidates and entrepreneurs in Stream 1 who demonstrate upper intermediate to high proficiency in oral expression and oral understanding or French.

The selection criteria for Regular Quebec Skilled Workers declaring their interest to immigrate to Quebec through “Arrima”, Quebec’s immigration application management system, have also been updated and are now in effect until November 1, 2021.

In addition, Quebec government has introduced changes and a new admission period for applications under the Private Collective Sponsorship of Refugees Abroad Program. A maximum of 750 sponsorship applications of groups of two to five people will be allowed to be submitted between April 6 and May 5, 2021. Sponsorship applications will now have to be submitted online in order to be randomly selected through a draw later on.

According to the government press release, no new refugee sponsorship applications made by designated organizations, both in Montreal and outside the city will be allowed: a temporary ban is introduced until November 1, 2021. This decision has been taken in order to complete the criminal and administrative investigations because of “serious allegations which question the integrity” of certain refugee protection organizations, and introduce changes into the program, if necessary.

Planning to immigrate to Quebec? Contact us for assistance and further information via info@milmantasimmigration.com or fill out this questionnaire.

Pilot COVID-19 testing at Alberta border could reduce 14-day quarantine period to 48 hours if traveller tests negative

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced an upcoming pilot project at two border crossings in Alberta where international travellers coming to Canada by land or air may choose to be tested for COVID-19 at the border, which would cut the mandatory self-isolation period from 14 days to about 48 hours, given the test comes back negative. The pilot is a joint project between the province of Alberta and the government of Canada.

The voluntary pilot testing option, a first of its kind in Canada and an important step in facilitating international travel, will be offered starting November 2 at the Coutts land border crossing in southern Alberta and the Calgary International Airport. All travellers who decide not to participate in the pilot are still subject to the standard 14-day quarantine.

It is expected the pilot will be used by Canadian citizens returning to Canada through the province of Alberta and by foreign workers deemed “essential” — truckers, those working in health care and other workers exempt from the imposed federal travel ban.

Once the test proves negative, travellers will be permitted to end their quarantine, providing they follow up with a second test in 4-5 days at a community pharmacy taking part in the pilot program.

Some local medical professionals, while supporting the idea of testing to reduce the quarantine period, are voicing their concerns about using the pilot at the Canada–US border, given the huge infection rates and lack of safe precautions south of the border. However, participants will be further monitored closely for symptoms and will be required to commit to following strict preventive health measures, such as wearing masks in public and avoiding high-risk behaviour. 

Kenney further noted that the pilot project will be expanded to Edmonton International airport early next year if it tests well in Calgary. It is not clear when it will be rolled out to the rest of Canada.

Calgary Airport Authority president Bob Sartor called this trial an “innovative, government-approved, science-based testing trial” and a “lifeline that airports and airline partners need to instill confidence in air travel once again.” Calgary-based airline WestJet, which had to cancel its routes to Atlantic Canada under the weight of the pandemic and 95% business loss, is also anxiously looking forward to its success. 

The number of COVID-19 cases is rapidly rising in Alberta again, but Premier Kenney confirmed Thursday that the Alberta government has so far been quite successful at keeping public restrictions to the minimum while managing to achieve impressive results, and the province plans to keep it that way in order to avoid shutting down the hospitality industry. He further said that the dual goal of the provincial government is to “protect both lives and livelihoods” in Alberta, especially at a time when the economy is being impacted by the energy price collapse. 

It is important to note that the pilot program, while a definite step forward to ease restrictions for many foreign workers and their employers, only applies to Canadian residents and foreign nationals who are already allowed to come to Canada.
 
“There are no changes now at the border to be clear,” said the Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu. 

If you are planning to come to Canada, either temporarily or permanently, Milmantas Immigration can help you prepare a complete, persuasive application that meets all requirements. To get started, contact us at info@milmantasimmgiration.com.

pgp sponsorship

Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship Program 2020

The wait is over: on October 13, 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched its much-awaited Parents and Grandparents (PGP) Sponsorship Program for 2020. Canadian citizens and permanent residents 18 or over who wish to sponsor their parents and/or grandparents to come to Canada may now submit an interest to sponsor form online.

The interest to sponsor form will stay open until 12 p.m. EST on November 3, 2020. After the submission period is over, IRCC will perform a draw to randomly select 10,000 potential sponsors from the received and verified entries, who will then have 60 days to submit a full sponsorship application. 

Persons with disabilities who are unable to submit their expression of interest online will have to request an alternative format of the form (paper copy, Braille or large print) from the IRCC Client Support Centre at 1-888-242-2100 or by email by/before November 3, 2020.

What Is Important To Know

For those planning to sponsor their parents and/or grandparents:

  • It is a draw. The online interest to sponsor form is only a lottery entry showing an intention to sponsor. The draw performed by IRCC at a later time will determine who will be able to submit a full application.
  • Only one form per sponsor is allowed; duplicate entries will be removed before the draw. 
  • If there are discrepancies in the information on the interest to sponsor form and a subsequently submitted full application to sponsor, the application may be rejected.
  • If a mistake is made on the form, look up how to deal with it in the instructions on IRCC’s website. DO NOT submit a duplicate form (see above*).
  • The onus is on a potential sponsor to prove that they satisfy the eligibility requirements for being a sponsor, including the minimum necessary income requirements.
  • It does not matter when a potential sponsor completes the online form, as long as it done while the submission period is open.
  • New this year: due to the financial hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic, the minimum necessary income for the 2020 tax year will be calculated without the additional 30%. However, the 2019 and 2018 tax years are still subject to the 30% addition to the minimum necessary income. This temporary public policy does not apply to sponsors residing in Quebec, as this province has its own financial requirements, different from those of IRCC.
  • A confirmation number will be issued when the form is successfully submitted — save it for checking the winning entries later on.

What Else Is New This Year

Canadian siblings who would like to sponsor the same parent are allowed to submit one interest to sponsor form each for the same parent; their forms will not be considered duplicates. 

*Removing duplicates: 

In prior years, duplicate entries resulted in all entries found for a particular applicant being removed, thus preventing the sponsor from participating in the draw, while this year, only the last entry will be kept. We would strongly caution against submitting multiple forms, since the content of the website does not have the authority of a law — would you rather risk a refusal? A federal court appeal is a complex and costly endeavour. We have requested policy clarification from ICCRC — stay tuned and check our website for updates, as we will post the answer. 

So, to sum it up, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of this year’s PGP program.

The Good 

  • With the immense financial burden of COVID-19 measures, easing the income requirements for prospective sponsors for the year 2020 is a laudable measure: those with income affected by the pandemic will not be disqualified from sponsorship for three more years; also EI for 2020 can be included in the total income.
  • Also new this year: Canadian siblings who would like to sponsor the same parent will be able to submit one interest to sponsor form each for the same parent: it is not considered a duplicate. It takes a lot to raise a child: this may be a good time to collect dividends on parental efforts. 
  • The submission period lasts for three weeks, so everyone interested in sponsoring could have an opportunity to participate.

The Bad

  • The quota for this year is only 10,000 sponsor slots (though next year IRCC promises to increase it to 30,000). 
  • From the “first come —first served” concept, IRCC returns to the draw again, claiming their commitment to fair and equitable treatment of all Canadians and permanent residents. Is it indeed fair? Obviously, when demand far outweighs supply, there will always be winners and losers, discontent and frustration, regardless of the system. But in a well-functioning democracy there should always be a certain expectation of public services and a way to gauge its performance — something that cannot be replaced by a lottery system. From a psychological prospective, the certainty of having your loved ones with you in Canada prevails over the prospect of lengthy backlogs — something to consider, given that some potential sponsors may wait even longer to win the PGP lottery or never be selected altogether.

The Ugly

  • As previous “PGP lottery” experience has shown, many potential sponsors who were later selected submitted their interest to sponsor forms without meeting the qualification requirements. Each such instance is a wasted spot — when a sponsor is found ineligible, the spot is not released back in the pool. Even with a two-stage draw from sponsored parents and grandparents was 17,000, while 20,000 spots were announced to open. This means three thousand loving family members who were not able to reunite with their children and grandchildren — and with this system may never succeed. This could easily be prevented by a very simple intake management of the interest to sponsor form, such as adding fields like “enter your income on line 150 of your 2019/2018/et cetera tax return” and not allowing ineligible applicants to proceed further when the number is below the threshold. This does not require advanced computer knowledge or significant resources. All it takes is the political will to do so. 

Conclusion

If you are planning to sponsor your parents and/or grandparents to Canada or any other immigration category, Milmantas Immigration will be happy to help you prepare a complete, persuasive application that meets all requirements and verify if you are eligible at the first stage. Contact us at info@milmantasimmigration.com.

entry-exit-program-featured

The Canadian Government Knows How Long You’ve Been in Canada

You may not realize it, but Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) can now track your presence in Canada. As CIC News reports, the Canadian Border Service Agency’s new Entry/Exit Program started tracking when foreign nationals come into and leave Canada by land in February 2019, and the program is expected to expand to include air travel in June 2020. Basic identifying information—including the name, birth date, nationality/citizenship, sex, and travel document information—about foreign nationals collected through this program makes it harder for people to slip under IRCC’s radar.

What does this mean for visitors and immigrants? 

The number of days a foreign national has spent in Canada is relevant to many types of applications, and staying in Canada too long or not long enough can have serious consequences for many applicants, including those with or seeking work or study permits and visitor visas, as well as those submitting permanent residence and citizenship applications. Temporary residents who stay too long could risk their future ability to enter or stay in Canada, and those hoping to make Canada their home who lie about or fail to meet their residency requirements could ruin their chances of living in Canada. The Entry/Exit program allows IRCC to check on whether visa holders are overstaying the length of their visa and whether immigration applicants are meeting residency requirements. For example, citizenship applicants have to have spent 1095 days in Canada within the 5 years prior to their application, and the Entry/Exit program provides a way for IRCC to access records that can verify if applicants are telling the truth.

This verification method means that applicants and visa holders need to be extra aware of the requirements of the immigration programs they are trying to access and makes the chances of fraud and misrepresentation being caught significantly higher. The knowledge and qualifications of certified representation are, in turn, more important than ever. You need to know that the person guiding you through the immigration process has the experience and integrity to help you make the right decisions without taking shortcuts that could jeopardize your status. 

If you are planning to come to Canada, either temporarily or permanently, Milmantas Immigration can help you prepare a complete, persuasive application that meets all requirements. To get started, contact us at info@milmantasimmigration.com.

Who can represent you?

Amidst the Canadian law firms and regulated Canadian immigration consultants who understand and can advise you on Canadian immigration matters, there are also endless travel agencies and foreign companies offering immigration services, including faceless, nameless websites offering their services in Canadian immigration without revealing who is going to prepare the application.

Foreign lawyers can be legitimately practicing law in their native country, but they are not permitted to practice Canadian immigration law as per the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA); the same applies to travel agencies or any other entity or individual who has no official authorization to represent you regarding Canadian immigration law.

Risks of being represented by unlicensed professionals

Being represented by unlicensed professionals comes with many risks.  One of the most problematic is misrepresentation; these unprofessional companies like to take shortcuts and distort or conceal the facts, which may lead to misrepresentation, and thus a 5-year bar for you, the applicant, as the applicant is the one responsible for mistakes on his or her application.

Rules aren’t the only thing they have limited regard for, either. They just fill out the forms, but they do not advocate for your benefit; they submit your application on your behalf as if it is you who is submitting. Their lack of a proper understanding of Canadian immigration laws and guidelines also means that any advice or assistance they do give you may not be trustworthy. They don’t know enough to tell you what you should do. Do these travel agencies and nameless companies really advocate on your behalf?

Who makes the misrepresentation and when?

The applicant is, of course, ultimately responsible for his or her own misrepresentations.   If a procedural fairness letter was sent to what is allegedly your email address (but is actually an email created by your unlicensed representative — let’s say your travel agency), and that letter never reaches you, thereby making you unable to rebut the concerns that an immigration officer may have, it would not be legally defensible that you didn’t know that a travel agency is not permitted to represent you.  As a result, you would be barred for 5 years.

Also, you must disclose if you have received assistance in preparing your application from a person who is compensated or receives a benefit as a result of such assistance. Failure to declare such assistance may result in the refusal of the application or you may be found inadmissible to Canada, as you have not disclosed this fact. If you pay someone to act as your representative, they must meet the requirements for authorized representatives, as listed below.  “Ghost consultants” have no knowledge on how to address the issues that immigration officers might have raised.  The result? Refusal of your application, or worse — a 5-year bar.  Is it worth risking your future?

So who can represent you?

Only Canadian lawyers in good standing with their respectful law society, regulated Canadian immigration consultants (RCICs), and Quebec notaries are eligible to assist in immigrating to Canada for payment (direct or indirect). 

Because of the issues with unauthorized representatives, Bill C-35, An Act to Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), came into force on June 30, 2011. The bill created a new offence by extending the prohibition against representing or advising (or offering to represent or advise) immigration applicants or potential applicants to include all stages connected to an application or proceeding, including those prior to the official application being made, and puts penalties in place for those who violate this ruling.  And by using the services of someone who isn’t authorized, you, the applicant, might be found to have misrepresented yourself on your application, as you did not disclose that you retained and paid for the services of an organization or an individual that does not fall under one of the three categories permitted to represent for a fee.

The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (“ICCRC”) is responsible for regulating the activities of the immigration consultants who are its members and who provide immigration advice and representation. ICCRC operates at arm’s length from the Government of Canada. Membership is granted only to those individuals who have demonstrated their knowledge and ability to advise and represent people who seek to immigrate to Canada.

Always check if your representative is a licenced Canadian immigration consultant. The risks to your future are too great otherwise.  We are also inviting you to watch this presentation:

The representatives at Milmantas Immigration are all members of ICCRC, and we are here to help if you need assistance with a Canadian immigration matter.  If you need help handling an immigration application, contact us.

Quebec Reopens Investor Program

Quebec Immigrant Investor Program Reopens

Business Immigration to Canada – Quebec Reopens its Investor Program on September 10, 2019

On July 18th, 2018 Quebec Immigration announced the reopening of its business programs, all of them revamped.

Changes to the most popular Quebec Investor Program boil down to increased net worth the applicant has to demonstrate: from $1.6 million to $2 million, and increased amount of investment- from $800.000 to $1.2 million, which, in turn, means increased amount of financing offered by the financial intermediaries authorized by the Government of Quebec.

Investment is 100% financed by the approved financial intermediaries – investor makes an upfront payment of interest and keeps the capital for all five years to use it for their own business needs.Quebec Reopens Investor Program

Net worth, i.e. assets minus liabilities, include bank accounts, shares, real estate, of both applicant and spouse (if applicable) and must be obtained legally.

Quota still stays at 1900 applications, and as usual, will fill up really fast: despite an increased investment it remains hugely popular because it is the only passive investment program in Canada offering permanent residence to the whole family. Besides, unlike any provincial entrepreneurial program, it requires no knowledge of either French or English.

Two years experience in active management of a business out of the last five before filing the application is the other main qualifying factor – and it hasn’t changed. Qualified managed business has to be legal and have two full-time employees (excluding the investor), or it has to be an international or a governmental agency.

We are licensed by the QC Immigration Ministry to offer immigration services in Quebec, and work with financial intermediaries who don’t charge extra fees to reserve a space in the quota of 1900.

If you are interested in immigrating to Canada as a Quebec investor – we welcome you to contact us for an assessment, and if you qualify we will start preparing your application right away, so we could file it with the financial intermediary immediately when the program re-opens to spare you the payment of so-called “unit reservation fees” in addition to our professional fees.

Also

Need help to come to Canada to work, study or visit, but you aren’t sure what the next step is? We can help you determine your eligibility and put together a compelling submission; we’ll support you through all the steps required to get you through this process. Contact us for more info!

DUI effect on Foreigners entering Canada

Can You Go to – or Stay In – Canada with a DUI?

Have a DUI and Want to Come to Canada? Bill C-46 Could Make that a Lot Harder

Bill C-46 makes changes to the Criminal Code that will have repercussions for permanent residents, potential immigrants, and visitors to Canada with a DUI.

What is Bill C-46?

As the Parliament of Canada website explains, Bill C-46 makes changes to the Criminal Code regarding transportation-related offenses, including drinking or doing drugs and driving. The intent is to more thoroughly discourage people from driving dangerously or while impaired. The following are some of the changes being made, which come into force in December of 2018:DUI effect on Foreigners entering Canada

Part 1:

(a) enact new criminal offences for driving with a blood drug concentration that is equal to or higher than the permitted concentration;

(b) authorize the Governor in Council to establish blood drug concentrations; and

(c) authorize peace officers who suspect a driver has a drug in their body to demand that the driver provide a sample of a bodily substance for analysis by drug screening equipment that is approved by the Attorney General of Canada.

Part 2:

(a) re-enact and modernize offences and procedures relating to conveyances;

(b) authorize mandatory roadside screening for alcohol;

(c) establish the requirements to prove a person’s blood alcohol concentration; and

(d) increase certain maximum penalties and certain minimum fines.

Essentially, there will be harsher penalties for driving while under the influence and increased screening for drivers under the influence.

 

What does this mean for potential immigrants and visitors to Canada?

This means stricter rules for permanent residents and foreign visitors to Canada regarding criminal inadmissibility connected to DUIs and related offenses. Some offenses can prevent a person from entering or settling in Canada, making them criminally inadmissible. Previously, a visitor to Canada would have to prove that they were rehabilitated after a DUI conviction or one of the other offenses connected to the bill, but ten years without criminal activity after such an offense would result in them being deemed rehabilitated. Now, however, because a DUI will count as a more serious offence, a potential visitor will have to go through a much more complex process to apply to overcome their criminal inadmissibility.

Similarly, the increase in the severity of a DUI conviction will also mean that permanent residents who are charged with such an offense will be more likely to face deportation, especially if the offense occurs outside Canada. Those hoping to become permanent residents with DUIs on their records will also face increased difficulties with applying, as their offences will be considered more severe. The more severe the offense, the more significant the hurdles to overcoming criminal inadmissibility become.

What can you do if you have a DUI (or any of the other offences affected) and want to come to or stay in Canada?

Issues of criminality always complicate immigration applications, but the seriousness of the offence affects how much more difficult the process is. Luckily, you’re not alone. An immigration professional can help you make sense of the process and your chances. If you need help handling an immigration application that includes criminal inadmissibility to Canada, contact us.

secondary no fly list for Canada called Tuscan

Semi-Secret Database Keeping Travellers out of Canada

U.S Hands Canada a Secondary No Fly List – an Anti-Terrorism Database called Tuscan (Tipoff US/Canada)

A little known US database may be blocking travellers and potential immigrants from Canada.

According to The Guardian, Tuscan (“Tipoff US/Canada”) is an anti-terrorism database that essentially functions as a secondary no-fly list for Canadians, despite being created by the United States. The list is reportedly “provided to all Canadian border and immigration officials ‘for the purpose of guiding decisions on admissibility to Canada’.” Furthermore, the list allows immigration officers “to detain, interrogate, arrest and deny entry to anyone found on it.” The list applies to all entrances to Canada, including land and sea, unlike Canada’s official no-fly list, the Passenger Protect Program, which applies only to air travel. Despite this and the fact that all travellers’ names are checked against the list, there is no way for travellers to check who is on it. secondary no fly list for Canada called Tuscan

The lack of clarity surrounding this largely mysterious list has raised a lot of questions and concerns. Unlike Canada’s no-fly list, there is no evident way for those affected to petition to be removed from the list, and the list is maintained by the US, so there would be no need for the US to comply with the removal of a name regardless. Concerns have also been raised about racial and ethnic profiling, as well as the risk of false positives due to high error rates and identity mix-ups.

 

Immigration Concerns for Immigrants to Canada

In addition to denying travelers, Tuscan can also be used to deny visa and immigration applicants. And they may never know if this is the cause, let alone why their name was added to the list. Tuscan is another troubling example of the ways potential immigrants and travellers to Canada can be turned away without a fair opportunity to enter the country.

 

Need Help with Immigration to Canada?

While Tuscan remains inaccessible to all but select government officials and officers, many immigration issues can be discovered and rectified before you apply. If you’re not sure how to proceed with your immigration application or are worried about your admissibility, contact us.