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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preparing your Canadian CV

Preparing your Canadian CV

Writing Your Curriculum Vitae (CV) for the Canadian Market

Just as every job is different, the approach to getting hired can differ from country to country. Here are some tips on how to make your CV (curriculum vitae) appeal to Canadian employers, or in support of your work permit application or even immigration.

Canadian Resumes – Key Features

While every resume is different, here are some important elements to keep in mind:

  • Keep your CV short and focussed. While you don’t want to skip any relevant skills or experiences, Monster.com generally recommends limiting your resume to two pages (one if you’re a recent grad or otherwise less experienced).
  • Ensure that your resume is organized. You can create a chronological resume (organized based on when you gained specific experiences) or a functional resume (organized based on specific skills you gained). Either way, using headings, bulleted lists, bold or underlined text for key pieces of information, and other formatting elements can help make your CV easier to read.preparing your Canadian CV
  • Customize your resume for each job you apply for. While this can be time-consuming, tailoring your CV to the job you are applying for can make your application stand out. You can customize your resume by emphasizing relevant skills or cutting out experiences that don’t connect with the job you’re expressing interest in.
  • If you’re applying for a specific immigration program, you may also want to check if the job you’re applying for fits the criteria for the program in the first place. There are specific rules about which jobs are considered skilled trades or skilled workers, for example. Also, if the job does fit the criteria, keep those criteria in mind when writing the descriptions of your past work experience—just make sure that the duties and skills you mention in your description are accurate to the positions you’ve held.

Additional Information on your Resume

Depending on where you’re from and what the standards are for job applications there, what to include on your resume there may look a little different from a Canadian CV. Here are a few potentially unexpected features that may be worth including:

  • Your volunteer history—your experience is relevant and should be included in your CV whether it was paid or not. While unpaid work generally won’t count toward your work experience for an immigration application, it will for a job application.
  • Your social media—your Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media accounts can be great places to build a professional brand and give potential employers a sense of your personality. This is especially true if you are in communications, marketing, or sales. Just remember to keep anything you’d prefer stayed personal set to private. If you want to make sure you are able to manage your social media professionally, you can create different accounts for your personal/social life and your career.

Details are Important to Potential Employers

Also, check for proper spelling, grammar and punctuation (you can use the free or paid version of the Google Chrome extension Grammarly to help with this). Not only will doing so make you look more professional, but it will help ease any concern on your potential employer’s part about language difficulties if English is your second language. To really set a potential employer’s mind at ease, do a little research to ensure that your CV is written using Canadian spelling and punctuation, which differs from American English in small but noticeable ways such as writing “colour,” not “color,” as well as from English outside North America (in Canada, it’s “realize,” not “realise,” for example).

While these details aren’t all directly related to your work experience, these subtle elements can provide clues to your potential employer as to whether you’ll be a good fit.

Getting your Foot in the Door

Do you need help applying for a work permit or your employer needs assistance to apply for an LMIA? As immigration professionals, we know the answers, and we can help you find the best path to Canada. Contact us if you have any questions.

digital security at canadian borders

Crossing Canada’s Border in the Digital Age

Getting Through Canadian Customs with Digital Devices

Visiting Canada requires that applicants subject themselves to intense scrutiny, from birth certificates and criminal records to the contents of travelers’ suitcases. Nowadays, temporary residents, like those on work permits, study permits and visitor visas, need to be careful that their digital self is admissible too.

According to the Globe and Mail, “The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) only started tracking its searches last November. Between November 20 and March 4, CBSA “examined” the electronic devices of 4,529 travelers, a fraction of the 20,407,746 people who agents processed in that period.” So not everyone is searched, but anyone could be.

digital security at canadian borders

What to Do to Maintain your Privacy

Whether you’re coming here to work, study, or see the sights or your family abroad, you don’t want all the hard work that went into getting your application accepted to be for nothing. Often, the best way to ensure that your personal files aren’t misunderstood is to keep your private information private. The Globe and Mail suggests several ways to do so:

  • Travel with a “clean” device—that is, one that has the minimum personal data necessary for your trip and nothing else. Don’t bring extra files on a memory stick unless you need to.
  • Put your phone in airplane mode. This will still allow an officer to see files stored directly on your phone, but it will prevent ongoing access to your online information and keep the officer from being able to see your Cloud storage or linked devices.
  • Separate your personal and professional emails into different accounts. If you’re here for work, CBSA may want to see your work emails, but that doesn’t mean they need to read every email between you and your mom or what you buy online.
  • Be honest and ensure that there isn’t any confusion about the information you present at the border in the first place. You’re less likely to be searched if the things you say don’t raise red flags in the immigration officer’s mind.

What Not to Do

Don’t deny the officer the password to your device. While other passwords aren’t essential for them to know, denying access to your phone entirely will immediately set off alarm bells in an officer’s mind.

And don’t forget that just because you’re able to get into Canada once, coming back into the country after any trips away (if these are allowed within the terms of your visa or permit) will subject you to the same security checks.

Need Help?

Do you want 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 an application; we’ll support you through all the steps required to get you through this process. Contact us for more info!

canada customs and immigration

Biometrics Collection Requirements Change for Temporary and Permanent Residence Applicants

INCREASED SECURITY MEASURES COMING SOON!

Changes to Biometrics Collection Requirement for Temporary and Permanent Resident Applications

Every country debates how to balance the interests of its government and citizens against those of immigrants hoping to become part of a new nation. Increasingly, many nations are choosing to increase security, making the requirements for immigrants more strict. Changes are being made to the personal information that temporary and permanent residence applicants will be required to provide. These changes are expected to take effect on July 31, 2018. And the proposed changes say a lot about the government’s desire to control who comes to Canada and the importance of submitting an accurate application.

What changes are being made to the regulations?

According to the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement in the Canada Gazette, a change was made to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in June 2015 “which expanded the biometrics collection requirement to include all persons applying for temporary or permanent residence under the Act and provided the authority to establish regulations to implement the legislative change.” This change will soon be brought into effect.

With some exceptions, starting in July, all applicants for temporary or permanent residence between the ages of 14-79 will be required to provide biometric information to prove their identities and admissibility. The biometrics concerned are fingerprints and photographs. Biometric information collected for immigration applications will be considered valid for ten years, in the interests of making any further applications made by individuals who provide their information and pay for the collection of their data easier and more cost-effective.

What will be done with this information?

This change is spurred on by increased security in other countries, an increase in how many immigration applications Canada needs to process, changes in international travel patterns, and the development of more sophisticated methods of identity fraud. The government anticipates that these changes will make it easier for Canada to screen out those who are inadmissible, such as those with issues of criminality, earlier in the process; catch those who have misrepresented themselves on their applications; and allow Immigration to identify individuals who have made previous applications or have previously been deported.

government of canada permanent resident card

This information isn’t intended to stay within Canada, either. Part of the plan is to increase the sharing of biometric information between Canada and the United States. Furthermore, Canada will introduce biometric information sharing with Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand.

Concerns about privacy have been anticipated, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has been working with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to ensure that biometric data will be stored securely. Ultimately, though, the government will have increased information about applicants, whether they are successful or not.

Exceptions and Exemptions

Some individuals will be exempt from providing this biometric information due to profession, nationality, or the implausibility/impossibility of providing the required data. For example, U.S. nationals applying for temporary residence, visa-exempt visitors, and accredited diplomats will not be required to provide biometric data. And full or partial exemption will be made for those for whom it would not be reasonable to have to provide this information because of urgency or medical issues. Exemptions for an applicant may be done case-by-case or for all that individual’s current and future applications, depending on the circumstances.

Individuals over 79 will only be required to provide biometric data if they make a claim for refugee protection, as fingerprints can start to deteriorate later in life.

Finally, if you already possess a valid visa, permit, or temporary or permanent resident status prior to the dates when these changes will begin to be enforced, you won’t need to supply the biometrics information required under the new regulations.

What does this mean for applicants trying to complete applications on their own?application for immigration to canada

The accuracy of the information you provide to Immigration is key to whether you will have a good chance at success with your application. As this proposed regulatory change shows, Canada takes immigration fraud very seriously.

These changes show an increased focus on the validity of the information provided by applicants, the regulations for which are already strict (as are the penalties). Information sharing between countries will make misrepresenting personal history even more difficult for fraudsters as well as increase the scrutiny for those who might make innocent errors. And for those who have made legal mistakes in their past, the increased awareness of applicants’ criminal histories will make being transparent about these issues extra important.

What we can do to help

If you are concerned as to whether you are doing everything you can to avoid accusations of misrepresentation, an immigration consultant can help. We know what Immigration requires, how to avoid errors that could cost you your visa or permit, and what extra information to include to help make your application more persuasive. Our professional knowledge can also be used to find alternative legal paths for those who might be otherwise unable to immigrate due to criminal inadmissibility. We keep up with the latest immigration news, such as proposed regulatory changes like this one, to help our clients stay informed and reduce the barriers in their way.

We’re here to help with your application; contact us to get started on your journey or call as at 647 342 7301 today.

I want a job! How can I get a job in Canada?

We were prompted to write this blog by the many emails we receive from applicants looking for jobs or asking how to obtain a work permit.

The first thing all applicants need to understand is that jobs in Canada are primarily for permanent residents and citizens of Canada.  Canadians first!  Foreign nationals are invited to apply ONLY when there are no Canadians to fill the opening.  Thus, ONLY a Canadian employer may initiate the process to employ a foreign national to fill that labour shortage; a foreign national can’t apply for a job without a Canadian employer.

So how do foreign nationals get work permits? The process is complicated and lengthy, but here’s a general summary:

  1. First, the employer needs to meet the requirements in order to be eligible to employ a foreign national and submit a Labour Market Impact Application (LMIA).
  2. The Canadian employer must then advertise for four consecutive weeks in accordance with the prescribed requirements and meet other requirements.
  3. Then the employer needs to submit an application to Service Canada, provide financials and other applicable documents, and, to undergo an intensive interview.
  4. If the application to hire a foreign worker is successful, an application for a work permit for the foreign national will need to be submitted to Immigration and prove that the applicant has the required qualifications to perform the job.

In many instances, Canadian employers are not familiar with the process themselves, if they have not dealt with foreign workers in the past. They may issue a letter of offer of employment, but such letters have little or no value, unless the employer is willing to go through the LMIA process.

If someone offers you a job in Canada without the necessary steps, be extra careful. As we’ve written about before, there are many fraudulent companies posing as legitimate businesses. They will go so far as to steal the logos of world-wide corporations and create similar email addresses and social media pages to seem legitimate, but ultimately all they want is your money. These companies will often go by many different names and have various online accounts in order to scam as many people as possible. Artful scammers even use address of local immigration offices and Canadian government logos on their websites or marketing material sent to prospects; their websites trying to look affiliated to the Government.  Red flags should be that they guarantee visas, guarantee quick file preparation time, and many more tricks used by these fraudsters. They may also state that an attorney has been assigned to your case, they appeal to your emotions and create urgency. Please be aware of multiple and creative tactics being used.  As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Don’t be fooled — there’s no real job being offered. Make sure you go through the proper process when applying to work in Canada.

There are some exceptions to the usual work permit process. Foreign workers hired through the International Mobility Program are not required to obtain an LMIA but are required to obtain a work permit. We invite you to read more about this program on our website at https://milmantasimmigration.com/services/temporary-residence/work-permits-and-extensions.

Furthermore, a job offer is not required for immigration to Canada. As per the latest report issued by IRCC, 90% of the applicants in the first half of 2017 who were issued an Invitation to Apply had no job offer.  However, if you lack points, a job offer approved by Service Canada might gain you either 50 or 200 points.

Studying in Canada can also increase your chances of success in applying for a permanent resident status. You can read more about study permits at https://milmantasimmigration.com/services/temporary-residence/study-permits-and-extensions/.

To learn more about your immigration options and the best route for you, please complete our questionnaire, located at https://milmantasimmigration.com/questionnaire and contact us to book a consultation.

Immigration Canada

How NOT to Have your Application Refused

At first, applying for something like a study permit seems simple. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website provides a guide and document checklist for study permits or any other application; one would assume these requirements would be all an applicant would have to satisfy.

But as Now Toronto’s Reasonable Doubt column explains, many issues that an immigration officer may consider when making a decision aren’t addressed in the guide or checklist at all: “Insufficient family ties to the home country; presence of family ties in Canada; absence of employment prospects in the home country; purpose of visit” and more may be considered as well. These factors can be found in the Program Delivery Instructions, which every immigration officer receives and which applicants can find if they do some digging on the IRCC website in the section for Operational Bulletins and Manuals.

Even if applicants know about these instructions, however, they still have to contend with the often arbitrary reasons an officer may find to reject their application. And there’s no efficient and cost-effective means by which to contest these decisions. Requesting that the officer reconsider is allowed, but if they gave the negative decision in the first place, the likelihood of them changing their minds is low. Appeals can only be done through federal court, and that requires the funds for a lawyer and the patience and privilege to wait to be heard, with no guarantees of success even if the case is heard and ruled in favour of by a judge. And re-applying, while granting something of a new opportunity, leaves the applicant back where they started before all the work that went into their first attempt, not to mention facing the possibility of another refusal they can’t predict by a different officer. And past refusals will look bad on an applicant’s future applications to come to Canada, even if they aren’t related to studying.

These issues aren’t limited to study permits, either. Applicants are always at a disadvantage when dealing with 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.

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 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 hoping to come to Canada and need help submitting an application, contact us.

 

U.S. and Canada’s data sharing might result on crackdown on immigration violators

According to The Globe and Mail, data sharing regarding travellers’ entries and exits between Canada and the United States is making immigration infractions easier for Canada to catch. This information is being shared based on a 2011 continental security pact and includes travel done on land. The government has over a thousand potential infractions to investigate based on this info. In additional to non-immigration uses, the federal government is using this information – which includes the traveller’s name, nationality, date of birth, gender, where their travelling documents were issued, and when and where they crossed the border – to determine who is staying past the end of their visas, as well as whether new immigrants are meeting their residency requirements. The initial stages of this information sharing have been limited to exit records from the U.S., and foreign nationals and permanent residents but not citizens. That said, new legislation could expand data to Canadians entering the States. The long-term plan is to also collect information on those leaving Canada by plane (though this information would not be part of the exchange with the U.S.).

Although the Canadian government finds this increased knowledge useful for ensuring that visa holders comply with the law, some, including the NDP, are concerned that this lack of privacy could lead to problems, given its invasive nature and the possibility of errors in data collection and interpretation. Some are calling for an opportunity for those whose data is being recorded to be able to review and correct any mistakes. Sharing this information with the U.S. is also causing concern. How the expanded info sharing and tracking will ultimately affect Canadian immigrants is as yet uncertain.

If you have any concerns about whether you are following the directions of your travel documents correctly or would like to start the process of coming to Canada, you can contact us at info@milmantasimmigration.com.

We also invite you to read our previous blog on this topic located at https://milmantasimmigration.com/expansion-five-eyes.

Fake Work Permits Can Lead to Real Consequences

Canada Takes Immigration Fraud Pretty Seriously!

$6,000CAD and you can come work in Canada! Sounds easy. But is immigration fraud worth the risk?

A colleague recently shared with us about a case in which a foreign national in India was offered a work permit and a job offer in return for $6,000CAD. Not only did this skip the necessary application process through Immigration, but a legitimate job offer would not be supplied without a separate application process and, in many cases, an assessment of whether hiring a foreign worker would be justified (this assessment takes the form of an LMIA—a labour market impact assessment).

While at first a simple payment for a work permit, without the hassle of having to apply through the government, may seem like a dream come true, it’s the opposite. Not taking the proper route for any form of immigration, from full citizenship to a temporary work permit, could result in a legal nightmare—you will likely end up not being able to enter Canada at all! This means missing out on potential visits to family, holidays, legitimate job opportunities, and the possibility of ever being a citizen. Sometimes people think they won’t get caught, but the reality is that fraudsters care more about YOU believing their fake documents are real than whether Immigration will believe you. Unfortunately, once you’ve paid them, they don’t care what happens to you or your family. An authorized immigration representative will care about doing things right; someone committing fraud only cares about your money.

The foreign national will be telling his friends to report the fraudsters to the local police, and my colleague is reporting this incident to the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre. As per the permission of my colleague, please refer to this fake work permit with the hope that it will help to protect you.

View the Bogus Work Permit Here

While dealing with the government-regulated immigration process can be stressful, we can help. If you’re having trouble handling the application process, contact us at 647 342 7301 or via email at info@milmantasimmigration.com. We can help you put together a strong case.

We also invite you to read more about immigration fraud and scams at https://milmantasimmigration.com/beware-immigration-fraud and https://milmantasimmigration.com/attention-immigration-scam-number-african-caribbean-south-east-asian-countries-targets/.

FINDING A REAL, REGULATED IMMIGRATION PROFESSIONAL — AND PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM FRAUD IN THE PROCESS

So, after a lot of thought and research, including talking to friends and relatives and those who have already made the transition, you’ve decided to immigrate to Canada. You already know that going through the process of obtaining a permanent resident visa (or even a temporary visa) can be demanding, slow and convoluted, fraught with ambiguous questions and irreversible mistakes, and you want to make it as smooth as possible. The assistance of a licensed immigration professional could be the answer.

The question now is how to find the real deal instead of one of the scam artists who prey on wannabe Canadians.

You go online and Google “immigration to Canada” or something similar, in English or in your native language. The first warning sign should be if the website lacks an English version or does not link to one: it is very easy for someone to put up a “consultant” sign and call themselves an immigration consultant, but a person providing immigration advice legally must be a regulated Canadian immigration consultant (RCIC) — a member in good standing of a Canadian regulating organization, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) — a lawyer, a member in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society, or a Chambre des notaires du Québec.  You can check if the consultant you plan to deal with is actually licensed on ICCRC’s official website: http://iccrc-crcic.info/find-a-professional/.

More things to watch out for:

  • The site displays multiple logos — even those of the local business registry and Canadian Better Business Bureau — and may include a picture of a bunch of smiling people around a table, but no consultant name(s). Apart from a violation of the ICCRC advertisement rules, mandating that the names of the consultants must be clearly posted on the website, this may be a sign that the company is an immigration mill doing extensive marketing and subcontracting legitimate consultants to process applications, exerting considerable sales pressure both on them and on you. To earn a living wage at the rates these mills pay, a consultant would not be able to spend sufficient time to thoroughly prepare your application; is that really what you want?
  • The company is based outside Canada. There are myriad companies registered in various countries, allowing them to carry out legitimate business in that specific country, but these companies most likely do not employ professionals in Canadian immigration. Basically, these companies are sales people, not the people who can actually help with your application.  However, some applicants get stuck on the comforting idea that they would be able to physically go into the office and meet a human being there, despite the fact that the person has no education or licence in Canadian immigration.  Please keep in mind that the majority of Canadian immigration consultants practice from Canada; some consultants have offices in the UEA, India, China, the Philippines, or other countries, but only a fraction of consultants have offices outside Canada.  So, why not to do your due diligence and contact a legitimate consultant directly, avoiding this middle man?
  • Incorrect information (such as immigration programs and streams that were discontinued more than a year ago) is displayed on the site. Immigration is an ever-changing field, so if their website is not up to date, how can you be sure they keep abreast of all the changes with respect to their clients’ applications?
  • They promise to assist you with finding jobs with no recruitment license or list of licensed recruiters posted on the website. Remember: most provinces in Canada require a recruiter to be licensed. Also, it is illegal to charge a foreign worker a fee to find a job — the recruitment fee is always paid by the employer.
  • Posted professional fees seem too good to be true. They most likely are: see above about the immigration mills; sometimes all the work is outsourced to outside Canada, and the principals only sign off on the paperwork. Now, do you really want to maximize some company’s profit at the expense of quality and allow unlicensed, non-Canadian personnel to work on your application? And even have access to your personal and private information in a non-Canadian jurisdiction? If you remember a huge joint operation FBI anti-fraud taskforce formed recently in India against illegal call-centres targeting Americans with wide-spread scams, you know the answer already. Similarly, if someone charges $10,000 for an Express Entry application when the average runs between $3,500 and $5,000, you should also think twice about their business model.
  • Poor spelling and vocabulary: if the website has errors, what type of submission will be prepared, and what kinds of issues will there be with a submission written by a so-called specialist who doesn’t even use spell check?

Canada has a provision governed by Bill C-35 that makes it illegal for a person who is not licensed to do so to represent future immigrants and/or give immigration advice for a fee – it applies both in Canada and outside the country. Penalties for convictions under the act include fines of up to CDN$100,000 and/or imprisonment of up to two years.

As in any other area, be it finding a doctor, mechanic, plumber or hairstylist, the safest bet would be to ask those you know, or those your friends and family know in person, who have already had a successful outcome, for a recommendation. Are they happy with the result, the process, how much they paid?

After you get the names, search out these professionals online. Once you have established that they have an online history (remember — Google is your friendJ — nothing ever written online truly disappears), check their website (Most of them will have one — either their own or in association, even for the purpose of just being searchable online; some, mostly senior ones, work by referrals only, having accumulated enough business during their years in practice.).

Once you’ve read the advertisement or browsed a consultant’s website, you have to ask yourself three important questions:

  1. Is this person really who s/he claims to be?
  2. Does s/he have enough knowledge/experience to represent me (read: experience with cases similar to mine, be it economic/skilled migration, dealing with entrepreneurs, or representing for an appeal, detention review or hearing in Canada)?
  3. Will I have a clear understanding of my process?

The first question could be answered by comparing different online searches: there have been instances when scammers have spoofed reputable companies, putting entire fake versions of these websites online. In this case, a legitimate business website for the consultant might have a “beware of fraud” warning – this is a clear sign that you are in the right digital space. Sometimes consultants have their business address and e-mail posted online in other databases; do your due diligence and write to these e-mail addresses asking about a website bearing their name – whether it is legit or not. If there is no answer and you feel that you would like to deal with this person in particular because of a referral, there is a “contact” feature on the ICCRC website showing each consultant’s name that allows a prospective client to write a brief message to the consultant that will be then passed on through the ICCRC server directly to the e-mail address associated officially with that consultant’s ICCRC registration.

To have an answer to the second and third questions, if you still aren’t sure after browsing the site, you will have to get in touch with them in person – whether by e-mail or by phone. Most consultants will have a brief (up to 15-minute) chat with you or even do an initial assessment for free. Do not count on getting something for nothing, though: the goal of this communication is to obtain some initial information of your case but not to consult with you about your particular case.

Of course this all takes time, but wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry?

This is not an exhaustive list of recommendations, but it is a starting point in your quest for a powerful and reliable engine that will move your train to this station called Canada without crashing and stopping and losing passengers.

Julia Brodyansky, RCIC

Sponsoring Parents and Grandparents – Another Draw May be Conducted in August or September

At the latest Canadian Bar Association conference, a representative of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) advised that another draw may be conducted to invite more individuals to apply to sponsor parents or grandparents to immigrate to Canada through the Parent and Grandparent Program. The second draw may be conducted in the coming months. “Probably in August or September we’ll take a tally and see how many more spaces are left in the 10,000 cap, and there’ll be another round of people invited to apply,” the IRCC representative said.

In January 2017, IRCC started a newapproach to sponsor parents or grandparents. A two-step process was introduced, which required individuals to indicate their interest to sponsor by submitting an interest to submitting completing an interest to sponsor form online between January 3 and February 2. Then on April 25, 10,000 potential sponsors from the pool of 95,000 were randomly invited to submit a sponsorship application within 90 days.

The immigration department confirmed that as of June 8, only 700 applications had been received from invited sponsors. Moreover, 15 PERCENT WERE INCOMPLETE.

“If the department does not receive the 10,000 new applications within the stipulated timeframe, additional persons will be invited to apply [from] a randomized list,” a spokesperson from IRCC said. “If we don’t receive COMPLETE APPLICATIONS we will go back and draw from that existing list.”

Please contact us for assistance to have an impeccable application prepared!

Expansion of “Five Eyes”

Recent changes to Canada’s information exchange with other countries are meant to speed up processing time and increase security, but with increased access come questions about privacy and misuses of information.

Canada has amended the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) to include new automated immigration information sharing allowances with its FCC partners. This means that Canada will be automatically providing certain information about third-country nationals and permanent residents, if that information is requested by Australia, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom, and Canada can retrieve this same information automatically from these same countries (a similar pilot program exists with the United States). These changes are intended to eliminate excessive effort and delays in exchanging this information and to reduce fraud and security risks from “higher-risk” applicants such as asylum seekers and refugee claimants.

So what information will the governments of these countries be able to share? There will be limitations on what information can be disclosed and why/when, in order to allow those affected to maintain rights to privacy as much as possible. The IRPR limits the shareable information to biographic identity information, fingerprints, a digital photograph, and immigration-related information held by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The information has to be “necessary, relevant and proportionate” (IRPR, Division 3, 315.39) to the application of immigration, refugee, and citizenship law in the respective countries, and the information exchange is “query-based,” meaning that it will only be supplied when asked for. A query can only be made “to support an examination or determination following an [immigration] application or claim made by a national of a third country” or to determine if “a national of a third country is authorized to travel to, enter or remain in Canada.” (IRPR, Division 3, 315.4 (1)) The governments involved are also required to ensure as best they can that the information exchanged is accurate, and the information sent will not allow access to databases or complete records, and once utilised to attempt to determine identity, fingerprints submitted as part of the query are to be automatically disposed of rather than kept on file.

While these limitations on access to and use of this automated information are significant, so are the privacy concerns. Immigration files can include very personal information, from family photos to medical records. And data compiled by immigration officers or otherwise sourced from someone other than the applicant that differs from the information supplied by an applicant could also cause problems for those hoping to immigrate.

While Canadian citizens are exempt from the information sharing, those who are here temporarily and others in potentially precarious living situations (including refugee claimants) are not. Many people come to Canada to experience the rights and freedoms granted to Canadians, but these changes to the Regulations show that not everyone present in Canada gets to enjoy those rights and freedoms the same way.

Source: http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2017/2017-05-17/html/sor-dors79-eng.php