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Immigration News

Who is more “pro-immigrant” – the Liberals or the Conservatives?  Let’s look at the overall numbers.  For the past 20 years, Canada has received an average of about 234,000 new permanent residents per year.  Between 2001 and 2005, the Liberals brought in an average of 240,000 permanent residents per year.  When the Conservatives came to power in 2006 they averaged about 247,000 per year.  Two weeks ago, the Tories surprised the nation when they announced that they had set a fifty-year record by landing a whopping 280,636 new immigrants in 2010.

In the real world, when someone does not receive a response to an important email the fix is usually a simple matter…try again!  When our immigration department doesn’t receive a response to an email, it can and will summarily refuse an application even though the applicant may not have received the transmission in question.  This unforgiving approach to the rights of those who have paid good money, and waited patiently, to have their applications processed has created an avalanche of unnecessary and expensive litigation.

Q:    I am currently at a loss.  I am engaged to an attorney from a country in the Middle East.  He enrolled in, and was accepted to, a four-month English language program at a Canadian university.   I helped him apply for a study permit and sent him a notarized letter to present to the embassy stating that I was going to take care of all of his living expenses while he was here. His application for a study permit was refused. Basically, the officer felt that he did not have strong enough ties to his country to ensure his return there.  Also, she felt that the study program he was enrolled in did not carry enough validity.  I don't know what to do next to get him into Canada.  I cannot marry him yet because my divorce is not final. What can you suggest?


Q: I’m a Canadian and engaged to a Jamaican who I met 3 years ago.
His work permit expired one year ago. His application to extend his status as a visitor was denied in April. He was then told that he can apply for a pre-removal risk assessment and is still in Canada waiting on a response. We are currently filling out the papers to apply for permanent residency under the common-law partner category. Since he has no status, can he stay in Canada while we are waiting for the process to go through?

Last week, Canada’s immigration minister, Jason Kenney, announced that travellers from Taiwan will no longer need visitor’s visas to travel to Canada.  How does our immigration department decide which countries will be exempted from our visa requirements and which won’t?  First, there are the objective immigration criteria.  In the case of Taiwan, Citizenship and Immigration Canada reports that, in 2009, the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei approved 99% of the more than 25,500 visitor visa applications it received.  In the same year, 51,000 travellers from Taiwan came to Canada on some form of temporary status.

Canada’s Immigrant Investor Program should be treated like the crown jewel of our annual immigration plan… but it’s not.
You would think that Canadians would want at least ten or perhaps fifteen percent of Canada’s newcomers to be chosen for their ability to transfer large amounts of money here for the specific purpose of providing working capital to Canadian businesses. Unfortunately, this is not the case.  Of the 252,179 immigrants Canada selected in 2009, just 2,872 (i.e. just over 1%) were selected by our federal government for this purpose.

Captain Gustav Schroeder was a very courageous and righteous German.  In 1939, he was the captain of the MS St. Louis when it set sail from Hamburg, Germany to the Americas with 937 refugees aboard, all but seven of whom were Jews fleeing death at the hands of the Nazis.  Schroeder was committed to finding his desperate passengers safe haven in any country that would accept them.  Intense negotiations with the Cuban government failed to get the refugees asylum on Cuban shores, although 29 passengers did manage to disembark there.  As for the Americans, they had immigration quotas which precluded the landing of the ship off of Florida’s shores.

Would you, the Canadian taxpayer, prefer to see refugee claimants in Canada work to support themselves and their family members or go on welfare, at your expense?  Silly question right?  Of course, refugee claimants should, to the extent that they are able, provide for themselves and their families while they are in Canada awaiting a refugee hearing.  For that very reason, our immigration laws specifically allow refugee claimants to apply for a work permit so that they can lawfully work here and avoid having to resort to social assistance for the basic necessities of life.

I have often heard it said that if you saw how hot dogs were made you would probably never eat another one again.
That’s why sausage manufacturers are not prone to inviting the public to witness the inner workings of their meat processing plants. The business, I am told, can be a bit ... unappetizing.  Same goes with the formulation of immigration policy, especially in a country like Canada.  Like religion and politics, immigration is a hot-button topic sure to inflame passions and expose deep prejudices. There are powerful emotions that can easily, and inadvertently, be unleashed with even a hint of a minor policy change.

Having landed safely on Canadian soil, George Galloway, the controversial former British MP, is threatening to sue Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney for “denying” him entry to Canada last spring when Galloway was planning to speak here about the Middle East conflict and the war on terrorism.  If Galloway makes good on this threat, he will have some major hurdles to overcome.  Firstly, in the highly anticipated decision released last week by Canada’s Federal court, Mr. Justice Mosley took great pains to make the point that Galloway was, not in fact, “barred from Canada” by Kenney.


When I checked my inbox this morning I found a very important email from an organization of immigration professionals which I belong to.  In fact, this email is so crucial to my ability to practice immigration law that I forwarded it to all of my staff, saved it in our firm’s electronic address book, and printed it for inclusion in the binder that sits on my desk right by my telephone.
Yet, the truth is that this email makes me feel like I am a silent partner in a bit of a deception being perpetrated on the public by CIC. Let me explain.

In a democracy, it is not enough for laws to be interpreted fairly. They must also be applied and enforced fairly. Simply speaking, everyone should be treated the same.  For example, if two people were to be found speeding the government shouldn’t treat one more harshly than the other for political reasons.

Should a person who has used marijuana be required need to have their head examined?  That is the question that arose this past summer when a lawyer in my office received a very unusual request from a Canadian visa post relating to the application for permanent residence of one of our clients.  The applicant underwent the standard medical test that all intending immigrants must take before being approved for landing in Canada. During the course of the test, the doctor asked him whether or not he had ever used drugs.

Travelling internationally as a family of six isn’t always easy.  There’s the planning, the bookings, the work at the office that has to be wrapped up, the arrangements for the house, the packing…Then there are the pets...the dog, the parrots, the fish, and the overgrown turtle. There are snacks for the kids...the passports.  There is the “Did I forget anything” routine.
I forgot to cancel the newspapers. I’ll do that at the airport.  For once...I’m not so late. I booked my boarding passes online and still have two hours to make the flight.

According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Canada, cystic fibrosis (CF) is a very complex disease and is the most common, fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. There is no cure for it.  A thick build-up of mucus affects the lungs and digestive systems of our children and makes it difficult for them to breath and digest food.

Weddings and marriages are supposed to be joyous occasions.  However, in the immigration context, they can spell heaps of trouble and the end of an immigrant’s Canadian dream.

Jason Kenney’s “Balanced Refugee Reform Act” received royal assent on June 29th and has become the law of the land.  The stated purpose of the reform package is to speed up the refugee process and to save some tax dollars.  According to government sources, it currently takes about 19 months to decide the average refugee claim, 4.5 years to actually remove a failed refugee claimant from Canada, and $50,000, on average, in government resources to do so.

With the G-20, the rioting, and the World Cup in full swing, it is no wonder that Canada’s immigration minister, Jason Kenney, anticipated some suspicion on Friday about the timing of his announcement of his wide-sweeping changes to our Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSW) and our Immigrant Investor Program (IIP).

Patricia is from St. Vincent. She arrived in Canada 11 years ago as a visitor and never left. For almost a decade she has been working here six days a week, without authorization, as a personal support worker for Sam, a 76-year-old bed-ridden senior. His relatives consider her a God-send.

It was supposed to herald the end of the “wild west” days of immigration consulting.  In June 2002 the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA”) became law and for the first time in Canadian history, allowed our federal cabinet to regulate immigration consultants.  At that time anybody, and I mean anybody, could describe themselves as an immigration consultant and many did.


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