Free Presentation: Law in the Library – Transcona

Please note that Alastair Clarke will be giving a free presentation on citizenship law and other changes to immigration law at Transcona Library as part of the Law in the Library Series presented by the Community Legal Education Association.

Here is a description of the program:

Are you new to Canada? Are you looking for help in some legal aspects of immigration? Join us for a free program to help provide you with legal information that you may need. Our guest lawyer Alastair Clarke will cover issues like immigration options, sponsorship, citizenship applications, bringing family members to Manitoba, MPNP and other options. Please bring questions for the lawyer to answer!

For more information, contact the library directly at 204-986-3954.

Premier Plans to Eliminate MPNP Backlog

Premier Pallister announced changes and improvement to the MPNP program today, including a promise to eliminate the MPNP backlog. Here is an excerpt from the News Release:Winnipeg Immigration Lawyer

The premier noted the changes announced today are part of a new Labour Market Strategy for Immigration that focuses on:
• innovative partnerships with industry and post-secondary institutions that build pathways to employment for international students and skilled newcomers, including those in regulated occupations, to better prepare and match them to in-demand jobs in Manitoba;
• the selection of skilled workers with high potential for early and strong attachment to the labour market and who meet education, training and language requirements;
• the selection of entrepreneurs with a strong potential to establish high-investment, job-creating businesses in all regions of the province; and
• the elimination of the current MPNP backlog by April 2017 to ensure all future applicants receive a higher standard of service and are processed in less than six months.

We will have to see how these announcements will affect our clients and MPNP applicants. If they are able to eliminate the backlog, this could lead to increased efficiency.

The Premier went on to say:

“Manitoba is once again open for business, offering a diverse economic base with areas of undiscovered potential ready for the expansion of existing businesses, development of our entrepreneurial talent, and attraction of new investment and the opportunities it will bring,” said Pallister.  “Renewing Manitoba’s Provincial Nominee Program will facilitate the inclusion of skilled immigrant workers as an integral part in the development of our labour market and Manitoba’s economy as a whole.”

For a complete version of the announcement, please visit the Government of Manitoba’s website.

PR Status for Client

I received this email from a client and I wanted to share it on this page. We will also post it in the Testimonials page. We have been working with clients for a long time (as you know, many immigration files take years) and it has been a pleasure. It is particularly nice when the client gets Permanent Resident status in the end after a failed refugee claim (we did not represent) and other issues.

I have not edited or amended the review in any way. I have divided the review into 2 parts. The first part describes his immigration history:Client

I was introduced to Alastair in the Fall of 2015 by a friend who knew that I was in big trouble with CIC and needed help with my Canadian immigration process . 

Prior to meeting Alastair , all my applications for Permanent Residency had failed : my refugee claim , the humanitarian and compassionate considerations grounds ( H&C) , the Pre Removal application and applications for a temporary resident permit. I was in process of being removed/deported from Canada.  

This second part describes the work that we did for this client:

After I met Alastair , he looked at my case , did lots of research and we started working on a new H&C and Express Entry applications .Whenever I needed to see/talk him, he was always available (even on the weekends ) and he kept me informed of any new developments or any aspects I needed to know about my case. We submitted the two applications to CIC in 2016.

His dedication , knowledge , research and impeccable work paid off : both applications ( Express  Entry and H&C ) were recently approved by CIC and I am now waiting to get my Permanent Residency card in my mailbox .

Thank you so much Alastair for your great work! 

I highly recommend Alastair to anyone who needs help with Canadian immigration.

Jean K.

This client is fluent in French and English. He also wrote his review in French:

Dans le Printemps 2015 , un ami qui était au courant de mes nombreuses mésaventures dans mon processus d’immigration au Canada m’a présenté à Alastair.

Avant de rencontrer Alastair, toutes mes demandes pour une résidence permanente au Canada avait échouées : demande de refuge, demande pour considerations d’ordre humanitaire , examen de risques avant renvoi et  permis de séjour temporaire. 

J’étais deja dans le processus d’être renvoyé du Canada.

Obviously, this case was very serious when we started work. Thankfully, it ended with a great result – for this client and for Canada!

Apres avoir rencontré Alastair , il a pris très au sérieux mon dossier , a fait de très nombreuses recherches  et on a commencé a travailler sur deux nouvelles demandes : une pour considerations d’ordre humanitaires et une autre pour entree express.

Il était toujours disponible quand j’avais besoin de lui parler ou le voir (meme durant les weekends) et il m’a gardé informé de l’état d’avancement de mon dossier . On a déposé les deux demandes en 2016. 

Sa determination , son savoir faire, les recherches et son travail impeccable ont payé : les deux demandes ont toutes été approuvées par Immigration Canada et maintenant j’attends de recevoir ma carte de residence permanente.

Merci beaucoup Alastair pour ton travail extraordinaire !

Je recommande très vivement Alastair à quiconque aurait des questions ou a besoin d’aide pour immigrer au Canada.  

Jean K.

Please note: our regular office hours are from 9AM to 5PM; however, we do meet clients on weekends and during the evening when necessary.

MPNP: How to Apply … and Tips!

A successful Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) application leads to Permanent Resident status in Canada. Ideally, we prefer to assist clients with their MPNP application from start to finish. Clients, however, often approach us after when they are already in the process and they encounter an issue that they cannot handle themselves (or that their consultant cannot handle). The MPNP website provides a basic 3 steps on their website on how to apply for the MPNP. In reality, however, there are many more steps involved in creating a strong application. Here is a guide to the process to help you understand all the steps and the work involved:

Step 1: Initial Assessment and Document Review

During this stage, it is important to build the application based on your circumstances to put together the best application. We almost never see an initial application that is perfect. There are many different categories and types of circumstances that MPNP look at. It is important to make sure the application is strong before you send it to the government.

Step 2: Points Calculation and SubmissionImmigrate to Manitoba

After we have strengthened the application to give the applicant the best chance of success, we review the points calculation based on relevant law and policy. After we determine that the application is strong, then we can proceed to the next step.

TIP: Submitting a weak application that leads to a refusal can negatively impact future applications.

When the points calculation leads to the best possible result, we submit the preliminary information to MPNP and create an Expression of Interest (EOI) Profile online. The system generates an EOI Ranking Points assessment based on the information provided. This points calculation will be used to compare your application with all the other applicants in the MPNP pool.

There is no government fee for submitting an application to MPNP.

Step 3: Monitor the MPNP Draws and Review the Minimum Necessary Points

The MPNP program constantly reviews the applications in the system. They select the applications is the highest scores in their pool every 2 weeks or every month in a regular “draw”. They produce statistics from the draw and publish the numbers on their website here. 

According to MPNP: “The highest-scoring qualified candidates with a connection to Manitoba are invited to submit an MPNP application.”

Since the first draw in early 2015, the minimum required points has varied from the 400s to the 700s. The applications are determined based on many factors, including the labour market and the strength of the other applications in the pool at any given time.

MINIMUM POINTS FOR 8 JUNE 2016 DRAW: SKILLED WORKERS IN MANITOBA: 665 POINTS & SKILLED WORKERS OVERSEAS: 550

The EOI profile remains in the system for 1 year and will be considered during every draw, after the preliminary assessment.

Step 4: After Applicant is Selected, Letter of Advice to Apply (LAA)

When the initial application is successful in one of the regular draws by MPNP, they issue a Letter of Advice to Apply (LAA). The letter acknowledges that Manitoba is interested in the initial application and they are requested to submit a full application within 60 days. At this step, the applicant is required to produce supporting documentation to show all the material facts in the initial application (at the EOI stage) are true.

Clients regularly contact us after they receive the LAA. One potential issue is that the information provided and supporting documentation at the LAA stage must be consistent with the information provided at the EOI stage. If there are inconsistencies, MPNP may investigate the application.MPNP

TIP: Make sure all the information submitted for the initial EOI is 100% accurate to avoid future issues and frustration. Preparation is key to success.

BONUS TIP: If you chose to submit the EOI yourself, retain copies of all information provided so that your representative has all the necessary materials to help you at the LAA stage.

There is no government fee for submitted the full application to MPNP at the LAA stage.

Step 5: MPNP Nomination Certificate

Congratulations! The government of Manitoba has a limited number of certificates. For 2016, the federal government has allocated 5,500 certificates to the province. Once an applicant receives a certificate, the province will support the application for Permanent Resident status to the federal government (IRCC).

Step 6: PR Application to IRCC

At this point, the PR application is processed with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) at the federal level. Normally, the IRCC Officer in charge with examination screens the application for inadmissibility; however, they also have the power to conduct an investigation into settlement issues and misrepresentation, based on individual circumstances.

The fees for submitting the PR application to IRCC vary depending on the family size. The minimum fee for this application is CAD $550.00.

Step 7: RPRF

Once the application has passed all the steps above, the last step is the pay the Right of Permanent Resident Fee (CAD $490.00), unless the applicant falls within one of the exempt categories. After the fee is paid and the PR Visa is validated, the applicant “lands” in Canada and has all the rights of a Permanent Resident.

MPNP: How to Apply – Conclusion

At Clarke Law, we guide you through all the steps above. Our professional fees for the services listed are available online. If you would like assistance, please contact us directly.

Cultural Shift at IRCC: #sunnydays

Two weeks ago, more than 500 immigration professionals descended into Vancouver for the sold-out annual CBA Immigration Conference. Minister McCallum gave the keynote address and members of his department presented on many aspects of immigration and refugee law, from overseas sponsorship applications for refugees to inadmissibility issues to the interpretation of Kanthasamy and its impact on H&C applications. Overall, the quality of speakers was superb (for the record, I was not a speaker) and the dialogue was candid and respectful. I will not get into the substantive points of the conference here but one point has stuck with me: since the Liberals have regained power, there has been a dramatic shift in the tone and candour from IRCC staff. In short, we witnessed a significant cultural shift within the department, and in my view, a positive change.

IRCC Open to Criticism

From the Minister to each and every speaker, the IRCC representatives were open to feedback and criticism throughout the conference. In particular, it was refreshing to hear Officers readily acknowledge shortcomings of the system and the concrete steps they are taking to deal with issues. In many sessions, Officers emphasized, “please remember that we are your friends” and they took every concern raised seriously. Until I hear otherwise, I will give them the benefit of the doubt and believe that those notes will not simply gather dust.

After Minister McCallum’s speech, he was scheduled to sit with Chantal Desloges, a regular critic of Liberal policies in the media (and a personal friend of mine). Chantal was poised to ask some tough questions but instead deferred to her colleagues and let the Minister field questions from the audience. Near the end, he prompted her to ask a tough question to which she replied, “actually, I can’t disagree with anything you’ve said!”

Where Are The Defenders? 

I was reminded of this conference today while reading Lawrence Martin’s piece, The frustrations of being Governor-General. Referring to the recent Duffy decision, Martin writes:

“Mind-boggling and shocking” the judge wrote of the comportment of the office of then-prime minister Stephen Harper. “Unacceptable” in a “democratic society.”

The judge’s portrait – hello Harperland – was more affirmation of what many have been saying for years about the way these people operated. It was telling that hardly a Conservative could be found to come to the microphone to defend their former ruler against the charges.

In the same way that there are scant defenders of how Harper operated, there were also scant defenders of the Conservative policies and laws under the mandate of IRCC that are being systematically dismantled.

#Sunnydays

Clearly, we are still in a honeymoon phase with the current government. They are still open to our wish-lists of policies to amend. This phase will, of course, end at some point and we will miss these sunny days. In the meantime, it is refreshing to have open and candid conversations with IRCC Officers in public (previously, I found that the best way was to speak with them outside the office to get honest and uncensored feedback). As Chantal noted: “If I had to put it in a nutshell, I would say that what I walked away with is that people are feeling a great deal of positivity and hope with the new government when it comes to immigration.”

The question is: will this government continue to inspire positivity and hope through its actions, not just its promises?

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS POST HAS BEEN CROSS-PUBLISHED ON SLAW.CA.

Immigration Questions from Presentations

These past few weeks have been very busy and we wanted to thank everyone for their support. At the PCCM event on Jan 30th, more than 100 people came to the event. The room was full and the audience was engaged. Last night, we have a presentation at Munroe Library in Winnipeg and, again, the room was packed and there was active participation. We met folks from Ukraine, Philippines, India, Pakistan, the USA, Nigeria, Egypt, Australia, El Salvador and many others. We answered many immigration questions. Here are some of the questions that Mr. Clarke answered during the 5 hours of presentations:

  • If my Super Visa is going to expire but my husband has submitted an In-Canada Spousal Sponsorship application, do I need to apply to extend my Visa?
  • Can I sponsor my brother in Punjab?Immigration Questions
  • If my MPNP application is refused, how do I appeal the decision?
  • I want my mother from the Philippines to come and take care of my children. How do I bring her to Canada?
  • MPNP is no longer accepting applications from Nurses and my sister is a Nurse. How I can I help her come to Manitoba?
  • My son married a woman from Wisconsin and she has children from a previous marriage. Do the children become Permanent Residents too?
  • What are the benefits of becoming a Canadian citizen?
  • If I become a citizen, do I lose my American citizenship?
  • My brother was refused entry to Canada but we don’t know why. How can we find out?
  • How long does it take for a MPNP application?
  • How many people can I support for MPNP applications?
  • My brother wants to come to Canada but he is not sure if he will come to Manitoba. He is interested in Toronto. If I help him with his MPNP application, can he move to Toronto? Can Manitoba come after me?
  • How long does it take to process a Parental Class application?
  • How many times can I extend my visa?
  • And many more!

If you have any of these questions or you have other immigration questions, please come to the next presentation or contact our office. Click here for information on how to schedule an appointment.

Winnipeg Readers: Feb 8th Free Presentation

Immigration Presentation

Law in the Library: Feb 8th Registration

Winnipeg Public Library has opened the registration for the Feb 8th presentation. For more information, CLICK HERE.

LAW IN THE LIBRARY