Myths About Canada

A friend of Clarke Law posted an article on myths about Canada. He immigrated from the United States in 2004 and he has been happily living with his Canadian spouse. His article can be found here: What is it about Canada that American liberals are not getting? Suppose I’m an American liberal, and I successfully and legally move to Canada, what would be my first unexpected, and biggest surprise? Why? What is the biggest distortion about Canada?

Enjoy!

Free Presentation: Law in the Library

As part of the Law in the Library series, Alastair Clarke will be giving a free presentation to the public on October 19, 2017 at St. Boniface Library at 131 Provencher Boulevard. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Free Presentation

Topics:

Please note that we cannot give individual legal advice during this free presentation. The purpose of the presentation is for information purposes and to inform the public on changes to Canadian Immigration Law. We constantly talk to clients who hear wrong information or information that is out of date. The laws in Canada for immigration and refugees are constantly in flux. Our goal is to make sure that Manitobans understand the laws so they can avoid mistakes and they have clear expectations when they submit applications to IRCC or CBSA of any of the Visa Offices around the world.

For more information, check out the CLEA Website for more details and to RSVP.

CLEA’s Mission Statement:

CLEA is a charitable organization that provides legal information to Manitobans. We believe that legal knowledge is necessary for full and equal participation in our society.

CLEA develops programs and resources especially to work with communities where there are understood needs. These services help individuals better understand our legal system and how to resolve their legal issues.

Goals

Program Strategy

To meet the diverse information needs of our community, we have adopted the following objectives to help us plan our programs:

  • Individuals Focus To provide information about the law, legal system and sources of legal assistance in response to requests.
  • Intermediaries Focus To provide service providers and representative groups with information about: the law, legal system, sources of legal assistance and law reform.

Access to Justice Focus

To identify barriers and promote possible solutions to support a more equitable and accessible justice system that is responsive to the needs of Manitoba’s diverse communities.

WFP: American family gets another chance to stay in Canada

Clarke immigration law has been representing the American family with their application for Permanent Resident Status in Canada through the MPNP-Business program. The media has been extremely supportive and this American family has received significant support from their rural community in Manitoba and across Canada.

The Winnipeg Free Press published an article with an update yesterday. Here is an excerpt:

MPNP

MPNP

The Warkentin family, faced with a looming deportation deadline, learned this week Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is allowing them to renew their application for permanent residency.

“Canada is letting us reopen our file and we have 60 days to resubmit more information and show our worthiness,” Jon Warkentin said over the phone from the family-owned Harvest Lodge outfitting business on the Waterhen River.

The Warkentins came to Canada from Colorado in 2013 to operate the outfitting business. They applied for permanent residency, intending to put down roots in the village of Waterhen, about 320 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.

A year after they arrived, the family was given a bleak diagnosis: the youngest of Jon and wife Karissa’s four children, then-three-year-old daughter Karalynn, had epilepsy and global-developmental delay.

The diagnosis threw a bureaucratic wrench into the family’s dreams of staying in Canada.

Ottawa denied their application this spring on the grounds Karalynn might cause “excessive demand” on health or social services in this country. As a result, the entire family faced being the imminent prospect of being forced out of the country when their current work permit expired Nov. 24.

This summer, they hired Winnipeg lawyer Alastair Clarke to explore their options.

Clarke worked through the bureaucracy, trying to convince federal officials to give the family a second shot. At the same time, he filed a motion in to have a federal judge look at the case.

It was the bureaucracy that came through first, Warkentin said, adding the family now has the choice of withdrawing the court action. The second chance offered this week gives the Warkentins what they wanted from a judge, without the need for time in court.

“The permanent residency is back in process, and they qualify for an extension to their work permit,” Clarke said.

Click here to read the full story by Alexandra Paul.

We will continue to support this American family with their goals of coming to Canada. This family came to invest in Manitoba as business leaders. They have invested more than $600,000.00 in Canada and, we believe, they will be contributing to Canada for decades in the future.

Presentation: Refugee Crisis in Manitoba

Please note that Alastair Clarke accepted an invitation to present at Menno Simons College tomorrow on the Refugee Crisis in Manitoba. Regular readers of this blog will know that Clarke Immigration Law has provided legal services to many of the refugee claimants who are coming to Canada from the United States. Many of this people, including women and children, are crossing on foot.

The event itself is from 12:30-1:20. Each presenter has 10 minutes to share on some aspect of the current migrant refugee crisis affecting out city and surrounding areas.

Though our event is over lunchtime, we are only able to provide a snack.

Alastair will be talking about  areas of refugee law:

  1. How the Safe Third Country Agreement is putting the people at risk
  2. An overview of the relevant sections of IRPA

The main focus of the presentation is to answer questions from the public and to engage discussion on these important issues. There has been a huge increase in the numbers of people who have been entering Manitoba and this refugee crisis is only going to get worse as the weather gets warmer and it becomes easier to cross. In addition, there is no indication that the American government is taking any steps to help the refugee claimants on their side of their border.

Success rates: Why some refugee claimants may have better odds in Canada

FROM NEWS1130.com

WINNIPEG – Bundled against bone-chilling cold, asylum-seekers hoping to gain refugee status in Canada have been trudging through ditches and fields along the border with the United States.

Many have already had refugee or asylum claims turned down in the U.S. and feel they may have more success in Canada. That assumption, say some immigration lawyers, is correct.

“I think that there is a lack of access to justice (for claimants in the United States),” said Bashir Khan, an immigration lawyer in Winnipeg.

“In most of Canada, you do get … a legal-aid assigned lawyer. You’re not put in immigration detention, so you are able to make long-distance calls to gather evidence that your lawyer may tell you is needed.”

Alastair Clarke, another immigration lawyer in the city, said he has represented people who have been rejected in the United States but are accepted in Canada.

“It happens regularly,” he said.

“In the United States, there’s a much higher rate of detention … and when the individual is detained, it’s much more difficult for them to access counsel. They have limited rights to legal counsel for legal advice, and the counsel who do represent them are often lawyers who don’t specialize in (immigration).”

Read the full article…

MPNP: From Temporary Status to PR Status

Backgrounder: Temporary Status

On a basic level, there are 4 levels of status in Canada: citizenship, permanent resident (PR) status, temporary status and without status. Individuals come to us with all levels of status and we work to either keep their existing status, for them to gain status themselves or for them to help someone else with their status (for example: their spouse). Each level of status affords different levels of rights and privileges. For example, someone with temporary status does not have the right to work unless they have a work permit or other permission whereas a permanent resident can work anywhere in Canada.

One Route from Temporary Status to Permanent Status

When we are contacted by an individual overseas, one common scenario is that they often have a means to come to Canada for a visit or they are interested in studying but their goal is to move permanently. Canadian law allows to have a “duel intent” when entering the country; a foreigner can enter on a temporary visa with the intention to come for a visit and, at the same time, also have the long-term goal of staying permanently.

Caution: in these circumstances, we would recommend that you hire a representative to draft submissions to the Officer to avoid being detained or refused entry.

One route to PR status is through studying and working in Canada. The steps are these: 1. TRV + Study Permit; 2. Post Graduate Work Permit; 3. MPNP Skilled Worker Application; 4. PR application to IRCC.

Step 1: Study Permit

Study Permits are issued by Canadian Visa Offices abroad. International students contribute to Canadian universities both financially and culturally. In tuition, they pay considerably more than other students. According to Statistics Canada, students can pay more than $35,000 per year for an undergraduate program:

Tuition ON

In Manitoba, there are 2 many benefits for choosing to study in this province: 1. tuition may be less comparable to other urban centres; 2. positive tax benefits for money paid in tuition through the Tuition Fee Income Tax Rebate (up to $25,000 may be deducted).

Temporary Status

These rebates are only a benefit, however, if the individual files taxes in Canada and lives in Manitoba. It is not open to residents of other provinces.

Step 2. Post Graduate Work Permit

A work permit issued under the Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) program may be issued by IRCC to a foreign student for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of 3 years. This is beneficial for both the students, who wish to work in Canada and continue to establish themselves, the Canadian employers and the Canadian economy. As mentioned by Minister John MacCallum at the CBA Immigration Conference in April 2016 in Vancouver, he sees foreign graduates of Canadian universities as one of the top priorities of IRCC.

Be prepared. Please note that the timelines for applying for the PGWP program are strict. Failure to apply early and/or meet the requirements may lead to a refused application.

Step 3: MPNP Skilled Worker in Manitoba stream

When the foreign national completes 6 months of full-time, continuous work in Manitoba and the company provides an Offer Letter, then the individual may apply under the MPNP program (other factors notwithstanding). This application may lead to a Nomination Certificate from the Manitoba government and the support of the province.

For more information about MPNP applications and tips on how to succeed with a MPNP application, see our previous posts on this subject.

Step 4: PR application to IRCC

After the applicant receives the Certificate, they may apply for PR status to the federal government. For more information about applications and fees, please contact our office directly.

Thank you to Friends of Filipino Immigrants!

Alastair Clarke received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Friends of Filipino Immigrants. Thank you to the organization and all the volunteers. It is a pleasure to work with the community and help to build the Filipino community in Manitoba! We had a very nice turnout from volunteers, friends and clients. We do this work to help bring people together and fix their immigration problems.

FilipinoFilipino community

 

 

 

 

 

Working with members of the Filipino community is very rewarding. Many immigrants come to Manitoba through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) and they become Permanent Residents of Canada.

Award from the Friends of Filipino Immigrants in Manitoba

We work with the FFIM to make sure that families are reunited in Winnipeg and other communities around Manitoba. They provide excellent services and, where appropriate, knowledgable referrals. We look forward to continued work with families and businesses to strengthen the economy and bring families together.
FilipinoIn a future post, we may scan the Certificate and post it on the blog. Right now, it is hanging in the office next to other gifts from clients.

Guest Speaker at University of Manitoba, Dept of Labour Studies

Please note that Alastair Clarke has been invited to be the Guest Speaker at the University of Manitoba in the Department of Labour Studies to give a presentation on Canadian Immigration law and how it relates to workers. This presentation will be geared towards the students in Labour Studies; however members of the public may participate by contacting Professor Simeone directly.

Topic covered include:

TFWP

  • Temporary Foreign Work Program
  • Labour Market Impact Assessment applications (LMIA)
  • Health care for workers
  • Regularizing status for temporary residents
  • Legal rights of temporary workers

The presentation will be held at the University of Manitoba on March 24th from 10:00AM to 11:30AM.

Contact our office by clicking here or contact Instructor Daniel Simeone directly for more details.

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.

Repost: Immigration Reform: Low Hanging Fruit

This post regarding “Immigration Reform” was originally published on Slaw.ca by Alastair Clarke, 22 January 2016:

There is no doubt that our current government has been busy since November 4th and, as an immigration lawyer, the change in rhetoric (and action!) has been like a zephyr warming up the winter blues. I still have clients mention to me that they saw the Prime Minister at the airport greetings refugees. (In photos, not live. He did not grace the Winnipeg airport with his presence.) Well done, PMJT! And now Minister John McCallum announced that they will be looking to change the loan repayment rules for refugees so that they are fair. Another move in the right direction.

Immigration reform

Courtesy of Pexels.com

The above actions should not be trivialized and there are certainly positive changes to come. At some point, however, Minister McCallum and the government need to turn its collective mind to legislative immigration reform. There are many sections of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), its Regulations and the Citizenship Act that simply need to be amended or repealed. Here is a list of low-hanging fruit:

  • Amend or repeal the changes to the Citizenship Act (Bill C-24) which created “second-class” citizens and, in my view, is antithetical to what it means to be Canadian. Mitch Goldberg rightly pointed out that the provisions put every Canadian Jew at risk.
  • Reversing the change in age of a “dependent child” in section 2 of IRPA. Previously, the definition took into account the reality that students in full-time studies over the age of 19 remain dependent upon their parents.
  • Amend or repeal the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act which has, in too many cases, transferred the burden of assessing whether a Permanent Resident should be allowed to stay in Canada (often with his/her family) from a tribunal that could hear testimony and properly assess the circumstances to a CBSA Officer who mostly concerned with enforcement.
  • Amend or repeal the 1 year ban on filing Humanitarian & Compassionate (H&C) applications for failed refugee claimants. It has become very clear that there are significant cases where individuals may fail to meet the oft-high bar of satisfying a Member they are refugees (per sections 96 or 97 of IRPA) but, at the same time, there is significant hardship to merit a successful H&C application.
  • Make the Open Spousal Work Permit permanent. After its first year, it was clearly a huge success. Many couples in Canada from benefited from the program and, in a small way, the Canadian economy has benefited. Instead of extending the “pilot program” into a second year, just make it permanent.

The list is short, with broad public support, so it seems fitting to call it “low hanging fruit”. I believe Minister McCallum was on the Standing Committee that considered Bill C-24 so he is well-acquainted with the issues on that point. In addition, the above changes would mean significant immigration reform that would have a positive impact on many individuals, including Canadian citizens (who are often unaware of immigration law), Permanent Residents of Canada and other people. Minister McCallum can pick this fruit, win some advocates and muster up momentum to tackle some of the more thorny issues (off the top of my head: LMIA, EE, s.34(1)(f), DCOs, s.117(9)(d), etc.). I will leave my comments on these for future posts.