Success: Citizenship for Minors

Depending on the circumstance, Canadians whose children were born abroad may apply directly for their citizenship so that they can easily come home. Since the pandemic hit the global collective consciousness, we have helped many families, including minors, with their move back home. Notwithstanding universal health care and the CERB, Canada has become a global model for governance and leadership. After less than 2 months of processing time, we recently received two (2) Citizenship Certificates for the children of a Canadian living in the USA. Due to COVID-19 and other factors, she does not feel safe in the USA and she will be moving home asap.

Minors

This photo is used with permission and it does not depict our clients.

Typically, Citizenship grants for minors take much longer than 2 months. In this case, our client demonstrated exceptional circumstances and the IRCC Officer agreed to urgent processing.

Our goal is to help our clients fulfill their immigration dreams. As far as I’m concerned, our country is built on immigration and, therefore, our work leads to a win-win situation. Our clients are happy they are able to come (or stay) in the best country in the world (we are bias, of course) and, at the same time, Canada benefits from the skills and experience.

Applications for minor children have their challenges. It can be difficult to obtain sufficient evidence and there may be objections by parents and/or guardians. The key is to prepare a strong application where the Officer clearly understands the best interests of the child (BIOC) or children who are directly affected by the application.

Congratulations to our clients! We wish them all the best on their relocation to Manitoba. As part of our plan to reopen the province and get the economy back on track, they will need to abide by their 14-day Quarantine Plan as we are trying to limit the number of infections from the USA.

COVID19 – UPDATE 7/APR/2020

UPDATE: 7/APRIL/2020

Please note that we will not be providing additional updates to this page. There have been many changes to laws, regulations and policies due to COVID19. We have been in contact with lawyers from across Canada to stay up to date with changes and amendments.

If you have any specific questions on how the changes may impact your application or your situation, please book a consultation with a lawyer.

UPDATE: 24/MARCH/2020

OK – to mitigate the spread of COVID19, the Ontario government declared that all non-essential services must close starting tomorrow and we expect Manitoba will follow suit soon. The numbers of infected continue to rise and the governments are doing everything in their power.

LAWYERS ARE “ESSENTIAL” SERVICE

The list is out. Lawyers and law firms are considered an essential service. We will continue to monitor the situation. Again, most staff at Clarke Law are working remotely. We only have 2 staff in the office to keep things up and running; however, we are not holding in-person meetings in the office. Feel free to drop off documents and we have been getting daily packages.

NOTE: Immigration consultants are not on the list. As per usual, please contact an appropriate expert for assistance.

LEADING BY EXAMPLE

I have to commend our valiant leader PM Trudeau who is working from home in isolation. He is managing his busy household, with 3 young children, by himself while leading our country through very difficult times.

We watch his daily briefings and he remains poised. Lead by example. Well done Sir!

BORDERLINES PODCAST

My colleagues in Vancouver have published an episode on The Canadian Immigration Consequences of COVID19. This does not seem to appear on their website (yet) so I would encourage you to find it in your podcast app.

In particular, it is nice to hear some optimism from Deanna!

START IN-CANADA REFUGEE CLAIM BY EMAIL

As the IRCC Offices across Canada have closed due to COVID19, refugee claims in Canada are being submitted by email: IRCC.RefugeeClaim-Demandedasile.IRCC@cic.gc.ca

We have been in regular contact with the IRB-RPD (Western Region) and we have been advised that all hearings have been postponed until 1 MAY 2020.

UPDATE: 23/MARCH2020

We had a busy weekend. The land border with the USA closed at midnight on Friday due to COVID19, causing a lot of confusion. I am not sure how “Tutor” became part of the definition of “immediate family member”.

COVID19

COVID19

IN-PERSON MEETINGS CANCELLED

In our office, most of our staff are working from home. We will continue to work on files and submit applications to maintain high standards. At the same time, we must do our part to fight this COVID19 virus from spreading. We encourage all our clients to contact us by telephone – 2045996966 or by email info@apply2manitoba.ca

MANITOBA STATE OF EMERGENCY

The provincial government has declared a State of Emergency to manage the spread of COVID19. These are extreme measures for extreme times. We are all taking these measures very seriously and we fully support any and all measures to protect the health and safety of residents.

This means that groups over 50 people are banned. Gyms are closed. Most retail will close. See the government website for details. We are taking this day by day.

UPDATE: 20/MARCH/2020

ASYLUM SEEKERS FROM USA

The Canadian government has further restricted border entries. Asylum seekers (refugee claimants) who seek to enter Canada at Ports of Entry will be refused entry. Asylum seekers (refugee claimants) who attempt irregular crossings into Canada will be returned to the US as part of an “exceptional measure” to protect residents in Canada.

During a news briefing, Minister Blair has acknowledged exceptions, including unaccompanied minors, to filing a refugee claim at the border. Claims at the US-Canada border have decreased by half from ~40 daily to ~20 daily. They will be returned to the USA and the Minister has advised that they will not be detained.

QUARANTINE ACT LEGISLATION

Emergency legislation through the Quarantine Act limits entry to Canada, including “immediate family members” as defined by the new Order. This provides clarity on the previous announcements that will limit access to Canadian soil.

Individuals crossing from the US may be required to spend a period of 14 days in the US due to COVID19 before they will be allowed to enter Canada.

FASTER PROCESSING TIMES

Minister Freeland has indicated that IRCC may be processing applications faster than usual. She has indicated that we need to recognize the need for “speed over attention”. She has emphasized the importance of processing files quickly. We are waiting for confirmation and details from Minister Mendicino’s office.

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UPDATE 19/MARCH/2020

US VISA OFFICES – CUTTING SERVICES

The US Government has announced that Visa Offices around the world will be cutting services and canceling appointments. This is an unprecedented decision that will impact thousands of applications.

We believe the Canadian government may issue a similar order to Canadian Visa Offices. If you are in process of submitting an application, we encourage you to submit ASAP while the Visa Offices are still open.

CANADA/USA BORDER RESTRICTIONS

Through a mutual agreement, the Canadian and US government have agreed to limit travel across the land border to essential travel only. This is an attempt to limit tourism and cross-border shopping. There are exemptions for trade and/or trucking. Governments are working hard due to the numbers of COVID19 infections.

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UPDATE 18/MARCH/2020

Please note that we have been dealing with the pandemic and monitoring the developments closely. We are trying to reply to all concerns in a systemic and orderly manner.

IRB – HEARINGS POSTPONED

Please note that most hearings at the tribunal have been postponed. This included refugee claims, admissibility hearings, and appeals. If you have a hearing that has been scheduled, we will provide updates from the IRB. Currently, the IRB front offce is closed to the public and they have released this message, published in 16/MARCH/2020. IRB Members are working on current cases and we received a positive decision today.

ENTERING CANADA

Please note that the Government of Canada has temporarily restricted entry to Canada. Previously, only Canadian citizens, PRs and a few exemptions have been permitted entry. Today, there may be additional restrictions. The situation has been changing daily, based on the risk assessment. If you or your loved ones are seeking entry to Canada, please review the changes that are published on news outlets, including CBC News.

REMOVALS AND DEPORTATIONS

CBSA has currently suspended all removals from Canada, including Departure Orders, Exclusion Orders and Deportation Orders; however, there are exceptions.

APPOINTMENTS WITH IRCC

IRCC has suspended in person meetings with Officers. Currently, they have announced that meetings may resume on 13/APRIL/2020; however, that may change depending on the pandemic.

Successful applications who are scheduled to land and become Permanent Residents, need to contact IRCC if they are unable to travel. This includes COPR and PRV cases.

BIOMETRICS

All biometrics appointments inside Canada have been cancelled until further notice. IRCC has granted an automatic extension of 90 days.

For biometrics appointments outside Canada, please contact the appropriate VAC or ASC.

CITIZENSHIP APPLICATIONS

Please note that CPC Sydney has temporarily closed and the office is not accepting packages. We will be submitting documentation as soon as they resume operations.

CROSSING THE BORDER & POEs

Please keep in mind that CBSA Officers at the border are on the front line. They have put in place measures to keep the Officers safe and, at the same time, follow instructions from Ottawa. We have been advised by other law firms in Canada that POEs may refuse to process applications that are not urgent.

PR APPLICATIONS

Applications for Permanent Residence and many other applications are being accepted. IRCC is encouraging all applicants to submit online, if possible.

FEDERAL COURT – APPLICATIONS FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW

The Court has issued a Notice regarding deadlines and ALJR. This information is effective 17/MARCH/2020

MIGRANT WORKERS & FARMING

We have been monitoring the situation. IRCC is acutely aware of the needs of the farming and agricultural sector. Current border restrictions may impact many workers who have travel plans. At this point, we encourage all temporary workers to monitor the situation closely.

LEGAL AID MANITOBA

LAM has announced that it will accept application online and their office is currently closed.

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13/MARCH/2020

We want to thank all our clients and partners for continued patience, cooperation and understanding during this COVID29 pandemic. We have taken unprecedented actions to keep our staff safe and healthy. These precautions have been put in place to ensure that we can continue to work and serve our clients. We will continue to do the work that we love; however, we also need to stay safe & healthy.

If you have come to the office recently, you have noticed the new signage. We announced the ban on shaking hands at the beginning of 2020 and we have put in place additional measures to limit personal contact and adhere to social distancing. In addition, starting on March 11th, we have put in place additional cleaning and other procedures to protect the office from viruses. We have added purification systems and many other measures for protection.

We have also put in place additional procedures so that staff can work remotely from home, if necessary. We are monitoring ourselves regularly to make sure we are safe and healthy. We are taking the COVID19 pandemic seriously and we want to make sure that we follow all precautions so that we are not infected and that we do not infect anyone who comes to our office.

Please take all measures to stay healthy.

Enhanced Travel Document

The Manitoba government continues to provide “enhanced” documents that serve as alternatives to a Canadian Passport for crossing the border into the United States by land and/or water. In certain circumstances, this enhanced travel document makes it easy to travel between Canada and the USA. The enhanced features allow the individual to cross the border easily and efficiently.

Currently, the only Canadian provinces to offer the enhanced documents are Manitoba, Ontario and BC. As noted below, Ontario may be canceling their program in 2019. In my view, this document is a poorly understood and little-known document that is cheap and easy to get.

Features:

  • Alternative to a Passport;
  • Helps people cross easily over the border;
  • Less stuff in your wallet/ purse.

The Manitoba enhanced Driver’s Licence allows individuals to simply use their Licence to cross the border. We used to be able to do this when crossing into the USA; however, the laws changed so that regular (non-enhanced) Driver’s Licences are no longer sufficient to enter the United States:

By Land and Sea (including ferries) – Canadian citizens traveling to the U.S. by land or sea are required to present one of the travel documents listed below, and may generally visit the U.S. for up to six months. CBP will accept: Canadian passport, Enhanced Driver’s License/Enhanced Identification Card, NEXUS, FAST/EXPRES and SENTRI enrollment cards.

Ontario recently proposed to discontinue this service and they have eliminated this option:

Ontario is proposing to eliminate an enhanced driver’s licence that allows people to enter the United States at land and water border crossings without a passport.

The driver’s licence option was introduced in 2009, when the U.S. required passports or other secure identification for anyone crossing into the country by land or sea, but it hasn’t had the anticipated uptake.

British Columbia and Manitoba have enhanced driver’s licences, and Quebec used to, but phased out the program — other provinces rejected the idea because it was too costly or there wasn’t enough public interest.

If you or your contacts are interested in the enhanced travel document, please contact our office and we can help with the application.

Canadian Citizenship

At Clarke Immigration Law, we are thrilled to report that Tetyana Vavriychuk became a Canadian Citizen today! The entire office took time off to attend the ceremony and share this once-in-a-lifetime experience. The ceremony was done by Franco-Manitoban with roots in the Metis community. She gave an emotional presentation that focuses on the diversity of the Canadian population.Citizenship

Along with all the other eighty-one (81) individuals who became Canadian citizens, Tetyana was presented with a pass from the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC). Full disclosure, Alastair used to be a volunteer with the ICC and he passed our Cultural Passes to new Canadians when he practiced in Toronto.

NOTE: The photo above includes staff of Clarke Immigration Law, family & friends of Tetyana as well as officials from the Citizenship Ceremony. Thank you!

Canada Flag Pins

We had a client, about a month ago, who was preparing in our office before his hearing at the Immigration and Refugee Board. As we were leaving for the tribunal, he noticed Heavenly’s Canada Flag pin which she regularly wears on her lapel. He complimented her on it and, in turn, she gifted him the pin to give him good luck with his hearing. We got a positive decision on that day and, of course, the client was very happy.

Canada Flag pins

Since then, we contacted MP Jim Carr’s office and they have provided many new pins! So for anyone in downtown Winnipeg, feel free to come by to pick up a pin!

When I saw this new bag of Canada Flag pins, I actually felt quite nostalgic. I brought a bag of Canada Flag pins when I moved to Ecuador in 1993. While I was there, I handed them out to Ecuadorian, Colombian and Australian friends. They were extremely popular in the small city of Esmeraldas. I ran out of them very quickly and then I noticed that my friends would pass them around and trade them.

I also brought a small bag of pins with I moved to Tokyo to teach in a public Junior High School. I used the pins as rewards for students who did well on English assignments or tests. They were also very popular with my Japanese students. For them, it was not only an interesting international object that traveled to them from a far off land, it was also a badge of doing well in school. The trick was to try to get pins into different hands. I had a few students who were extremely good students and they would have earned all the pins.

At Clarke Immigration Law, we are going to give away these pins to all our clients who are preparing for their hearings. Hopefully it will also give them good luck and confidence!

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

CLEA: Immigration Presentation

As part of the Law in the Library series, Alastair Clarke will be giving a free presentation to the public on May 19, 2015 at St. Vital Library. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Topics:

  • Spousal Sponsorship applications
  • Temporary Resident Application
  • Temporary Resident Permits
  • Citizenship Applications
  • Dependent Children – changes to the definition in IRPA
  • Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program
  • And more more.

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