Congrats to all CEC Applicants!

For more than 27,000 applicants in Canada, they have been selected to apply through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) on 13 FEB 2021. As reported by IRCC, the minimum CRS score for this draw was only 75 points. Essentially, all candidates in the pool who had any merit to their application were selected and invited to apply for Permanent Resident status.

To qualify for the CEC category, applicants must demonstrate:

  • minimum language skills established through either IELTS or CELPIP or TEF; and,
  • at least 1 year of skilled work experience in Canada in the past 3 years.

There is no education requirement for the CEC Class. Basically, this category is designed for foreign workers in Canada who have been contributing to the Canadian economy. IELTS or CELPIP or TEF results are valid for 2 years only and they must be valid on the application date. CEC

This past draw is unprecedented. The minimum CRS score of 75 is extremely low and we cannot predict whether this type of draw may occur again in the future. To be clear, if your Express Entry profile is in the FSW stream, the FST stream, the PNP stream or any other path to Permanent Resident status, your profile will remain in the Express Entry system.

If you have been selected, we advise:

  • You must act quickly to obtain all the required documents
  • We expect significant delays at IRCC based on the large number of applicants
  • We expect a bottleneck at the PR application stage and long processing times

The Liberal Government has previously announced its immigration target for more than 400,000 new Permanent Residents in 2021 and it is aiming to increase the number of immigrants in future years. With +27,000 Principal Applicants on track to submit PR applications on behalf of themselves and their families, the 13 FEB 2021 draw may lead to +100,000 new Permanent Residents in Canada.

This past CEC draw is a huge opportunity for many skilled workers in Canada. We urge all applicants to focus on gathering documents to establish the eligibility requirements. Any applicant who is inadmissible for any reason, including misrepresentation, criminality or any other reason may receive a Procedural Fairness Letter from IRCC to provide an explanation. If you are in this situation, we would advise you find a representative to help.

Immigration Nation YouTube Interview

On 3 DEC 2020, Alastair was invited to Immigration Nation to answer questions on Canadian immigration laws and regulations. Mark Holthe has been providing very useful information for folks around the world and the focus of this interview was on our CIMM Testimony from 18 NOV 2020. Both Mark and Alastair gave testimony to the parliamentary committee based on our expertise and experience. You can view the entire 66 minute discussion on the Immigration Nation YouTube channel.

During the interview, folks from many countries participated including India, Brazil, Portugal and the United States. Here are some of the issues:

  • How does IRCC make or amend or changes Canadian laws and/or policies?
  • How are Spousal Sponsorships different from SCLPC Class applications?
  • Why can’t Applicants in SCLPC Class applications appeal to the tribunal?
  • How can I win a Spousal Sponsorship appeal at the IAD?
  • What do I do if I have a COPR but I cannot come to Canada?
  • How do I request an extension to IRCC?
  • Draw predictions for future CEC draws for Express Entry?
  • How many points are required for Express Entry applications?
  • Where can I get help with my Spousal Sponsorship application?
  • How is IRCC going to modernize and/or digitize the system?Immigration Nation
  • Why do even have paper-based applications?
  • How has COVID19 impacted the system?
  • Can applicants apply for a TRV while a Spousal Sponsorship is in process?
  • Please explain dual intent per s22 of IRPA.
  • Explain the new “fiancee visa” for getting authorization for applicants who are in “exclusive dating relationships”.
  • Do you have examples of foreign nationals getting authorization to join their partners in Canada?
  • How have MPNP applicants been affected by COVID19?
  • How do immigration lawyers deal with bad Google reviews?
  • How do lawyers protect themselves from fraud?
  • What happens when agents imposter a lawyer?
  • Can I submit expired Police Clearance Certificates to IRCC?

For information or answers to any of the above points, please watch the Immigration Nation interview. Mark has built a legal practice based on giving free information on his website for general questions. Please note, however, that he does not provide specific legal advice and he will advise that individuals need to book a consultation for a one-on-one conversation to discuss the details of the particular case.

Immigration Nation is a great resource for folks around the world who are interested in learning about Canadian immigration law. It was an honour and privilege for Alastair to be interviewed on this YouTube channel and talk about the issues above.

Changes to MPNP and Renewal

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program MPNP announced major changes to the program. The Conservative government has been working in consultation with immigration representatives from the province and they have unveiled significant developments to the program. Many of these changes will impact individuals and families who have plans to work and live in Manitoba. More information regarding the changes for the MPNP – Skilled Worker program will be announced in January 2018. The MPNP Renewal is part of the election promise when the Progressive Conservative party won the election in April 2016.

MPNP

MPNP Renewal

Staff at our office have spent much of the week answering questions about these changes. If you or your family is impacted please contact our office directly.

Also, please note that we will be meeting with Managers at the MPNP Office on 6 DEC 2017 to discuss how the changes will be impacting our clients.

The details of the MPNP Renewal are largely expected based on discussions that we have had with the Ministry. These changes, in addition to the campaign announcement of the $500.00 CAD application fee, are in line with the provincial goals to boost employment and economic benefit.

For full details of the changes to the MPNP Skilled Worker stream, click here.

For full details of the changes to the MPNP Business stream (now it is the “Business Investor Stream”), click here.

One major change includes the elimination of the $100,000.00 deposit.

The renewed Business Investor Stream (BIS) will replace the current PNP-B business immigration category. BIS allows Manitoba to recruit and nominate qualified business investors and entrepreneurs from around the world who have the intent and ability to start or purchase businesses in Manitoba within the first 24 months of arrival in Canada on a temporary work permit. Applicants will no longer be required to submit a deposit of $100,000 to the Manitoba government.

For questions and further details, please book a 1 hour consultation and we can do an assessment of the status of your application to make sure that your immigration goals are being met.

UPDATE: For more information, please download or listen online to the Canadian Immigration Podcast from 22 DEC 2018. Alastair was interviewed by Albertan immigration lawyer Mark Holthe on the changes to the MPNP Program.

MPNP Labour Market Update

The province of Manitoba has reviewed the gaps in the local economy and provided a labour market update. As previously notes, there are professions that are not being considered for Nomination Certificates. The province was granted 5,500 certificates from the federal government in 2017 and those certificates are being currently distributed based on the MPNP applications.

One of the questions that we regularly get from our clients is about “average processing times”. Please note, however, that MPNP does not operate on a first-in, first-out system. Therefore, unlike other immigration applications to Canada, we cannot predict the processing time for MPNP applications. We have seen applications selected after being in the system for a few days (less than 1 week) but we have also seen weak applications stay in the system for more than 12 months. If you have questions regarding your application, please contact us directly.

Currently, the MPNP program is seeking individuals from these professions:

  • Long Haul Transport Drivers (HGV Drivers)
  • Heavy Equipment Service Technicians
  • Furniture Sample Maker
  • Upholsterer

The National Occupation Classification (NOC) codes must match and individuals who are interested in applying under the above categories must demonstrate experience and/or education in the labour market to qualify.

Applicants in UK may benefit from meeting directly with MPNP staff. They will be in London, England from November 6 to 10, 2017. If you would like an appointment with MPNP staff, please contact our office and we can make arrangements.

For more information regarding labour market update and the selected professions please review:

Heavy Equipment Service Technician Automotive service technicians diagnose, repair and service mechanical, electrical and electronic systems and components of cars, buses, and light and commercial transport trucks. Primary duties of are adjust, repair or replace parts and components of commercial transport trucks, trailers and agricultural equipment. Review work orders and discuss work with supervisor,  Inspect motor in operation, road test motor vehicle, and test automotive systems and components using computerized diagnostic and other testing devices to diagnose and isolate faults.  Adjust, repair or replace parts and components of automotive systems including fuel system, brakes, steering and suspension, engine and drive train, emission control and exhaust, cooling and climate control, and electrical and electronic systems using hand tools and other specialized automotive repair equipment.  Test and adjust repaired systems to manufacturer’s performance specifications.  Perform scheduled maintenance service, such as oil changes, lubrications and tune ups.  Advise customers on work performed, general vehicle condition and future repair requirements.

Furniture Sample Maker  A Furniture Sample Maker performs some or all of the following duties which include production of first build upholstered samples including all upholstery patterns and pattern labeling. Ensure new product can be manufactured effectively and efficiently. Generation of support documentation which includes Upholstery specs and Bill of Material, Prototype sewing book, Photos if required.  They focus on quality of product and maintenance of upholstery standards while working with team members to ensure target costs are met in the build process.   Is responsible to generate innovative ideas to reduce costs and improve quality. Interaction with frame technicians to ensure consistency and correct design to meet upholstery requirements and standards as well as with sewers to ensure consistent sewing standards are met.  Re-engineering of existing product for the implementation of changes to improve manufacturing efficiencies or cost reductions.  Assist manufacturing, when requested to do by management.  Assist in the development of a sample makers. Help improve pattern making standards when necessary.  Identify process improvements and provide suggestions on how to decrease development times and how to improve the quality of our designs and data.

Upholsterer An Upholsterer performs some or all of the following duties which include Discuss upholstery fabric, colour, and style with customers and provide cost estimate for upholstering furniture or other items, they Lay out, measure and cut upholstery materials according to sketches or design specifications. Replace worn-out webbing, springs and other furniture parts using hand and power tools, operate sewing machines or sew upholstery materials by hand to seam cushions and join sections of covering materials.  Install padding and underlays and fasten covering materials to furniture frames. Tack, glue or sew ornamental trim, braids or buttons on upholstered items, repair furniture frames and refinish wood surfaces, make upholstery patterns from sketches, customer descriptions or blueprints and install, fabricate, maintain and repair interior components of aircraft, such as seats, coverings, drapes, cargo nets, flooring, closets, bins and panels.

MPNP’s Labour Market update is based on conversations with Manitoba businesses to ensure that the economy has workers to meet the needs of the local business. We work with those businesses to secure LMIAs so that they can hire the best workers and ensure that businesses have the necessary skills and talent for success.

MPNP Draw #33

NOTICE to the public and to clients. MPNP made their regular draw and the minimum score for selection for immigrants in Manitoba was 585 points only. This is the lowest minimum point in many months. If your application was selected, we will contact you directly.

SKILLED WORKERS IN MANITOBA

MPNP

MPNP

  • Number of Letters of Advice to Apply issued: 401
  • Ranking score of lowest-ranked candidate invited: 585

SKILLED WORKERS OVERSEAS

  • Number of Letters of Advice to Apply issued: 42 who were invited directly by the MPNP under a Strategic Recruitment Initiative
  • Ranking score of lowest-ranked candidate invited: 719

As previously noted, after you have submitted the Expression of Interest and the $500.00 government fee, then your application will continue to the next step in the application process. Please note that passing the EOI stage does not guarantee Permanent Resident Status. The Government of Canada (not the Manitoba government) is charged with conferring status on applicants. If you have any questions regarding your status or which stage in the process, please contact our office directly.

 

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.