Success: Crim Rehab

After years of work, including multiple Temporary Resident Permits (TRPs), we successfully applied for Criminal Rehabilitation (Crim Rehab) for our client who had multiple criminal convictions in his past. These applications are never easy and the Officer at the border has significant discretionary decision making power at the POE. We did not want to have to wait for this client to be eligible for “deemed rehabilitation” as he has strong connections to Canada. Alastair is an expert in crimimmigration – the intersection between criminal justice and immigration.

Justice is at the core of our legal system and criminality may have a strong impact on immigration. This means that individuals who are convicted and have served their sentences may not be inadmissible to Canada and they may be allowed to enter if they are successful with a “rehabilitation” application according to immigration laws and regulations. In this case, we were retained by a foreign national with five (5) criminal convictions from different incidents in his past. These convictions, and a series of other events, led to a separation of family and hardship; however, after a boatload of work and strong supporting documentation,Crim Rehab we were successful with our Criminal Rehabilitation application (Crim rehab), submitted at the Canadian Port of Entry. We were able to review the application with a Superintendent prior to our client traveling to the border for a non-binding preliminary assessment. Our client got a positive decision from the Officer after only 4 hours.

In many cases, past criminal convictions are the result of bad decisions made in youth that were affected by alcohol and/or peer pressure. The Supreme Court of Canada has considered similar situations and they have provided instructions to Officers on how to make these decisions. This case was one of those cases. Our client was completely upfront about exactly what happened and how it affected his life. He demonstrated significant changes in his behaviour and he showed genuine remorse.

Our client was thoroughly prepared by our office. As with all our cases, be prepared, be prepared, be prepared! We spent hours on this application, gave him a mock interview and prepared a strong package of evidence. At the border, he passed multiple interviews and the Officers went through our package very carefully.

In the end, our client’s application was granted and he no longer needs to worry about inadmissibility to Canada. He is now with his family members in Canada, subject to the Quarantine Act and he is taking COVID-19 seriously. It has been a pleasure to work with this family and it has been very emotional. For our office, it is very important that we build a perfect application and make sure 100% of the potential issues are covered. I will say that the Officer even said to our client that our application was the best Criminal Rehabilitation application he had reviewed. Thank you Officer! Good decision!

 

Success: Study Permit

As the saying goes, third time is the charm. An international student at Brandon University entered our office, almost in tears. She had hired an immigration consultation (bad choice, of course) who submitted a Study Permit on her behalf. It had been refused and she was told to leave Canada. The situation in her home country has deteriorated and her family’s business was greatly affected. As we are dealing with the effects of COVID-19, these situations are not uncommon. We were able to help her get back on track and she was able to resume her studies. Another successful application. I wish her all the best.

Study Permit

The description above is a brief summary of the case. Once we were retained as her representatives, we submitted an ATIP to review her GCMS Notes. We discovered her previous immigration consultant submitted two Study Permits on her behalf. This incompetent representative only told her about the first application. She submitted the same documents to IRCC and, unsurprisingly, the applicant received a second refusal.

Our Study Permit application was this applicant’s 3rd attempt. We were able to show sufficient documentation related to her family’s dire situation and evidence that she is a genuine student, despite her hardship. The IRCC Officer accepted our submissions and she was able to go back to Brandon University.

I remember meeting former Minister of IRCC John McCallum when he came to Winnipeg. He is, in fact, a former professor at the University of Manitoba. He has asserted many times that international students are strong applicants and IRCC should support their dreams of Permanent Resident status. In my view, many IRCC Officers want to support students; however, if they hire incompetent immigration consultants, it is very difficult for IRCC to help.

Success: Request for Reconsideration

We specialize in fixing messes. A businessman came to us with 2 previous TRV refusals. He hired an immigration consultant to help him and, as you can imagine, it was a poor decision. It should have been an easy TRV application. His son is an international student at the University of Manitoba. His wife has a valid TRV and she is able to come and go from Canada as much as she likes. The consultant, however, messed up his application and he was denied. Then the consultant offered to “fix” the application at no additional fees and, I suppose, the businessman thought this would be a good option as it did not cost him any more money. The second TRV was also refused. The Applicant’s decision did not cost money but it meant that he could not visit his son in Manitoba.

Request for Reconsideration

We took the case and we cleaned up the mess. We were able to put together a strong TRV application that addressed the issues for the previous refusals. The Visa Officer refused, as expected, due to the previous refusals. We then made a Request for Reconsideration and we were able to connect with a Manager who gave our application proper attention. Finally, after much work, the TRV was approved.

Fixing messes is not an easy task. In this case, we were able to build a good application and the immigration consultant was clearly incompetent. In fact, when Alastair was on vacation in Toronto, he stopped by the consultant’s address to check out the office. It was a fake address. This consultant specializes in signing clients from Dubai, UAE who cannot see that his office is fake. He is registered with ICCRC and we could not find any previous complaints. Our client opted not to file a complaint because he did not want to get further involved and he was worried that it may impact his family. Similar Toronto firms have been caught. My guess is the consultant continues to find wealthy clients in Dubai who pay $$$$ for poor services.

We cannot guarantee positive results. Our only guarantee is that we will work hard and do everything in our power for our clients. Submitting a Request for Reconsideration is not an easy process. The Applicant must first submit a strong application so that a Manager can clearly see the circumstances and potential that the Applicant is the victim. In this case, we were successful with our Request for Reconsideration and the businessman was able to come to Winnipeg to visit his son at the University of Manitoba. It is our pleasure to reunite families and see the smiles. This is why we love our work!

Click here for 12 tips for finding a good representative.

Success: TRP/WP for MPNP

After significant time and work, we successfully obtained a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) and a Work Permit (WP) from Emerson POE for a client who has an MPNP Nomination Certificate and a PR application in process. This was a messy situation. Her previous representative mishandled her case. She came to us after IRCC refused her Work Permit application and she was outside the 90 day Restoration period. The TRP was issued after significant advocacy at the POE and it was evident that she was the victim. TRP

We are thrilled the Officer agreed with our assessment of this situation and he used his highly discretionary power to issue the TRP and the Work Permit so that our client could get back to work while she waits for her PR to be processed.

Here in Manitoba, we are very fortunate to work with the Officers at Emerson POE. Generally, they are professional, courteous and they are sympathetic to clients’ circumstances. That said, they also must follow Canadian immigration laws and regulations. As we have stated at numerous free presentations to the public, we do not encourage clients to put themselves in a position where they need a TRP to stay in Canada. This application is only for exceptional circumstances.

Please note that the successful TRP application above was obtained prior to the travel restrictions per COVID19. Currently, POEs are closed for such matters and the Officers are further restricted from handling these applications.

We wish our client all the best and we are pleased that we could fix the mess. She can now stay in Canada and continue to work while she waits for her Permanent Resident status with the support of the MPNP program. The TRP application was her best option based on the facts of this case and she was the victim of her previous representative. Alas, the immigration system is complex and many representatives give bad advice.

Success: PR for Child

Despite COVID19, we are continuing to serve our clients! A German father came to our office in 2018, in the midst of a nasty divorce. His child was afraid of their mother who suffers from mental health issues. She left her family in southern Manitoba and returned to Germany by herself. Then she went to a German court to seek child custody and our client was forced to fly to Germany to defend himself. Over the past 2 years, we worked with this German professional and we were able to secure PR status for his child – much faster than average processing times.

PR for Child

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

In this case, the child was conferred PR status through an Application for Permanent Resident status based on Humanitarian and Compassionate considerations. Our clients have significant support in southern Manitoba, a region that was selected for regional migration by IRCC. It is important to note that this application is a path of last resort. Based on the particular circumstances of this father and his child, the H&C was the only way for the child to obtain PR status.

As part of our Services, we spoke with the IRCC Officer many times and communicated with her by email. The IRCC Officer was sympathetic to this unique situation and she accepted our legal arguments. We cannot emphasize the importance of good communication with IRCC Officers. It is important to remember that they are people who are restricted to making decisions in accordance with Canadian laws and departmental policies.

Finally, we are very happy with the fast processing time for this H&C application. Even though only approximately 50% of H&C applications are approved, Alastair Clarke has never had a refusal in 12 years of practice. It is a pleasure to serve rural Manitobans.

After hours (and hours!) of work spent on this file, we are thrilled with the positive results! We wish this family happiness and success with their community.

Success: Sponsorship Appeal

In late 2018, we were contacted by a Pakistani family regarding a Spousal Sponsorship application that was refused. We had 6 months to prepare the Spousal Sponsorship appeal at the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) of the tribunal. Challenges we had to overcome: two (2) previous sponsorship refusals, one (1) previous IAD sponsorship appeal refusal, divorce, family issues, mental health issues, mistakes made by the Pakistani official and mistakes on the original application. Positives: our clients are a loving couple who found each other despite significant hardship and obstacles. On many levels, this couple is a good match and they have the support of their family in Canada as well as family members in Pakistan.

Sponsorship appeal

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

This was not an easy win. We prepared multiple disclosure packages that included hundreds of pages of evidence. We practiced testimony with family members in Canada and in Asia. In our conference room, we had many meetings to review questions and answers. For these cases, it is so important to prepare, prepare, prepare!!

As an aside, it is important to point out that these clients had previously retained another law firm for a previous IAD sponsorship appeal and they lost. When they came to us, they had already spent more than $20,000.00 CAD on legal fees. They would have saved a lot of $$$$ if they had come to us first. I will not say that the previous immigration lawyer lacks competence. I respect her work and I believe that she tried her best. For whatever reason, it simply wasn’t good enough. I will also refrain from naming the previous law firm but I can let you know they have a Google rating of only 3.0 and a poor reputation in the legal community.

In 2016, we published tips for winning a Spousal Sponsorship appeal. Alastair handled his first Spousal Sponsorship appeal back in 2007 (with the support of his Toronto law firm, he won) and he has won every IAD appeal over the past 12 years. Many victories. Many happy families reunited.

In this case, the Pakistani applicant has arrived and she is now a Permanent Resident of Canada. She is settling into her life in Winnipeg, with the unwavering support of her husband and their family. We wish their marriage all the best!

Success: MPNP BIS

We are thrilled to announce our business investor clients are now Permanent Residents of Canada. This family came to us in a desperate situation and they were interested in the MPNP BIS program. They are both highly accomplished professionals. He has a background in building and managing businesses in the financial section. She has a background in health management. They were seeking a better life for themselves and their five (5) children, including two (2) adopted children. One child has significant health issues.

MPNP BIS

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

With hard work and strong communication with the staff at the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) – Business Investor Stream (BIS), we were able to help this family navigate the Entrepreneur Pathway to PR status.

In this case, the family purchased a hunting and fishing lodge in rural Manitoba. The MPNP program, as well as IRCC, has expressed significant support for applicants who are interested in building rural communities. We have helped clients through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) and the government has announced the Municipal Nominee Program to further support the particular needs of diverse communities. We fully support this idea in principle as it recognizes the need for ground-level decision making. The one-size-fits-all approach does not work.

MPNP-BIS applicants have unique challenges and Clarke Immigration Law is known internationally for our work in this area. Alastair Clarke recently attended a meeting with senior staff at MPNP to discuss results from 2019 and plans for the future. This program is important for the development of the province and it provides mutual benefit.

We are thrilled with the MPNP BIS approval for this family and the IRCC decision to grant PR status. We wish them success with their business goals and a prosperous 2020. For more information on how we can help with your MPNP BIS application, please book a consultation. 

Success: Refugee Appeal

refugee appeal

This photo is used with permission.

In early 2018, a Somali man came to us in distress and he asked us to help with a refugee appeal. His claim for refugee status was refused by the Refugee Protection Division (RPD). He was represented by a lawyer who was going through mental health issues and, unfortunately, that lawyer did not prepare a strong case. We agreed to assist with this individual with a refugee appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) based on the fact that significant evidence had not been considered and his particular circumstances.

We worked with the Somali community in Manitoba and our client’s network of supporters. We were able to prepare significant new evidence. For some reason, the previous lawyer did not prepare a strong case even though the documents were available. Based on the evidence, we put together a strong package on behalf of our client.

After ten (10) months, the RAD granted our appeal and overturned the RPD refusal. The RAD Member agreed with our significant legal arguments and agreed with our submissions that the new evidence may have had a significant impact on the refugee claim. To ensure full disclosure, we were fortunate to have a sympathetic RAD Member decide this refugee appeal. In this case, the client opted not to file a complaint against his former lawyer.

A refugee appeal is challenging and most appeals are dismissed. In 2019, only 12% of RAD appeals in the IRB Western Region were allowed. Building on our success with other appeals, we are thrilled with this decision and we strongly agree with the RAD. Our client’s previous lawyer did a terrible job and, thankfully, we have been able to fix this mess.

NOTE: Clarke Immigration Law accepts Legal Aid Certificates for RPD hearings only. Based on the amount of work involved with refugee appeals and the low rate of approval, we only accept refugee appeals on private retainer agreements and our fees are published online. Typically, our clients pay $500 monthly based on our flexible payment plans.

 

Success: H&C

As part of our series to share success stories, we are thrilled to share this story of a Mexican family who were granted Approval In Principle (AIP) on an Application for Permanent Resident Status based on Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations (H&C). As you may be aware, the H&C application currently has an approval rate of approximately 50% only. This application requires significant work and research. In this case, we worked with numerous community members, academics, and legal scholars to put together a strong application based on their humanitarian circumstances. humanitarian

A brief background. A family of (5) five Mexican nationals with strong family and historical connections to southern Manitoba came to our office in early 2018. This Mennonite family were all born in Mexico. Their parents (deceased) were members of Old Colony Mennonites who were born in Manitoba. Based on issues related to education, they left Canada to settle in Mexico and Paraguay. They came to us to help them rekindle their ties with the Mennonite community in the Winkler area. As they have no formal education, they did not qualify for the RNIP, MPNP or any other skilled worker category even though these are highly accomplished applicants.

After only 11 months of processing, IRCC gave approval in principle (AIP) to this H&C application based on the strong humanitarian arguments. We are very pleased with the processing time of this application – faster than average processing times.

This family has maintained their temporary status in Canada throughout the H&C process and they are currently working with valid Work Permits. We attribute the success of this application based on the strong support of the Mennonite community and strong legal research. Similar to another humanitarian application that was approved, we prepared +400 pages of documents for this H&C application.

This family is naturally delighted their application has passed the AIP (first-stage) approval and we look forward to this family becoming Permanent Residents of Canada. To date, Clarke Immigration Law has never had an H&C application refused.

Success: LMIA

In late 2019, we were contacted by a large Trucking company in western Ontario for assistance with multiple Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs). The company had previously retained another law firm in Winnipeg and they were not satisfied with the quality of professionalism of that firm. (As an aside, that firm has terrible ratings on Google so this is not a surprise.) We reviewed the shoddy work of the previous representatives and prepared new LMIA applications based on our research.

We submitted the new LMIA applications to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) in January 2020 and the application was approved in February 2020. Processing time: one (1) month only – much faster than average processing time.LMIA

Needless to say, our clients were very happy with our work and the positive results. This company can now focus on building business and hiring Long Haul Truck Drivers which is where they should be spending their time & energy. The processing of LMIA applications includes strict guidelines and advertising requirements. As Alastair stated during his presentation at BCIT in Vancouver, if the LMIA is not done properly at first instance, it may be more difficult for this company to obtain a positive decision on future LMIA applications.

NOTE: LMIA applications have a high rate of refusal and we would recommend retained a competent law firm to assist. These applications are assessed based on labour market demands in specific regions and the ability of the company to find and recruit Permanent Residents or Canadian citizens. In this case, our clients could not accept further contracts and they were severely limited in its potential growth. Furthermore, these positions remained unfilled for a long period of time based on the incompetence of the previous law firm, causing unnecessary delays and expenses.

Fast Processing of LMIA Applications

We are very pleased with the work done by the Service Canada Officer with the LMIA approval. Given the previous work and the difficult immigration history, our clients were extremely happy with the fast processing time; however, we believe that if this company had retained us at first instance, it would have been faster.

The LMIA program is often plagued by long delays and onerous reporting requirements.  We were happy with the results with this corporate client and we look forward to assisting other businesses to overcome labour shortages so Canadian businesses can focus on their specialty.