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:


  • 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 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

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.

Check Application Status Online

Immigration applications through Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) can move very slowly depending on the processing office, the type of application and the representative. We deal with all types of applications on a daily basis to make sure our clients receive a decision as quickly as possible. The most common reason for delay is that applications are sent to the Visa Office that are incomplete. Incomplete applications will not be processed and all the documents will be returned.

After an application has been compiled, organized and properly submitted, it can be frustrating to wait while CIC processes the documents. Clients, of course, are anxious to have their applications processed. There are different ways for applicants and representatives to check the application status online:

CIC’s Online Service

Applicants can check the status of their applications online using the service provided by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Applicants can select their application, a Work Permit for example, type in their particulars and they can see whether the ap Check Application Statusplication is in process.

Typically, we get mixed reviews from the Online Service. If an Applicant has multiple applications, the website does not clearly identify the different applications. In addition, the website provides scant detail on the progress of the application. We have had issues where a Visa Officer has sent out a letter requesting additional documentation (or, for example, updated medicals) but the Applicant failed to receive the letter. They checked online and there is no information about the Officer’s request.

CIC’s Online service is useful to confirm that the application was properly submitted and that it is in process. After that, it provides very little benefit.

CIC’s Portal for Authorized Paid Representatives

Check Application StatusWhen a lawyer prepares the application and submits the documents through the CIC Portal, the lawyer can check the status online. It provides much more information that the Online Service above. The lawyer is able to see all the documents that have been submitted and each step along the process is checked.

This is a valuable service for clients and lawyers alike.

Average Processing Times

CIC publishes the average processing times online, generally on a quarterly basis. We encourage clients to take this “average” with a grain of salt. For example, the current average processing time for an Application for Permanent Residency based on Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations (H&C) is 30 to 42 months. There are many H&C applications currently in process.

Check Application StatusIn our office, we assisted a single mother and her two children with an H&C application after their case made the news. We helped them file the H&C application and we were successful. They are now all Permanent Residents of Canada. The Winnipeg Free Press also covered the story after we were successful. This H&C application took approximately 14 months to process, much faster than the posted average processing times.

In another case, we assisted another family in Winnipeg with an H&C application and it was approved in less than 12 months. That said, we have contacted other immigration lawyers in Canada and we have been advised that there are currently some H&C applications that have been pending for more than 60 months.

What Can You Do After You Check Application Status?

CIC Officers and Visa Officers are individuals. They work hard and there are internal priorities within the Visa Offices. That said, after you check application status, you can contact your lawyer and ask him or her on ways to speed things up. It may be possible to work with the Officer and request expedited processing, depending on the circumstances.

If your application has been in limbo for a long time, ask your lawyer about filing a Mandamus Application with Federal Court. They have the power to ensure the CIC Officer or the Visa Officer makes a decision in a timely manner.

For more information, contact our office directly.

Law in the Library series: Free Presentation on 8 February 2016 in Winnipeg

Dear Winnipeg readers:

Alastair Clarke will be giving a free presenting on Canadian Immigration Law at Munroe Library (489 London Street) on Monday, February 8th, 6:30 to 8 pm. This is part of the Law in the Library series provided by Community Legal Education AssociationThe public is welcome to attend and we encourage audience participated. Please note that we cannot provide individual legal advice. Topics include:

  • In-land Spousal Sponsorship applications 
  • Outland Spousal Sponsorship applications;
  • Sponsorship Appeals to the Tribunal
  • The Open Spousal Work Permit (pilot program)
  • The (new) Parent Sponsorship application
  • Tips for successful Visitor Visas;
  • MPNP: Skilled Worker Stream
  • Federal Court appeals.

Please note that space is limited. We advise that you RSVP by email: info@apply2manitoba.caLaw in the Library

Alastair will be providing general information on Canadian Immigration law and how to open doors to Canada. He will not, however, be providing specific legal advice on individual applications. If you require legal advice on a particular case or application, please contact our office and we can help you schedule a consultation. Please note that our consultation fee is $200 CAD plus GST and we provide up to 1 hour of time. All our fees are available here.

Law in the Library: Education for the Public

The Law in the Library series is designed to help the public with legal issues. Alastair Clarke has been educating the public on various topics since 1999. He specializes in opening doors to Canada. Before relocating to Winnipeg, he practiced for many years in Ontario where he provided training to lawyers, paralegals and front-line workers for Legal Aid Ontario at the Annual Training Conference (2010, 2011) and he taught Immigration and Refugee Law at Seneca College. This an opportunity for you to learn from his expertise!

Clarke Law: Experienced Immigration Lawyer

Clarke Immigration Law assists clients come to Canada as Permanent Residents and as Temporary Residents. The applications for the various stream are completely different and require specific expertise. We help by providing an experienced immigration lawyer to guide you through the Canadian immigration system and give you the best chance of success.

Immigrate to Alberta

experienced immigration lawyerAlastair Clarke was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta – a vibrant city in the prairies. The city is the gateway to the north and provides services to many Temporary Workers (TFWP) on their way to Fort McMurray and the oil sands. Alberta has been booming for many years and there are many good jobs. Unemployment in Alberta is among the lowest in Canada. We provide assistance for those interested in Alberta because Mr. Clarke is an experienced immigration lawyer with the benefit of living and working in Alberta.

Immigrate to BC

Mr. Clarke moved from Alberta to British Columbia (BC) for university. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree (Philosophy; Spanish) at the University of Victoria in the capital city of BC. Canada’s western-most province is the gateway to the East. There are many flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo and other metropolitan centers in Asia. While at the University of Victoria, Mr. Clarke was the Student Coordinator of the Peer Helping Program, worked with the Office of the Ombudsman on legal issues and helped International Students. These students successfully received Study Permits to study in BC. He helped these students from India, China, Nigeria, Poland and other countries in the world.

After Victoria, Mr. Clarke moved to VanWinnipeg Immigration Lawyercouver – the largest city in BC and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Vancouver is called “Hollywood North” because it has a thriving movie industry and TV industry. Many shows, including iZombie, Once Upon a Time and Arrow, are filmed in Vancouver and it is quite common to just stumble upon a productions crew in action.

Immigrate to Ontario

Mr. Clarke moved to Ontario and graduated just a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Kingston is a historic city on the Canadian border with one of Canada’s oldest military base and a vibrant downtown core.

In Ontario, Mr. Clarke has lived in various locations in Toronto and Kingston. Toronto is a vibrant city with a rich multicultural mosaic. On any day, you can take the subway and listen to Urdu, Cantonese, Tamil, Spanish and French. The city expands in every direction and there are distinct neighbourhoods akin to New York. Manhattan has the Tribeca; Toronto has the Entertainment District. Manhattan has Chinatown; Toronto has Little Korea.

Mr. Clarke lived in Toronto for many years and practiced immigration and refugee law at one of Canada’s top boutique law firms on Bay Street. He assisted clients from Nepal, Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Israel, Russia, South Africa, the USA, China, Vietnam, Ukraine, St. Lucia, Guyana, Mexico and many other countries. He is one of Manitoba’s most experienced immigration lawyers and he can help you and your family.

Immigrate to Manitoba

In addition to Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, Mr. Clarke now lives in the capital city of Friendly Manitoba: Winnipeg. Winnipeg is the located at the heart of North America. It is a center for Aboriginal Culture with a vibrant arts community. Winnipeg has a spectacular historic downtown with Parisian architecture. The Exchange District is booming with chic restaurants and cafes.

Mr. Clarke’s law firm is located in Osborne Village in Winnipeg – the neighbourhood was ranked the “Greatest Neighbourhood” in Canada by CBC in 2012. Osborne Village is a community where everything is at your fingertips. Boutiques and cafes line the streets with trendy fashions and souvenirs. In the winter, Osborne Village has access to the Assiniboine River and you can skate along the river to downtown.experienced immigration lawyer

Manitoba is a stable, peaceful province that is perfect for professionals and families. The school system is welcoming to children from all over the world. Winnipeg’s neighbourhood of St. Boniface is French. The Louis Riel School Division is 100% in French and there is a strong community from Burundi and Congo.

Manitoba boasts 4 seasons and the ever-changing weather of the prairies. Summer is festival season and there are international activities, music and events from every culture. Folklorama is a must-see. In Fall/Autumn, the Elm Canopy – which is one of the only remaining in the world – turns from green to orange and yellow in the Fall. International Students arrive to the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba on Study Permits. The international-acclaimed Museum of Human Rights is perfect for a winter day. Spring is a wonderful time in Manitoba with flowers and everything blooms.

Manitoba has a strong economy boosted by the Canadian Mint, the International Centre for Infectious Diseases, the Museum of Human Rights, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the pork Industry and many other cutting-edge businesses.

Retain an Experienced Immigration Lawyer

Mr. Clarke has lived in 5 of Canada’s 10 provinces so there are still more places to explore. Eastern Canada, including the provinces on the Atlantic Ocean are also vibrant with their own unique culture. Sask has a booming economy with the Potash Industry and there are many jobs. Mr. Clarke has assisted many clients who live in Sask and assists as an experienced immigration lawyer.

Immigration to Canada can be one of the best changes in your life and the life of your family. But it can be a daunting task. Clarke Immigration Law assists individuals and businesses come to Canada – and stay in Canada. We provide an experienced Immigration Lawyer to help you through the process.

Contact us for more information.