COVID-19 Update

November Update: Canada and COVID-19

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anadian borders have now re-opened to most travelers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Since March 16 of 2020, Canada’s borders had been closed to all but deemed-essential travelers in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Such “essential services”, are individuals who, by definition of their occupation, provide services that both countries have come to rely on, are exempted from the ban. These include diplomats and  airline crew members. As well, the European Union has included Canada (but not the USA) in its ‘bubble’ of countries whose inbound and outbound flights can connect with the EU.

  • On November 8, 2021, the U.S. – Canada border was re-opened. Recent progress in vaccination rates in Canada has prompted Canada to allow fully-vaccinated U.S. citizens, and returning Canadians, to cross into Canada. Fully-vaccinated Canadians can now freely cross into the USA via land or air;
  • Travel between Canada and India has partly resumed as of late September. Canada-bound flights from India are allowed. Travel between Canada and Pakistan remains suspended;
  • COVID-19 infection rates in Canada are declining rapidly as Canadian COVID-19 vaccination rates are now the highest among the G-20 nations. All provinces and territories have seen the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections decline through steady uptake on vaccinations,  strict controls, measures and  rules to curb the spread of the virus and to keep people safe;
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is still accepting, and processing, temporary resident visa applications for visitors. However, travel to Canada for the purpose of a non-essential visit is still not allowed;
  • Spouses and common-law partners and their dependents can be sponsored by their Canadian family members through the normal sponsorship program. Canada is encouraging these sponsorship applications, and have even deployed additional staff to assess submissions in the quickest possible times;
  • Exceptions to travel restrictions are considered and granted for extended family members with the submission of an IMM006 form and supporting documents. This form requires signatures from both parties and a Notary Public, Solicitor/Lawyer or a Commissioner to witness. Turnaround time is within 14 days. Please contact us if you require assistance in getting this form completed and submitted.

Canadian vaccination rate among highest

Canadians are now seeing vaccinations arrive in significant amounts, and the eagerness of Canadians to be vaccinated has brought down the infection rate and hospitalizations dramatically during the spring. The spread of the virus in seniors residences and long-term care facilities has eased, as seniors in Canada received the highest priority for vaccination. The more-communicable COVID-19 delta variant remains a concern. More than 75 percent of all Canadians are now fully vaccinated. Communities have slightly relaxed restrictions on businesses that bring people together indoors.

  • Atlantic Canada’s four provinces: Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick maintain a low incidence of both new COVID-19 cases and deaths. However, the COVID delta variant has caused cases to spike in all four provinces throughout the summer of 2021. The Atlantic provinces remain cautious about admitting outsiders – even other Canadians – and require stringent quarantines;
  • The rate of new cases and deaths in Ontario and Quebec has declined after the summer fourth wave, although COVID-19 cases among the unvaccinated remain a serious concern from the more-contagious Delta variant. In Ontario, the majority of cases remain focused in the Toronto area, Ottawa, Peel Region and other areas north and west of Toronto;
  • The western Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Manitoba are improving after a serious outbreak during the summer from the delta variant of  COVID-19. Saskatchewan and Alberta both re-opened their provinces too early, and prematurely dropped pandemic precautions in July, leading to a large spike in COVID-19 cases in those two provinces.

Check the Globe and Mail web site for up-to-date graphs and case numbers in Canada and the provinces and territories.

Most provinces have eased up on COVID-19 restrictions. Most public, sporting, business, conference and entertainment events have largely reopened, though with strict rules on masks, proof of vaccination and numbers of shoppers or attendees. Shopping malls are open in Ontario, with retailers requiring shoppers to wear masks and maintain social distance. Gatherings of many types, including church services, reopened at reduced capacity with masks and social distance. Nearly all retail establishments require shoppers, clients and patrons to use hand sanitizers and wear masks as they re-open, or remain open. Quebec was the first Canadian province to announce a vaccine passport, joined by Ontario and other provinces.

What does this mean to me?

Travelers, specifically permanent residents and Canadian citizens returning from abroad, providing they have been fully-vaccinated 14 days before entering Canada and test negative for COVID-19 no longer have to quarantine or self-isolate. Travelers also do not have to test again on the eight day in Canada. The European Union had re-opened, with its defined safe ‘bubble’ including Canada. Fully-vaccinated Canadians traveling to the UK must still quarantine. Europe has again restricted travel as the continent grapples with its own strong second wave of the corona virus.

If you are working with us on applying for any type of visa or sponsorship, Upper Canada Immigration will continue to work on your case without interruption. If you have been granted a TRV (visitor visa) you will not be able to come to Canada as a visitor until the ban on on-essential travel has been lifted.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has started to process Confirmations of Permanent Residence visas for those whose applications were completed  and “stalled” because of the pandemic. If you have been issued your permanent residence visa, you can make arrangements to  “land” in Canada  anytime now. Arrival in Canada is streamlined. There are still only four international airports open for international flights: Pearson International in Toronto; Pierre Elliot Trudeau International in Montreal; Vancouver International and Calgary International.

Who cannot board Canada-bound flights

Canada’s Ministry of Transportation issued an Interim Order on who can and cannot board flights bound for Canada. The rules clarify how to deal with significant risk, direct or indirect to aviation safety or to the safety of the public. On Monday July 4, 2021, the government iterated exemptions for certain category of travelers:

  • If you were not eligible to enter Canada prior to July 5th, you still are not eligible to come to Canada.
  • Persons who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents  without special authorization by the Canada Border Services Agency may not board an airline flight to come to Canada (unless you are directly related to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident). This includes stateless persons;
  • Foreign Nationals coming to Canada to work in essential services or to reunite with family members who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents may be allowed to enter Canada; Certain conditions apply;
  • Every air carrier must conduct, at the boarding gate, a health check of every person prior to their boarding an aircraft for a flight to Canada;
  • Results of Covid-19 tests (negative) taken within three days must be presented by all passengers;
  • Air carriers may not allow persons to board if they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 in their answers to questions, or in the air carrier’s observation. Passengers will be refused permission to board Canada-bound aircraft if they say they have COVID-19, do not have a negative Covid-19 test result to show, or if they refuse to answer pertinent questions.

After landing in Canada

  • Rules have changed for certain travelers who are fully vaccinated. Call us;
  • Passengers disembarking at any one of the four airports (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver or Edmonton) where international flights are allowed to land, must be prepared to submit to another COVID-19 test;
  • Unless certain passengers have been fully vaccinated, have a quarantine plan, and test negative, they must quarrantine;
  • Certain passengers (un vaccinated or partially vaccinated) may be quarantined in a designated hotel, and not in their homes or their relatives’ homes;
  • Provinces have differing rules relating to inter-provincial travel. Please be sure to familiarize yourself with those rules that pertain to your particular set of circumstances. Atlantic Canada, for example, is especially strict.

When COVID-19 ends

In Canada, there now appears to be light at the end of the difficult COVID-19 tunnel. COVID-19 vaccination everywhere in Canada stepped up sharply in May and June. The supply of the vaccine is allowing the many Canadians eager to be vaccinated to finally get their first, and increasingly, their second vaccine doses.

Canada is on track to look for as many as one million new immigrants to the country in the next three years. We continue to work from home, and use WhatsApp, Zoom and other technology to meet virtually with clients. If you’re thinking about Canada, get the process started early. Now is the time! Some of our clients have already got their coveted Invitation to Apply during the COVID-19 period.

If you’re serious about coming to Canada, tell us about yourself by filling out this secure form. Let’s see if there is a viable pathway for you to continue life in Canada.

New options

New PR pathways for some foreign nationals

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etween now and November 5, 2021, the Government of Canada will allow some 90,000 foreign nationals to “land” in Canada as new Canadians. There are three pathways, encompassing individuals with varying backgrounds and work experience in “essential” occupations, as well as recently graduated international students who are currently employed. Eligible candidates must already be in Canada; have legal temporary status; and be currently working with at least one year of experience. They must have passed an approved English test and be legally admissible to Canada.

If that describes you, you will need to personally apply through a special portal that will be set up to receive applications under these policies. Applicants will have to provide personalized information (of themselves and dependents, if applicable) and upload evidence at the same time, in order to submit a complete application. Find out more details on this web site.

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PSW Opportunities

Pathways for caregivers and support workers

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aregivers and support workers are in demand in Canada. If you are an international student, and you have completed your studies at a recognized, designated learning institution, the information on this web site may open an opportunity for you. If you are outside Canada and have relevant experience and education, you need to read this page. If you graduated within the past five years, and are a Hong Kong resident, there is a clear pathway to permanent residency in Canada for you.

How caregivers and support workers benefit

  • International students who have completed their studies at a recognized, designated learning institution, may apply for, and may be granted, a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) to work in Canada. You need to be clear on what full-time means, and how to qualify for Express Entry to Canada;
  • PSW students and caregivers whose post-graduation work permits average between one and two years, can benefit from new policies which lengthen the duration that they can legally accumulate Canadian work experience toward the Canadian Experience Class pathway to permanent residence;
  • Support workers and caregivers who are temporary residents in Canada (i.e. visitors) and are still in Canada under the temporary public policies enabling them to remain in Canada during the pandemic, and who wish to work as PSWs, now have a new two-step process to follow;
  • Hong Kong residents who are recent graduates have, as of February 8, 2021, an opportunity to obtain open work permits for up to three years under a new public policy from the Government of Canada;
  • Support workers and caregivers who succeed in obtaining a LMIA-based work permit under the new conditions, after working for 24 months at a minimum of 30 hours per week, may be eligible to apply for permanent residence for him or herself and their immediate family;
  • Foreign nationals not in Canada, and trained and experienced support workers, caregivers or nurses working anywhere in the world, can access the new pilot program, if they are offered a job by a Canadian employer.

If you fall under at least one of the scenarios above, click or tap here for more information about the new opportunities to enable Personal Support Workers to qualify for Express Entry to Canada under recently-changed Canadian government programs and rules.

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Hong Kong

A reputable path to Canada

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re you feeling afraid and insecure about your future in Hong Kong? Like very many Canadians, I am deeply and profoundly disturbed by the insecurity now so prevalent in Hong Kong. My spouse and I have vacationed in Hong Kong, and love its energy, vibrancy and friendly, hard-working people. Maybe you are among those looking to explore an immigration pathway to Canada. At Upper Canada Immigration Consultants, we may be able to help you to chart a course to a new life in a safe, democratic and welcoming country. Take a deep breath and don’t panic.

Perhaps you have friends and relatives in Canada. Now is the time to get in touch with them, and start learning about possibilities for you to re-start your career. We can discuss how your friends and family can help you to network and get started on your job search and make plans. We are careful who we take on as clients. If your wish is to leave Hong Kong’s anxiety and uncertainty behind you and immigrate to Canada, we may be able to help you. Talk with us, and if you are a good candidate to come to Canada, we will assist you with your immigration matter, help you identify your best opportunity, and pursue your best options to come to Canada. We are located in Mississauga, Ontario, just west of Toronto.

Upper Canada Immigration Consulting is not a free service. We don’t accept as clients all the people who contact us. We are a firm of professional and regulated consultants. We charge for our services. If what you want is something free or cheap, you can stop reading here. Otherwise, click or tap here for more information about us on this web site. If you are qualified for Canadian immigration, serious about coming to Canada, and you want help with a quality application that will give you the best chance of success, we may be able to help you.

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Student Permits

Approval process: study in Canada

Upper Canada Immigration works with students and their families.
Students can work with us to obtain permission to travel to Canada to begin, or continue, their study programs. Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
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tudents planning to start school in Canada anytime can now breathe a sigh of relief. Immigration, Refugees and Citizen Canada (IRCC) has implemented  a two-tiered approach to issuing study permits: you can get approval now contingent on supplying documentation and other necessary papers later. COVID-19 measures have been in place in Canada since March 18, 2020 and in most source countries in the world.

  • Visa Access Centres have been closed, borders have been shut down and  obtaining  official documents have become almost impossible;
  • Students who may have obtained a study permit prior to March 18 were/are exempt from the imposed travel restriction placed on Canada’s borders.

Nonetheless, such students, upon arrival at a port of entry are still subject to an examination by the CBSA, and can be refused entry, if it is found that they could have been studying on-line instead.

To resume their programs and restore revenue generation mechanisms, educational institutions have developed on-line studies  as part of their offering to students, both local and abroad. Recognizing the difficulties experienced by international students on obtaining key documents and evidence for their applications in their respective countries, IRCC has  issued new, albeit temporary, instructions and procedures for Visa Officers in processing study permit applications.

The two-step process

  1. Students will now receive a first stage approval so that they can start studying their courses on-line, from their country of residence. The advantage of doing this is that the student does not lose time;
  2. When first stage approval students are able to produce mandatory documents such as submitting their original passport or travel document, enrolling in the biometrics program or undergoing a medical examination, their study permit will be finalized. The student still needs to produce these documents. However, you will receive extra time to gather and produce them.

Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

International students planning to study at a Canadian institution can start their studies online from their home country and even if they were to complete their entire program online, will still be eligible for a post graduation work permit (PGWP). However, students who complete their entire program on-line, will not be given comprehensive ranking points for “Canadian Education” in the Express Entry management system.

Before pandemic measures were put in place in March 2020, students whose programs comprised more than 50 percent online studies, were disqualified from applying for the coveted PGWP. Being granted a PGWP means that a student is permitted to work for any employer in Canada for a prescribed number of years. The length of the PGWP depends on the length of studies completed. Well known and acknowledged amongst students, is the clear pathway to permanent residence that the PGWP facilitates, provided that their Canadian work experience qualifies under specific rules of the Express entry management system.

Travel to Canada

Once the Canadian border is open for non-essential travel, students will travel to their Canadian destination to either continue their studies, or start working.  If you are such a student who wishes to take this opportunity to start your studies in Canada, contact us now. See the Help in three steps box on this page. Upper Canada Immigration will help you prepare a successful package of documents. The minimum set of document you need to have in hand for stage one or pre-approval includes:

  1. Letter of Acceptance;
  2. Proof of funds for the first year of studies;
  3. Rationale for your choice of program (background or training)
  4. Study plan;
  5. Demonstration of your ties to your country of residence/citizenship;
  6. Evidence of any ties to Canada.

This is a highly-competitive process. The best applications will be successful. You may do this once in your life. We do it for our clients on a continuing basis. You will likely need help from us. See the Government of Canada web site for more information on the temporary measures for processing student permits.

Toronto Star Ad

Our Ontario newspaper display ad

Our display ad in Canada’s largest-circulation newspaper, the Toronto Star, ran for the first time on Sunday August 16, 2020.
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uring the Canadian COVID-19 lockdown period in mid-2020, newspapers everywhere found their advertising base drying up. It wasn’t hard to figure out: advertisers were squeezed by their revenue hit during the virus. Newspapers, magazines, radio and TV saw their revenues shrink as retail advertisers cut back on media expenses when their buyers were largely staying home.

Here in the Greater Toronto area in Ontario, Canada’s largest province by both population and economy, our largest newspaper chose to spotlight businesses like ours: small businesses owned and operated by people of colour or persons of indigenous origin by offering selected businesses an opportunity to run a display ad in The Star, for many of them their first print ad in Canada’s largest newspaper.

So, we applied and were chosen as one of The Star’s participants. And here is the final product! Click the ad to see a full-size rendering.

Much of our business development activity consists of a virtual outreach using social media. We have our own direct mail list. Folks use it to tell us something about themselves, as a preliminary to asking us if we can help them. And a day after the ad ran, lo and behold, the phone rang. That was nice, and I hope we can help the individuals who started by saying, “I saw your ad in the paper.”

Maybe you are reading this, and thinking you need help with your own citizenship and immigration issue. We may not be able to meet in person for a while, but we can do business over the telephone, by WhatsApp, Zoom or Skype. If you use Microsoft Teams, we will meet you there as well.

For individuals

Permanent residency: Is immigration a bigger challenge during the COVID-19 time? You bet it is! But it can be done, and we’ve landed folks in Canada to begin a new life during the COVID-19 months;

Business class: Did you know that Canada is the only country in the world that has free trade agreements with every large economy on earth? If Canada’s access to the world, sound economy, low tax rates, fair and honest business systems could help you serve clients from Canada, maybe we are a fit to help you come to Canada and make your fortune;

Spousal and family sponsorships: Once you are relocated to Canada, how do you get your spouse here? Your children? Your parents and maybe your grandparents? We have done it for clients many times. We know how to do it for you;

Caregivers: Families in Canada need caregivers to look after their kids, parents and grandparents, and family members with disabilities. Good families, and proud Canadians often originate from a caregiver who came to Canada to help other Canadians;

Temporary work permits: Foreign nationals, students and others without status in Canada often need skilled help and advice in gaining landed immigrant status to stay in Canada and build their lives;

Fake IELTS

The sheer gall of this fraud

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ometimes, you wouldn’t believe the brazen gall of a crooked scheme unless you read it yourself! One of our staff, on an e-mail account not associated with Upper Canada Immigration, received an e-mail solicitation just flat-out offering to sell anyone an IELTS certificate. Here was the e-mail title: High-quality Original IELTS certificate for sale.

You have to be kidding! A mail-order fake IELTS certificate is about as brazen a scam as we’ve yet seen. We have a page on this web site about common types of fraud that criminals worldwide try to perpetrate against people applying to be legitimate immigrants to Canada. As our web page states clearly, we as consultants provide advice to our clients on each and every document they will require, and then we check each and every document we submit on behalf of our clients. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) independently verifies each document in every application all over again.

Criminal offense

Uttering a forged document means altering or creating a document in order to commit fraud, without the knowledge of the proper authorizing party, in this case IELTS. Uttering a forged document is a criminal offence in Canada, illegal under Section 368 of the Criminal Code of Canada. The odds of a fake IELTS certificate working for you are zero! The chances of a fake IELTS certificate sinking your application are 100 percent. And you commit a crime in Canada if you try it.

Mail order IELTS certificates are a way to get the stupid, the dishonest and the gullible to part with their hard-earned money in return for nothing but a guarantee of failure.

Read more…

Health care workers

New policy: permanent residence for refugee claimants

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anada has announced new measures that allow refugee claimants working in the health-care sector and those who provide direct care to patients to apply for permanent residence. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will accept permanent residence applications from refugee claimants working in the health care sector, including the spouses and common-law spouses of those who had been working in the sector, but have unfortunately died from COVID-19. These individuals are refugee claimants who would have arrived in Canada before August 14, 2020 and have responded to the call for help in the health-care sector during the COVID-19 crisis. Two public policies offer the opportunity for permanent residence to health care workers: one for refugee claimants living inside Quebec; and the other for refugee claimants living elsewhere in Canada The program will run from December 14, 2020 to August 31, 2021.

These public policies also include refugee claimants studying in a post-secondary institution where either a paid or unpaid internship was an essential component of their study or vocational program. Such programs must be within one of the designated occupations. Likewise, an internship, paid or unpaid, and performed as a mandatory component to achieve professional designation must also have been from a designated occupation.

If you qualify, you need to get going with your application. Click or tap for more detail on our web site, or e-mail us. You can call by telephone or WhatsApp at: 647-988-3846.

Vanishing population

Competing for the globe’s top people

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ews articles in Canada in the past year have focused on the immigration challenge facing western democracies. Populism and nativism, amplified in volume well beyond the number of their advocates by strident social media and flat-out cyber manipulation by totalitarian nations (who, ironically are among the world’s most xenophobic) make dispassionate and rational discussions of the clear benefits of immigration to a country like Canada more difficult for the necessity of trying to speak clearly and calmly amid the noise of hysteria.

We are all, rightly, most concerned about our own situation, and whether we can succeed. Here is a view of the broader immigration landscape.

In Canada, the nation’s self-proclaimed ‘national newspaper,’ the Toronto-based Globe and Mail, published an excerpt of a book by Globe columnist John Ibbitson. His book, co-authored with Canadian Pollster Darrell Bricker (Ipsos Public Affairs) is called Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline.

As authors, the two Canadians are walking ground opened up by the late Swedish statistician Hans Rosling (1948 – 2017) in the YouTube video of his lecture on global population growth. It is a superb one-hour production. Click below to see it.

2020 Update: Rosling was right

Nothing Ibbitson and Bricker’s book, or Rosling’s video, have to say is all that startling, fact by immutable fact. It is the assembling of the larger picture, and projecting it over the entire globe, and the complete 21st century, that make all the data so eye-opening. In 2007, the number of people, worldwide, living in cities surpassed the number in rural or remote areas. Cities are indisputably the 21st century’s engines of growth and repositories of people and knowledge.

The Globe’s Ibbitson published a July 2020 update here. Ibbitson lists some countries that stand to lose more than half their population by the end of the century. The BBC News web site has an article about the implications of a shrinking population, and why global population shifts may be encouraging news for prospective newcomers to Canada.

  • Nations that have not pursued forward-thinking immigration programs already see their populations in decline. Examples include Japan, Russia, and countries in eastern Europe;
  • As populations of youth and people in their prime working years decline or stagnate, proportions of seniors in nearly all western nations are rising sharply. Some 90 percent of health care expenses are spent on the old and the chronically ill. This leaves taxpayer-borne expenses such as health care and pensions to be paid by fewer and fewer working age people;
  • China, which discourages inbound immigration, will see its own population level off shortly, and begin a long decline;
  • Urbanization leads to better education for women, with families starting their child-bearing years later, and having fewer children. The birth date falls below the rate of replacement (depending on who calculates it, between 2.2 and 2.7 babies per woman of child-bearing years);
  • The very policies that welcome newcomers run into opposition in older societies, where a graying older generation can’t – or won’t – connect the dots between a healthy level of immigration, and the people they themselves will need to build their homes, manage their communities, and become their doctors, for example.

Most demographic studies put the world’s population peak at between eight and 11 billion, sometime in the middle of this century, then beginning a steady decline. Canada, with its decades of careful, but generous, immigration numbers remains younger than the average nation. Canada has the ability to keep growing without the looming brick wall of worker shortages facing other nations (such as Japan and even the USA).

Canada’s 36 million people will grow to some 50 million by mid-century, roughly the end of the lives of North America’s ‘baby boom’ generation born after World War II, between 1946 and 1966. Come and work with us. Each year, some 350,000 people will move from the land of their birth to start a new life in Canada. Competition for each of those spots is tight, and the requirements mean you need to have a plan, act on it, and not make mistakes. Contact us. We can help.

The real deal

ICCRC consultants are the genuine article

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mmigration Consultants like me handle issues that change people’s lives. Helping people qualify to come to Canada, and settle here, is a service that is complex, difficult, takes continuous ongoing training on my part, and takes time. That makes it, by definition, expensive. My clients may do this process once in their lives. For most of them, our fees represent an amount of money they don’t hand out daily. We do this work all the time, do it well, and do it correctly.

Andrea Seepersaud’s qualifications

  • Member: Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) #R515545;
  • Member: Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants (CAPIC) #R19147;
  • License: Foreign Worker Recruiter and Immigration Services Act, Province of Saskatchewan #00581;
  • Commissioner: Affidavits and Oaths, Province of Ontario.

Sometimes, people ask if dealing with a licensed Canadian Immigration Consultant brings with it any form of success ‘guarantee.’ I answer that occasional question on this web site. Click or touch here. There are only about 4,600 licensed Canadian Immigration Consultants, as of the end of 2019. I am one of them. At Upper Canada Immigration Consultants, we stick to the law, treat our clients fairly, and deliver value for money to serious people.

Click or touch here for more information and FAQs about Upper Canada Immigration and Andrea Seepersaud.