Coming to Canada

Atlantic Immigration Pilot

Project details FAQ

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project is aimed at encouraging and attracting experienced, skilled and qualified immigrants to the lesser-known and more sparsely-populated provinces of Canada. It is employer driven, meaning the initial challenge for any individual wishing to apply for permanent residency to Canada through this pilot, is to obtain a job offer from a designated employer.

Each of the four Atlantic Canada provinces: Newfoundland & Labrador; Prince Edward Island; Nova Scotia and New Brunswick is actively recruiting employers for the project. The list of interested employers is growing. The responsibility of finding a job is on the potential applicant. The threshold for language proficiency and proof of settlement funds is much more attractive than for Express Entry. And more importantly, it is not points based, as in the case of Express Entry.

Here are the most commonly-asked Questions and Answers about the program.

Q: Which Provinces are in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot project?

A: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Q: What are the eligibility criteria?

A: The most important condition is a job offer. Others are formal education, proven work experience, English or French language skills and settlement funds.

Q: What are the different streams?

  • High-skilled workers;
  • Intermediate-skilled workers;
  • International graduates (from one of the four provinces).

Q: I am currently living outside of Canada. My education and work experience are from my home country. What must I do to get started?

A: Once you retain our services to help you, we will submit your academic certificates and diplomas to get them assessed for their equivalency to Canadian education. Obtaining a Credential Assessment Report is necessary. We will also help you to identify the closest language testing centre to your address in your country. Taking this test and scoring the minimum level in English or French is another prerequisite for this program.

Q: What type of job offer must I have?

A: Your job offer must be self-initiated and from a designated employer in one of the four Atlantic Immigration Pilot program provinces. In other words, for your job offer to qualify for this program, the employer must be designated by the province to participate in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program. Unlike Express Entry job offers, this job offer does not have to be approved by the federal government (LMIA-based) for acceptance in the program.

Your job offer must be for 30 hours per week and not a seasonal type of job. It does not necessarily have to be in the same occupation as your past job, but it will have to match the requirements of your chosen NOC code. Additionally:

  1. For High-skilled workers, the offer must be for at least one year from the date you obtain permanent residency;
  2. For Intermediate-skilled workers, the offer must be a permanent job;
  3. For International students, the offer must be for at least one year from the date you obtain permanent residency.

Q: What is the NOC (National Occupation Classification)?

A: Every job in Canada is classified under a system (the National Occupation Classification) that allocates a code with specific requirements for performing that job, mandatory qualifications and expected work conditions. Retaining our services means that you do not have to worry about this; we will review and analyze your work experience, your qualifications and your job offer to ensure that you are on the right path.

Q: After I get a job offer, what is my next step?

A: If you are outside of Canada, there are specific immigrant settlement agencies in Canada that will conduct an assessment of your needs and prepare a settlement plan for you and each member of your family. We will help to connect you to them. Once you receive your settlement plan, you will provide it to the employer who made the job offer to you. The employer will submit it to the province for an endorsement.

Q: After I receive an endorsement, what happens next?

A: If the province endorses your job offer, you will be issued an Endorsement Certificate. You will now be ready to start the application for permanent residency.

Q: Are there any fees?

A: The processing fees for permanent residency applies: (Cdn $550), as well as the right of permanent residence fee (Cdn $490) for the applicant. The same is required for the spouse or common-law partner. The fee for any dependent child under the age of 22 is Cdn $150.

Q: How much settlement funds do I need to show?

A: Since you will have a job offer, the threshold for determining your eligibility regarding the funds you must bring with you to settle in Canada is very much lower than for Express Entry. Determining how much you must have to prove to the Visa Officer in your country is based on how many members there are in your family, even if they will not accompany you to Canada:

Family Members Settlement Funds Required
1 $3,075
2 $3,828
3 $4,706
4 $5,714
5 $6,481
6 $7,309

Q: What kind of proof does the Visa Officer need?

A: This money must not be borrowed from someone (to be returned). It must be available for you to settle in Canada. Proof includes actual funds in the bank; stocks and bonds that can be liquidated; bank drafts and travellers’ cheques.
Coming to Canada

Family Class

Be ready: opportunity doesn’t last long

Rules changes
The rules and procedures regarding family class, sponsoring parents and grandparents, and who qualifies as a dependant have changed. Read this article, and call us for additional information, as these changes may apply to you.

Immigration, refugees and Citizenship Canada has released new immigration levels for the next three years. Canada estimates that nearly one million permanent residents will be accepted through various  immigration streams and programs.

The Express Entry management system remains the main source of  newcomers to Canada, responding to the immigration dreams of skilled professionals, skilled trades and individuals who would have acquired Canadian work experience through such opportunities as a Post Graduate Work Permit and permits obtained through the Foreign Worker program. The Caregiver program has been made more robust in the last little while, with three streams through which individuals may apply for permanent residency. However, some important rules and procedures have changed as they apply to family class immigration, how you can sponsor your parent and grandparents to Canada, and who does and does not qualify as a dependant. Processing times for applications have been reduced, and the government has been demonstrating a dynamic approach to labour market needs as seen in recent Express Entry draws.

Family Class

In the next three years, Canada will welcome more than a quarter of a million new immigrants through family class sponsorships. These individuals will be sponsored by their Canadian citizen or permanent resident relatives as spouses, common law partners, dependant children, parents and grandparents.  Sponsorship of spouses and common-law partners along with dependant children is currently processed within a 12 month period as promised by the current government.

This processing time reflects a 50 percent reduction (from last year) in the time it now takes to receive a permanent resident visa under spousal sponsorship. As well, spouses and partners being sponsored from within Canada are able to apply for a work permit during processing time, and are therefore able to get a head start on their careers.

Parents and Grandparents

Qualified citizens and permanent residents will be able to sponsor their parents and grandparents through a process that was first introduced in January of 2017. In January 2018, interested individuals will once again be able to first  express an interest in sponsoring their parents and grandparents by filling out an on-line application form within a strict timeline that spans approximately one month.

When this preliminary stage is closed, individuals will be drawn at random, and will be given an invitation to submit a full-blown application, complete with supporting documentation.  The Government of Canada sends out invitations to apply at irregular intervals during the year, with a turnaround time of 90 days. There are no extensions to this 90 day deadline. The number of permanent resident visas expected to be issued in 2018 for parents and grandparents will gradually increase so that by 2020, the numbers will be close to 21,000 new permanent residents.

New definition of Dependant

As of October 24, 2017, a dependant for immigration purposes is defined as someone under the age of 22.

Previously, this definition referred to individuals under the age of 19 years.  As such, there is now an opportunity for individuals who were not able to come to Canada under the old definition,  to now be sponsored by their family in Canada, provided they still qualify under the new definition.

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Coming to Canada

Invitation to Apply

Crucial clock ticking for ITA recipients

Invitation to apply
The coveted Invitation to Apply (ITA) expires within 90 days. If you get an ITA, you need to get moving on it right away.

The coveted Invitation to Apply, or ITA, is a sought-after opportunity to come to Canada. All applicants want one. Fewer than one in four of all profiles in the Express Entry pool receive an ITA. Once you have an ITA, you have a use-it-or-lose-it  opportunity.

Immigration consultants have two big advantages over the do-it-yourself approach: A good consultant does this work frequently, and is fast and accurate, with a system for tracking what you need to make good your ITA on time and with precision; and not being you, the consultant isn’t as emotional or under the stress about the ITA as you are. That makes things go more quickly.

If you have received an ITA:

  • You need to take the next three months of your life very seriously;
  • From the date that you receive the ITA, you have 90 days to accept the invitation by completing the application for permanent residency for you and your family, and submitting all the evidentiary documents;
  • Any material changes to your situation that initially provided you points must be reviewed before you accept the invitation. For example if you no longer have a valid job offer, but will receive one from another employer before the deadline, you may consider moving forward.

What to watch out for:

  • If your Language Test has expired, you must re-take the test, and score the same or better than before;
  • Have you or a member of your family been charged with a criminal offence since your profile was submitted?
  • You will have to obtain security certificates from every country in which you have lived for more than six months;
  • You and your family must undergo medical examinations;
  • Your travel logs must account for every place to which you and your family have travelled outside of your birth country;
  • Your education and work experience must match whatever you entered into your Express Entry profile – more importantly you must provide evidence for everything that you claimed in your profile.

Between 25 and 30 percent of all ITAs issued either expire, or are declined by the applicants. Canada is still looking to improve this system by addressing different factor changes, and more relevant thresholds. In particular, Canada is trying to address the apparent inequities experienced by the skilled trades. We can reasonably expect this percentage to increase in the months to come.

Permanent resident applications submitted within the 90-day deadline go through an initial screening period where the applications are reviewed for “completeness”.

If an application is missing a document, or contains a document in a format other than what was stipulated, that application is “rejected’ and the applicant is immediately notified. There is no appeal. This mistake means that the applicant will have to start all over again by submitting a new profile in the Express Entry system.

Don’t take a chance on losing the opportunity to come to Canada with a precious ITA. Call or e-mail us at Upper Canada Immigration Consultants, and get us working on your side.

Coming to Canada

Thanksgiving 2017

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving 2017
Thanksgiving occurs in October in Canada, and is a time to give thanks, traditionally after the crops have been harvested.

This year, in Ontario, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation, in which Ontario was one of the four founding provinces. The other three are Quebec; New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Our cool and wet Ontario spring has yielded to an summer that has stretched a few extra weeks into October. The tropical plants remain outside at least three weeks later than most years. The remnants of Hurricane Nate shed its remaining moisture in a pre-dawn, warm, wet, shower to keep the garden mostly green at a time when the leaves are going golden most years. Warm wishes wherever you are.

Coming to Canada

Express Entry Pool

Still time to get into the ‘Pool’

Achieving an Invitation to Apply
Here’s how you’ll feel if you are issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Permanent Residency in Canada. The key to getting that ITA is to work with us to maximize your score.

Chart a path to Canada through Express Entry. By creating a profile, individuals are ‘visible’ to the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for program-specific draws and regular draws. From this pool of applicants, regular draws invite applicants with the best scores to apply for Permanent Residency in Canada.

Canada’s strong economy, particularly in its heartland of Ontario, makes this path especially attractive  to applicants from the trades and professions; to those with language skills in Canada’s official languages; and to those with family ties to Canada.

This is an especially good time for young, qualified, and motivated individuals who are progressive thinkers to consider coming to Canada. Upper Canada Immigration can assist you in getting into the Express Entry system; help you to maximize your chances; and steer you toward an Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residency if your score has reached the threshold to be drawn.

 

Coming to Canada

Pharmacare

Ontario budget proposes drug coverage

Pharmacare
Ontario’s 2017-18 signature Budget proposal would mean all eligible Ontario residents 24 years of age and less would be fully covered for the cost of all 4,400 drugs in the Ontario formulary.

The Province of Ontario’s 2017-18 budget, tabled by the government in late April 2017, proposes universal drug coverage for Ontario residents age 24 and less, and who are eligible for its Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

Ontario would, if the Province’s Budget passes in the Legislature, become the first Canadian province or territory to extend pharmacare coverage to its residents. With a majority in the Legislature, the government is confident of passage of its Budget. Coverage is scheduled to become effective January 1, 2018. The entire Ontario drug formulary of more than 4,400 drugs would be included, from routine prescriptions to expensive treatments.

Newcomers to Ontario can qualify for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan if they are:

  • A Canadian citizen;
  • An Indigenous person (registered under the federal Indian Act);
  • A permanent resident (formerly called a “landed immigrant”);
  • Have applied for permanent residence, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has confirmed that they meet the eligibility requirements to apply (i.e. have not yet been denied); are in Ontario on a valid work permit and are working full-time in Ontario, for an Ontario employer, for at least six months.

Your spouse and any dependents also qualify if you do. You are eligible to apply to OHIP if you are in Ontario on a valid work permit under the federal Live-in Caregiver Program, or are a convention refugee or other protected person (as defined by Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada).

OHIP annual premiums are among the lowest in the world.

Coming to Canada

Spousal Permanent Residence

Conditional status removed

This is good news for sponsors and their spouses. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) confirmed in late April  2017 that the period of conditional permanent residency, imposed since October 2012, on sponsored spouses and partners has now been removed.  All spouses and partners, upon landing will now have full permanent residency status.

In October 2016, the  current government  in its Forward Regulatory Plan resolved to change this condition in the spring of 2017.  Many of our clients have been asking about the changes that we first talked about in an earlier article on this website  Silly Spousal Sponsorship Rule. We are happy to report that this change is now in force.

Initially the last government, in its effort to address the problem of fraudulent marriages to achieve immigration status and  non-genuine marriages of convenience, imposed a two-year conditional permanent resident status on all sponsored spouses and partners. This condition. to the degree that it was ineffective as a deterrent or not, also  gave rise to situations of domestic abuse from which vulnerable partners remained trapped for the duration of the condition, for fear of losing their residency.  Although there were exit clauses written into permanent residency conditions to protect  spouses and partners from staying in volatile and abusive relationships, victims continued to endure the harsh conditions rather than risk losing their status. By removing this condition from all sponsored spouses and partners upon landing, there is now a  greater chance of individuals facing  physical, sexual, financial or psychological abuse at the hands of their partners, of confidently seeking safety and help outside of their home.

Commitment to family reunification

This change means Canada has reinforced its commitment to family reunification under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). It represents a more humane approach to spousal applications, while also embracing gender equality.  Canada will protect  vulnerable spouses and partners from  willful neglect and gender-based abuse.  For foreign nationals sponsored as spouses and partners, repeal of the permanent residency condition indicates a level of trust that the family-class immigration program applicants are assumed to be honest and trustworthy. The change recognizes that people are overwhelmingly involved in genuine relationships, and are interested in coming to Canada to be honestly reunited with their loved ones for a better life.

One can, however, expect  visa officers to be as vigilant and as thorough as ever in ensuring that the small percentage of  phony spousal applications by unscrupulous individuals are quickly identified, and summarily tossed out.

Coming to Canada

Coming to Guyana

A new life in Canada starts with UCIC

Upper Canada Immigration Consultants (UCIC)  is coming to Guyana. As President of the firm, I am visiting my family in the Georgetown area in early March. During that time, I will hold an information session for interested potential clients, who may wish to retain us to assist them to come from Guyana to Canada.

Our campaign began on Facebook in January. Many of you have read this in Guyana, and this web site has some useful resources for you. If you are serious about coming to Canada to live, work, study or do business, consider retaining UCIC to work with you. Plan to meet with me. I will be available at either or both of:

You may also wish to e-mail Andrea Seepersaud if you are ready to begin the process of immigration to Canada, and wish to see if you are an eligible immigrant. Not everyone is a high-probability prospect. If you are, or if you are not, we will let you know fairly quickly.

Update: Based on some of the questions asked by interested visitors to the Upper Canada Immigration Facebook Page, and from those who have asked to see me in Guyana when I visit in March, I have updated the web site’s Q & A Page. Please be sure to check it.

I was born in Guyana, and came to Canada in the 1980s. Learn more about me. Southern Ontario is home to a large and vibrant Guyana expatriate community. I look forward to seeing the land of my birth for the first time in many years, and to assisting qualified and determined folk from Guyana on the road to permanent residency in Canada.

Andrea Seepersaud
President, Upper Canada Immigration Consultants
Coming to Canada

Looking at Canada

Oh America, what are you in for?

A new American President who won by dividing the country, and has never held any elected office in his life? Your Canadian brethren have been there before.

  • A leader and provincial political party dedicated to the breakup of Canada won election in the Province of Quebec during the 1970s, and was re-elected – twice! Canada and Canadians survived two separation referenda, the last by a slim one percent margin. Quebec remains part of a strong and united Canada;
  • Canada’s largest city of Toronto – larger than Chicago – elected the late Rob Ford as mayor in 2010. His struggles with alcohol, drugs and bizarre behaviour made talk shows and news coverage across the world. Toronto subsequently elected a staid replacement in 2014, and life continues;
  • In 2006, Canada elected a Prime Minister whose Conservative Party actions in many respects resembled some of the Republican and Trump agenda. The Conservative government won two minority and one majority government, governed Canada for ten years, and was decisively defeated in 2015.

Canada and the United States are more than joined at the waist of North America. We are family in every literal and figurative sense. No two nations on earth have ever had a larger trading relationship. Our families marry across the border, and share a common language, most of our culture and values, and a friendship and trust warmer than any other two nations on earth or in history.

What are the odds of America surviving a Trump presidency? Probably pretty good. Even when a President’s party has had a grip on both Houses of Congress, any thought that the President ‘controls’ government is fanciful at best. And this President is not even on-side with his own party’s 2016 election platform! Though the majority of states may be governed by Republicans, U.S. states are fiercely independent and autonomous levels of government. Still, is there the potential for America, as our beloved brothers and sisters have known it, to come unglued? To be frank, your neighbours to your north concede that Americans have steered their ship of state into dark and uncharted waters.

In the past several years, America has crept into the list of top ten places from which new immigrants come to Canada. Every year, some 20,000 Americans leave the United States for a new life in Canada.

When Canada entered both world wars, Americans made their way north to join Canadian forces in the struggle. Canada stood by the United States when no other nation would during the Iranian revolution, and brought American hostages back home safely. American air travellers grounded in Canada by the attacks of September 11, 2001 found a few days of welcome in uncounted Canadian homes. It’s what family members always do to help one another.

Should you come to Canada?

Canada is at the same time a nearby and familiar land, as well as a very different country. If leaving your USA home and coming to Canada is more than a reaction to the state of America, it’s time to look into it. This will be a hard look.

  • Click here to start, or;
  • Call Andrea Seepersaud at Upper Canada Immigration Consultants at (647) 988-3846.

 

Coming to Canada

Silly Spousal Sponsorship Rule

Fear, ignorance and perception: welcome rule changes

Since 2012, Family Class immigrants sponsored by their Canadian spouses were obliged to live with their spouses (if they have no children together) for two years, under a conditional agreement undertaken at the time of acquiring permanent residence status. In what was supposedly an attempt by the former government to put an end to fraudulent marriages, then Minister of Citizenship Jason Kenny, slammed on the brakes.

“The jig is up on marriage fraud”, he declared. It was nothing more than a selfish move by a hateful system to force couples to “prove” that their relationship was genuine, with little thought for the human lives that would be affected. It gave rise to an oppressed existence for some extremely vulnerable individuals, the majority of whom were female.

The conditional PR rule kept couples firmly entrenched in cruel domestic conditions and abusive relationships, and drove fear into their hearts of ensuing consequences, should they leave their relationships.

Now that there is a proposed plan to repeal this rule in the spring, it brings to light the underlying assumption that most reasonable people make: that individuals enter into marital relationships with sincerity and good intentions. However, just like life itself, you never know what’s in store for you. Love and marriage, supposedly going together like a horse and carriage, but where sadly, some overzealous circumstance places the carriage before the horse, stuff happens.

Everyone knows that being in love or having known each other for several months or years does not guarantee a successful marriage. Thus, when there is a breakdown, or when there is abuse or violence in a marital relationship, there should be no impediment to seeking protection, safety and a complete dissolution of the marriage.  The conditional PR was an impediment for many sponsored spouses. Government statistics from 2013 to 2015 indicate that 58,218 spouses and partners, along with their dependants, were given conditional permanent resident status in Canada.  Seventy five percent of those who knew about, and applied for an exception to this rule, were women. Approvals were granted to 205 of the 260 cases, representing 79 percent of those that received a decision by IRCC.

In many cultures, arranged marriages are the order of the day. Match makers are highly revered, whether it is an esteemed auntie or the local self-appointed matchmaker who knows every body’s business. And the vast majority of these marriages often work beautifully. So why should unreasonable and illogical assumptions drive policy-making in Canada?

Will this repeal of the rule then give way to a system that will be fraught with irregularities, scheming applicants and a complete breakdown of integrity? Let’s give the government the benefit of the doubt on this for now, and remember, this is a different government. Here are the safeguards:

  • The rules that apply to a spouse who comes to Canada and then leaves the marital relationship soon therefter will still be enforced. Such sponsored spouses will not be able to sponsor a spouse until after five years of having become a permanent resident irrespective of having acquired citizenship;
  • As well, if it is found that misrepresentation or deception with an intent to acquire status was at play, then the government has the right to revoke such status under Section 40 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

At the end of the day, what has been achieved? Not much in the way of ascertaining whether or not marriages are genuine. But it can be reasonably assumed that because of this silly rule, many sponsored spouses stayed with their abusers for fear of losing their status.  Sadly, these newcomers started off their lives in Canada feeling helpless without information about possible remedies, with a perception of having been been horribly let down by everyone. Hopefully, not any more.