Border Closed

Canada COVID-19 lockdown tightens

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anadian borders are now closed to travelers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Trudeau on March 16 in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Exceptions are diplomats, air crew, and U.S. citizens. The latter exception for U.S. citizens recognizes the tight integration of North American supply chains between Canada and the USA to enable shipments of goods to cross the Canada- U.S. border. Referred to as “essential services”, 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.

The rapid global spread of the COVID-19 virus has prompted Canada’s federal government, and all provincial and territorial governments, to shut much of the country down, and encourage Canadians to stay at home to contain the spread of the virus. Public, sporting, business, conference and entertainment events are all cancelled. Canadians are asked not to attend gatherings of more than about 50 people, and if possible to just stay at home. The streets reflect an unearthly quiet. Canadians abroad are asked to return home while they still can. Everyone who travels outside Canada needs to self-isolate for at least 14 days once back in Canada. Similar measures are being enacted in other countries as well.

What does this mean to me?

If you are working with us on applying for any type of visa or sponsorship,  we 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 has been lifted.  However, we are aware that direct family members will be allowed to travel to Canada to reunite with their loved ones,  but are unclear about what situations apply. Our information is limited to only what has been announced.

We are unclear about the Canadian government’s position on study permit holders  and work permits holders who  were expecting to travel to Canada.  What we do know is that schools will be closed for at least three weeks from mid-March. Many employers are asking their employees to work from home.

If you have been granted a permanent residence visa and have not booked your ticket to “land” in Canada, please delay your arrival in Canada to  a time when you know things are back to normal. There are only four international airports open for international flights as of March 18.  Pearson International in Toronto; Pierre Elliot Trudeau International in Montreal; Vancouver International and Calgary International. The line-ups and testing upon arrival will be long and rigorous. As noted above, every international traveler, Canadian or not, must self-quarantine for at least two weeks.

Notice received on March 19, 2020

The following is an Important Notice  from the Government of Canada 

 Travel for the purpose of obtaining immigration services is non-essential. If you are in Canada, and are seeking to travel to the border in order to make an application for a work permit, study permit or permanent residence, you are asked to consider Federal and Provincial guidelines for self-isolation and social distancing. Do not travel to the border for these services until the further notice. If you are currently in Canada as a visitor, student or worker, you can apply online to IRCC to extend your temporary resident status.  By doing so, you can continue to stay, study or work in Canada while your application is being processed.  This is referred to as implied status, and as long as you apply before your current document expires, your current immigration authorizations and conditions remain unchanged.  In-Canada services are available through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Who cannot board Canada-bound flights

Canada’s Minister of Transportation, Marc Garneau has 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:

  • Persons who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents may not board an airline flight to come to Canada. This includes stateless persons;
  • An 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;
  • 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, if they say they have COVID-19, or if they refuse to answer questions.

What happens when COVID-19 ends?

The difficult COVID-19 pandemic will end, we all hope with a minimum of loss of lives and livelihoods. Once it does, Canada is on track to look for as many as one million new immigrants to the country in the next three years. We are working from home (as we often do) throughout the global isolation period. If you’re thinking about Canada, get the process started early. If you’re serious, 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.

Caribbean trip postponed

See you later in the year

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uring late winter or early spring, Upper Canada Immigration Consultants typically travels to  the Caribbean to meet with people who would like to come to Canada to live, work, study, visit or do business. Earlier this year, before the COVID-19 situation worsened, we decided to postpone that annual trip to later in the calendar. The global Coronavirus (COVID-19) issue was part of the reason when we made that decision in February. Many of you are contacting us directly as it is, and frankly, this has been a very busy winter season at Upper Canada Immigration Consultants. Remember that you do not have to meet us personally in order to retain our services to assist you. Use the phone, or WhatsApp, please.

If you’d like to work with us on an application, or find out if a visit or a move to Canada is feasible, then contacting us is simple. During this period when travel is perceived as risky, we can safely and securely connect  with you by WhatsApp. You and also  use  e-mail to contact us.

COVID-19 and client contact

During this challenging period when Canadians (and people everywhere) are trying to contain and reverse the Corona Virus. People are being asked to work from home wherever possible, and avoid traveling. We are doing the same, following guidelines about minimizing the chance of contacting the virus, or putting our clients at risk through direct meetings. Like most people in the world who can, we are working from home for the next few weeks at least. Consider calling and doing our business on the phone.

Much of our business is conducted on the web and the phone (or WhatsApp) as it is. In the coming weeks, keep doing business with us, and keep it on the phone, by e-mail and by WhatsApp. Expect that routine things will take longer, mail and packages may take longer to receive, and services that we are used to receiving quickly may take longer, perhaps much longer in the short term, or may be interrupted. Together, by being vigilant and careful, we will all get through the Corona Virus.

IRB phone fraud

Beware the IRB phone call fraud

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he fraudulent caller says that if you don’t pay up, somebody will show up at your home and arrest you. Relax. It is fraud. The criminal is the caller, who is committing a federal offense. In April 2019, the Toronto Star reported on a telephone scam aimed at newcomers to Canada living in Canada. The article quoted an Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) warning about telephone calls in which the caller claims to be a representative of the IRB. The person called is told (incorrectly) that he or she is under investigation, and owes money, typically $1,000. The caller’s phone number is ‘spoofed‘ to look as if the call is coming from a body such as the Immigration and Refugee Board, or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

In 2018, we alerted our web site viewers to another fraud: the so-called ‘Canadian immigration lottery.’  There is no such program. Click to read our post.

We are collecting the common immigration-related scams on a dedicated page on our web site. Click here to read it.

If you know of a type of fraud that we have not described here, do the following:

  • Report the fraud attempt to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501;
  • Advise us too. We will use any information that we can verify to assist folks trying to enter Canada legally.

Payments

Use of cash continues to decline

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anadians continue to increase their use of credit and debit cards to make both large and small payments, according to a 2019 study by the Bank of Canada. In the past ten years, cash transactions of all kinds have declined from more than half of all payments to just more than a third of all transactions.

The Bank of Canada is Canada’s central bank, and sole issuer of Canadian bank notes, The Bank of Canada surveys Canadians every four years to find out how the nation pays for things.

The declining use of cash is not unique to Canada. Other countries worldwide are also seeing a rise in the use of electronic means of making payments large and small. Cash, however, remains easy to use. Cash is seen as secure, and cash is nearly universally accepted in Canada. For small-value purchases like a cup of coffee or a snack, cash is a popular payment method. In general, worldwide, the lower the value of the transaction, the more likely the buyer and seller will exchange value with cash.

Implications for immigrants to Canada

Cash, however, comes with some serious drawbacks. Using cash doesn’t build your credit rating, which you absolutely need to borrow money, qualify for a mortgage, or get a credit card. While cash itself is secure in that Canadians recognize the look and feel of Canadian currency, which is very difficult to counterfeit, carrying large amounts of cash has always been risky. Cash is not a good way for an employer to pay wages, or for an employee to be paid for work. Employers need to deduct income taxes; Canada Pension Plan contributions; health care premiums and other essentials ‘at source,’ which means you pay them as you go, rather than trying to find money you may have spent when you file your income taxes in Canada each spring.

Workers paid in cash may find out the hard way that they have no record if they need to claim workers’ compensation for a work-related injury.

Many of our clients prefer to pay us in cash. That’s fine. We accept cash. There is no advantage or drawback to you in paying us in cash. We also accept an e-transfer or a cheque.

Tips for good Canadian money management

In your country of origin:

  • Have a bank account. Use it, and deposit your cash in your bank account;
  • Build your credit history by showing that you can responsibly use a credit card, and pay the balance in full each month, or that you can manage a debit card;
  • You’ll need to show you have liquid assets (securities or cash) to come to Canada. Set up a savings account, separate from your chequing account, where you can save money.

Once you land in Canada:

  • Move your banking to Canada. Open a bank account with one of the major Canadian banks. Your employer should directly deposit your wages in your main chequing account;
  • Open a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), and use this registered account to save and invest your money tax-free. You can withdraw and re-contribute the money you have in this account as your circumstances change over the years;
  • Open a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), and make annual contributions of whatever you can. This account accumulates income tax-free until you use the funds, ideally after you have retired. Plan never to use this money during your working career;
  • Get and use either (or both of) a debit and a credit card for your purchases. You gain an expense record of what you spend money on, which helps you set and manage a personal budget;
  • Pay your income taxes every year. Filing your income tax return automatically makes you eligible for a wide variety of federal and provincial supports and programs.

Retain and file your financial records. Pay regular attention to how you and your household use money. Canadians generate a formidable trail of payments for the things you must purchase (rent or mortgage; utilities; taxes; transportation; food; clothing and so on) and the discretionary things you spend money on (entertainment, eating out, gifts; etc.). Financial success in a country like Canada is a matter of both increasing your income during your working career, and understanding and managing how you spend money. Keep score, have a plan, you’ll know whether you are winning or losing in the game of life in Canada.

Program Fraud

Beware of the phony job recruiters

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host (illegal, non-regulated) immigration consultants are playing would-be immigrants to Canada for fools, and making off with people’s life savings by manipulating non-existent job offers in the Atlantic Canada Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP).  Prospective  Chinese immigrants seem to be a prime target. On a daily basis UCIC receives inquiries  about this program from individuals on every continent . Click on the link below  for details and insight on a “money- for-nothing” scheme:

A CBC News story in September 2019 exposed the method of demanding that prospective immigrants in essence pay for their own job by handing over huge sums of money, from which a prospective employer may be ‘paid off’ to make a phony job offer, for which the employer is paid with the applicant’s own funds, and the applicant receives no compensation during the so-called employment period.

Our advice for prospective immigrants to Canada is that there are no tricks, gimmicks or back doors to entry to Canada. You can’t buy your way into the country, and if you fall victim to this type of ghost consultant fraud, you’ll likely lose all your money, and end up back in your country of origin. Worse yet, a fraudulent attempt to enter Canada will also end all your dreams of coming – and staying – legitimately.

Invitation to Apply

Your ITA starts a crucial clock ticking

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.
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he 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. 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 Invitation to Apply, you need to take the next two months of your life very seriously. This is one of life’s use-it-or-lose-it opportunities. Click here for some vital information on turning your precious ITA into your opportunity to settle in Canada.

Avoid foreseeable mistakes

There are common mistakes people frequently make, realizing only too late that procrastination or taking the wrong advice may have either doomed their application, or left them no further ahead, but many thousands of Canadian dollars poorer. We have summarized some of the common mistakes on this page.

Express Entry Pool

Updated Express Entry info

Express Entry 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.
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e have updated and expanded our Express Entry information page.  Be sure to either read it for the first time, or re-read it once more. Have you created your profile yet? 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 a coveted Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residency if your score has reached the threshold to be drawn. Time works against you. This means if you are serious about coming to Canada, don’t wait that extra year or two before you start the process.

 

Coming to Guyana

A new life in Canada starts with a meeting

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pper Canada Immigration Consultants (UCIC) comes to the Caribbean on an annual basis. We meet with people seriously interested in coming to Canada. There is a small charge for the meeting. This is to ensure that the people who see us make a commitment to their future. We credit the entire meeting charge to your account once you become a client of ours. We’ll be frank and candid with you, and let you know if you have a good chance of succeeding in a desire to come to Canada.

We use Facebook because so many of our clients and prospective clients are on that platform. The Upper Canada Immigration 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 us. We will visit the Caribbean again in 2020:

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 returning to the Caribbean each year, and assisting qualified and determined folks on their road to permanent residency in Canada.

Andrea Seepersaud
President, Upper Canada Immigration Consultants

New for 2019

An offer to settle in smaller Canadian centres

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new Government of Canada pilot program will match applicants for permanent residency to jobs in rural Canada. The community-driven initiative aims to address ongoing labour shortages in rural and northern communities of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest territories.

The objective of the five-year economic immigration pilot project is to stimulate economic growth in communities that have, in recent years, seen population declines, and have job vacancies for mid-level positions that are never filled. The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot promises to link communities experiencing labour shortages to the one source that can supply a steady stream of human capital – immigration.

Merrickville
Merrickville calls itself “The Jewel of the Rideau.” It is located near Kingston, halfway between Montreal and Toronto, and close to Ottawa.

Launched in 2019, this pilot program aims to rejuvenate rural Canada, while answering the prayers of thousands of potential new Canadians who are seeking a new start to their lives. Each year during the next five years, Canada will bring 2,750 principal applicants and their families to these outlying areas of Canada. Communities wishing to be a part of the initiative will enroll in the pilot by demonstrating their capacity to respond to the influx of human resources through social capital, supportive infrastructure and readiness to welcome and settle newcomers. The deadline for communities to get on board is March 1, 2019.

Check out some smaller Ontario towns and cities all within driving distance of Toronto.

Thirty percent of Canada’s GDP is derived from rural Canada, where the workforce between 2001 and 2016 has shrunk by 23 percent. The percentage of retirement-age population has steadily increased, while the potential for work and economic benefits remain. Some 78 percent of immigrants tend to settle in large urban areas in Canada, where friends, family and established ethnocultural communities exist. The vision of newly arrived immigrants is no different. This five-year plan aims to assist rural communities to set themselves up as attractive, welcoming and economically viable for newcomer settlement, by offering supports.

The Northern and Rural Immigration Pilot could tap into the best practices of previous approaches to community-driven programs, where community collaborative efforts have included business and service sectors working closely with government to settle and integrate newcomers into the local environment.

Canada, the second-largest country in the world by land size, welcomes immigrants on an ongoing basis through various programs, initiatives and pilots. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program implemented in 2017 has been successful in driving economic growth in the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. So far, 734 principal applicants along with their families totaling 1,562 people, have been approved for permanent residency.

The Government of Canadian has defined participating Northern and rural communities as either:

  • Cities of 200,000 but classified as remote because of distance from an urban centre; or
  • Those with a population of less than 50,000, and located at least 75 kilometers from centres boasting a population of 100,000 or more.

The pilot will operate through the respective provincial nominee programs of the identified provinces and territories. The local community and economic development office for each community is expected to play a key role in matching candidates to local job openings. Potential candidates will have to wait until later in 2019 when participating communities would have been designated, and the parameters respecting candidate applications defined.

Contact us for more information, and to discuss whether the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot might be a route to Canada for you.

Vanishing population

Competing for the globe’s top people

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ecent news articles in Canada in recent weeks 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 new 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.

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.

  • 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.