Border Closed

Updated: Canada COVID-19 lockdown

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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 “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.

  • On April 18, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that the U.S. – Canada border would remain closed until at least late May;
  • The U.S. President has stated that an Executive Order suspending all immigration to the United States would be issued, with many essential details either missing or vague.

The rapid global spread of the COVID-19 virus has prompted Canada’s federal government, and all provincial and territorial governments, to shut the country down. Canadians, like people just about everywhere, must stay at home to contain the spread of the virus. Public, sporting, business, conference and entertainment events are all cancelled. Canadians cannot attend gatherings of any type, including church services.

Canadian streets reflect an unearthly quiet. Canadians abroad must 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.

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 in March

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.

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.

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.

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.

Caribbean trip postponed

See you once travel is safe

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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.

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.

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

Contact Info

Keep up to date with us

Upper Canada Immigration e-newsletter
Be sure to subscribe to our periodic e-newsletter to receive updates on immigration to Canada, and find out when and where our consultants may be in your area for a meeting.
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pper Canada Immigration uses a mail list manager called Mailchimp. It is a powerful tool. It helps us keep in touch with you, and helps us get you specific information quickly. For a list and description of the open source software we use in our business, and which you can use too, click here.

If you don’t receive our e-mail newsletters, you may want to subscribe. If you do receive our e-mail newsletters, you should check to be sure the information we have on you is complete. A few notes for people unsure of what to share with us:

  • We assume we are dealing with serious and honest people whose interest in their future is genuine;
  • To help you, we have a genuine need to know where in the world you live, and how to contact you. Let us know who you are, and where you live. Or, if you receive our newsletter, please spend a few moments checking the information you may have given us earlier;
  • We respect your privacy, and don’t share your information in any way with anyone. Should you no longer wish to hear from us, the contact information you supplied is deleted when you unsubscribe to our e-mail newsletter.

Click here to see our latest e-mail bulletin, correct or update your contact information, or join the list.

Remember, other than you and us, the rest of the world will never see your info. We hope you enjoy our occasional (never too frequent) e-mail newsletters.

 

Spousal Permanent Residence

Conditional status removed

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his 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.

Christmas 2017

Christmas greetings & Holiday hours

Christmas Card 2017

Merry Christmas to all our clients and friends, wherever in the world you are!

Holiday hours

Our Upper Canada Immigration people enjoyed their Christmas break. We are back at work for you, and accepting new and familiar callers.