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Permanent Resident Cards: How to Renew and What to Do Outside Canada

Did you know that Canada is aiming to welcome 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021? The federal government of Canada can do this by launching 6 new permanent residency streams for international student graduates and essential workers. They also have Express Entry draws throughout the year for applications with Canadian work experience.

If you are a permanent resident and you’re considering traveling outside Canada, there are some things you need to be aware of. In most cases, you’ll need valid permanent resident (PR) card to return to Canada.

Before you travel, you should check to ensure that your permanent resident card is valid and consider renewing if it is close its’ expiry date. Keep on reading for everything you need to know on how to renew your card and what happens if you’re traveling without a PR card.

What Are Permanent Resident Cards?

A permanent resident is someone who has been given permanent resident status by the government of Canada. 

There is a difference between temporary workers or students and permanent residents. Temporary residents include students or foreign workers. They are not considered permanent residents and don’t have the benefits of permanent resident status

Permanent residents are able to live, work and study anywhere in Canada without needing to apply for authorization. They are also eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship upon meeting residency requirements. 

Permanent residents cannot vote or run for political office however, nor can they hold jobs that require a high-level security clearance.

Permanent resident cards are proof of your permanent residence status. If you travel outside of Canada, you need to show your Permanent Resident card to be able to come back into Canada. This applies when you’re using a “commercial vehicle”, including an airplane, boat, train, or bus.  

If you’re considering applying for permanent residency status, you can consider some of the new international graduates and essential worker’s streams. New streams are being offered by the government throughout the year. These include streams for economic class skilled workers, professionals, or those with Canadian work experience.  

Renewing Permanent Resident Cards

Most permanent resident cards are valid for 5 years. Some cards may be valid for one year, so make sure to confirm when your permanent resident card expires. Remember you don’t lose your permanent resident status when your permanent resident expires.

If your permanent resident card is expired or will expire in less than 9 months, then you should apply for a new card. The new card will have a new expiration date. It costs $50 to renew a permanent resident card.

To apply, get the application package online. This package includes the forms and guides that you need to be able to renew your permanent resident card. You will need to submit:

  • A photocopy of your old permanent resident card
  • A clear copy of your passport
  • 2 photos based on specific requirements 
  • Any other documents listed in the Document Checklist in the application package
  • A copy of the receipt for the processing fee
  • A solemn declaration (if your PR card was lost, stolen, or destroyed)

The photos must be taken by a commercial photographer. They should be sized 50 mm x 70 mm with a neutral facial expression. 

If you’re renewing your card, keep your old card with you, and just send a photocopy of the old card in your application. If you’re applying to replace your card because it’s damaged or has the wrong information, then submit your old card in your application.

Replacing Permanent Resident Cards

If your permanent resident card is lost, stolen, or destroyed, before you apply online, you need to tell the government what happened. This can be done online by following these conditions: 

  • Choose “Tell us more”
  • Answer “No”
  • Click on “Proceed to Web Form”
  • Choose “Permanent resident card” and “Renewal and Replacement”
  • Fill in your details

If you’re outside Canada, go to the nearest visa office and apply for the permanent resident travel card to return to Canada.

Processing Time for Permanent Resident Cards

If you’re going to be traveling soon, remember that it takes some time to process the renewal and replacement of permanent resident cards. Processing times vary for replacing or renewing a permanent resident card, so make sure to check the processing times online. 

You can apply to process your permanent resident card urgently. To quality for urgent processing, you must be traveling within the next 3 months because of:

  • Work or job opportunity
  • Your own or a family member’s serious illness
  • Death of a family member

Remember that this does not mean that you are guaranteed to get your permanent resident card on time. For the sake of your travel plans, make sure to renew ahead of time so you’re not dealing with tight deadlines.

Traveling Without a PR Card – How to Get a Permanent Resident Travel Document

If you are traveling and your PR Card expires, you can get a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTDs). PRTDs allows for a single entry to Canada. Since you can only apply for a permanent resident card inside Canada, you’ll need a PRTD to enter Canada.

To apply for a PRTD, you need to:

  • Be a permanent resident of Canada
  • Not have a valid permanent resident card
  • Be outside Canada
  • Be returning to Canada by airplane, boat, train, or bus

When you apply for a PRTD, a visa officer will review your application. You must make sure to meet the permanent residency requirements. This means that you must have lived in Canada for 730 days during the last 5 years. These 730 days do not need to be continuous.

With the PRTD, you can enter Canada once and begin the process to renew your permanent resident card.

Contact Your Permanent Resident Cards Expert Today

Now you know everything you need to know about renewing or replacing your permanent resident cards. If you need further assistance with a permanent resident travel document, contact your immigration lawyers at Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers today.

Book your consultation by phone, Zoom, or Teams at your convenience. You can book a 30-minute or 60-minute consultation based on your needs. Our multicultural, multilingual immigration team can help you tackle all your permanent resident card issues.

Spousal Sponsorships: Covering Partners Who are Outside and Inside Canada

Canada has welcomed 313,838 new immigrants from January to October 2021. One of the biggest problems with getting immigration into Canada for you and your family is the delays. With a backlog of 1.8 million Canadian immigration applications, it can take a while before you’re united with your family.

Are you a new immigrant who’s waiting to sponsor your family to Canada? Are you considering spousal sponsorships? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Understanding how spousal sponsorships work can help you and your spouse when you’re immigrating to Canada. Keep on reading for everything you need to know about spousal sponsorships, including partners who are inside Canada or outside Canada.

Who Can Sponsor Their Spouse?

To be able to sponsor a spouse, you need certain eligibility criteria. You, as the sponsor, must be 18 years of age and a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. The sponsor must also be residing in Canada. Other criteria include:

  • Clean record with no criminal convictions
  • No violent or sexual convictions
  • No bankruptcy
  • No government assistance except in special circumstances

You will need to show that you are in a genuine, bona-fide relationship. Evidence to support this can include marriage certificates, photos, emails, phone records, and other supporting documents. You can also show evidence of joint bank accounts, co-ownership of property, and official documents that list the same address.

Same-Sex Spouses

Canada immigration laws recognize same-sex marriages and same-sex common-law partners as sponsors. Opposite- or same-sex marriages will be recognized if the marriage was legally performed in Canada. If it was performed outside of Canada, the marriage must be legally recognized in the country where it took place.

Common-Law Spouses

You can sponsor your opposite- or same-sex common-law partner as long as you’ve lived with them for at least 12 consecutive months.

Conjugal Partners

You can also sponsor an opposite- or same-sex conjugal partner. A conjugal partner means a person who is:

  • Living outside Canada
  • Has been in a conjugal relationship for at least 12 months
  • Could not live as a couple because of reasons beyond their control like immigration, religion, or sexual orientation

Undertaking

One important thing to note is that when you agree to be a sponsor, you will have to sign an undertaking promising to give financial support for the basic needs of your spouse or partner. Basic needs include food, clothing, shelter, and other everyday needs. It will also include dental or eye care that’s not covered by public health services.

The undertaking will be for 3 years from the day your spouse or partner becomes a permanent resident. You can only withdraw your undertaking before a final decision has been made on your file. 

Remember that this undertaking will apply even if your situation changes. You will need to provide financial support even if the person you’re sponsoring becomes a Canadian citizen, you get divorced or separated, your spouse or partner moves to a different country, or you run into financial problems.

How Do Spousal Sponsorships Work?

Spousal sponsorship rules are different if your spouse is living outside of Canada or inside Canada as a worker, student, or visitor. Understanding how each one works can help you make your decision on which method works best for you.

If you’re looking to sponsor other relatives, the process is very different. There are other streams and processes for sponsoring relatives including the Parents and Grandparents Program.

Spousal Sponsorships Inside Canada

You can sponsor your spouse if they live with you in Canada. The spousal sponsorship application can be done within Canada, but your spouse must remain in Canada until the application is finalized. It’s also recommended that your spouse continues to maintain legal status. This means if their work or study permit is expiring, they should apply to renew it.

Your spouse will also have the option to apply for an open work permit and work in Canada while they are waiting for a response on their application.

If you’re sponsoring your spouse inside Canada and the application is refused, there is no option to appeal at the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD). However, an application for Judicial Review at the Federal Court of Canada may be an option.

Spousal Sponsorships Outside Canada

Where the spouse is outside Canada, the application will be processed in their country of origin. In this process, there are no restrictions on traveling in or out of Canada. If the spousal sponsorship application is denied, the refusal can be appealed at the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD).

If your spouse is outside Canada, you can apply as a conjugal partner if you haven’t lived together for 12 consecutive months for immigration reasons.

What Are the Processing Times for Spousal Sponsorship?

It can take up to 12 months for the government to review your spousal sponsorship application. This is the same whether you apply inside Canada or outside Canada. There are times where the spousal sponsorship outside Canada processes faster than the application for spousal sponsorship inside Canada. 

You may need to give fingerprints or photo biometrics with your application. The processing time includes the time it takes you to give biometrics verification, and the time the government takes to assess the sponsor and person being sponsored and review eligibility requirements.  

Remember to provide all the necessary documentation, including multiple evidence of your spousal relationship to help smooth the application process.

Book a Consultation to Discuss Spousal Sponsorship Today

You now know if you’re eligible for spousal sponsorships. You have options whether your spouse or partner is in Canada or outside of Canada. With this knowledge, you’re ready to apply for their sponsorship so you can be united as a family and begin your new life in Canada.

Remember that having a spousal sponsorship declined can further delay your reunion. You want reliable experts by your side to help you navigate the rules and regulations of Canadian spousal sponsorship. We offer 30- or 60-minute consultations that allow you the opportunity to discuss your situation with experts. Book your consultation today. 

What Do Business Owners Need to Know About Operating in Canada?

Canada is a fantastic place to start a new business or invest in one. It offers a number of benefits, including:

  • Lower corporate taxes than many other countries, including the U.S.
  • Stable connections to the U.S. and the wider world, with 550 ports and more than a dozen international airports.
  • High quality of life — Canada ranked second (after Germany) on the 2021 Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brands Index. And research shows that people are up to 13% more productive when they’re happy.

However, there’s a common misconception that foreign nationals automatically qualify to become a permanent resident if they start a business in Canada or invest in one. That’s not the case: Canadian immigration programs for foreign business owners and investors require proof that applicants play an active part in the day-to-day running of the company.

First, business owners and investors from outside Canada need to obtain a work permit. Then, they can claim ‘job offer’ points on their express entry profile after working for their company for at least one year. As a result, they would be eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada under one of the various Express Entry pathways.

As immigration lawyers in Toronto, the most common application types we prepare for business owners and investors are:

  • C11 Significant Benefits
  • Intra-Company Transfer (ICT)
  • CUSMA Investor/Trader
  • Provincial Nomination Programs for Entrepreneurs (available in Ontario, British Columbia, and Manitoba)

Below, we’ll take a close look at each type.

C11 Significant Benefits

Under the C11 Significant Benefits Pathway, entrepreneurs can apply for a permit to work for themselves or to operate their business in Canada. They need to demonstrate that being granted entry to Canada would bring significant benefits to the country (either economic, social, or cultural). They may also show that their entry would provide Canadian citizens and permanent residents with valuable work opportunities.

Key criteria for this application includes having majority ownership (at least 51%) of the business. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) would assess several points when evaluating applications, such as:

  • Does the applicant have relevant skills or employment history that improves the business’s viability?
  • Does the applicant have a business plan that shows they’ve taken clear steps to start their enterprise?

If granted entry, a business owner can qualify for permanent residency by gathering points on their profile (based on the national occupation code of the job offer or work permit). That would boost their overall cumulative ranking score and their chances of being invited to apply.

Intra-Company Transfer

Business owners with an established company overseas can set up a branch office in Canada and transfer as a manager or executive. Successful applicants will receive a temporary work permit, and family members may join them. To be eligible, foreign nationals must be an executive, senior manager, or have specialized knowledge.

Requirements for ICT applications include:

  • The foreign and Canadian entities must be related, such as an affiliate or a subsidiary.
  • The foreign entity should have the financial stability to support the Canadian company and its staff.
  • Realistic plans are in place to hire employees for the Canadian entity, primarily Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • Securing premises for the Canadian entity or planning to.

Foreign nationals can make an express entry profile after working for the Canadian entity for one year, then start claiming job-offer points.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)

CUSMA superseded the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in July 2020. This enables citizens of the U.S., Mexico, or Canada involved in certain professional activities to gain temporary entry. You can read more about CUSMA in our Work Permits Pursuant to International Free Trade Agreements post.

Some of the most important requirements for eligibility include:

  • The applicant has American or Mexican citizenship.
  • The enterprise has American or Mexican nationality.
  • Significant money has been invested into the business, or is actively being invested. No minimum dollar figure applies: an investment’s value is typically determined by a “proportionality test”. This weighs the figure against the amount usually considered necessary to establish a viable business of its type, or the enterprise’s overall value.
  • The applicant is looking for entry exclusively to grow the enterprise and direct it.
  • If the applicant is an employee of the business, they hold an executive or supervisory position requiring essential skills.
  • The applicant complies with existing measures that apply to foreign nationals seeking temporary entry.

Investors must have funds committed to the business to qualify, rather than simply intending to invest.

Provincial Entrepreneur Programs (PNP)

PNPs are for foreign nationals applying directly to their preferred province rather than IRCC. As a result, the relevant province is required to either approve or refuse an application. Provinces operating Entrepreneurial Streams have their own lists of requirements that applicants must meet. These typically relate to:

  • The number of jobs a business will create.
  • Minimum investment amounts.
  • Minimum net worths.

Foreign nationals must formally express their interest to the province, which will assign a score to them. Provinces conduct draws under Entrepreneur Streams and invite applicants at or above the cut-off score to submit their application. PNPs are fairly similar to C11 Significant benefits and ICT programs.

When a province approves someone into the program, they will sign a PNP agreement. They will receive a nomination certificate upon meeting all conditions stipulated in that agreement. Next, the individual will file their application for permanent residence directly to the relevant province.

Abramovich & Tchern helps clients complete applications for a number of Entrepreneur PNPs, including:

We’ll ensure you understand the requirements for your chosen PNP, then create a compelling application for you.

How to Make Your Application To Start or Invest in a Business in Canada

Applying for temporary entry into Canada is a complex, time-consuming process. It can be challenging, especially when you currently run a business or are in the process of launching one.

As experienced immigration lawyers, we’ve successfully advocated for companies and individuals from across the globe. Contact our team today to find out how we can help you bring your enterprise to Canada!

IRCC Refused My Application for Misrepresentation: What Can I Do Now?

Over the past few years, we have seen a significant increase in misrepresentation-based bars under section 40 (1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). This is often based on section 16 (1) of the IRPA (which we’ll come back to).

In this post, we’ll summarize misrepresentation, the main issues surrounding it, and our approach to helping clients after they have received a Procedural Fairness Letter (more below) or been found inadmissible.

How Does the IRPA Define Misrepresentation?

Section 40 (1) of the IRPA reads:

  1. (1) A permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible for misrepresentation
  • (a) for directly or indirectly misrepresenting or withholding material facts relating to a relevant matter that induces or could induce an error in the administration of this Act;
  • (b) for being or having been sponsored by a person who is determined to be inadmissible for misrepresentation;
  • (c) on a final determination to vacate a decision to allow their claim for refugee protection or application for protection; or
  • (d) on ceasing to be a citizen under paragraph 10(1)(a) of the Citizenship Act, in the circumstances set out in subsection 10(2) of that Act.

Application (2)

The following provisions govern subsection (1):

  • (a) the permanent resident or the foreign national continues to be inadmissible for misrepresentation for a period of two years following, in the case of a determination outside Canada, a final determination of inadmissibility under subsection (1) or, in the case of a determination in Canada, the date the removal order is enforced; and
  • (b) paragraph (1)(b) does not apply unless the Minister is satisfied that the facts of the case justify the inadmissibility.

If Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) find that you have provided inaccurate, incomplete, or inconsistent information, they could refuse your application to reside in Canada.

That could lead to severe disruptions to your life, career, and relationships if you have family or a job in Canada.

What Are Your Obligations When Applying for Residence in Canada?

You have an obligation to be honest when applying for residency, as stipulated in section 16 (1) of the IRPA:

16 (1) A person who makes an application must answer truthfully all questions put to them for the purpose of the examination and must produce a visa and all relevant evidence and documents that the officer reasonably requires.

Section 16 of the Act also states that applicants must adhere to the following obligations:

  • You must appear for an examination when requested by an officer.
  • If you’re a foreign national, you must provide relevant evidence (e.g. photographs and fingerprints) and submit to a medical examination.
  • As a foreign national applying for residency in Canada, you must appear for an interview upon request. This is for the purpose of an investigation undertaken by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service under section 15 of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act. You must submit honest answers to all questions during this interview.

All this may sound daunting, especially if you’re anxious to have your application approved as soon as possible. However, providing any false information, no matter how minor, could see you barred from applying to return to Canada for five years.

Examples of Misrepresentation

Misrepresentation may be intentional or unintentional. Applicants could falsely believe that information is correct when they submit it, and feel stunned when they’re refused on the grounds of misrepresentation. Alternatively, applicants can knowingly attempt to mislead the IRCC or CBSA with inaccurate information.

In either case, misrepresentation will not be tolerated and can lead to a swift ban from entering Canada for five years.

Examples of misrepresentation include:

  • An applicant provides a document which has been forged or altered to contain information that aligns with IRCC requirements.
  • An applicant neglects to mention family members who intend to join them.
  • An applicant chooses not to declare convictions or criminal charges, even those that occurred many years earlier.
  • An applicant lies about their employment history in an attempt to secure a job in Canada.
  • An applicant fails to declare that they were refused entry to other countries.

If IRCC or CBSA believe your application can be considered misrepresentative, they will send you a Procedural Fairness Letter (PFL) before they reach a final decision regarding your case.

The process for finding a migrant inadmissible for immigration misrepresentation requires that the foreign national or permanent resident first be provided with the opportunity to respond to the allegations, which should be set out either during an interview with a decision maker or in a Procedural Fairness Letter (PFL). If the allegations are set out in a PFL, the foreign national will be given a specific amount of time to respond on paper or in very limited circumstances by interview. 

Where the application was made outside of Canada, the foreign national or permanent resident must provide a response to the Visa Officer who identified the potential misrepresentation. The Visa Officer will then assess these submissions and make a final decision. If the finding of misrepresentation stands, then the applicant will receive a 5-year bar on re-application. Comparatively, if the foreign national or permanent resident makes the application from within Canada, then they must address their reply to IRCC (or at times the CBSA).

If after reviewing these submissions the officer continues to believe that the foreign national or permanent resident has misrepresented themselves, they could be required to attend an interview with IRCC or the CBSA, followed in certain circumstances by a hearing before the Immigration Division, where a removal order may be issued.

Permanent residents may in some cases appeal this removal order to the IAD. Everyone else can challenge the removal order at the Federal Court. The 5-year bar will commence once the foreign national or permanent resident is removed from Canada.

What is a Procedural Fairness Letter?

An immigration officer sends a PFL to notify an applicant of serious issues with their application. In the case of misrepresentation, an officer may believe that information has been falsified or omitted by accident or design.

However, don’t be disheartened if you receive a Procedural Fairness Letter: it doesn’t mean the officer will definitely refuse your application. You can send a response to argue your case.

How to Respond to a PFL

You should write a clear, comprehensive response to a PFL. That can be difficult when your emotions are running high and you feel frustrated about a potential ban. But an effective letter can make a significant difference to your application.

However, it’s highly recommended that you get competent and experienced counsel. Immigration lawyers can craft a compelling response to a PFL that clarifies the reasons for any errors or omissions. Legal counsel will help you understand the immigration officer’s concerns, the likelihood of a refusal, and other relevant factors. Legal arguments can carry the day in innocent misrepresentation cases and lead to application approval.

Potential Remedies for Misrepresentation

If you are facing misrepresentation allegations, you might have the following options:

How to Find Experienced Immigration Lawyers in Toronto

Abramovich & Tchern are immigration lawyers with years of experience in helping clients from all over the world. We’ve worked with applicants from India, Latin America, the US, the former Soviet republics, and beyond.

Individuals, established businesses, and hard-working families looking to start a new life in Canada have all trusted Abramovich & Tchern for dedicated advocacy. We can provide our services in a range of languages through professional interpreters.

If you want expert assistance in responding to a Procedural Fairness Letter, our lawyers are ready to help you. Contact Abramovich & Tchern to learn more today!

How to Sponsor Your Relatives for Canada’s Unique PGP Program

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has now issued more than 30,000 invitations for its unique Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP). This scheme enables Canadians and permanent residents to sponsor qualifying relatives and bring them to live in Canada.

IRCC has stated that: “Family reunification plays a significant role in attracting, retaining and integrating immigrants who contribute to our success as a country.”

As a result, parents and grandparents sponsored by family members will receive permanent residency in Canada, with the usual related benefits (such as the country’s highly coveted free health care).

However, demand to sponsor is usually significant — and COVID-19-related disruptions meant 2021’s lottery was the biggest so far.

IRCC initially intended to invite 20,000 sponsors last year and 20,000 more this year. But just 10,000 were issued in 2020, and the remaining 10,000 were added to 2021’s standard amount.

Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor was required to submit their “interest to sponsor” forms on the IRCC website in October/November 2020. A lottery determined which sponsors received an invitation to apply to be a sponsor, and the IRCC has finally finished sending all 30,000.

What should you do if you have received an invitation?

In this post, we’ll answer this and other crucial questions to help you get started.

What you need to know about applying to sponsor a relative in the PGP program

After receiving your invitation, you have just 60 days to prepare and submit a complete application form.

But you must meet the IRCC eligibility criteria to qualify as a sponsor. This covers:

Age and residency status

You must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or be status First Nations over 18 years old.

Minimum Necessary Income (MNI)

You must submit your Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) notices for the 2020, 2019, and 2018 tax years to prove to IRCC that you have earned the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) for those three consecutive years.

This will demonstrate that you can support yourself, your family unit, and anyone you intend to sponsor.

Your family unit may include:

  • A spouse or partner.
  • Dependent children.
  • Relatives you have sponsored previously.
  • A spouse/partner’s dependent children.

For sponsors living outside the Province of Quebec, the MNI for the 2020 tax year is:

  • $32,270 (when responsible for 2 people).
  • $39,672 (when responsible for 3 people).
  • $48,167 (when responsible for 4 people).
  • $54,630 (when responsible for 5 people).
  • $61,613 (when responsible for 6 people).
  • $68,598 (when responsible for 7 people).

You should add $6,985 for each extra person if you’re responsible for more than 7 people.

However, IRCC has amended its requirements in 2021 to accommodate those sponsors who may have experienced financial difficulties during the pandemic. As a result, the income requirement for the 2020 tax year has been dropped to the MNI only rather than the MNI plus 30% as before.

Additionally, family class sponsors can include the following benefits in their income calculations for the tax year:

  • Standard Employment Insurance benefits (instead of only Special Employment Insurance benefits).
  • All Canada Emergency Response Benefits (CERB) issued under the Employment Insurance Act or the CERB Act.
  • Other temporary benefits related to the pandemic, provided they’re not included in provincial social assistance programs.

However, you don’t need to have been a permanent resident or citizen for those three years to apply.

Even if you want to sponsor one parent (for example, if they’re estranged or separated from your other parent), you will need to account for both of them in your MNI calculations.

Completing the application in full

Make sure you only submit a complete application: that means you finish everything included in the checklist — every single question, every single box. No mistakes or omissions.

The IRCC has sent applications back to potential sponsors who overlook just one box or forget to attach a document. If this happens, you will need to wait for the next draw as you cannot resubmit an application or make an appeal.

What can you do if you don’t receive an invitation to sponsor?

IRCC has yet to confirm whether or not it will launch the PGP program in 2022. If you didn’t receive an invitation to apply, you may feel concerned that you will have no way to bring your relatives to live in Canada.

Fortunately, you may be eligible for a super visa instead.

The super visa for parents and grandparents provides qualifying family members from outside Canada to visit the country for up to two years, without needing to renew their status. Most people visiting Canada on a standard visa can stay for as many as six months, but they need to apply for an extension and pay an accompanying fee.

As a multi-entry visa, this allows multiple two-year entries for up to a decade. The eligibility requirements are similar to those of the PGP, but parents and grandparents will need medical insurance for at least one year from the date of entry (with $100,000 coverage minimum).

Eligible persons will be the parents or grandparents of permanent residents or Canadian citizens. They will need to have an immigration medical exam, and you should meet the MNI to show you can support them for their stay if needed.

You can still take part in the PGP lottery or other initiatives launched by the IRCC during the super visa timeframe.

How to find the best immigration help in Toronto

If you have been invited to apply to sponsor parents or grandparents, you may find immigration eligibility, applications, and fees daunting.

But they don’t have to be.

At Abramovich & Tchern, we’re experienced Canadian immigration lawyers dedicated to providing clients with honest advice and unparalleled advocacy.

Whether you want to sponsor one parent, two, or your grandparents, we can help you understand the application process and its potential complications in detail.

To learn more about Abramovich & Tchern, contact our Toronto immigration lawyers today.

Canada Visitor Visa: How Can You Submit a Strong Application?

As of September 7th, 2021, fully vaccinated foreign nationals are legally entitled to enter Canada for non-essential reasons (e.g. visiting family or friends, or seeing the country’s considerable sights).

All travellers are eligible to enter, regardless of their citizenship, and those who qualify have no need to perform a test on arrival (though you may still be chosen for a random, non-optional test).

How can you qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller to visit Canada?

You must meet the following criteria to be recognized as a fully vaccinated traveller:

  • Received a full course of COVID-19 vaccinations with one, or a combination, of accepted vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson).
  • Received your final vaccination at least 14 full days before the day on which you enter Canada.
  • Uploaded evidence of COVID-19 vaccination in ArriveCAN.
  • Present no symptoms or signs of COVID-19.
  • Meet additional entry requirements, specified here.

As a foreign national who wants to enter Canada, you must confirm whether or not you are visiting from a visa-exempt country. If you’re NOT, you must successfully apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), otherwise known as a visitor visa, before you can gain entry.

A TRV is a document that enables foreign nationals to enter Canada. It’s suitable for temporary workers, students, and tourists.

But as TRV applications can initially appear fairly straightforward, many applicants mistakenly overlook its seriousness — and fail to include essential information or documents.

Those individuals will inadvertently sabotage their chance to gain entry to Canada for a vacation, study trip, or family visit.

Follow these crucial tips to submit a strong application.

Prove you plan to return home

One of the most important factors to consider is that a TRV is a temporary visa — so the officer processing your application must be convinced that your visit is only temporary.

They may reject you if they have any reason to suspect that you intend to stay in Canada for longer than you claim.

It’s vital that you provide proof that you have sufficient ties to your home country to ensure you return. Immigration officers must believe that you have obligations or personal connections outside Canada.

But the proof must be strong enough to satisfy immigration officers. That means a simple letter from a relative promising that you will honor the rules of your TRV and return home won’t do. It should be from a more reliable source.

For example, if you care for a loved one in your home country (such as an ill parent), you could submit a letter from their physician to confirm that you have good reason to leave Canada at the end of your visit.

Explain a lack of travel history

If you have no travel history at the time of application, you should provide a comprehensive explanation.

Perhaps you’ve spent years earning qualifications with no time for travel, have lived on a tight budget to save for this trip, or you’ve been caring for family members. You would need to provide evidence to support your explanation in any case.

Demonstrating work responsibilities

Another key step in applying for your TRV is securing a confirmation of your employment. If you’ve booked vacation time away from work, your employer should state that they have granted you permission to take a vacation and expect you to return on a specific date.

Submit detailed plans

You should also describe your plans for your trip to Canada. This should be more detailed than a list of the places you intend to visit or the people you’ve arranged to have coffee with.

Instead, supply a day-by-day itinerary listing:

  • Excursions booked.
  • Events you’ve researched and plan to attend.
  • Names and addresses of friends and family members you will spend time with.

You should purchase tickets for any special events or ceremonies you plan to visit before you apply for your TRV. You can include evidence of these in your application to support your claim.

This is a simple step but will show the immigration officer that you have planned your visit to Canada in detail.

Prove that you can support yourself

You must show that you can support yourself during your travels. The best way to do so is to gather bank statements from the six months prior to your trip, and a letter from your employer to confirm your salary.

Both will show immigration officers that you have adequate funds to care for yourself for the duration of your temporary residence.

You should have enough to cover your accommodation, food, entry to venues/events, public transportation/car rentals, and any other necessary expenses.

Consider processing times carefully

It’s vital that you plan ahead and keep potential processing times in mind before you apply.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s TRV processing times vary based on different countries’ visa offices. You can check processing times on the IRCC website: just choose the type of application you want to submit, and where you’re applying from, to see an expected timeframe.

Prepare for possible long waits before you apply, to ensure you have more than enough time to complete and submit your application. This is particularly important if you have a specific event or occasion to attend in Canada, such as a festival, graduation, or wedding.

How long do visitor visas last for?

TRVs remain valid for 10 years, but each visit is capped at six months.

The majority of visitors will be able to stay in Canada for the full six months, but border services officers at the port of entry may allow you to stay for more or less than six months. They’ll put the date by which you need to leave Canada in your passport, and may also provide you with a visitor record which also carries this date.

You may also be required to supply biometrics — your fingerprints and photo — with your application.

At Abramovich & Tchern, we’re experienced immigration lawyers in Toronto. We’re here to help you submit applications that align with officers’ expectations and essential criteria.

To learn more about our services, please contact our team today.

Writ of Mandamus FAQ

Given significant Covid-19 related delays in the processing of visa and permanent residence applications, our Federal Court practice has seen significant mandamus application and we get many questions regarding this judicial remedy and this FAQ is designed to address some of the most common questions we get.

In addition to this FAQ, you can learn more about this topic in How Can a Writ of Mandamus Help With Your Immigration Application?

What is a Writ of Mandamus?

A writ of mandamus is a discretionary remedy which seeks to compel the performance of a public legal duty that is found either in a statutory provision or at common law.

How does this remedy relevant to my permanent or temporary residence visa application?

In the case of Canadian immigration related applications, a writ of mandamus is used to compel IRCC to make a decision with respect to a pending immigration application.

The writ is sought in the context of an Application for Leave and Judicial Review submitted to the Federal Court of Canada, asking the Court to order IRCC to issue a decision. While this may seem complicated or unattainable, this is actually our firm does with great success, in part due to our legal expertise and in part because of how essential the rule of law is to Canada.

Can I seek a Writ of Mandamus if I am Outside of Canada?

Absolutely.

The writ of mandamus remedy is available to applicants who have submitted an immigration application to IRCC from inside or outside of Canada. You location or residence at the time the application is filed or when the matter is considered by the Federal Court is irrelevant.

Can I seek a Writ of Mandamus with respect to a temporary residence application such as a work or a study permit?

Absolutely, and we have helped clients get their work and study permit applications approved by filing a writ of mandamus.

Why Seek a Writ of Mandamus as opposed to submitting a Case-specific Inquiry asking IRCC to process the application?

IRCC is inundated with a large volume of case-specific inquiries — and, unfortunately, the majority are not properly considered. That means many people may be consistently left without the answers they need. And that can be frustrating, to say the least.

Seeking a writ of mandamus at the Federal Court forces IRCC to respond which in most Covid-19 related delays means that the client sees significant movement or an approval shortly after the Application for Leave and Judicial Review is filed. 

Will Filing a Mandamus Adversely Affect my Immigration Application?

As experienced Canadian immigration lawyers in Toronto, we’ve heard this question on countless occasions. In fact, it’s the one we are asked most frequently as clients are concerned about IRCC “punishing” them for taking them to court.

It’s understandable that anyone trying to apply for residence in Canada would feel concerned, but no: filing a mandamus will NOT adversely affect your application, and IRCC will not punish you.

The rule of law is fundamental to Canada as a country, and a writ mandamus is a legal remedy available to applicants who believe they have been subject to an unreasonable delay in the processing of their immigration application.

Can you tell us more about the actual mandamus process?

The writ of mandamus application follows the typical judicial review process and starts with the filing, issuance, and service of an Application for Leave and Judicial Review requesting a Writ of Mandamus. Amongst other things, the Application for Leave and Judicial Review sets out the key facts with respect to your case as well as the relief you are seeking. It is important to ensure that the prima facie case for a mandamus order are met and that the facts are presented in a clear and persuasive fashion.

You can find the steps of a judicial review process here. When it comes to Covid-19 related delays in processing permanent residence applications, this first step is often sufficient in pushing IRCC to continue and/or complete processing within 30-60 days of filing.

What do I need to do to start the mandamus process?

After we sign the retainer agreement and provide us with an advance to be held in our secure trust account, we start working on your matter.

It is important to note that you as our client do not need to do anything other than provide us with documents and instructions. We take care of the process of start to finish, and even if a hearing is scheduled (Covid-19 delay based cases rarely make it to this stage), you do not need to attend it, as judicial review hearings proceed based on the paper record before the Court.

Generally speaking, it takes our law firm between two to three business days from the receipt of the relevant documents to prepare a mandamus application.

Take the First step Towards Your Mandamus Application

We hope this guide has provided you with a valuable insight into mandamus applications, and you feel more confident about beginning the process.

At Abramovich & Tchern, we’re immigration lawyers helping employers, individuals, and businesses from across the globe. We work with clients from the United States, Latin America, India, and a plethora of other regions. And we maintain strong relationships with professional interpreters, enabling us to overcome any language barrier.

To find out how Abramovich & Tchern can help you with your mandamus application, and other aspects of your immigration to Canada, contact our team today.

Comment on certain immigration and refugee statements made by Federal Conservative Party Leader, Mr. Erin O’Toole

Comment on certain immigration and refugee statements made by Federal Conservative Party Leader, Mr. Erin O’Toole

CTV National News recently invited A&T’s Lev Abramovich to briefly comment on certain immigration and refugee statements made by Federal Conservative Party Leader, Mr. Erin O’Toole.

On September 13, 2021, Mr. O’Toole, released a French-language video via Twitter promising to put a stop to “illegal” border crossings of asylum seekers at Roxham Road in Southern Quebec. In the video, Mr. O’Toole states that the Liberal Government has allowed thousands of people to cross the border illegally and created a system that is unjust for “regular immigrants” that follow rules and wait their turn.

>> Watch the video fragment of our comments on Twitter. <<

On CTV’s Truth Tracker with Richard Madan, Lev Abramovich fact-checked Mr. O’Toole’s statements. In this blog, I will provide more detailed analysis on what is happening at Roxham Road, and why Mr. O’Toole’s statements are both false and misleading.

  1. What is happening at Roxham Road?

In recent years, thousands of asylum seekers have entered Canada through an unofficial land crossing located at Roxham Road – a crossing point located between New York and Quebec. Most of the migrants crossing at Roxham Road were either previously residing in the United States or they were travelling through the United States in order to arrive to seek asylum in Canada.

To understand what is happening at Roxham Road from a legal perspective, it is necessary to understand the legal framework governing the matter at hand.

Canada and the United States are both signatories to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (the “1951 Refugee Convention”) – the cornerstone of international refugee law. As signatories of the Convention, both countries are amongst other things legally obligated:

  • to not obstruct entry to those individuals who arrive at their borders and seek protection; and
  • to ensure such individuals have their cases freely and fairly heard.

The other important piece of legislation governing this matter is the Safe Third Country Agreement – a bilateral agreement signed by the United Stated and Canada in December 2014 designed to “share” the respective countries duties under the UN Convention and to prevent “asylum shopping.” Under the Safe Third Country Agreement, Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection, which means the Safe Third Country Agreement requires asylum seekers to seek protection in the first safe country they land (unless they meet a set of certain exemptions[1]). However, the Safe Third Country Agreement applies and is only enforced at “ports of entry” which means Canada can turn back refugee claimants who arrive at the official ports of entry, on the basis the basis of them first arriving in the United States which is why asylum seekers often cross into Canada without going through an official port of entry.

There has been heated debate about the Safe Third Country Agreement with some taking the position that it should have never been entered into in the first place, while others defend the agreement and argue it should apply to both regular and irregular crossings.

The constitutionality of the Safe Third Country Agreement has been challenged in Federal Court since its introduction with the Safe Third Country Agreement being struck down on two occasions by the Federal Court only for the decisions to be overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal.

The latest installment of Safe Third Country Agreement litigation took place in 2020-21. In July 2020 Canada’s Federal Court ruled that the Safe Third Country Agreement violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as it exposed asylum seekers to “physical and psychological suffering” in unsafe detention facilities across the United States. The federal government appealed the judgment, and on April 15, 2021, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled in the government’s favour and upheld the constitutionality of the Safe Third Country Agreement.

  1. Analysis of Mr. O’Toole’s Statements

The 1951 Refugee Convention recognizes the fact that those fleeing persecution may use irregular or even illegal means (such as false identity documents) and states that refugee claimants are not to be penalized for doing so.

To protect Canada’s border security, while at the same time fulfilling Canada’s obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention, Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) created an in-take center at Roxham Road in Quebec, Canada to facilitate refugee claims made pursuant to irregular crossings, balancing Canada’s obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention with the need to protect the integrity of our borders.

Given Canada’s obligations under the 1951 Convention, the crossings addressed by Mr. O’toole cannot be considered illegal as the individuals in question are crossing for the purposes of seeking refugee protection and present themselves to CBSA.

In addition, Mr. O’Toole erroneously conflates regular economic or family immigration streams with claims for protection. While Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) is in fact dealing with significant backlogs across various temporary and permanent immigration steams, the refugee protection determination process is entirely separate and distinct. Refugee claims are considered by the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board as opposed to IRCC and the individuals presenting themselves to CBSA at Roxham Road are therefore not “jumping” any lines.

Moreover, upon entry into Canada (whether at Roxham Road or at regular Port of Entry), asylum seekers are screened for admissibility, and their cases are only referred to the refugee protection division if they qualify for consideration. If their case is referred, they are subject to a rigorous refugee determination process which includes a hearing to test the credibility of their claim. They are only granted protection if they meet the definition of a refugee under section 96 of Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA”), or a person in need of protection under section 97 of IRPA. If a claim is denied, the asylum seeker has limited appeals rights with the CBSA, and the CBSA acts swiftly in removing failed asylum seekers from the country.

Mr. O’Toole’s statements with respect to the crossing being “illegal” as well as equating refugee claimants to economic or family class applicants are therefore false. In my view, Mr. O’Toole’s statements as well as his position with respect to Roxham Road and the Safe Third Country Agreement take away from an otherwise rather ambitious and comprehensive immigration platform presented by the Federal Conservatives.

The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and are not meant to express support for a political party or agenda.

[1]https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/refugee-protection/canada/processing-claims-protection-safe-third-country-agreement.html

Work Permits Pursuant to International Free Trade Agreements

Work Permits Pursuant to International Free Trade Agreements

Early in 2021, the Government of Canada invited around 27,300 skilled workers to stay under the Canadian Experience Class of the Express Entry pool. The government considers immigration “essential” to the economy, both in the short- and long-term.

But the process of entering Canada as a worker can appear incredibly complex to the uninitiated. While International Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) grant temporary entry to foreign workers, their eligibility requirements are somewhat dense.

So, you may have in-demand skills and experience of living or working in Canada, but still have no idea whether you qualify for temporary entry.

In this post, you’ll learn what International FTAs are, what FTAs are available, and who is eligible for different FTAs.

What are International Free Trade Agreements?

FTAs enable business persons from outside Canada to apply for temporary entry. Anyone eligible for an FTA will usually need a work permit, though they’re exempt from Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA).

A LMIA is a document that Canadian employers may need before they hire a non-Canadian employee. A positive LMIA demonstrates that a non-Canadian worker is necessary to fill the current vacancy, and that no one currently residing in the country (Canadian or permanent resident) is available.

As employers don’t need an LMIA to take on a foreign worker under FTAs, you may find securing temporary entry easier than through alternative pathways.

New arrivals can also request a work permit at the port of entry, such as when arriving at an airport or crossing the land border into Canada. Applicants must be a citizen of one of the relevant countries in the FTA, except for the Canada-Peru FTA (see below).

What Agreements Exist?

Foreign workers seeking temporary entry on a work permit may be eligible to apply under one of the following FTAs:

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)

CUSMA superseded the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as of July 1st, 2020.

CUSMA was created to:

  • Allow temporary entry for citizens of the United States, Mexico, or Canada involved in specific business activities.
  • Eliminate the need for LMIA for all eligible persons.
  • Free some business visitors from a work permit requirement.
  • Enable workers to apply at the port of entry.

CUSMA covers:

Business visitors:

Individuals engaged in international activities in specific areas (e.g., research and design, marketing). No work permit is required.

Professionals:

Salaried employees of a Canadian company or bound by a contract. A work permit is required.

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

CETA allows foreign workers to apply for temporary entry into Canada at the port of arrival or abroad in some cases.

This FTA applies to:

Contractual service suppliers and independent professionals:

Both types of applicants must be a citizen of an EU member state, providing a service for no longer than 12 months, and hired to perform a service that aligns to the Annex 10-E concordance table.

Engineering technologists and scientific technologists:

Both types of applicants require proof that they’re citizens of an EU member state, a copy of a signed contract, evidence of the role’s details, and proof of necessary qualifications.

Canada-Chile FTA

Immigrants applying for temporary entry under the Canada-Chile FTA must meet specific education requirements and/or have additional credentials. 

Professionals:

Skilled workers applying for dozens of job types may be eligible for a Canada-Chile FTA. Here are some examples:

  • Accountant
  • Architect engineer
  • Management consultant;
  • Dentist
  • Pharmacist
  • Geologist

You can find the exhaustive list of roles and requirements at the Government of Canada website.

Canada-Peru FTA

The Canada-Peru FTA came into effect on August 1st, 2009. Applicants may be permanent residents of each country in the FTA, unlike with NAFTA and CUSMA. Evidence of permanent resident status is acceptable to support an application.

The Canada-Peru FTA uses a negative list to identify eligible professionals by mentioning those NOT covered.

Professionals:

Ineligible applicants for the Canada-Peru FTA include:

  • Pharmacists
  • Library managers
  • Construction managers
  • Managers working in telecommunication carriers
  • Performing artists

Many other professions are covered in the official list.

Canada-Colombia FTA

The Canada-Colombia FTA has been in effect since August 15th, 2011. Workers who are ineligible to apply for the Canada-Peru FTA are also unable to apply for the Canada-Colombia FTA.

Professionals:  

Professions NOT covered by the Canada-Colombia FTA include:

  • University professors and assistants
  • Teachers and counsellors at secondary and elementary levels
  • Managers in motion pictures and broadcasting
  • Managers in utilities

If you believe you may be eligible for this FTA, check the list of excluded professions carefully to ensure that’s the case.

Canada-Korea FTA

The Canada-Korea FTA was introduced on January 1st, 2015. This applies to two types of professional: contract service suppliers and independent professionals.

Applicants in both categories must request entry for providing a pre-arranged service with the relevant education, or they must meet licensing or accreditation requirements suitable for the role.

Professionals:

Applicants classed as contract service suppliers are employed by an enterprise to perform a service, and said enterprise has a contract from the other Party, which will be the end-consumer of the service.

An independent professional is self-employed and has a service contract with an enterprise or consumer of the other Party in a professional capacity.

Eligible professions for contract service suppliers include:

  • Architect
  • Biologist
  • Landscape architect
  • Engineer
  • Software engineer and designer

Independent professionals may be:

  • Engineers
  • Management consultants
  • Architects
  • Veterinarians

You can find the complete list of eligible professions for the Canada-Korea FTA here.

How to Find Professional Immigration Help in Toronto

We hope this guide has helped to clarify how International Free Trade Agreements work and which may be suitable for you. The application process can be incredibly complicated, so we highly recommend that you seek professional assistance from immigration lawyers.

Abramovich & Tchern structure persuasive application packages that tell your story, demonstrate why you would be an asset to your employer and Canada, and convince decision-makers.

Your application is crucial to you — so it’s crucial to us too.

To learn more about how Abramovich & Tchern can help you apply for temporary entry to Canada, contact our Toronto office today.

IRCC Launches New Permanent Residence Portal

On August 10, 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that it will be launching a new Permanent Residence Online Application Portal (PR Online Application Portal). 

Authorized immigration representatives will be able to submit non-Express Entry permanent residence applications, on behalf of their clients, using the PR Online Application Portal. The PR Online Application Portal will be available by September 2021.

The new portal is a step in the right direction for Canada’s immigration system. Representatives will now have the ability to manage non-Express Entry applications more effectively by using a single account to oversee multiple applications online, without relying on paper-based forms. 

For clients, the PR Online Application Portal provides a transparent platform through which they can rely on authorized representatives to complete and submit their permanent residence application. 

What does this mean for immigration representatives? 

Once the PR Online Application Portal is available, representatives will first need to create a PR Online Application Portal account. Representatives will be prompted to provide information such as membership ID number, business address and name, and a copy of an identity document. 

After creating a PR Online Application Portal, the next step will involve providing their client’s information, including the client’s e-mail address and the program under which the client is applying. The representative will also need to fill out the appropriate forms and upload any supporting documentation which includes a receipt for the payment of application fees. 

It is important to note that some forms that require a third-party signature, such as the family class sponsorship forms, require the principal applicant and the sponsor to print the forms and sign them by hand, before uploading the forms online. The same procedure is necessary for the IMM 5476- Use of a Representative form. 

Once the client has reviewed and signed the declaration and consent form, the representative will be able to submit the permanent residence application on their behalf.

What does this mean for clients? 

Once an application has been submitted by the representative, clients will need to access the client side of the portal using their own credentials in order to review and sign the declaration and consent form. 

Aside from signing the declaration and consent page and the IMM 5669 form, clients will not have the ability to make any changes to their applications. As such, clients should only review and sign the declaration once the application is fully completed. 

If you have any questions about the new PR Online Application Portal or your own permanent residence pathway in Canada, contact our office today to speak to one of our immigration lawyers.