Immigration Landmines for Students

While studying in Canada is an excellent path to permanent residence, there are many landmines an international student will want to avoid along the way.

Here are some pieces of advice we have for students:

  • Post-graduation work permits (PGWP): Each international student is only allowed ONE post-graduation work permit, so use it wisely! There are no renewals and no second permits, even if you return to study in another full-time program.

  • Ineligible post-secondary institutions: Not all post-secondary schools or programs qualify under the post-graduation work permit program. It's important to make sure that both your school and program qualify before investing the time and money into studying.

  • Working illegally: While your study permit allows you to work in Canada, there are limitations and restrictions that you need to be familiar with. Any period of unauthorized work (even if it happens by accident) can cause serious problems for your future immigration applications - make sure you know your conditions of work before taking on any new job.

  • Dropping out (and losing status): Thinking of taking a break from school? Your status in Canada will expire 90 days from the date on which you stop studying - even if the expiry date on your study permit comes later. If you are planning to leave your academic program, you may need to first apply for a work permit or visitor record to avoid being without status in Canada.

To speak with one of our lawyers to discuss your case, please contact us at (416) 548-9101, or by by email at inquiries@lmlawgroup.com

Major Changes Announced to Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program

On August 20, 2018, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced major changes to the parent and grandparent sponsorship program which will take effect in 2019.

Some of the most relevant details include: 

  • The 2019 cap has been increased to 20 000 applicants from 17 000 applicants in 2018.
  • There is a new process for 2019. At the beginning of the year, sponsors will submit an Interest to Sponsor form. Instead of a random lottery, IRCC will invite sponsors to submit an application to sponsor their parents and grandparents based on the order in which they receive their Interest to Sponsor forms.
  • This process will continue until they reach the cap. Once invited, sponsors will have 60 days to submit a full application. 

If you would like to learn more about how these changes may affect you, please contact us at (416) 548-9101, or at inquiries@lmlawgroup.com

Get Ready for Expanded Biometric Requirements

On July 31st, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will be expanding the collection of biometrics to all applicants between the ages of 14-79. Start dates for the requirement vary depending on the applicant's nationality.

Some of the most relevant details include: 

Who Will be Affected and When

Biometric data must be submitted by everyone applying for:

  • a visitor visa,
  • a work or study permit,
  • permanent residence, or
  • refugee or asylum status.

Some exemptions:

  • persons applying from within Canada will be initially exempt until early 2019, when collection centres will be opened in the country;
  • Americans applying for a work or study permit; and
  • visa-exempt nationals coming to Canada as visitors with a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

The requirements are being rolled out in stages: applicants from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa must provide biometrics starting at the end of this month; July 31, 2018. Applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific, and the Americas will be required to provide biometrics starting on December 31, 2018.

How to Obtain and Submit Biometric Data

Most applicants will give fingerprints and have photos taken at any Visa Application Centre (VAC). Only refugee claimants and certain eligible work or study permit applicants may submit the data upon arrival at a port of entry.

Biometric data will stay valid for 10 years, and will not be required for each temporary resident application. However, permanent residence applicants must submit new biometrics even if they submitted data as part of a visa or permit application within the previous 10 years.

The process costs $85 per applicant, with a maximum total fee of $170 for families.

Process Upon Arrival In Canada

If you arrive at one of Canada's major airports, you will be required to provide your fingerprints at a kiosk. If you arrive at a smaller airport or land port of entry, an immigration officer may verify your fingerprints if you are selected for secondary inspection.

If you would like to learn more about how these changes may affect you, please contact us at (416) 548-9101, or at inquiries@lmlawgroup.com

Weed the North

The Canadian Parliament has recently passed legislation legalizing some possession of cannabis (marijuana) and also to increase the punishment for driving under the influence. These laws will come into effect on October 17, 2018 and will have harsh penalties for permanent residents and foreign nationals who have DUI or possession of "illicit" cannabis.

We have put together a video here to explain some of these changes. Click here

Some of the most relevant changes include: 

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Penalties for DUI offences have increased from 5 to 10 years, making it a "serious criminality" offence. This change will have the following consequences for immigrants:

Permanent Residents

  • If convicted outside of Canada, they would lose their status and have no right of appeal. 
  • If convicted inside Canada, and a sentence of six months or more is imposed, they would lose their status and have no right of appeal. 
  • If convicted inside Canada, and a sentence of less than six months is imposed, they would lose their status, but be allowed to appeal to Immigration Appeal Division.  

Foreign Nationals

  • If convicted inside Canada, any DUI conviction will render them inadmissible and they would likely have to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit or a permanent Record Suspension to allow them to remain in Canada. 
  • If convicted outside of Canada, they will not be eligible for deemed rehabilitation and will have to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit to enter Canada on a temporary basis or make a permanent Rehabilitation application

Possession of Illicit Cannabis

Although possession and production of cannabis under 30g for personal use will now be legal, certain types of cannabis products will remain prohibited. These are outlined in the act as 'illicit cannabis,' and include cannabis that is obtained from a vendor that is not authorized under a Provincial Act.  For example, buying cannabis from a private dealer in Ontario would be a criminal act as only the government of Ontario is able to distribute cannabis in Ontario. It is also very possible that possession of cannabis outside of Canada can be interpreted as possessing illicit cannabis.

For Permanent Residents

  • If convicted inside Canada, and a sentence of six months or more is imposed, they will lose their status, with no right of appeal.

Foreign Nationals

  • If convicted inside Canada a conviction will render the person inadmissible.  The person would likely have to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit or Record Suspension.
  • If convicted outside of Canada (or even if it is determined that they committed the offence outside of Canada), they will need to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit, Rehabilitation, or in certain cases be eligible for Deemed Rehabilitation.

If you would like to learn more about how these changes may affect you please feel free to contact us at (416) 548-9089, or at inquiries@lmlawgroup.com.

New Medical Inadmissibility Changes

The Minister has just announced today important new changes to the medical inadmissibility policy. Individuals and their dependants who apply for permanent residence under most applications in economic categories, some humanitarian and compassionate categories, and some family sponsorship categories such as parents/grandparent sponsorships, are still required to pass medical admissibility.  

However, today's announcement will allow a significant number of people who would have previously been found to be medically inadmissible to no longer be in this category.  Here are some key points to note:

  • The threshold amount of medical costs for medical inadmissibility will now be tripled.  This means that many applicants who require higher medical costs to deal with their conditions (eg. HIV positive individuals who use government funded prescriptions) may now no longer be medically inadmissible.
  • Special education, social and vocational rehabilitation services, and personal support services will no longer be included in the medical costs.  As such, many individuals dealing with disabilities will now no longer be medically inadmissible.

Many applicants or their dependants who previously were found to be medically inadmissible may now reapply for permanent residence.

To speak with one of our lawyers to discuss your case, contact us at (416) 548-9101 or by email at inquiries@lmlawgroup.com.