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FAQs in Immigrating to Canada - Part I

Our lawyers at Long Mangalji LLP are often approached and asked about the process of immigrating to Canada. Below, we've collected some of the most frequently asked general questions regarding the Economic Class programs for your perusal.

  1. What are the best ways for me to immigrate to Canada based on my skills and experience?

Canada has a robust immigration system tailored to experienced skilled workers. The two most common techniques for immigrating are using Express Entry (EE) and the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). Express Entry is a points-based assessment that allocates a score based on your background; evaluating factors include work experience (from both inside and outside of Canada), education, age, and proficiency in the official languages, among other factors. Requirements for PNPs differ across the various provinces but generally require intent to reside in the province along with ties to the province. There are a myriad of streams in the provincial programs. Before starting an application, it's beneficial to contact a professional who is able to evaluate your background and advise you of your options. 

2. Will my family be able to come with me?

Yes! When applying for permanent residence in Canada, your spouse and dependent children under the age of 22 will be able to accompany you in your immigration application and move to Canada with you. 

3. Will a job offer mean that I can immigrate?

There are many streams that are available only to those with a high-skilled job offer in Canada. However, they generally require more than just a written offer of employment letter. For example, some provincial streams for individuals with a job offer require that you have the employer's support in your application and require the employer to not only meet certain criteria but also provide you with specific documents to support your application. In Express Entry, meeting the definition of "Arranged Employment" requires either that the employer obtains a Labour Market Impact Assessment or that you have a particular employer-specific work permit for an employer that you've worked with for over a year.

4. If I go to school in Canada, will I be able to immigrate?

Many international students study in Canada with the hopes of eventually applying for permanent residence. Studying in Canada is a great first step. Once you've completed your program, you may be eligible for a post-graduation work permit, which will allow you to work in Canada and subsequently qualify to apply for permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class program. You will receive additional points in Express Entry for having completed post-secondary education in Canada. 

There are a few other programs that can be used by individuals who may not qualify under the above-mentioned options. Stay tuned for Part Two where we will review FAQs pertaining to alternative programs for permanent residence.

If you would like to learn more about applying for permanent residence or what program would best fit your background, contact us at (416) 548-9101, or at inquiries@lmlawgroup.com.

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

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.