Canada Immigration FAQ

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations governing the Economic Class comprises the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Provincial Nominee Class (“PNP”), Quebec Skilled Worker Class, Investor Class, Entrepreneur Class, Self-Employed Person’s Class and the Canada Experience Class.

On May 4, 2013, the Government of Canada introduced substantive changes to the Federal Skilled worker Class. The Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, provides assurances that new federal skilled worker applications, should receive a selection decision within 6-12 months.

The following is a compilation of Frequently Asked Questions prepared by Colin R. Singer, Attorney, summarizing procedures affecting the Economic Class. Mr. Singer appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Citizenship & Immigration as a witness, prior to the implementation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 2002.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION REGULATIONS
THE ACQUISITION OF CANADIAN PERMANENT RESIDENCE UNDER THE ECONOMIC CLASS

  1. What does Canadian permanent resident status confer?
  2. Who qualifies for permanent residence under the Economic class?
  3. How are applications assessed under the skilled worker class?
  4. How long does it take to obtain a permanent resident visa under the Federal Skilled Worker Class?
  5. Who is included in the application for permanent residence?
  6. Where are applications submitted?
  7. What are the applicable processing fees to process an application for permanent residence?
  8. Must the applicant travel to Canada as part of the immigration process?
  9. Who must attend the selection interview?
  10. What about the interview process?
  11. What about interview waivers?
  12. What documents are submitted along with the application? (Applicable for the Centralized Intake Office – Case Processing Centre - Sydney)
  13. Is full-time employment experience a necessary requirement under the Skilled Worker Class?
  14. What if the intended occupation differs from past employment positions?
  15. Is there a requirement for the applicant to obtain a government approved offer of employment in order to qualify for permanent residence under the Skilled Worker Class?
  16. What if the intended occupation requires registration/licensing?
  17. Are assets/personal net worth determining factors in the selection process?
  18. Does it help to have a relative in Canada?
  19. Must an individual reside in Canada in order to maintain permanent resident status?
  20. Can foreign nationals who have applied for Canadian permanent residence under the skilled worker class obtain a temporary non-immigrant (visitor's) visa to Canada?
  21. Can foreign nationals who have applied for Canadian permanent residence under the Skilled Worker Class concurrently apply for a temporary non-immigrant employment authorisation?
  22. Is it more advantageous to apply before or after an applicant has researched the Canadian labour market?
  23. What are the current prospects for employment in Canada?
  24. What are the general tax implications of acquiring Canadian permanent residence?
  25. What if a prospective applicant is destined to the Province of Quebec?
  26. What if a prospective applicant is destined to a Province that administers a provincial nominee immigration program?
  27. How does permanent resident status assist the visa holder in temporarily entering the United States?
  28. How does Canadian citizenship assist the visa holder in temporarily entering the United States?
  29. How have the events of September 11, 2001 in the United States affected Canadian immigration policy?
  30. What are the numbers of immigrants who were admitted to Canada in past years and what are the planned admission targets for 2009?

What does Canadian permanent resident status confer?

Pursuant to the provisions of Canada's constitutional laws, the holder of a Canadian permanent resident visa and his/her accompanying dependants are permitted to permanently reside in Canada and earn a livelihood in any one of the ten provinces or three territories within Canada. In addition, individuals with Canadian permanent residence may attend primary and secondary education institutions in the various provincially administered public school systems, tuition exempt. Permanent residents also qualify for provincially administered universal health care coverage.

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Who qualifies for permanent residence under the Economic class?

(Skilled worker class, Quebec skilled worker class, provincial nominee class, entrepreneur class, investor class, self-employed persons class, Canada experience class)

The Federal skilled worker class is point based and confers permanent resident status upon qualified applicants who are able to demonstrate an ability to become economically established in Canada. Applicants are assessed under 6 factors and numerous sub factors of assessment providing for 100 points. Individuals with at least one year of continuous full-time employment experience, or the equivalent in part-time employment in one or more "open" occupations, within the 10 years preceding the date of their application and who possess the required settlement funding, may qualify for assessment. Applicants who do not meet the applicable pass mark may be accepted under the positive discretion provisions of the regulations. This mechanism is (rarely) used to accept a number of applicants who will be able to successfully settle in Canada yet who do meet the applicable pass mark.

Under the Quebec skilled worker class and the Provincial nominee class, applicants may become permanent residents on the basis of their proven ability to become economically established in Canada, in accordance with immigration programs and selection criteria administered by Quebec or the provinces.

A detailed review of the Quebec skilled worker program may be obtained here

A detailed review of the Provincial nominee programs may be obtained here.

The Investor class is point based and confers permanent residence to applicants who demonstrate an ability to become economically established in Canada on the basis of their business or management experience and high personal net worth. Approval is contingent upon the investor undertaking to commit an irrevocable, passive, non-interest bearing investment of $800,000 in a government guaranteed investment fund. As of February 11, 2014, the Canadian government announced the end of its Immigrant Investor program. Currently, Investor Immigrants must intend to settle in the province of Quebec and apply under the Quebec Investor class.  

A successful applicant under the Quebec Investor class is one who has a) owned and operated a business for 2-years in the previous 5-years or has held a high level management position for 2-years in the previous 5-years in a private company, government or NGO; b) possesses a personal net worth of at least CAD $1,600,000 legally acquired and c) undertakes to invest $800,000 in a passive government guaranteed investment for a period of five years and receive no interest. Applicants may finance their investment and liquidate only $180,000 to $220,000 into a government approved financing program for five years and receive no return of capital.

The Entrepreneur class is point based and confers permanent residence to applicants who demonstrate an ability to become economically established in Canada on the basis of their business experience and personal net worth. Approval is contingent upon the entrepreneur undertaking to invest and become active in the management of a qualifying business operated in Canada that will contribute to the economy and create employment. Entrepreneurs may apply under the Quebec Entrepreneur class or a number of Provincial Nominee Programs. 

A successful applicant is generally one who has a) managed a qualifying business and has controlled a percentage of equity of the qualifying business for at least two years in the period beginning five years preceding the application; b) possesses a personal net worth of $300,000 and c) undertakes to control a percentage of the equity of a qualifying Canadian business and provide active and ongoing management of the qualifying Canadian business that will create at least one incremental full-time job for Canadian citizens or permanent residents, other than the entrepreneur and their family members. This condition must be fulfilled for a period of one year within the period of three years after the day on which the entrepreneur becomes a permanent resident.

The Self-Employed class refers to applicants who have the intention and the ability to create their own employment and make a significant contribution to the cultural, artistic or athletic life of Canada, or to create their own employment by purchasing and managing a farm in Canada.

A successful applicant is one who has at least two years of experience in the period beginning five years before the date of the application and ending on the day a determination is made on the application, in self-employment in cultural activities or in athletics; participation at a world-class level in cultural activities or athletics; or farm management experience.

To qualify, the applicant must demonstrate a sufficient financial net worth which, although less than an entrepreneur and not specified in the regulations, should enable the applicant to be self-employed in Canada and make a significant contribution to specify economic activities in Canada and to meet the initial settlement requirements for the applicant and accompanying dependants.

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How are applications assessed under the skilled worker class?

Skilled Workers are persons with suitable education, work experience, age and language abilities under one of Canada’s official languages and who are selected as permanent residents under six selection factors which demonstrate their likelihood to become economically settled in Canada. Applicants are assessed under 6 factors and numerous sub factors of assessment providing for 100 points. Individuals with at least one year of continuous full-time employment experience, or the equivalent in part-time employment in one or more "open" occupations, within the 10 years preceding the date of their application and who possess the required settlement funding, may qualify for assessment.

Applications submitted under the Federal skilled worker class undergo a two-stage assessment process.

To qualify under the First-Stage, skilled worker applicants must meet the following conditions:

 

1. Eliminatory condition:

    • Possess at least one year of applicable experience in one of 50 major high demand occupations (health, skilled trades and finance) listed here; OR
    • Possess an approved offer of “Arranged Employment”; OR
    • Legally living in Canada for a minimum of one year as a temporary foreign worker and have received a permanent full time employment offer from current employer; OR
    • Are enrolled in good standing in a Canadian PhD program and have completed at least two years of the program or graduated within the 12 months preceding the application.

Applicants who meet one of the above eliminatory conditions will be eligible for continued processing as a skilled worker under a second-stage at which time they must also meet each of the following essential selection conditions:

2. Essential selection conditions:

    • Possess one-year, within the previous 10 years, of suitable continuous full-time paid work experience or the equivalent in part-time continuous employment; AND
    • The work experience must be classified within Skill Type 0 (Managerial Occupations), Skill Level A (Professional Occupations), or Skill Level B (Technical Occupations and Skilled Trades) within the meaning of the National Occupational Classification system; AND
    • Score sufficient points under the skilled worker point grid comprising of six selection factors. The current pass mark is 67 points; AND
    • Possess suitable settlement funding; AND
    • Undergo a successful security background and medical examination.

The Regulations enumerates the factors and allocates the maximum number of units as follows:

Factor

Score

Final

EDUCATION

 

Max. 25

LANGUAGE 

 

Max. 28

EXPERIENCE 

 

Max. 15

AGE

 

Max. 12

ARRANGED EMPLOYMENT IN CANADA

 

Max. 10

ADAPTABILITY

 

Max. 10

Total

 

100


For a detailed breakdown of the Skilled Worker immigration factors, please click on the following link.

In summary, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations under the skilled worker class features a selection process THAT:

 

  • Implements a selection regime that places emphasis on higher education, language abilities and flexible transferable skills.
  • Favours married (or common-law partners, conjugal partners) applicants with university education at the graduate level.
  • Rewards applicants with government approved job offers in Canada.
  • Provides the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration with authority to set and amend the pass mark at any time during the process with no lock-in protection for an application under assessment. This gives rise to a highly unpredictable selection regime.
  • Preserves the discretionary powers of a visa officer to assess an applicant’s overall settlement potential, irrespective of the point total and approve an application under the positive discretion (or refuse an application under the negative discretion) provisions of the regulations. This mechanism is used to accept a number of applicants who will be able to successfully settle in Canada yet who do meet the applicable pass mark.
  • Follows a processing system based on an applicant’s nationality or current place of legal residence.
  • Establishes a continuing conformity principle requiring applicants to meet applicable selection criteria at the time an application for a permanent resident visa is made as well as at the time the visa is issued. This gives rise to a highly unpredictable selection regime.

 

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How long does it take to obtain a permanent resident visa under the Federal Skilled Worker Class?

On November 28, 2008, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, provided assurances that new federal skilled worker applications should receive a selection decision within 6-12 months from submission. This contrasted substantially with applications submitted under the old regime where, depending upon the time of year, the immigration program and the office in question and other factors, the processing time for an application for permanent residence filed under the economic class can vary from between 12 months and 40 months. This is the time generally needed to demonstrate compliance under one of the applicable categories; a clean bill of health for the applicant and accompanying dependants; sufficient assets to successfully establish the family in Canada; and a confirmation of no criminal inadmissibility’s for the applicant and the overage accompanying dependants. (The immigration offices in New Delhi, Islamabad, Beijing, Manila and Accra historically attract the most applications and therefore have the longest processing times).

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Who is included in the application for permanent residence?

The application for permanent residence generally includes the applicant, spouse or common-law partner or conjugal partner 16 years of age or older and any unmarried children under the age of 22 years. Children over the age of 22 may in prescribed circumstances, be included as accompanying family members.

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Where are applications submitted?

Applications for Canadian permanent residence under the Skilled Workers Class are initially filed inside Canada through the Centralized Intake Office - Case Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Once approved, the application will undergo further processing with an appropriate immigration office outside of Canada that serves the country where the applicant is legally residing or the immigration office that serves the applicant’s country of nationality.

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What are the applicable processing fees to process an application for permanent residence?

Applications for permanent residence must include the appropriate non-refundable processing fees for applicants and their accompanying dependants. For applicants applying under the skilled worker program the application fee is currently set at $550 CAD for each applicant as well as each family member of the principle applicant who is 22 years of age or older. A fee of $150 shall apply to each family member under the age of 22 years. As well, a Right of Permanent Residence Fee of $490 CAD is levied, prior to visa issuance, for each person who is at least 22 years of age applying for permanent residence.

Processing fees must be filed with the application. Right of Permanent Residence fees are submitted upon request by the visa office, prior to visa issuance. Applicants are encouraged to verify with local missions for applicable immigration office specific payment procedures.

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Must the applicant travel to Canada as part of the immigration process? (Not applicable for persons studying or working in Canada)

The applicant need not visit Canada as part of the immigration process. However in some cases, familiarity with the Canadian landscape and particularly with the area of intended destination can impact positively on the assessment.

Applicants applying under the Investor or the Entrepreneur class are encouraged to undertake exploratory visits to Canada and participate in information sessions sponsored by the provinces. For Entrepreneur Class applicants, such efforts may relate to an indication of an applicant's ability to meet the universal terms and conditions of admission.

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Who must attend the selection interview?

The applicant and spouse (where applicable), will generally be required to travel to the processing immigration office and attend a selection interview. In many cases, the requirement for a spouse to attend the selection interview can be waived.

As well, certain posts require that accompanying dependant children over the age of 22 years attend the immigration selection interview.

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What about the interview process?

Generally, an interview would be conducted to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the documentation submitted; to clarify issues relating to the applicant’s background; to confirm an applicant possesses the necessary means to settle in Canada; to verify the absence of security inadmissibility’s; to ensure the applicant is intending to enter the Canadian labour market; to verify whether there are sufficient grounds to exercise positive discretion; etc. The interview cannot be conducted to verify an applicant’s language abilities.

Under the Business Class (Investor, Entrepreneur, Self-Employed), applicants are interviewed to ensure conformance with the statutory definitions and to review the general parameters of the business proposal in Canada.

Applicants are advised to bring to the interview, all original documentation supporting the application; certificates of non-criminal conviction; evidence of settlement funds.

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What about interview waivers?

Certain factors may justify the waiving of a selection interview. This is a highly discretionary aspect of the Regulations and is largely a function of the immigration office in question, the habitual residence of the applicant and the documentation in support of the applicant’s qualifications.

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What documents are submitted along with the application? (Applicable for the Centralized Intake Office – Case Processing Centre - Sydney)

All Federal Skilled Workers applications must contain in prescribed format, the name, birth date, and address, nationality and immigration status of the applicant and all family members of the applicant and the class of visa being requested. The application must also contain the four-digit codes from the National Occupational Classification that corresponds to each of the occupations engaged in by the applicant and that constitutes the skilled worker’s work experience. Supporting documentation includes copies of passports, birth and marriage certificates, proof of language proficiency, evidence of past work experience, official evaluation of education credentials, evidence of sufficient settlement funds, photos and the required processing fees. 

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Is full-time employment experience a necessary requirement under the Skilled Worker Class?

Yes. During the First-Stage evaluation process, applicants must:

  • Possess at least one year of applicable full-time experience in one of 50 major high demand occupations (health, skilled trades and finance) listed here; OR
  • Possess an approved offer of employment “Arranged Employment”; OR
  • Be legally living in Canada for a minimum of one year as a temporary foreign worker and have received a permanent full time employment offer from current employer; OR
  • Be enrolled in good standing in a Canadian PhD program and have completed at least two years of the program or graduated within the 12 months preceding the application.

During the Second-Stage evaluation process, applicants must possess:

At least one year of experience within the past 10 years in one of the occupations listed in either Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification (the “NOC”) is a necessary preliminary requisite to qualifying for permanent resident status.

To receive consideration for experience, the applicant must perform the actions described in the lead statement for the occupation as set out in the NOC and at least a substantial number of the main duties of the occupation including all of the essential duties. There is no obligation to meet the occupational employment requirements described in the NOC.

Applicants must specify in their application the four-digit code of the NOC that corresponds to each of the occupations engaged in by the applicant and that constitutes the skilled worker’s work experience.

A number of graduate students and post doctoral candidates may not possess so called "full time" employment experience within the traditional sense other than faculty related internships, teaching positions, etc. In many cases, such experience may prove sufficient.

The number of units of assessment awarded under the experience factor will depend upon reasoned presentations and supporting documentation on the part of the applicant demonstrating that the applicant meets the requirements of NOC and would ultimately be left to the appreciation of the interviewing visa officer.

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What if the intended occupation differs from past employment positions?

There is no requirement for an applicant to become employed in Canada in an occupation that is consistent with past employment experience.

Is there a requirement for the applicant to obtain a government approved offer of employment in order to qualify for permanent residence under the Skilled Worker Class?

No. Under current rules, an applicant can qualify for admission under the Federal Skilled Workers program without an approved offer of employment on the basis of possessing at least one year of applicable full-time experience in one of 50 major high demand occupations.

However, applicants who do not meet the above requirement must obtain a suitable offer of employment which must be approved by Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”). This is referred to as “arranged employment”. This will also provide a prospective applicant with an additional 15 units of assessment.

The current selection rules favour applicants with government approved job offers in Canada.

What if the intended occupation requires registration/licensing?

There are a number of occupations in Canada requiring registration and/or licensing, as a condition of employment, a process that varies from province to province. However, the employment requirements including occupational licensing is not a requirement that must be met as a condition of immigration approval.

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Are assets/personal net worth determining factors in the selection process?

Under the skilled worker class, applicants must provide evidence of sufficient funds for the family to travel and settle in Canada as measured against the current annual Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) published by Statistics Canada.

A sum of approximately $22,000 would satisfy the requirements for a family comprising of the applicant, spouse and two children. Such evidence may be furnished immediately prior to visa issuance.

Exempt from this financial requirement would be applicants who have received an approved job offer in Canada.

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Does it help to have a relative in Canada?

The principal applicant receives five points for adaptability if they or their accompanying spouse or common-law partner, have a close relative in Canada such as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, spouse, common-law partner, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and is physically residing in Canada.

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Must an individual reside in Canada in order to maintain permanent resident status?

Current legislation provides that permanent resident status is maintained if a person is physically resident in Canada for at least 730 days (2 years) within any period of 5 years, or if other circumstances are met.

If not physically present in Canada, permanent resident status can be maintained while abroad where the Canadian resident is abroad with a Canadian citizen spouse or parent; with a Canadian employer, or with a Canadian permanent resident who works for a Canadian employer.

It is sufficient for a permanent resident to demonstrate at examination, if they have been a permanent resident for less than five years, that they can potentially meet the 730-day residency obligation in respect of the five-year period immediately after their arrival in Canada. An officer is not permitted to exclude the possibility that an applicant who has resided abroad for three years, may still be able to comply with the residency obligation during the remaining two years of the five-year period.

Canadian residency rules are among the most flexible. In effect one who is recently admitted as a permanent resident can theoretically leave Canada for up to three years after activating their resident visa to pursue their existing obligations while preserving Canadian permanent residence throughout this initial period.

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Can foreign nationals who have applied for Canadian permanent residence under the skilled worker class obtain a temporary non-immigrant (visitor's) visa to Canada?

Traditionally, visa officers have viewed concurrent applications for permanent residence and temporary entry as being incompatible with each other.

Current law attempts to clarify the issue and provides that immigration officers must assess the present intention of the applicant when a person applies to visit Canada and verify the question of whether the applicant has the ability and the intention to enter Canada for a temporary purpose and thereafter leave Canada at the expiry of the visitor status, regardless if the long-term goal is to secure permanent residence in Canada. Visitor’s (work, study or visit) with pending immigrant applications may be subject to the issue of Dual Intent if they cannot demonstrate that they will leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for their stay.

Under current immigration policy, applicants are encouraged to become familiar with Canada's landscape, which will augment the applicant's likelihood of successfully integrating into Canadian society. Applicants are discouraged however from "waiting" inside Canada during the permanent residence application process. Applicants who wish to procure temporary entry into Canada and who have a pending application for permanent residence will be required to demonstrate sufficient ties to their current country of residence prior to the issuing of a temporary visitor's visa by the Canadian visa office.

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Can foreign nationals who have applied for Canadian permanent residence under the Skilled Worker Class concurrently apply for a temporary non-immigrant work permit?

The issues raised above should be reiterated here as well. In addition, applicants who wish to procure a temporary work permit must generally initiate the process with the assistance of the prospective employer who must file an application with the Canada Employment authorities inside Canada. It is only after the employment authorities have confirmed that the hiring in question will have a neutral effect on the local labour market that the application would be approved and forwarded to the appropriate visa office outside Canada for immigration assessment and processing. This is known as obtaining a positive "labour market opinion". As the average processing time for permanent residence applications currently exceeds 12 months at most immigration offices, it may be advantageous in many cases, for the applicant to apply for a temporary work permit either prior to or during the processing of an application for permanent residence.

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Is it more advantageous to apply before or after an applicant has researched the Canadian labour market?

The Canadian immigration authorities are continuously revising programs and policies to reflect Canada’s changing labour market requirements. The current Regulations provide the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration with authority to set and amend the pass mark at any time during the process with no lock-in protection for an application under assessment. Qualified applicants who manifest a serious interest in obtaining permanent residence would be encouraged to proceed with the filing of the application(s) and the non refundable government filing fees in a timely fashion so as to initiate and conclude the processing at the earliest possible time.

As well, since the processing of a permanent resident visa application generally takes many months to complete, Canadian employers are often willing to consider sponsoring the candidacy of qualified foreign applicants under a temporary work visa. Applicants may therefore consider canvassing the Canadian labour market while simultaneously processing an application for permanent residence.

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What are the current prospects for employment in Canada?

Employers in the Canadian Health Care, Engineering, Financial Services sectors, Construction and Skilled Trades, Machining and Heavy Equipment Operators, Automotive and Agriculture are recruiting qualified individuals who are lawfully permitted to take up employment in Canada on a temporary or permanent basis. Many of these firms are currently advertising available positions in Canada's leading newspapers, trade journals and or through the Internet.

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What are the general tax implications of acquiring Canadian permanent residence?

The Canadian Government imposes income tax on the basis of residency rather than citizenship. It is therefore possible to become a Canadian citizen and a non-resident for tax purposes. After becoming a permanent resident and prior to attaining citizenship, an individual would be required to pay Canadian taxes on worldwide income. 

The assets of a newly arriving immigrant are not taxed under Canadian law.

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What if a prospective applicant is destined to the Province of Quebec?

Pursuant to the provisions of the Quebec/Canada Accord, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Quebec Act Respecting the Selection of Foreign Nationals, the Quebec Government is currently the only provincial government in Canada to have concluded a comprehensive agreement for the purpose of facilitating the formulation, coordination and implementation of immigration policies and programs with respect to the admission of foreign nationals to the province.

However, the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration authorities maintain exclusive jurisdiction in the areas of visa issuance, and medical and criminal inadmissibility.

Applicants, who are intent on settling in Quebec after acquiring Canadian permanent residence, are encouraged to file their applications for a Quebec Certificate of Selection with the appropriate Quebec Delegation outside Canada. Once this undertaking is completed and approved, the appropriate Canadian visa office would review the appropriate applications for Canadian permanent residence.

Applicants destined to Quebec or who attempt landing in Quebec without prior approval from the Quebec authorities will likely experience difficulties at a Port Of Entry. This is a sensitive issue and must be addressed by experienced counsel.

A detailed review of the Quebec skilled workers program may be obtained from here.

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What if a prospective applicant is destined to a Province that administers a provincial nominee immigration program?

All of the provinces have concluded agreements with the Canadian government under the Provincial Nominee program, which provide for the selection of a very limited number of foreign nationals destined to one of those provinces each year. Most provincial programs require employer sponsorship to support a nomination. Owing to the general requirement of employer sponsorship as well as the high volume of applications that are currently awaiting processing under most provincial program outside Quebec, applicants applying under a Provincial Nominee program are strongly encouraged to secure approved job offers, regardless of the point total received following a self-assessment, in order to increase their chances for approval under a provincial nominee program.

A detailed review of the Provincial nominee programs may be obtained here.

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How does permanent resident status assist the visa holder in temporarily entering the United States?

Citizens from the list of countries referenced in the Country List "A", the following writing (Removal of U.S. Entry Visa Requirements for Certain Permanent Residents of Canada) are required to file an application with a U.S. consulate along with a non-refundable $100 filing fee. First time applicants with the exception of children under 16, adults over 60 and persons with diplomatic status, will likely be required to attend a personal interview. The visa once issued, will be valid for a period of five to ten years.

Landed immigrants in Canada holding passports from Country List "B" of the writing do not require visas to travel to the United States, because their countries of origin have reciprocal visa-waiver agreements with the U.S.

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How does Canadian citizenship assist the visa holder in temporarily entering the United States?

Canadian permanent residence does not confer any particular US immigration benefits. Canadian citizens may travel to the US without a visa, and may seek employment in one year increments under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA provides a list of eligible classes of employment most of which are executive, managerial, professional or scientific in nature. The US does not offer Canadians a fast track to permanent residence or employment outside of the NAFTA list.

Generally, one may apply for Canadian citizenship if one has maintained permanent residence in Canada three of the four years preceding the application.

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How have the events of September 11, 2001 in the United States affected Canadian immigration policy?

Canadian and authorities in the United States have concluded a number of efforts to further expand upon cooperative strategies in the areas of shared intelligence gathering, administration of customs and revenue policies and joint procedures on security with government agencies in the United States in order to better secure our North American perimeters. Such initiatives also include information and electronic database sharing with law enforcement agencies between G8 member countries, including Canada.

However, Canadian immigration policies currently reflect a more strict approach to the selection and admission of foreign nationals for reasons that relate to the volume of applicants worldwide, who are interested in relocating to Canada and therefore which do not necessarily relate to the events of September 11, 2001.

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What are the numbers of immigrants who were admitted to Canada in past years and what are the planned admission targets for 2009?

There were 229,040 immigrants admitted to Canada under all categories in 2002, including approximately 138,000 Economic Class (Skilled Workers and Business Immigrants) comprising of applicants and their accompanying family dependants. In 2003, 221,355 immigrants were admitted to Canada including 121,050 Economic Class. In 2004 there were 235,824 admissions including 133,746 economic immigrants. Similar numbers were admitted in 2005.

The annual plan for 2009 includes up to 156,600 immigrants in the Economic Class; 71,000 in the family class; and 37,400 in the humanitarian class.

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"We are all citizens of the world and the tragedy of our times is that we do not know this". - Woodrow Wilson

Government of Canada Immigration Fee Schedule

Applications for Visas & Permits

Permanent Resident Visas
Family Class applicants
Sponsorship application (per application) $75
Principal applicant $475
Principal applicant, if less than 22 years of age and not a spouse or common-law partner (including a dependent child of the sponsor, a child to be adopted and an orphaned brother, sister, niece, nephew or grandchild) $75
A family member of the principal applicant who is 22 years of age or older, or is less than 22 years of age and is a spouse or common-law partner $550
A family member of the principal applicant who is less than 22 years of age and is not a spouse or common-law partner $150
Note: Fees assessed for principal applicants and family members under the Family Class are payable, along with the sponsorship fee, when the sponsor files the sponsorship application.
Investor, Entrepreneur or Self-employed Persons Class applicants
Principal applicant $1,050
A family member of the principal applicant who is 22 years of age or older, or is less than 22 years of age and is a spouse or common-law partner $550
A family member of the principal applicant who is less than 22 years of age and is not a spouse or common-law partner $150
Other classes of applicants
Principal applicant $550
A family member of the principal applicant who is 22 years of age or older, or is less than 22 years of age and is a spouse or common-law partner $550
A family member of the principal applicant who is less than 22 years of age and is not a spouse or common-law partner $150
Temporary Resident Visas
Single entry to Canada $75
Multiple entry $150
Note: The total will not exceed $400 per family, provided that the family members all apply at the same time and place.
Work Permits
Work permit $150
Note: This fee is per person, but the total amount will not exceed $450 in the case of a group of three or more performing artists and their staff who apply at the same time and place.
Study Permits
Study permit $125

 

Fees for Applications to Remain in Canada as a Permanent Resident

Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada Class
Sponsorship application (per application) $75
Principal applicant $475
A family member of the principal applicant who is 22 years of age or older, or is less than 22 years of age and is a spouse or common-law partner $550
A family member of the principal applicant who is less than 22 years of age and is not a spouse or common-law partner $150
Note: Fees assessed under the Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada Class are payable, along with the sponsorship fee, when the sponsor files the sponsorship application. Refunds will be issued only if the sponsor withdraws the sponsorship application before processing of the application has begun. The $75 sponsorship fee will not normally be refunded.
Other applicants
Principal applicant $550
A family member of the principal applicant who is 22 years of age or older, or is less than 22 years of age and is a spouse or common-law partner $550
A family member of the principal applicant who is less than 22 years of age and is not a spouse or common-law partner $150
Permit Holders Class
Applicant $325
Application under Section 25 of the Act*
Principal applicant $550
A family member of the principal applicant who is 22 years of age or older, or is less than 22 years of age and is a spouse or common-law partner $550
A family member of the principal applicant who is less than 22 years of age and is not a spouse or common-law partner $150
*Under this section, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration may grant permanent resident status to an inadmissible foreign national based on humanitarian and compassionate considerations or public policy considerations.

 

RIGHT OF PERMANENT RESIDENCE FEE (RPRF)

For the acquisition of permanent resident status $490

This fee is payable by principal applicants (with some exceptions) and accompanying spouses and common-law partners. It must be paid before the immigrant visa is issued overseas or before the applicant becomes a permanent resident in Canada.

The following applicants are not required to pay this fee:

  • dependent children of a principal applicant or sponsor, a child to be adopted, or an orphaned brother, sister, niece, nephew or grandchild; and
  • protected persons, including Convention refugees.

 

Other Applications and Services

Extension of Authorization to Remain in Canada as a Temporary Resident
Application processing fee $75
Restoration of Temporary Resident Status
Application processing fee $200
Permanent Resident Cards*
Application processing fee $50
Renewal or replacement of lost, damaged or stolen card $50
*Existing permanent residents can apply for the Card starting October 15, 2002.
Certification and replacement of an immigration document
Application processing fee $30
Application for a travel document A31(3)*
Application processing fee $50
*Permanent residents outside Canada who do not have a Permanent Resident Card or, until December 31, 2003, an Immigration Record of Landing can apply for a travel document so that they may return to Canada.
After-hours examination
For entry into Canada, outside of normal service hours (payable at time of examination) $100*
*For the first four hours of the examination; $30 for each additional hour or part thereof.
Alternative means of examination
Application processing fee $30
Immigration statistical data
Application processing fee $100*
*For the first 10 minutes or less of access to the Department's database in order to respond to such a request; $30 for each additional minute or less of access.
Determination of rehabilitation
Application processing fee, if inadmissible on the grounds of serious criminality $1,000
Application processing fee, if inadmissible on the grounds of criminality $200
Authorization to return to Canada
Application processing fee $400
Repayment of removal expenses
To the U.S.A. and St. Pierre and Miquelon $750
To any other country $1,500

Free Immigration Assessment

  • Business Immigration Assessment

    A Business applicant comprises of the Investor Class and the Entrepreneur Class. It is broadly defined as one who possesses a high personal net worth and controls the equity of a qualifying business or who manages employees on a full-time basis in government or in private enterprise.

    A Business applicant can also include a Self Employed person who will become involved in the cultural, artistic, athletic or farming life in Canada.

    Interested applicants may receive a free evaluation of their qualifications for Canadian permanent residence as a Business applicant by completing this questionnaire:

  • Family Class Sponsorship Assessment

    Canadian citizens and permanent residents living in Canada, 18 years of age or older, may sponsor close relatives or family members including spouses, common-law/same-sex partners, conjugal partners who cannot live together and dependent children applying outside of Canada who want to become permanent residents of Canada.

    Interested applicants may receive a free evaluation of their qualifications for Canadian permanent residence as a member of the Family Class by completing this questionnaire:

  • Work Visa Assessment

    Canadian Employers wishing to hire a foreign national to perform work in Canada must obtain a labour market opinion from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) confirming the impact of the hiring on the local labour market. In most instances, this an essential component of the worker’s eligibility to apply for a Canadian Work Visa.

    Readers who have received an offer of employment in Canada and require our assistance to obtain HRSDC approval of their proposed hiring, are invited to complete the following questionnaire for our review and evaluation at no charge:

  • Fast Track Immigration Assessment

    Individuals who obtain an offer of employment from a Canadian Employer can often relocate to Canada with worker status within a short time of finding an employer. In some cases, temporary employment in Canada may lead to permanent residence. Immigration.ca in collaboration with the Global Recruiters Network (GRN) Montreal may assist you in finding a job in Canada and fast track your immigration process.

     

    Readers are invited to complete the following questionnaire to receive a free assessment of their employment prospects in Canada:

     

     

 

The Canada Experience Class

Individuals who have worked or studied in Canada and who wish to settle permanently in Canada with their accompanying dependants may qualify to apply for Permanent Residence under the Canadian Experience Class.

This program recognizes the benefits to Canada by candidates who have spent significant amounts of time pursuing their studies and working careers in Canada. It recognizes their contributions to the Canadian economy and the creation of strong links to Canadian society. This strengthens the permanent residence programs to Canada.

The program is geared towards two categories of candidates: Temporary foreign workers and foreign graduates of Canadian post-secondary institutions.

  • Temporary Worker Stream

    In order to qualify for permanent residence under the Temporary Foreign Worker Stream, the candidate must have accumulated 24 months of suitable paid full-time work experience in Canada within the 36 months preceding the lock-in date of the application. The candidate is also required to demonstrate an appropriate command of French or English.

    Qualifying work experience must be full time and skilled. “Full-time” refers to 37.5 hours per week. Part time work will be considered, but only on a pro-rata basis. For example, 6 months in a part time skilled position at 18 hours per week will count as three months towards the required 24. Multiple concurrent part time jobs can also be used to meet the experience requirement.

    The suitable work experience must also be considered “skilled”. This refers to occupations that are categorized as Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupation Classification . Qualifying occupations are those of a managerial, professional, technical or skilled trade nature.

  • Foreign Graduate Stream

    To qualify under the Foreign Graduate Stream, a candidate must have completed a program of at least two years at a recognized Canadian post-secondary institution, and subsequently accumulated 12 months of paid full-time skilled work experience in Canada. Applicants must also demonstrate sufficient knowledge of one of Canada’s two official languages.

    Qualifying work experience must have been gained within the 24 months preceding the application, however the time elapsed between completions of the educational program and applying for permanent residence is of no importance. Any skilled work experience accumulated during the program of study will not be considered.

    The “full-time” and “skilled” attributes of the work experience are assessed using the same criteria as described above for the Temporary Foreign Worker Stream.

    The post-secondary program of study completed by the applicant must meet certain requirements to qualify. The applicant must have:

    • been enrolled as a full-time student in a program of at least two academic years. The full-time nature of studies is determined by the post-secondary institution attended;
    • been physically present in Canada while studying.
    • obtained a diploma, degree, or trade/apprenticeship credential from a public, provincially recognized university, community college, Cegep, trade or technical school. Degrees, diplomas or trade credentials from some private and semi-private post-secondary institutions may be recognized;

    Graduate level credentials issued upon completion of a one year study program also qualify, if they are obtained within two years of having received a first diploma, degree or trade credential from a qualifying Canadian institution.

    Distance learning completed outside of Canada does not qualify, nor does any program of study where English or French as a second language represents more than half the curriculum. Finally, any studies in Canada pursued under an award or Government sponsored exchange program which stipulates that the recipient return to their home country upon completion will not be considered.

  • Conclusion

    The Canadian Experience Class is an ideal program for individuals who have become familiar with life in Canada and who wish to resettle here. For qualifying candidates, it is an expedient and secure option for obtaining permanent residence, with objective criteria. Moreover, the application can be made from within Canada, while the candidate has appropriate temporary status. In short, it allows a seamless transition from temporary to permanent status in Canada.

    *The Canadian experience class does not apply to foreigners wishing to establish themselves in the Province of Quebec; however education and work experience accumulated in that province are valid to meet Quebec program requirements.

    Interested readers who wish to discuss the implications of these developments are invited to communicate with us at your convenience and/or to complete an assessment questionnaire. Upon receipt we will assess your options.

Immigration to Canada Overview

 

Immigration.ca Podcast
Attorney Colin R. Singer
Montreal / Canada

The Canadian government grants permanent residence visas to members of the Family Class and the Economic Class. The Economic Class primarily comprises of professionals and skilled workers under the skilled worker class, the Quebec skilled worker class and the provincial nominee class as well as business immigrants.

Using a point system, an applicant is assessed under the federal skilled worker class according to various factors that will indicate whether there is a strong likelihood that the applicant and dependents will successfully establish in Canada. Ideal applicants under the skilled worker class will possess employment skills and experience compatible with occupations "open" to prospective immigrants to Canada. The selection rules particularly favour applicants with government approved job offers in Canada.

Under the Quebec skilled worker class and the provincial nominee class, applicants may become permanent residents on the basis of their proven ability to become economically established in Canada, in accordance with immigration programs and selection criteria administered by Quebec or the provinces.

Canada also admits immigrants under the Business Immigration program which comprises three sub-categories including Investors, Entrepreneurs and the Self-Employed.

The Investor class is point based and confers permanent residence upon applicants who demonstrate an ability to become economically established in Canada on the basis of their business or management experience and personal net worth of at least $1,600,000. Approval is contingent upon the investor undertaking to commit an irrevocable, passive, non-interest bearing five-year investment of $800,000 in a government guaranteed investment fund. Under applicable programs, applicants can obtain financing and receive legal security on their investment.The Canadian government has placed a temporary hold on applications in this class. 

The Entrepreneur class is point based and confers permanent residence upon applicants who demonstrate an ability to become economically established in Canada on the basis of their business experience and high personal net worth. Approval is contingent upon the entrepreneur undertaking to invest and become involved in the active management of a qualifying business operated in Canada that will contribute to the economy and create employment. The Canadian government has placed a temporary hold on applications in this class. 

The Self Employed class is also point based and refers to applicants who have relevant experience as well as the intention and the ability to create their own employment and make a significant contribution to the cultural, artistic or athletic life of Canada, or to create their own employment by purchasing and managing a farm in Canada.

The Quebec government manages its own immigration programs providing for skilled worker and business class selection rules.

Under the federal family class, current sponsorship programs typically promote the reunion in Canada of Canadian citizens and permanent residents with their close relatives including a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner 16 years of age or older, an unmarried dependent child under the age of 22, a parent or grandparent, and a brother, sister, nephew, niece, grandchild who is an orphan, unmarried and under 18 years of age or any other relative where the sponsor has none of the above relatives or family members, in Canada or abroad. There is a temporary pause on the sponsorship of parents and grandparents for permanent residents. Instead, eligible candidates can apply forthe long term visitor Parents and Grandparents Super Visa.