Relocation Information

Flagpoling

By David Aujla

Several years ago, there was a story in the local newspaper about a couple on central Vancouver Island who thought that they could simply live in British Columbia as visitors all year round. They had been told that simply crossing the border and returning would allow them to extend their status for another six months. Having purchased a home, several heads of cattle and living a comfortable lifestyle, they renewed their extension once, and were about to renew it for a second time when the immigration officer asked a few more questions than usual. Upon hearing that they had settled quite comfortably into their farm lifestyle, the immigration officer indicated that they would have two weeks to settle all of their affairs and remove themselves from Canada indefinitely.

What these two misdirected individuals had been doing was “flagpoling”: simply crossing the border to the USA, and returning to Canada to extend their visitor status.

Under the immigration regulations, an individual can be allowed into the country for up to six months provided that the intention is temporary. Anyone crossing the border is usually asked a few simple questions by the immigra- tion officer and, perhaps without even having a passport stamped, is allowed to enter Canada. Unless indicated otherwise, the individual can assume that a six-month allowance for visitor status has been granted.

The confusion arises because there is no corresponding rule in the regulations, which states how long a person must stay outside of Canada before returning. It is a question of intention on each occasion that one comes to the border. If the immigration officer feels that the person has spent more time in Canada than outside of Canada in the previous year prior to the actual date of questioning, then the officer can refuse entry based on the intention being permanent.

Many people assume that if they simply leave and return, they will be allowed entry without any further questions. In fact, it is up to the immigration officer to decide whether the intention is permanent or not. In the case above, the individuals were living as permanent residents under the guise of being visitors. Clearly this is an untenable situation for immigration, since living in Canada permanently requires a permanent residence application to be approved, which could take up to two years or more.

It is up to the individual coming into Canada to keep careful records of the entries and exits from Canada. Given that stamping of passports is sometimes sporadic, I recommend to clients to utilize an ATM machine before crossing the border, and then using one after crossing the border to indicate the time and dates of entry. The same should be repeated when returning to the United States. This allows one to keep an accurate record of one’s stay in Canada. Thus, if questioned by the officers as to when the previous visit had been made, proof would exist. Although one may come back and forth frequently, one should be ready to prove to the immigration officer that one’s permanent residence is outside of Canada and not within. To that end, it is important to retain a permanent address outside of Canada and to ensure that one has all of the evidence showing connection to the country of residency, such as a home deed, utility bills, driver’s license, income tax statements, and bank statements so that successful entry into Canada is the result.

Spousal Sponsorship Processing Times – 2016

Processing times are plummeting!

One of the mandates of the Immigration Minister, John McCallum, was to expedite spousal processing times in 2016 – and he has certainly lived up to his promise.

Several years ago, processing times for spousal applications worldwide were taking between 18 to 48 or even 60 months depending upon the nationality of the individual. Routinely African and South Asian cases of foreign national spouses were taking 36 months or more.

Processing times still differ depending whether the application is being filed from outside of Canada or from within Canada. Those individuals who normally require visitor visas to come to Canada and who have not been able to get a visitor visa, are forced to use the outside of Canada process which is now being processed in about one year.

We are finding even faster processing times for foreign nationals who can come and go to and from Canada without a visa. These are typically citizens from the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Such applications are being finalized between 6 and12 months after the application has been filed.

For those foreign nationals who are in Canada already on temporary status (such as a visitor or student) the inside Canada spousal process will assure them that they can also apply for a work permit immediately upon filing the sponsorship and permanent application. In the past, such inside Canada applicants had to remain here on extended visitor status without any social benefits and without the ability to work. Those applications would sometimes take two years or more to finalize. Now if the foreign national is in Canada on a visitor permit, the sponsorship application can be filed along with the change of status from a visitor to a work permit holder. Medical benefits and social insurance status are granted to the individual within four months. The permanent residence application will still take upwards to 18 months to finalize, but individuals can lead a normal life while waiting for permanent status to come through. This latter procedure was initiated in December 2014 as a pilot project and will no doubt be extended again in late November or early December 2016.

For detailed flow charts of the two processes (inside Canada and outside of Canada), see my website at www.spousalsponsorshipcanada.com

 

Express Entry Draw Number 45 – CRS Score 475 and 1,804 Invitations

October 19, 2016 – The twentieth round of invitations under Express Entry for 2016 have been conducted by IRCC. The minimum score for acceptance for the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) was 475 and the number of invitations issued for permanent residence issued were 1,804.

Express Entry is a method of managing applications under a number of existing economic immigration programs including the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.

Potential immigrants who meet the criteria for one of these programs are eligible to enter into a pool of candidates and there is no limit to the number of people who may enter the Express Entry pool. With a wide range of candidates with varied skills and experience, the Government of Canada, provincial and territorial governments, and Canadian employers are then able to select people from this pool in order to meet local labour market needs. In turn, the individuals selected from the pool are able to increase their CRS scoring rate thereby enabling them to receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence. However, the number of candidates who get an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence on a yearly basis will be limited by the Annual Immigration Levels Plan.

Read more here about Express Entry and see the IRCC video here:

David Aujla is a Canadian Immigration lawyer with offices in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. Read about his more than 40 years of experience and history here: http://www.bcimmigration.com/about-us.html

Video: Express Entry – A new tool for hiring skilled immigrants

 

 

 

 

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Express Entry Draw Number 44 – CRS Score 484 and 1,518 Invitations

October 12, 2016 – The nineteenth round of invitations under Express Entry for 2016 have been conducted by IRCC. The minimum score for acceptance for the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) was 484 and the number of invitations issued for permanent residence issued were 1,518.

Express Entry is a method of managing applications under a number of existing economic immigration programs including the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.

Potential immigrants who meet the criteria for one of these programs are eligible to enter into a pool of candidates and there is no limit to the number of people who may enter the Express Entry pool. With a wide range of candidates with varied skills and experience, the Government of Canada, provincial and territorial governments, and Canadian employers are then able to select people from this pool in order to meet local labour market needs. In turn, the individuals selected from the pool are able to increase their CRS scoring rate thereby enabling them to receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence. However, the number of candidates who get an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence on a yearly basis will be limited by the Annual Immigration Levels Plan.

Read more here about Express Entry and see the IRCC video here:

David Aujla is a Canadian Immigration lawyer with offices in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. Read about his more than 40 years of experience and history here: http://www.bcimmigration.com/about-us.html

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