Permanent Resident Status for Refugee Claimants

The Refugee Protection Division (RPD) is a tribunal branch of the Immigration and Refugee Bard of Canada (IRB) aimed at representing the people with protected person status in Canada and for those who claim for this status under exceptional circumstances as stated in the refugee law.

Any person wanting to live as a refugee in another country and not returning to his/her home country because of fear of persecution or social condemnation for reasons like race, ethnicity, national identity, political allegiance, or religion, or for being a part of a group such as a particular gender or political group, is called a Convention Refugee. Often such people are either under threat of life, or at a high risk of being tortured or condemned in their country/ or the country of previous residence.

People who apply for the status of Convention refugees must be able to prove that they are at high risk of disproportionate suffering or insurmountable hardships in their own country.

Recently we assisted a family of four members to claim refuge in Canada. The family was under threat of persecution in their own country because of their religion. There was no hope that they would get any government help in their own country. They had also lost their home and some essential possessions in a riot that tore the city they lived in. We made an extensive report to establish that the family of four had a clean record in the past, possessed all required documents and had work experience that could help them in establishing themselves independently in Canada. The family was relieved when their refugee claim got approved. In past also, we have assisted many families from war-torn areas in getting refugee protection in Canada. These families were approved as convention refugees as they could now apply for permanent residency in Canada.

Lexlords glad to announce that the family has retained our services to assist them in applying for their permanent residency status applications also.

Spousal Sponsorship – Happy Beginnings

We assisted a couple in getting their spousal sponsorship approval within weeks. When we were first contacted, the couple was excessively reticent in telling their story and seemed to be uncertain if they needed professional help. However, within a few minutes of speaking with our lawyers specialised in spousal sponsorship applications, the couple began to open-up. The couple had met in Canada and both were foreign nationals who wanted to settle in Canada. Since it was an inter-religion marriage, they feared persecution in their own country. We took great care to meet the requirements of this case and ensured that the client could get a hassle-free sponsorship. Our main job was to furnish a complete and consistent application with all supporting documents establishing that both the partners were well-settled, well-integrated and financial stable in Canada. We demonstrated with facts about the genuineness of the relationship by collecting all necessary documents. The application was processed within the given time and since the application was submitted with due regard to the fact that errors can lead to unnecessary delays, we took great care not to leave any required data ambiguous. Since both the partners are foreign-based, great care was taken to include the entire immigration history of the couple, along with some testimonies collected from friends and colleagues. The couple received the letter of approval within weeks and was delighted to have the opportunity of living together in Canada.

At the end of it when the couple met us, they simply laughed at their initial resistance to take legal help and thanked us for supporting them throughout the application process.

Is it Required to Hire an Immigration Lawyer?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) does not necessitates a prospective immigrant to hire an immigration lawyer. However, hiring an immigration lawyer is advisable, and in some unusual cases it is strongly advocated.

Immigration applications are legal documents that are assessed by the Canadian government to review if an applicant is the right person to be permitted to enter Canada and become its prospective citizen. Immigration applications are long and demand a corpus of significant information about the applicant’s personal history, educational qualifications, work experience and other such significant details. These applications are reviewed with much gravity by the immigration officers. The slightest error in an application can affect an applicant’s chances of immigrating to Canada forever, or for at least a long time. Additionally, any gaps, misinformation, omissions, or lapses in the application might raise serious doubts on the applicant’s integrity. If once an application gets rejected, it becomes an enormous task to re-apply.

If you are, especially lazy with paperwork and careless with details, better leave the job for an immigration lawyer with the insight and experience to make a persuasive application on your behalf.

Another factor is that Canadian immigration laws have transformed in past few years. Owing to their complex and transitory nature, applicants take hasty decisions without much research and comparison between the old and the new procedures or make a wrong interpretation of a law or procedure. Immigration lawyers are experts with many years of legal experience. They understand the requirements of every procedure, the expectations from an application under a certain category, and can evaluate how to make an application persuasive and compelling.

A lawyer can assist you in selecting the best program suitable for you as per your requirements and help you with submitting the application form. A lawyer understands the value of an application form and can assist you in giving the right details and attaching all supporting documents. They can also help you in making a mitigation plan when something goes wrong with your application or a claim.

In our own experience of many years, we have been approached by many who contacted us after facing refusal by immigration officers even for a minor error. Most of these errors made by the applicants were unintentional, carelessly done, or because they did not have right guidance. This unnecessarily delayed their immigration process. An immigration officer can be the anchor and a strong support system in this life-changing moment where you would wish nothing to go wrong for you.

Immigration lawyers can prove to be a blessing in disguise considering the fact that an immigration application need not only be complete and accurate, but it also needs to be compelling and persuasive. It needs to be detailed with all supporting evidence to your claims. The evidence required to support your claims also must be submitted in a certain manner in order to prove it as authentic. An immigration lawyer can become your positive support system in this critical moment of your life.

In a lot of cases, a minor error leads to most damaging results and an entire family’s applications get rejected. Immigration lawyers are a positive investment for anyone planning to move to Canada and does not want to be engulfed in a tedious and elaborate process. Legal assistance is highly advisable.

What to do after getting a Permanent Residency Approval?

After receiving your approval letter for Permanent Residency in Canada, it can take another 1-2 months for your PR Card to arrive. This is the normal time taken for the PR card processing.

On landing in Canada, it is advisable to first visit the Service Canada office and get your Social Insurance Number (SIN), a number that one needs to become permissible to work in Canada, and also pay ones taxes.

The next step requires you to contact the department of motor vehicles in the province that you are immigrating into and obtain a Canadian Driver’s Licence.

Apply for your health care coverage at a designated office. Do enquire about the province-based requirements in getting a health care coverage. Each province or territory might have different requirements and conditions. It is advisable to have a travel health insurance when you arrive in Canada till the time your health coverage application gets Processed in Canada. This is to be sure that you have yourself covered in case of a health emergency.

Your Permanent Residency Card is valid for up to 5 years from the date of authorisation. For renewal of the PR card after the expiration of five years, you must demonstrate that you stayed in Canada for at least 2 years out of 5. This time period of two years can be sporadically spread across the five-year time period.

If you meet all the requirements of Canadian Citizenship you can apply for the same.

What is Express Entry?

First introduced in 2015, Express Entry is an online system for managing and regulating applications for permanent residency stats by skilled workers. Various programs initiated for Express Entry are –

  • The Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
  • Canadian Experience Class

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) managed by the governments of various provinces and territories in Canada can nominate and recruit applicants from the Express Entry pool of online applications.

To apply for Express Entry, the applicants are required to create an online profile which includes their personal information, educational qualifications, work experience and training, language ability and other relevant information such as medical history and criminal history. These applications then enter a pool where the applications are assessed and reviewed as per the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). There is a specific criteria as per which the applications are given scores under various specified categories. Applicants who have an arranged employer from a Canadian employer with a positive LMIA get 50 points for most occupations as per the latest changes in the CRS system of evaluation.

If you possess an employer-specific work permit, have been working for the same employer currently, and have a one-year of work experience in a full-time employment in Canada, you will score 50-200 points. Barring international students working under post-graduation work permits, everyone can benefit from this change in the procedure.

Candidates applying under Express Entry will get a benefit of scoring 15-30 additional points depending on the type of program they are applying for.

Your application once submitted will be available to both federal and provincial governments of Canada under an Express Entry pool, who will then review your application on the basis of age, education, work experience, training, language ability etc and give you points as per the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). You will be selected on all of the above as well as on the basis of your potential to become economically self-sufficient in Canada.

You will receive an Invitation to Apply from the IRCC wherein you would apply for permanent residency status in Canada if you are selected from the pool. The number of people who will be selected from each pool generally differs. The permanent residency application can also be made online.

As per the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) norms, the applications under Express Entry must be processed within 6 months from the date of submission. The applicants need to ensure that the application is complete and all supporting documents are attached with the document. The application must also be filled honestly so that there are chances of getting rejection during the enquiry stage.

Applicants who fail to receive the invitation to apply for the permanent resident status visa, may submit their application again if they are eligible under the norms of any of the given programs.

Since Express Entry System is part of economic programs, an applicant is required to have an arranged employment from an employer living in Canada in order to qualify for applying under Express Entry.

The employers seeking to recruit foreign based nationals must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

A few recent changes were made to Express Entry Model which include, (a) extra  points applicants who have siblings above 18 years old permanently settled in Canada, (b) points for language proficiency in French, (c) arranged employment has become an optional feature and not mandatory.

Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)

An Electronic Travel Authorization document is an electronic document for foreign nationals who travel to Canada from visa-exempt countries to visit, or transit though, a Canadian airport. If you are travelling by land or sea, you would not require an ETA. An ETA is valid for up to a maximum of 5 years or until the passport expires. An ETA is automatically linked to an individual’s passport gets renewed whenever the passport is renewed. In most cases, you will be barred from travelling if you do hold an ETA.

Remember that the condition of obtaining an ETA is applied to only those who enter Canada from visa-exempt countries. You can easily find a list of designated countries on IRCC official website.

ETA Requirements for people of Different Status

  1. Canadian Permanent Residents: People with the status of Canadian Permanent Residents are not required to have an ETA but should always carry their permanent resident card or travel document while travelling outside Canada. If they do not have the necessary documents during boarding checks, they might not get entry into Canada.
  1. US Citizens: As a US Citizen, one does not need an Electronic Travel Document, though it must be carried by a US permanent resident.
  1. Dual Canadian Citizenship Holder: People with Canadian Dual Citizenship must carry their Canadian passport while travelling outside Canada or they risk being denied an entry into Canada.

Process of Applying for an ETA

In order to apply for an ETA, you must go to the official website of Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada (IRCC), fill the online form and finish the process by submitting the fees.

It is a quick and simple process. Most often, people get their ETA within one day. However, in a few other cases, a thorough review and assessment might be needed. This can sometimes slacken the process of obtaining the ETA. So, make sure that you apply for your ETA well in time and do not leave something as important as this for the last hour.

On getting approved, you will receive a confirmation mail but if some additional review is needed, you will be informed about the documents that you need to submit for smoother processing.

Once your ETA is issued, it gets automatically linked with your passport saving you from the hassles of print outs or mails, thus freeing you from the burden of carrying an extra document.

Who all can Apply at Canadian Port-of-entry?

People can make an application for work permit, study permit or a visitor access, if any of the following applies to them –

  • Visa-exempt foreigners making entry as temporary residents, or for who fulfil requirements for study permits.
  • Visa-exempt foreigners who do not require LMIA for job purposes.
  • Visa-exempt foreigners with a positive LMIA.
  • Visa-exempt foreigners wanting to confirm their document of permanent residency.

A medical exam is mandatory for all those wishing to stay in Canada for more than 6 months. Apart from that, the visa-exempt foreign national travelling to Canada must have an electronic travel authorization (ETA). The passport is connected with the eTA automatically so whenever your passport is renewed, the ETA is also renewed.

If you are planning for a status renewal, passport renewal or are considering flagpoling, it is advisable to consult an immigration firm which will assist you in understanding the various legal procedures and will also assist you in preparing all the required documents needed for making an application. An experienced immigration officer will also help you in updating the documents you fear are about to expire or are already expired.

What do you understand by Flagpoling?

Flagpoling is a term referring to a process where a person leaves Canada to move into the US borders but does not cross over to USA. Instead, the person instantly makes an application for temporary Canadian status at the Canadian port-of-entry, or to activate a work permit, study permit or a change of status.

Why Do you People Use this Process?

Quite evidently, flagpoling is a quick way to get your approvals. One need not wait for the delay-causing time taken by application processing and appointment with an immigration officer. It is also easier for those who cannot afford to lose time and money to travel back into USA and wait for application decisions to come in.

Flagpoling puts unnecessary burden on Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) which has recently taken a few steps to discourage the practice. While earlier flagpoling could be done at any time of the day, recently both the time and place of flagpoling have become strictly defined. Since these procedures are subject to change, one should always confirm the time and place where they can take benefit of this process.

What to do if your immigration status is expiring?

People who are visa-exempt which means that those who do not need a Temporary Resident Visa to travel to Canada can, under exceptional circumstances, apply at thee port-of entry of Canada for a new work permit or study permit.

To determine if you are visa-exempt, you need to check the list of designated countries that do not need a visitor visa to enter Canada available on IRCC website.

What to do if your passport is close to its expiry date and you want to apply for immigration?

It is best to apply for passport renewal if the date of expiry of the passport is near and you want to make an application for permanent or temporary residency status in Canada.

You can apply for a new passport, or for the renewal of Canadian passport based on your citizenship certificate or birth certificate. According to the latest update, you must provide identify proof documents while applying for Canadian Passport. The identify proof must vividly provide your name, date of birth, sex, photograph and signature. All details of the identity proof must match with your application.

If all the details are not provided in a single government issued identify document, then you must provide at least one additional document that can verify your details and together both documents should be able to validate all details. In absence of documents providing required personal information, your application will stand a high chance of getting refused.