Réseau juridique du Québec (avocat.qc.ca)
Documentation
About the Law Network


Canadian Immigration - Frequently Asked Questions

Colin R. Singer, Attorney At Law, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center


CAUTION : This is an article that has been updated in December 2003. Many changes have occured with the immigration laws in Canada since then.

The following text will provide the Canadian immigration candidate to be, with answers to a number of questions in order to obtain Permanent resident status (section A) or Canadian citizenship (section B).

A) THE ACQUISITION OF CANADIAN PERMANENT RESIDENCE

Skilled Worker, Business Class

On June 28, 2002, the Government of Canada introduced new immigration regulations. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations features new procedures for the Economic Class comprising of the federal skilled worker class, the Quebec skilled worker class, the provincial nominee class, the investor class, the entrepreneur class and the self-employed persons class.

The selection rules for the skilled worker class also provide for a pass mark of 75, a highly unpredictable approval process with increased reliance on the use of positive (and negative) discretion for many applicants and favours married applicants with university education at the graduate level. The new rules particularly favour applicants with government approved job offers in Canada.

The new rules were implemented with retroactive effect under a two-tiered pass mark. Skilled worker applications filed before January 1st 2002, which do not receive a selection decision prior to April 1, 2003, must score 70 points under the new rules. Skilled worker applications filed after January 1, 2002 where a positive selection decision has not been reached by June 28, 2002, are henceforth subject to the new selection criteria and require a pass mark of 75 points under the new rules.

The following is a compilation of Frequently Asked Questions prepared by Colin R. Singer, Attorney, summarizing the effects of the Immigration Refugee Protection Regulations under 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.


IMPORTANT NOTICE AFFECTING APPLICANTS TO CANADA

November 2003

On September 18, 2003, the Government of Canada introduced a pass mark of 67 points governing the assessment of new applications and pending applications filed after December 31, 2001 under the Economic Class. The Government also announced the introduction of transition regulations permitting economic class applicants (skilled workers and business immigrants) who filed their applications for permanent residence BEFORE January 1, 2002, to be assessed under the former Immigration Act.

Initially when the new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act was implemented in June 2002, the Canadian government planned to implement new selection criteria, under a retroactive mechanism with the objective of reducing a growing backlog of many thousands of pending cases (the “backlog cases”). The new immigration rules were intended to systematically refuse up to 100,000 backlog cases filed under the former immigration selection rules.

In February 2003, the Federal Court ruled in the case of (Laurentiu Dragan v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, 2003 FCT 211), ordering the Canadian immigration authorities to assess 102 backlog cases under the old immigration rules before March 31, 2003. Most of the 102 applicants affected by the Dragan ruling have been approved. The ruling in the Dragan decision specifically found that the manner in which the new immigration rules were being introduced, to the prejudice of backlog cases, was improper.

Beginning in March 2003 and throughout the summer of 2003 numerous claims were filed on behalf of affected applicants whose pending applications would likely be refused under the new immigration rules, demanding the Canadian immigration authorities to assess the backlog applications under more equitable selection criteria and eliminate retroactivity.

On June 20 2003, a Federal Court judge imposed an injunction preventing CIC from refusing any pending application which was filed prior to January 1, 2002.

On September 18, 2003 the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration introduced new measures for assessing economic class applicants as well as transitional measures for the assessment and processing of pending applications in the Economic Class, filed before January 1, 2002. In effect the plan to implement the new immigration rules with retroactive effect, has been abolished.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

 

  1. Effective immediately, the pass mark for new skilled worker applicants is 67.

     

  2. Effective immediately, applications currently in the system that have not yet received a selection decision, will be assessed with a pass mark of 67.

     

  3. Pending applications filed before January 1, 2002 will no longer be subject to retroactivity and will be assessed under the former Immigration Act. Applicants who do not qualify under the former Act will then be assessed under the current Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, with a pass mark of 67.

     

  4. Applicants who submitted an application for permanent residence after January 1, 2002 and who have been refused on the basis of the previous pass mark of 75, maybe entitled to have their applications re-opened and re-assessed under the new pass mark of 67.

 


DISCLAIMER:

This compilation of Frequently Asked Questions has been prepared by Colin R. Singer, Attorney At Law, for the intended reference by interested individuals and is not intended to create an attorney - client communication. This compilation may be reproduced for the personal non-commercial use of interested individuals on the express or implied condition that the contents herein are neither edited, modified nor altered in whole or in part, directly or indirectly without the express written consent of the author herein.


 

  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?
  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?
  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. What are the numbers of immigrants who were admitted to Canada in 2001 and what are the planned admission targets for 2002?
  29. How have the events of September 11, 2001 in the United States affected Canadian immigration policy?

B) THE ACQUISITION OF CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP

30. What are the benefits of obtaining Canadian Citizenship?

31. Who qualifies for Canadian citizenship?

32. Where are applications for Canadian Citizenship submitted?

33. How is the citizenship process administered?

34. Are prior periods of temporary sojourns in Canada, counted towards the acquisition of citizenship?

35. Can periods of non physical residence be counted towards the Citizenship residence requirements?

36. Is a Canadian Citizen entitled to become employed in the United States?

37. What are the number of Canadian permanent residents who were granted Canadian citizenship in 1995?

38. What are the benefits of engaging the services of an attorney who specializes in Canadian Citizenship & Immigration law or Quebec immigration matters?

39. Who consults this FAQ?

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.

 

Top

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)

The Federal skilled worker class is primarily point based and confers permanent resident status upon 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 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.

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 $400,000 in a government guaranteed investment fund.

A successful applicant is 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 or managed at least five full-time job equivalents per year for at least two years in the period beginning five years preceding the application; b) possesses a personal net worth of $800,000 and c) undertakes to invest $400,000 in a government approved investment fund.

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.

A successful applicant is 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 specified economic activities in Canada and to meet the initial settlement requirements for the applicant and accompanying dependants.

Top

How are applications assessed under the skilled worker class?

Applications are assessed under 6 Factors (education, language experience, age, arranged employment, adaptability) totalling 100 points with each factor providing a maximum number of points. Successful applicants must receive a minimum of 75 points with 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 (NOC). The Regulations enumerates the factors and allocates the maximum number of units as follows:

 

Factor Your Score Final
EDUCATION 25
LANGUAGE 24
EXPERIENCE 21
AGE 10
ARRANGED EMPLOYMENT 10
ADAPTABILITY 10
TOTAL 100

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 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.

Introduces 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.

Top

How long does it take to obtain a permanent resident visa?

Depending upon the time of year, the immigration office in question and other factors, the processing time for an application for permanent residence filed under the economic class can vary from between 6 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, Singapore and Beijing currently attract the most applications and therefore have the longest processing times).

Top

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.

Top

Where are applications submitted?

Applications for Canadian permanent residence are generally filed with an appropriate immigration office outside of Canada that serves the country where the applicant has lawfully resided during the previous 12 months or the application must be filed at the immigration office that serves the applicant’s country of nationality.

Certain permit holders inside Canada may submit an application for permanent residence to the appropriate Case Processing Centre in Canada that serves the applicant’s place of habitual residence.

Applications under the Business Immigration program should be submitted with one of nine Business Immigrant Coordination Centres outside Canada that are designed to offer a specialised service staffed with officers knowledgeable in the procedures that are particular to the business immigration program and the area from where the applicant resides.

Readers are advised however that as of the date of this writing, applicants under the Economic Class will not be prevented from submitting their applications to any full service immigration office outside of Canada.

Top

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 $975 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.

Top

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.

Top

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 some 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.

Top

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.

Top

What about interview waivers?

Certain cases may substantiate 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.

Top

What documents are submitted along with the application?

The submitted application must contain in prescribed format, the name, birth date, and address, nationality and immigration status of the applicant and of all family members of the applicant and the class of visa being requested. An application being submitted under the skilled worker class 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.

Business immigration applications must be supported by documentation, which corroborates an applicant’s business/managerial, experience.

Certain documents can be submitted during the process. These include statutory documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates and certificates of non criminal conviction from each place of residence where an applicant has permanently resided for more than 6 months since age 16 years. Although it is preferred that applicants submit documentation supporting education, employment experience and language proficiencies at the file submission stage, such documentation may be forwarded to the visa office after file submission.

Applicants are advised to avoid delaying submitting an application in proper format while gathering non essential documentation as applications are processed on a first come first served basis and the pass mark can be modified by the Minister without notification at any time during the process, which may prejudice an applicant’s qualifications where an application has not been finalized

Top

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

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 on the part of the applicant demonstrating that the applicant meets the requirements of NOC and would ultimately be left to the discretion of the interviewing visa officer.

Top

 

CAUTION : This is an article that has been updated in December 2003. Many changes have occured with the immigration laws in Canada since then.

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?

The Canadian Citizenship & Immigration authorities do not require applicants to secure an approved offer of employment as a condition of selection. In essence, current Canadian immigration policy provides that if an applicant meets the skilled worker selection criteria, he/she is likely to become successfully established in Canada. However, "arranged employment", (approved by Human Resources Development Canada) will provide a prospective applicant with an additional 15 units of assessment and in most cases, is an important aspect of the selection process.

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

The majority of unmarried applicants possessing a university bachelor degree and high proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages will not be in a position to attain the current pass mark of 75 points, without an approved job offer in Canada.

What if the intended occupation requires registration/licensing?

There are a number of occupations in Canada requiring registration and/or licensing, a process that varies from province to province. However, occupational licensing is not a requirement to overcome as a condition of immigration.

Top

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

Under the skilled worker class, personal net worth is not a selection criterion of assessment. However, assets can impact positively upon an applicant's assessment under the positive discretion provisions of the regulations.

Applicants generally 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 $14,280 would satisfy LICO requirements for a family comprising of the applicant, spouse and one child. 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.

Applicants who are interested in canvassing the labour market may wish to review our employment placement services http://www.immigration.ca/jobs-programs.asp, for further information.

Top

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.

Top

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 each 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.

Top

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 officer’s 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.

Top

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 affect 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 "employment validation". 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.

Top

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

The Canadian immigration authorities are continuously revising its 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.

Applicants who are interested in canvassing the labour market may wish to review our employment placement services http://www.immigration.ca/jobs-programs.asp, for further information.

Top

What are the current prospects for employment in Canada?

Employers in the Canadian High Technology, Engineering and Financial Services sectors are now 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.

Top

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. However, the tax legislation allows for newly arriving permanent residents to establish an offshore trust into which may flow all of the non-Canadian sourced income, except employment income. The trust avails for a maximum period of five years and it is therefore possible to become a Canadian citizen and a non-resident within the life span of the trust.

Top

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.

Top

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

A number of provinces have concluded agreements with the Canadian government under the Provincial Nominee program, which provide for very limited selection of foreign nationals destined to one of those provinces.

Owing to the high volume of applications that are currently awaiting processing with the various provincial authorities, applicants 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.

Applicants who are interested in canvassing the various provincial labour markets may wish to review our employment placement services http://www.immigration.ca/jobs-programs.asp, for further information.

Top

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

Canadian permanent residents holding citizenship from the following countries, are currently exempted from obtaining entry visas for temporary visits to the United States:

Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda British subjects), Botswana, Brunei, Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Kingdom (including its colonies, territories and dependencies such as Hong Kong), Vanuatu, Western Samoa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Top

What are the numbers of immigrants who were admitted to Canada in 2001 and what are the planned admission targets for 2002?

There were 250,386 immigrants admitted to Canada under all categories in 2001, including approximately 140,000 Skilled Workers and Business Immigrants (comprising of applicants and their accompanying family dependants). A similar number of admissions are planned for 2002.

Top

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

Canadian and authorities in the United States have recently concluded 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.

Top
B) THE ACQUISITION OF CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP

What are the benefits of obtaining Canadian Citizenship?

Citizenship is a lifetime status and permits the issuance of a Canadian passport.

Unlike permanent resident status, the status afforded by Canadian citizenship, legally obtained, is not affected by the principle of "use it or lose it".

Top

Who qualifies for Canadian citizenship?

As a general rule, individuals with three years of permanent

resident status during the preceding four years can qualify for Canadian citizenship.

Top

Where are applications for Canadian Citizenship submitted?

Applications are submitted at the local citizenship office in the area of an applicant's residence. Applications may likewise be submitted directly to the citizenship office in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Top

How is the citizenship process administered?

Applications submitted through a local citizenship office are pre screened to ensure that the three year residence rule has been met. Applicants are thereafter scheduled for an informal interview with a citizenship officer to review the merits of the submissions in support of the application.

Within about 12 - 15 months from submission, applicants may be required to appear before a Citizenship Judge to provide evidence of their knowledge of one of Canada' Official languages as well as an understanding of the overall Canadian political structure.

Top

Are prior periods of temporary sojourns in Canada, counted towards the acquisition of citizenship?

Applicants admitted to Canada on temporary status, can receive credit for one-half day to a maximum of one year, for each day of such temporary status in Canada.

Top

Can periods of non physical residence be counted towards the Citizenship residence requirements?

Generally, actual physical residence is required. However in a number of instances, non physical residence has been acceptable. The issue of physical and non physical residence has given rise to substantial litigation and accordingly merits further consideration by prospective applicants.

For a more thorough discussion on this issue, kindly refer to our publication - "CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP AND THE THREE YEAR RESIDENCE REQUIREMENT".

Top

Is a Canadian Citizen entitled to become employed in the United States?

Under the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement,

citizens of Canada who fall within a particular professional designation, can qualify for a US non-immigrant employment visa. This type of visa can be issued at a border INS office without the need to obtain prior approval from the local Department of Labour authorities. As well this type of one year renewable visa can ultimately lead to US Green Card status.

Top

What are the number of Canadian permanent residents who were granted Canadian citizenship in 1995?

There were approximately 215,000 permanent residents who were granted Canadian citizenship in 1995.

Top

What are the benefits of engaging the services of an attorney who specializes in Canadian Citizenship & Immigration law or Quebec immigration matters?

The Canadian and Quebec Immigration laws and regulations provide for the extensive use of discretionary authority by immigration officers. Such discretion must be exercised in precise and well defined limits.

There are a number of issues which are more complex than the average applicant (and in many cases, Canadian visa officers, general consultants, etc) fully understand and which merit the participation of reputable Canadian legal counsel in the process of planning for and acquiring Canadian permanent resident status. These issues are the subject of volumes of reported case law and Immigration Board decisions and are referred to in part, in Government of Canada procedures manuals, Government Operations Memorandums, and the like and provide for the full-time employment of a number of persons in the public sector within the Department of Citizenship & Immigration Canada.

An attorney specializing in this field, will be able to ensure the filing and perfecting of applications in the appropriate manner. As well, effective counsel will be able to recognize the presence of irregularities in the use of discretionary authority, the misapplication of immigration directives and guidelines, the misapplication of regulatory definitions and the committing of fundamental breaches in the legal duty to act fairly during the assessment process and, intervene with the visa office on an ongoing basis where required. An experienced and competent attorney will ensure that irregularities are raised within the proper delays, and that the issues in question can be properly addressed before the appropriate authorities.

In practical terms, a reputable attorney will effectively prepare submissions which satisfactorily address the issues where discretion is a factor. A reputable attorney will effectively present to the visa office instances of irregularities in the assessment process which most often will be corrected, thus avoiding the need to avail the use of the judicial system.

Lastly, Canadian Visa Offices, pursuant to the Privacy Act and its attendant regulations, are strictly prohibited from divulging to third party representatives, any information regarding the processing of an application unless such persons retain either Canadian Citizenship or Canadian permanent resident status.

A more thorough analysis of the benefits of legal counsel can be obtained from our writing "ENGAGING LEGAL COUNSEL?".

Top

Who consults this FAQ?

This compilation is currently the most comprehensive publication of its kind in the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration field. It first appeared on the Internet in its original format, in July 1994. It is now the most widely distributed Canadian immigration FAQ worldwide, and is regularly consulted and referenced by Canadian and international lawyers, the Department of Citizenship & Immigration, Canadian immigration officers, immigration consultants, university and college placement officers, university and college foreign student advisors, university legal aid clinics, university department staffs, student associations and generally, persons approaching this subject material on an ongoing basis.

 

CAUTION : This is an article that has been updated in December 2003. Many changes have occured with the immigration laws in Canada since then.

Last updated in December 2003

Disclaimer : This article has been prepared for the intended reference by interested individuals and is not intended to create an attorney - client communication. This information is available through The Quebec Network without any guarantee relative to its content or its accuracy and thus it should not be interpreted as constituting legal advice. If you need legal advice of any kind, you should consult an attorney.

© Copyright 2000-2003, Colin R. Singer. All rights reserved.

 

Thanks to our sponsors

Main Marc Boulanger, Avocat - Spécialistes en responsabilité médicale (fautes médicales) Alexandre St-Onge, Avocat - Alcool au volant, Crimes sexuels, Violence conjugale, Stupéfiants Me Janick Perreault, Avocat - Expertise : accidentés de la route et SAAQ Major Azran & associés, Avocats, Montréal Alepin Gauthier, Avocats - Maladies professionnelles RegularGestion Jugement Québec
Achat de JugementsGestion Jugements Québec
Me Normand Auger Insurance Problems? Rapide Investigation CanadaRapide Investigation Canada
To become a sponsor