Blog > 2012

Canada Immigration Blogs by Attorney David Cohen


If They Only Had a Heart…

November 28th, 2012

Time is no friend of Vilma Serrano. The middle-aged Toronto woman suffers from end-stage kidney disease and is in dire need of a kidney transplant. The problem is that there are more than 3,000 such people in Canada, and the wait for a kidney from a deceased donor can stretch to 10 years. Vilma has only been on the waiting list since 2009.

The alternative to prayer, patience, and dialysis is to locate a live donor, who is a suitable match and willing to part with one of his or her renal organs. Needless to say, these kinds of people don’t grow on trees, especially if they are not a close relative of the recipient.

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Unintended Consequences

October 30th, 2012

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has introduced a new regulation, which it hopes will deter people from scamming their way into Canada and at the same time benefit the victims of marriage fraud.

The new regulation applies to spouses or common-law partners, who, at the time they submit a sponsorship application, have been in a relationship of less than two years and have no children in common.

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Second-Class Families

October 1st, 2012

I was quite fortunate growing up. Not only did I come of age in one of the most peaceful countries in the world, but I got to spend considerable time during my early years with my grandparents, all of whom lived long lives. It is difficult to put into words how it feels as a youngster to be on the receiving end of a grandparent’s warm touch and smile. It may be hard to explain, but everyone who has experienced it knows how special it is.

In the last few weeks I have come across more than one newspaper article, which told of the disappointment felt by a Canadian family upon learning that a beloved grandparent, living abroad, could not attend a special family event because Canadian visa officers refused a request for a visitor visa. In one case, a grandmother living in a Middle Eastern country was denied the opportunity of attending her granddaughter’s wedding in Montreal.

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A Bird in the Hand

August 28th, 2012

This well-known proverb concludes with the words “is worth two in the bush” and it means that it is preferable to have a small but certain advantage than the mere potential of a greater one.

I’ll tell you how this ties in with Canadian immigration.

During the course of the last few years and especially more recently, the Canadian government has become much more selective in whom it permits to submit an application for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program. In the not so distant past, if you were between the ages of 18 and 49, had a decent education, fairly good English language skills and a few years of skilled work experience, you could try your luck by submitting an FSW application. The end result was that there were way more applications in queue than there were visas to be issued. This led to processing delays of 8 or 9 years at Canadian visa offices in some countries.

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What Backlog?

July 31st, 2012

Back in 2004, it took Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) 4.5 years, on average, to process an application for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) category. By 2008, there were more than 600,000 FSW applicants and their dependents in the system awaiting a decision.

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Standing on Guard for Thee

June 29th, 2012

This Canada Day, as we celebrate our good fortune, we should all take a moment to give thanks to Mohammad Asif. This 35-year old Afghan risked his life by working for our troops in Kandahar for three years. In recognition of his good service, Mohammad and his family were resettled in Canada as government – sponsored refugees last year.

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Abuse of Power

May 31st, 2012

The intention of this blog is to add my voice to the large chorus of critics of Bill C-38, otherwise known as the omnibus budget bill, now before Parliament. The legislation in question is a 425-page document that contains all sorts of non-budgetary measures including significant changes to the Old Age Security system, Employment Insurance rules, the environmental assessment process and immigration.

Of particular interest to the readers of this blog, is that in its present form Bill C-38 would give the Minister of Immigration the authority to summarily get rid of some 280,000 Federal Skilled Worker applications that have been stuck in line for more than four years. Make no mistake about it, the Immigration Minister intends to quickly flex his newfound muscles.

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…But Is It Good For Canada?

April 30th, 2012

Last Thursday, April 25th 2012, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) announced the implementation of a new Accelerated Labour Market Opinion (A-LMO) program. The introduction of this accelerated program is undoubtedly welcomed by many employers, who have been frustrated by rising LMO processing times across Canada. However, it is important to look at what kind of employer this program will help out, and what ramifications this may have for the overall Canadian labour market.

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A Fly in the Ointment

March 27th, 2012

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is on a mission to transform Canada’s immigration policy. If all goes according to plan, gone will be the days when ambitious immigrants start near the bottom and work their way up the ladder of economic success. The new skilled worker immigrant will be younger and a well-trained tradesperson or a highly educated professional type with flexible human capital and a high level of language skills. For good measure, many applicants will need a prearranged job to be eligible for Canadian immigration.

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Plus ça change…

February 28th, 2012

The Minister of Immigration has let it be known that we can soon expect changes in the way economic immigrants are selected under the Federal Skilled Worker program. We don’t yet know the exact details but from the dropped hints, you can pretty well rest assured that applicants in the professions will be required to prove their credentials meet Canadian standards and that more weight will be given to language proficiency.

Why these changes in particular? Because that’s what Australia does and there is a perception among our policy-makers that the Australian selection system produces better results than the current Canadian model. By “better results” I mean there is less of an earnings gap between newcomers and native-born Australians, when compared to Canada. So the reasoning goes that if we move closer to the way our friends Down Under do things, immigrants in Canada will have an easier time catching-up to the earning power of native-born Canadians. This assertion feels right but a recent paper out of the University of Waterloo debunks the proposition.

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Haitian Immigration to Canada Post-Earthquake: Thoughts and Lessons Learned

January 31st, 2012

January 12th marked the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. This event, which resulted in the deaths of over 300,000 individuals and the displacement of 1.5 million more, marked a turning point in the history of the country and the region.

Nowhere were the international repercussions of this catastrophe more acutely felt than in Canada. Before the earthquake more than 100,000 citizens of Haitian descent lived in Canada, primarily in Quebec, and a further 6,000 in Haiti itself. It was with this shared political and cultural history in mind that our country initially led global efforts for emergency relief. Perhaps most importantly, Citizenship and Immigration Canada enacted an unprecedented plan to expedite Permanent Residency processing for thousands of Haitians waiting to receive word of their applications. Unfortunately, though this plan held the promise of reuniting countless families stricken by tragedy, it has failed to fully deliver on this promise.

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