The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was created by the Obama administration to allow children of undocumented US residents to have some ability to remain the country legally. DACA allowed qualified residents to remain in the United States without deportation as long as they paid a fee and renewed their status every two years. Those who applied for deportation protection under this program were sometimes called “Dreamers,” so named because of the long-awaited but never passed Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM).
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that the US will be rescinding DACA, leaving the approximately 800,000 individuals who have DACA protection vulnerable to deportation. Some of those young people may wish to consider Canada as an option.
Already, some within the Canadian system have stated that Canada should develop a system to bring young people living under DACA protections to Canada. Ontario Independent Senator Ratna Omidvar has proposed Canada pursue Dreamers through its economic migrant program.
Although there is no formal program in place right now for Dreamers to apply to get into Canada with special processing, those living in the United States under the DACA program may qualify to apply for immigration into Canada.
How to Apply to Immigrate to Canada
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has stated Congress will be tasked with finding ways to protect young people who are affected by the rescinding of DACA, but so far no specific solution has been created under the Trump administration. The DACA program will not be rescinded until March 5, 2018, which may give Dreamers time to find other solutions.
If you are living in the US under the DACA program you may wish to consider Canada as an option. If you have a degree and have some work experience, you may qualify under the Express Entry system. This system is points-based and allows Canada to invite people who have needed job skills. You can apply online by filling out a form.
You are awarded points based on your skills and education. Once you are in the Express Entry pool, you can start seeking a job in Canada. If you get a job offer, you can get additional points. If you are one of the higher-ranking applicants in the pool, you may be invited to apply for permanent residency in Canada.
There are also routes to entry into Canada. Dreamers may be able to apply for permanent residency in Canada by applying under one of the economic classes as a self-employed person, caregiver, immigrant investor or other class. Another option is to apply for sponsorship. If you have an immediate family member who is a Canadian citizen, he or she may be able to sponsor you to immigrate to Canada.
If you are considering moving to Canada, Immigration Direct has useful resources as well as detailed and up-to-date information about family sponsorship applications and economic class immigration as well as Express Entry. You can find everything you need in one place so you can start applying right now.
If you are not already eligible for Canadian citizenship because you were born in Canada or born to Canadian parents, you can apply to become a citizen. In order to do this, you must apply and you must meet these prerequisites:
- You must have Permanent Resident status. Your status must not be compromised by unfulfilled conditions, removal orders, or a review for accusations of fraud.
- You must have lived in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 1,460 days over the six years before you place your signature on your citizenship application. You may not need to meet residency requirements if you are a crown servant or the family of one. You may also not need to meet minimum requirements for residency if you are applying for the fast track process to citizenship as a former or current member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Children who have a parent applying for them also currently do not need to meet residency requirements.
- You must be able to show a basic understanding of French or English.
- You must be able to pass a citizenship test and interview, which establishes your ability to have a basic conversation in English or French about Canada, including the responsibilities of citizenship, Canadian history and other topics pertaining to Canada. The topics you will need to know about are covered in the Discover Canada study guide.
- You must have paid taxes. If the Income Tax Act requires you to pay taxes, you must have filed for four years in the six years before your application.
- You must be in good standing. If you are currently serving jail time, probation, or are in trial for a serious crime, your application may be affected.
- You must meet application requirements. You must apply for citizenship, using the correct forms. You must fill out the forms fully and honestly and send them in, as required, with the appropriate application fee. You can find the right forms as well as a clear, step-by-step guide to filling out the right forms at Immigration Direct.
Requirements for Seniors
Applicants for Canadian citizenship who are at least 55 years old will not need to show a good grasp of English or French and will not need to show they understand the history and culture of Canada. Senior applicants will still need to meet for a citizenship interview and meet other citizenship requirements.
Requirements for Children
Children who are applying to become Canadian will generally do so with their parents. To do this, the form Application for Canadian Citizenship — Minors [CIT 0003] must be used. The correctly completed form, with all required documentation and application fee, must be submitted. The child needs to meet residency requirements, just like any applicant, and must have one or two parents who will either become Canadians at the same time or who are already citizens. Children over the age of fourteen will also need to show a basic understanding of the privileges and duties of citizenship and demonstrate a basic understanding of English or French.
Beginning Oct. 24, 2017, the maximum age of allowed dependent children for a Canada immigration applicant rises to 21 years of age when no common-law relationship exists for that child. The older age adds three years to the previous maximum age rule of 18 years for a dependent child.
The current rule defining the maximum age at 18 years continues to apply to applications submitted and still in process from Aug. 1, 2014, to Oct. 23, 2017. The new rule that raises the maximum age to 21 years only applies to applications submitted from October 24 onward. Based on reports, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) isn’t applying the definition change retroactively due to concerns that the move would cause delayed application approvals.
The rise in the maximum age for dependent children actually reverts the rule back to where it was since the summer of 2002. Officials in the Conservative government lowered the maximum age to 18 years in the summer of 2014,.
With the previously “too restrictive” maximum age installed by the Conservative government, Liberal government lawmakers raised the maximum age in keeping with their commitments to family reunification and keeping families together.
Additionally, the regulatory change is expected to facilitate the immigration of young people aged 19 to 21. The age group is particularly important, the rationale goes, as individuals in this age demographic often live in parental households while pursuing post-secondary education goals.
Additionally, individuals in the 19 to 21 age group very likely are ineligible for Canadian permanent resident status under an economic immigration program due to education or work experience requirements around the application process. Essentially, this denies these young people the opportunity to join their family in Canada.
“When families are able to remain together as an economic household unit,” according to and IRCC statement, “their integration into Canada and their ability to work and contribute to their communities all improve.’
“We want all permanent residents, if possible, to become Canadians,” said Canada’s Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen, at a recent conference in Toronto. “Canada’s identity has always been shaped by the significant economic, cultural and social contributions of immigrants. Changes to the Citizenship Act will enhance program integrity, while giving more flexibility to eligible applicants to meet the requirements for citizenship so that they can continue building successful lives in Canada.”
Bill C-6 is now in effect. On June 19, 2017, it received Royal Assent and is now law. This bill amends Canada’s Citizenship Act and will now offer a quicker path to citizenship for permanent residents. Not all measures of the law will go into effect immediately. Some of the bill’s measures will take effect later this year or early 2018.
According to cicnews.com the new law, Bill C-6 will also:
- Allow permanent residents who had spent time in Canada on temporary status, such as on a work or study permit, to count up to 365 days of this temporary status towards the residency requirement.
- Remove the ‘intent to reside’ provision, which previously required new citizens to state that they intended to reside in Canada.
- Eliminate the government’s ability to revoke citizenship from naturalized citizens who hold dual citizenship on national security grounds, which the now-governing Liberals had said created a two-tiered citizenship system when in opposition.
- Permit children under the age of 18 to apply for citizenship without the support or consent of their parents.
- Give individuals who lost their citizenship on the grounds that it was obtained fraudulently the right to appeal that decision in Federal Court.
One measure of the bill taking effect later on this fall is much anticipated. Immigrants will now be eligible to apply for citizenship when they have accumulated 1,095 days, or three years, within a five-year period, instead of the 1,460 days required within 6 years.
Citizenship offers individuals the opportunity to political rights such as the ability to stand for office or the right to vote, to name a few benefits. As a Canadian Citizen, you also have the right to obtain a Canadian Passport.
As states and provinces across Canada lean into global immigration efforts, initiatives include higher education research and development funding as well as some changes in rules and policies. The country’s investment initiatives and rule changes are intended to maintain a strong immigration system in the present and to develop a solid workforce for the future.
Increased education funding involves a range of institutions. Rule and policy changes affect Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
At universities and institutions of higher learning all across the country, significant R&D investments ensure “Canada’s continuance as a leading education destination and research hub,” according to a CanadaVisa report. Toronto’s Ryerson University, McGill University in Montreal and Holland College in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island have each received significant funding in 2017 for a range of projects. These include:
- Ryerson University with a federal investment of $128.000 targeted for aerospace research at the university, including the creation of a test facility for aerospace vehicles
- McGill University with a total investment of more than $204 million spread across nine projects at the school, including for the improvement of infrastructure for research and training
- Holland College with investment of more than $4 million from federal and provincial governments for upgrading research and training space at the Prince of Wales campus in Charlottetown
Speaking on news of the investments, head of Innovation, Science and Economic Development in Canada, Minister Navdeep Bains says in a press release, “This historic investment by the Government of Canada is a down payment on the government’s vision to position Canada as a global centre for innovation.” Bains continues his statement by making the case that these investments make “Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into middle-class jobs and start-up companies into global successes.”
In terms of rule and policy changes in the country, states and provinces are working to improve the existing immigration system and to build on those aspects that ensure continuous improvement for all parties involved.
In the central Canadian province of Manitoba, for instance, the program designed to help employers in Manitoba find foreign talent to complement their existing workforce, the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP), invited 313 Skilled Workers to Apply for Immigration on March 16 Draw.
MPNP officials actively work to find skilled foreign nationals interested in relocating to Manitoba with their families. Immigrants in the country through MPNP can apply to the government for permanent resident status.
In another province, the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) has introduced a new application fee of $300 beginning April 1, which include The Express Entry and Occupations In-Demand Immigration Sub-Categories.
- Affected sub-categories include all of these workers:
- Those looking to live and work in the province.
- Those included in the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Express Entry Pool.
- Those who meet the sub-category criteria. While the criteria can change at any time, SINP applies the parameters required at the time of application submission.
Officials with the province of Ontario has tweaked the immigration system thereby clarifying the registration and application process for the Human Capital Priorities (HCP) Stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) centering on a new online process that includes deadlines for registration and application.
For immigrants using OINP, clarifications include both of these:
- Notice of Interest (NOI)– an invitation by government officials interested in immigrating to Canada– is valid for six months, the time frame allowed for candidates to enter their profile for the HCP Stream in the online portal.
- After completion of profile registration for the HCP Stream, candidates must submit their completed applications to the HCP Stream within 14 days.
With each of Canada’s investments, rule changes and clarifications, the country continues to open its doors to immigrants from around the world in an effort to make the country stronger and to maintain its global leadership role.
After U.S. President Trump signed his March 6 executive order on immigration, permanent residents who are living in Canada could face prohibition from entering the United States. Although the immigration order is currently tied up in a court challenge, speculation on its implementation in terms of its application to Canadian permanent residents remains murky.
The order, commonly referred to as a travel ban, affects Iranian, Libyan, Somali, Sudanese, Syrian and Yemeni nationals. Citizens of these countries are blocked from submitting U.S. visa applications for 90 days. Refugees from those countries are blocked from entering the United States for 120 days.
For nationals from the targeted countries who live in Canada as permanent residents, the fallout leaves more questions than answers. According to one report, those who are considered “landed immigrants” in Canada are required to apply for waivers that “may be granted on a case-by-case basis, at the discretion of a consular officer or another official from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP.)” The stipulation applies to foreign nationals in Canada who apply for visas at locations within Canada.
Among the factors in determining how the order affects Canadian permanent residents centres on consistency in terms of the application of the policy among consulates in various Canadian cities. U.S. government generosity in the cases is also a current unknown.
Compounding the confusion around the order are reassuring statements made by a Canadian official after the U.S. president issued his initial travel ban order on January 27. In response, Canada’s Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen, “initially assured Canadian permanent residents who held a valid U.S. visa that their travel rights should not be affected.”
Shortly thereafter, reports of CBP denials for some Canadian permanent residents to cross the border began to surface. In at least one case, a visitor visa was even canceled.
The March 6 executive order issued by President Trump came about after the administration’s decision to drop defense of the original travel ban, which included Iraq as one of the banned countries.
Canadian permanent residents who hold dual citizenship with any of the banned countries and who also possess a passport from a country not included in the travel ban are exempt from the ban.
Compliance requirements to residency obligations is a critical element in maintaining permanent resident status for immigrants to Canada who seek to re-enter the country. In each year in the period from 2010-2014, more than 1,400 Canadian permanent residents were issued removal orders due to failure to satisfy permanent resident obligations.
Permanent residents in Canada have the right to enter the country once officials establish permanent residency– regardless of the existence of any noncompliance. In cases of noncompliance, officials can issue a report. In cases where noncompliance is established, the report can then escalate to an eventual removal order.
Canadian officials follow rules around the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Immigrants who are found in breach of IRPA and who receive removal orders can appeal the decision to a tribunal. But the success rate of these appeals, according to a report, is less than 10 percent.
Under IRPA, Canadian permanent residents are required to accumulate 730 “residency days” in each five-year period. This means the easiest and most straightforward way to avoid noncompliance issues is by maintaining an ongoing physical presence in the country.
However, Canadian law does allow immigrants to maintain compliance while physically outside the country in certain cases. These exceptions include:
- Immigrants who are outside Canada in order to accompany a spouse or common-law partner or a child who is a Canadian citizen
- Immigrants who outside Canada due to their full-time employment by a Canadian business or in the public service of the country or one of its provinces
- Immigrants who are accompanying a spouse, common-law partner or a child who has full-time employment in a Canadian business or is in the public service of the country or one of its provinces
Appealing a tribunal finding of noncompliance can be done based on legal errors as well as humanitarian or compassionate grounds like hardship due to family separation. However, these cases are seldom overturned.
Canada has lifted its visa requirement for Mexican resident in an effort to re-establish relationship with Mexico. The move is made in an effort to strengthen ties between the countries. The lift on the requirement will increase business between the two countries as well as tourism. Mexican residents will now apply for an electronic travel authorization (eTA) before flying out to Canada.
The eTA is available for Mexican residents as of November 25, 2016. The cost to obtain an eTA is $7 CAD. The eTA is valid for 5 years or until the migrant’s passport expires. Applicants may receive an answer of approval or denial within minutes. According to the IRCC all visa-exempt foreign nationals — except United States (U.S.) citizens — need an eTA to fly to or transit through Canada.
“Canada values strong ties with Mexico, and we are pleased to be able to extend visa-free travel to Mexican citizens. Improved bilateral relations stemming from the visa lift are expected to facilitate increased business opportunities, trade and investment—a growth opportunity for Canadians and Mexicans alike.” said John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship in a news release on December 1st.
Mexican travelers are still required to present themselves to a border services officer before entering the country. Most visitors are allowed a six-month stay from the day they enter Canada. Officials from both countries will stay in contact to make sure the process moves forward smoothly and there is control on excessive migration.
“Canada and Mexico have a rich and diverse relationship. I am confident that the lifting of the visa requirement will facilitate people-to-people ties, opportunities for youth mobility, education and prosperity and that it will enhance engagement between our two countries,” Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In order to move on a permanent basis to Canada you will need to apply for permanent residence. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) department has a system for selecting candidates to apply for permanent residency through employment. Another way to apply for permanent residence status is through a family relative who is a Canadian citizen or resident.
Permanent Residency through Employment
Express Entry assists IRCC with the selection of candidates to immigrate to Canada for permanent residency. Eligibility factors are determined through a point-based system. The general time-frame for processing applications is within six months of the date of submission.
Express Entry is an umbrella term for four different programs:
Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
In order to apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you must meet certain requirements to increase your chances of obtaining permanent residence:
- Speak English or French.
- Have at least one year of continuous full-time employment in a skilled occupation.
- Have a permanent job offer from a Canadian employer.
Federal Skilled Trades Program
This program allows individuals with job offers and proper certification in certain trades, to move to Canada. The applicants must have:
- 24 months of qualified work experience
- Proof of basic language proficiency
- Meet minimum threshold set by the Minister
- Canadian Level Benchmark (CLB) 5: speaking and listening
- Canadian Level Benchmark (CLB) 4: reading and writing
- Offers from up to two employers
Canadian Experience Class
Foreign workers who wish to become permanent residents may apply under this immigration program. This program is highly encourage due to foreign workers work experience and adaptation to society of Canada.
The requirements are as follows:
- Meet or surpass CLB
- 5: initial intermediate
- 7: adequate intermediate proficiency
- Within 36 months of application date, have obtained at least one year of skilled, professional or technical work experience in Canada
- Plan to work and live outside of the province of Quebec
Permanent Residency through Family
Family Sponsored Residency
Spousal And Common-law Partner Sponsorship, or Family Sponsored Residency, is an alternative to begin the process for Canada migration without work related experience. A sponsor must fall under one of the following three categories:
- Common-law Partner
- Conjugal Partner
Certain conditions must be followed when sponsored under the Spousal Sponsorship program:
- Two year “legitimate relationship” regulation
- The sponsor must live with the sponsee to prove legitimate relationship for two years or face the possibility of their residency being revoked.
- Sponsor is financially responsible for sponsee.
- Sponsees are barred from sponsoring a spouse in turn for five years after receiving permanent residence.
The cost for the application varies on the reason for applying. If you are applying for Express Entry, under one of the three categories, the fee would be CAD 550. The cost to file a Family Sponsored Residency application is CAD 1,250. You must pay your application fee in full in order for it to be processed.
There is also the possibility of going to Canada on a temporary basis. For example you may work in Canada temporarily under the SWAP Working Holidays, formerly known as the Student Work Abroad Programs. SWAP allows you to work in Canada while studying. North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), allows for U.S. citizens to work in Canada under a temporary Work Permit. The three categories are NAFTA Professional, NAFTA Intra-Company Transfer, and NAFTA Traders and Investors.
There are many ways to immigrate to Canada temporarily or permanently, each requires a plan.
Below we provide a timeline of the occurring events by month, as Canada prepares to welcome refugees from Syria.
More communities are preparing to welcome Syrian refugees. The IRCC states, “The Municipality of Chatham-Kent in Ontario applied to become a “Welcoming Community” through the Community Partnership Settlement Plan process and was recently accepted.” The CIC also stated the government is currently conducting research on issues for resettlement for Syrian refugees. “Immigration helps build our society, culture and economy in long-lasting ways. The research that will be undertaken, thanks to the investments announced today, will help ensure that Canada’s settlement programs provide the best possible supports to newcomers and refugees to help them integrate into their communities and thrive,” said Minister McCallum.
In June, the government released a table showing approximate expenditures for resettling Syrian refugees. The table shows estimates at each of the different 5 phases refugees must go through. The table shows the total amount spent so far is at $319.1 million, less than the planned $136 million. The government expects to spend $678 million in the next 6 years. According to the Government of Canada web page, “The total amount was an estimate of the work required of the Government of Canada and its partners to fulfill this commitment and included contingency funds and amounts for partners such as the Canadian Red Cross and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).”
As of May 15, 2016, Canada has welcomed 27,190 Syrian refugees.
Government-supported and privately sponsored refugees have arrived at multiple communities, with more scheduled to come in the next months.
Four more communities have joined the plan to resettle Syrian refugees. “Today’s announcement is another great example of Canadians working together to welcome refugees, giving them the tools and support they’ll need to be able to properly settle and contribute to their new communities,” said John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
Many communities across Canada have been invited to apply to show assistance to refugees. The city of Victoria has been added to the list of Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) providers. Sydney and Nova Scotia will also join Victoria, as they are on track to join RAP as providers. Canada has successfully reached their commitment goal of 25,000.
Surpassing 10,000 refugees to arrive in the country in January, Canada is closer to their 25,000 goal. Canada hopes to reach their goal by the end of February 2016. The CIC website states “Today, Syrian Family Links was launched to help connect Syrian refugees abroad with private Canadian sponsors through the help of the refugee’s family in Canada.
Through this initiative, Syrians in Canada can identify family members who are refugees in Lebanon, Jordan or Turkey and help link them with local sponsorship groups in Canada who are seeking someone to sponsor.”
After forums and discussions on bringing Syrian refugees to their new home Canada, the first flight of refugees arrived on Dec. 10, 2015. A total of 163 Syrian refugees arrived at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. Canada has pledged $5 million to assist Syrians. Throughout the month more syrian refugees arrived on private and chartered flights.”I’m proud of the hard work that has been done quickly to resettle as many Syrian refugees as possible to Canada. We have processed more than 10,000 Syrian refugees, and 6,064 will have arrived. We will continue to work hard to bring in the remainder to Canada as quickly as possible. We also met our commitment to identify all 25,000 Syrian refugees to come to Canada as part of the #WelcomeRefugees initiative,” said Minister McCallum.
Nine Cabinet ministers have created a Cabinet Ad Hoc Committee to assist Syrian refugees to come Canada. “According to the CIC The UN Refugee Agency sent the first SMS text messages to registered Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon to determine which refugees are interested in coming to Canada,” says the Canadian government. Towards the end of November, CIC has created a five phase plan to welcome refugees. The plan CIC has strategized is to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees to resettle in Canada. Ministers met with Jordan refugees and experienced first-hand the situation.