Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Immigration Corner: I'm running out of time!

Published:Monday | January 4, 2016 | 1:40 AM

Dear Miss Powell,

I submitted my application under the express entry system and I have not heard anything from the Canadian immigration office.  I keep checking my profile and finding nothing new. It’s almost a year and I’m worried that my profile is going to be deleted. If my profile is deleted do I have to wait two years to resubmit it? I’m worried that my documents may soon expire. Is there any other way that I can get to Canada without using the express entry system? I heard that Canada is taking in lots of refugees, can I apply as a refugee?
- EP

Dear EP,
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) introduced the express entry system in January 2014 to manage the Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades, the Canadian Experience Class and some Provincial Nominee programmes.

Once admitted into the express entry pool, your profile will be valid for a maximum of 12 months from the date of acceptance into the pool. Since the programme came into existence in January 2014, many individuals could receive a notice that their profile has been expired and deleted.

In anticipation of this, you should log into your profile before it expires and print or screen-shot your answers, so that you are able to re-enter the information into the system with ease, should you choose to reapply. You will not be barred from resubmitting an application immediately. You do not have to wait two years to submit a new application. You should not create a new profile before it expires. However, you may withdraw your application before it expires and submit a new application. This will reset the time and validity of your profile.

As it relates to your documents, you should note that the English General Training examination results will be valid for up to two years. If you completed your exam approximately 18 months ago, you should consider booking a new exam to ensure that your report is valid should you receive an invitation to apply and need to submit your application for permanent residence. You should take into consideration the time it will take for you to actually get a date for sitting the exam and the time it takes to get a new report. 

The Educational Credential Assessment report (ECA) is valid for five years from the date it was issued. 

Canada has indeed pledged to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees this year. Although the Canadian refugee system extends beyond just acceptance of individuals from Syria, there are strict rules and definitions of who can qualify under this programme.

A refugee is defined as a person who chooses to settle permanently in another country as a result of being forced to flee from their home country. A refugee is usually a person persecuted in his/her own country or country of usual residence, or has experienced severe hardship based on race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a particular group due to sex or sexual orientation.

An individual may also be deemed a refugee if he or she is outside of his or her own country and has been seriously affected by civil war, armed conflict or suffered severe violations of human rights.  The individual must also be referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or another referral organisation or sponsored by a private group. 

An individual who is already in Canada as a visitor may apply to remain in Canada as a permanent resident on the grounds that he/ she is in need of protection, as if he/she returns home there is a serious risk of danger of torture, risk to life, or risk of cruel or unusual treatment or punishment.

Canada has several other programmes that qualified individuals may apply under. However many of them require that you submit your application electronically.
The most popular is the Provincial Nominee Programme.  Individuals may apply to a particular province based on the province’s own rules, to be considered for permanent residence. 

The province will then nominate applicants who satisfy the established criteria, to the federal government, who will then grant an invitation to apply for permanent residence. The application will then be processed through the express entry system.

If you are in a common law relationship or married to Canadian permanent resident or citizen, your spouse can sponsor you to become a permanent resident. You will need to prove that you have a valid and legitimate relationship and that you are not merely in a relationship just to become a permanent resident of Canada. 

Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents may also submit a paper application under this category immediately, if they qualify; as this programme has a cap on the number of applications that CIC will accept this year.

There are several other programmes available based on qualification, experience, and financial ability. Other individuals have asked about these programmes and I will elaborate more in future articles.

- Deidre S. Powell, is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Submit your questions to info@deidrepowell.com or via fax to 613.695.8778.