Your gateway to Canada


Immigration Newsweek

By Attorney Henry Moyal


Q. I heard that the federal government may be changing the categories and fees after the upcoming election. Is that true?

A. The federal election will be held on January 23, 2006. We will have to see which political party succeeds. At the present time, each party has announced a platform that does involve changing some of the categories and in general will “ open the doors” to more immigrants. So in general, it will be easier to immigrate and not less restrictive. Again, we will have to wait and see.

As well, there is much discussion regarding removing the hefty $975 landing fee. At present, each adult must pay a landing fee of $975 to obtain an immigrant visa. It was introduced several years ago to expedite processing but in recent years it is anyone’s guess as to where all that money goes. If over 250,000 persons obtain visas per year, just do the calculation. One political party wants to abolish the $975 and others wish to reduce it to $600 in the first year and then $300 in one year and then zero in the next two years.

Q. I sponsored my parents and my older brother several years ago. The Canadian Embassy has determined that my brother is too old to be a dependant but we do not agree. Nevertheless, the embassy has excluded my brother from the application and will only issue my parents a visa. I want to appeal to the Immigration Board. Can I appeal only my brother’s part and still have my parents get their visas?

A. No. It is one application. You have no right to appeal the brother’s refusal alone to the appeal division as he is not a member of the family class.

Q. I am a caregiver who just arrived in Canada six months ago. I am aware that I need to work for another 18 months for a total of 24 months before I become an immigrant. The problem is that my work is very hard and my real passion is to work in a hospital. Both me and my husband in the Philippines are head nurses in our city hospital. Can I change my work permit to an immigrant visa?

A. Yes, you can. In fact, it is probably a good idea for you to start calculating the time frames it would take to become an immigrant. You mentioned that you arrived six months ago. There is not guarantee that you will accumulate 24 months of work within the exact same period of time of arrival. For example, what if you change employers or you are released? In any event, assuming you complete the program in two years that does not mean you are an immigrant immediately. You must then apply for permanent residence, complete medicals, family in Philippines also must complete medicals etc… On average you can add about 12 – 18 months to the processing.

Therefore according to my calculation it will take another 2 to 3 years to actually become an immigrant. If you are qualified as a skilled worker now (and it seems you are) then it is a good idea to look into filing a new application directly as an immigrant. It will save you time in the long run. If you can add a validated job offer you could be an immigrant in less than a year. With your reputable credentials it is worth looking into.

Q. I am a failed refugee claimant. Can I still apply for an immigrant visa? If I return to the Philippines now will my refugee claim refusal be a negative factor in returning to Canada ?

A. Claiming refugee status from the Philippines is in general not a good idea. In fact, it is quite a bad decision. Last year, there were a total of 765 refugee claims from citizens of the Philippines and only 4% passed. ( Compare that to 3851 claims from citizens of Pakistan and an 81% success rate from Colombia ) . In any event, if you are deported you will not be able to return to Canada. If you have a strong case, it is indeed possible to return to Canada by filing an ARC application. Be ready to explain why you were so foolish to apply as a refugee. It is sure to be a question at your interview.

Attorney Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed Immigration Lawyer in Toronto, Ontario. The above article is general advice only and not intended to act as a legal document. Send questions in confidence to Balita or to Attorney Moyal by fax, mail or email