Your gateway to Canada


Immigration Newsweek

By Attorney Henry Moyal


It’s been a busy week at immigration headquarters in Ottawa where the Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has unveiled new proposals from the acquisition of Canadian
Citizenship to those who prey on vulnerable immigrants.

For decades, Canadian Citizenship was bestowed on applicants who were able to show they “resided” in Canada for three years in the last four years prior to submission of application. The term “residence” seemed to have a life of its own and some courts granted citizenship to applicants who were not physically present in Canada but nevertheless had a home and strong ties to this country. For example, business people who are required to travel on a regular basis rarely can accumulate the requisite days. As such, such applicants would argue that their children and family all live and study in Canada but they must be abroad for financial reasons. In many cases it was held that the applicant “resided” in Canada for Citizenship purposes.

It now seems that the Immigration Minister wants to tighten the rules and pass law that one must be “physically present” in Canada for three years to acquire Citizenship. Therefore, the vague definition of “residence” will be replaced with “physical residence” requiring applicants to prove exact dates of living in Canada.

“Canadian citizenship is highly valued around the world and today we are taking steps to ensure it stays that way. These changes will help prevent citizenship fraud. Said Minister Kenney.”

Along similar lines, Minister Kenney finally went to bat and unveiled the Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act. While the title seems farcical, it is of no joke to those who have consistently cheated immigrants who desperately want to come to Canada. Many consultants in Canada, USA and abroad often provide false and improper advice to clients (i.e. claiming refugee status when there is no hope) or may charge a fee and then disappear. The federal government is now gunning for these unscrupulous individuals and will now make it a criminal offence to provide immigration legal advice unless you are a Canadian Immigration Lawyer residing in Canada or a registered CSIC consultant.

Taking it one step further, the federal minister is now also implementing a new regulatory watchdog to monitor consultants (not lawyers) under CSIC, who are currently self-governed by the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants that was created in 2004.

The problem with CSIC is that the CSIC organization is self-governing – mandated to regulate the industry – has been criticized for being toothless, unfocused, secretive, and “mired” in litigation with its members.

It is a farce. It is like the Police Force being monitored by cops. It just does not give any credence to the organization which should be abolished. In the end, the only way to protect the public is to mandate that all immigration applications must only be prepared and submitted by a licensed lawyer residing in Canada.

Finally, as discussed several times, the skilled worker category of November 2008 is due for an overhaul. Currently, an applicant with at least one year of work experience in one of 38 occupations is eligible to apply. The minister is now looking to shrink the number to smaller list which will likely reduce occupations in the financial and computer sector. The new list has yet to be published and therefore it is crucial for applicants who currently qualified to do so sooner rather than later.

Attorney Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed immigration lawyer in Toronto, Ontario. The above article is general advice only and is not intended to act as a legal document. Send questions to Attorney Moyal by phone 416 733 3193 or email