In June, 2014, the previous Conservative government of Canada brought into law the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act (also known as bill C-24). This controversial legislation allowed the government to revoke citizenship in certain cases, and made eligibility requirements for immigrants more onerous than had previously been the case. The proposed changes to the Citizenship Act run the full gamut of the act, from how an individual may become eligible for citizenship to the rights bestowed once citizenship is conferred on the person.
Foreigners who intend to enter Canada are required to present their passports except those exempted under immigration laws.:
Foreign nationals who intend to enter Canada must apply for the appropriate visa at the Canadian Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence. There are two different visas: immigrant and non-immigrant visas.
A visitor’s visa is for an applicant who desires to enter Canada for a relatively short period of time and does not intend to become a permanent resident of Canada. Applicants for this category include tourist, business people, students, artists, and members of ship’s crew.
Visitors to Canada must be able to demonstrate that they will respect the conditions that apply to visitors, one of which is that they will voluntarily leave at the end of their visit. The visa officer considers most the applicant’s ties to their country of origin, which include the purpose of the visit, their family and employment situation, and the overall economic and political stability of the home country.
A student authorization is issued to foreign students who wish to enroll and study at an educational institution in Canada as approved by the Federal Government of Canada.
TN-1 (NAFTA) Visa
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allows certain professionals with U.S. or Mexican citizenship to work in Canada. The applicant must demonstrate an offer of employment in a field contained with these provisions, as well as establish that they meet the NAFTA requirements (e.g. citizenship, work experience and/or education) for professionals.
The nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico, as NAFTA professionals, to work in the United States in prearranged business activities for U.S. or foreign employers. Permanent residents of Canada and Mexico are not able to apply for TN visas to work as NAFTA professionals.
The Agreement applies to four (4) categories of business persons:
Business Visitor – Includes those who take part in technical or scientific research, attend to conventions or trade fair sales of products and services and after sales service, with the principal source of remuneration remaining outside Canada. They are not allowed to join the domestic market.
Professional – Given to an individual who is qualified to work in Canada. This requires an employment authorization.
Intra-company Transferee – An individual must have worked for at least one (1) year in the preceding three (3) year period for a U.S. or Mexican employer and be transferred to Canada to work temporarily for the same or an affiliated employer. Only persons at the executive or managerial level, or who have specialized knowledge qualify in this category. An employment authorization is required.
Trade/Investor – May be used by business persons in the U.S. or Mexico who own or have controlling interest in a company or other business enterprise to be, or which already is established in Canada. Substantial trade or investment must be involved.– May be used by business persons in the U.S. or Mexico who own or have controlling interest in a company or other business enterprise to be, or which already is established in Canada. Substantial trade or investment must be involved.
Live-in Caregiver Program
This program brings foreign workers to Canada on a temporary basis for certain live-in work when there are not enough Canadians to fill the available positions. Employees hired under this category are to provide care for children, seniors or people with disabilities in a private household.
Applicants must meet the following requirements:
üSuccessful completion of the equivalent of Canada’s secondary school;
üSix (6) months of full-time training in a field or occupation related to that for which the employment authorization is sought;
üCompletion of one (1) year full-time paid employment; and
üAbility to speak, read and understand either English or French at a level sufficient to communicate effectively.
üCaregivers may apply for permanent residence within Canada after two (2) years of employment.
Individuals with the necessary skills and qualifications may apply for a temporary non-immigrant employment authorization with the assistance of the prospective employer. The latter must file an application with the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) in Canada.
Upon confirmation that the hiring in question will not adversely affect the local labor market, the application will be forwarded to the appropriate visa office outside Canada for assessment and processing. This is known as “arranged employment.” Due to the long processing period for employment validation, it is not advisable in most cases for an applicant to apply for a temporary authorization visa during the processing of an application for permanent residence.
The procedure for obtaining an employment authorization is as follows:
üSubmission of an application for validation of a job offer to a local HRSDC; and
üSubmission of an application for employment authorization to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
Skilled Independent / Worker Class
A skilled worker may become a permanent resident because he/she can become economically established in Canada. A skilled worker should have the following qualifications:
- Has a minimum work experience according to the Canadian National Occupation Classification Matrix;
- Has enough money to support a family for six (6) months after arrival in Canada; and
- Has passing mark based on six (6) selection factors including education, language, experience, age, arranged employment in Canada and adaptability.
Skilled Independent / Worker Class
Business immigrants are people who can invest in, or start businesses in Canada and are expected to support the development of a strong and prosperous Canadian economy.
There are three (3) classes of business immigrants:
- Investors – The Immigrant Investor Program seeks to attract experienced persons and capital to Canada. Investors must demonstrate business experience, a minimum net worth of CDN$800,000 and make an investment of CDN$ 400,000;
- Entrepreneurs – The Entrepreneur Program seeks to attract experienced persons that will own and actively manage businesses in Canada that will contribute to the economy and create jobs. Entrepreneurs must demonstrate business experience, a minimum net worth of CND$300,000 and are subject to conditions upon arrival in Canada; and
- Self-Employed Persons – Self-employed persons must have the intention and ability to create their own employment. They may create their own employment by purchasing and managing a farm in Canada
Skilled Worker Immigration: Professionals, Engineers, Lawyers, Information Technology Specials, etc.
Investor Immigration: Investors, Entrepreneurs, High Networth Individuals, etc.
Trade Worker Immigration: Heavy/Long Haul Drivers, Welders, Electricians, etc.
Family Sponsorship: Spouse, common law partners, children, etc. of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
Canadian Experience Immigration: Individuals with previous work experience in Canada.
Canadian citizens and permanent residents living in Canada, 18 years of age or older, may sponsor close relatives or family members who want to become permanent residents of Canada. Sponsors must promise to support sponsored relative and their dependents for a period of three (3) or ten (10) years to help them settle in Canada.
Relatives or family members that may be sponsored from abroad are the following:
- Spouses, common-law or conjugal partners, 16 years of age or older;
- Parents and grandparents;
- Dependent children including adopted children;
- Children under 18 years old whom one intends to adopt;
- Siblings, nephews, nieces, or grandchildren who are orphans under 18 years old, not married or in a common-law relationship; or;
- Any other relative if you have none of the above in Canada or abroad.
A son or daughter is dependent when he or she is:
- Below 22 years old and does not have a spouse or common-law partner;
- A full-time student and is substantially dependent on a parent for financial support since before the age of 22, or since becoming a spouse or common-law partner; or
- Financially dependent on parent since birth because of disability.
A sponsor must have the following qualifications:
üMust be a permanent resident or Canadian citizen;
üMust be 18 years of age or older;
üMust be capable of supporting the sponsored relative for three (3) to ten (10) years;
üMust sign an Undertaking with the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC);
üMust sign a Sponsorship Agreement with sponsored relative; and
üMust complete application process with the CIC.
Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor their adoptive children to Canada upon compliance with the adoption process of Canada and the adoptive child’s country of origin. The provincial government must conduct a Home Study for the sponsor. A pre-requisite to the CIC processing of adoption is that the CIC will then request a letter of consent from the sponsor’s province showing that the latter agrees to the adoption. The immigration visa will only be issued after the immigration mission in the child’s country of origin receives this letter of consent.
International or intercountry adoptions are probably the most complicated adoptions. That’s because there’s so many layers involved – provincial adoption laws, federal immigration laws, and the laws of the child’s country of origin. Not to mention language and cultural barriers.
International adoptions are arranged through the help of private agencies. Unlike domestic adoptions in Canada and the US where you have the option of searching for a child yourself, with overseas adoptions you have to leave everything up to your agency. Many provide a full range of pre- and post-adoptive services, and work with more than one country.
Before choosing an agency, you need to choose a country from which to adopt. Keep in mind that although new doors are opening all the time, not every country overseas allows foreigners to adopt from within its borders. In recent years, the most popular source of overseas infants for Canadians has been China, Russia, Vietnam, and Korea.
After choosing a country, your next step will be to choose a child. Among other things, you’ll need to decide what’s important to you. The baby’s age? Sex? Race? Health? For instance, let’s assume you want a girl. Does it matter that she’s three years old? Or that her medical condition may be problematic? Depending on which country you choose, you may be able to choose the sex of your child. If you already have a boy and you want a girl, for instance, you may decide to go to China, since almost all the children available for adoption are girls.
ü Provincial Nomination
Most provinces in Canada have an agreement with the Federal government of Canada that allows them to play a more direct role in selecting immigrants who wish to settle in a particular province. If one wishes to immigrate as a provincial nominee, application to the province where an applicant wishes to settle should be filed. The province will consider the application based on its labor needs and the applicant’s genuine intention to settle in that particular province. Once the prospective province has nominated the applicant, the latter will have to file a separate application for an immigrant visa to the CIC.
ü Quebec-Selected Immigration
By virtue of the Canada-Quebec Accord, the provincial government of Quebec has the authority in choosing the immigrant based on its selection criteria. A person who intends to settle in Quebec permanently needs to file an application to immigrate first with its provincial government. After an applicant has been selected by Quebec, the applicant has to make a separate application to the CIC.
To be selected, an applicant must satisfy the prerequisite for one of the three immigration programs for immigrant workers including Assured Employment Program, Occupations in Demand Program and Employability and Occupational Mobility Program
PERMANENT RESIDENT CARD
Effective 31 December 2003, all permanent residents of Canada are required to secure a permanent resident card or a Maple Leaf Card. Returning permanent residents of Canada on a commercial carrier (plane, boat, train or bus) should present the said card to CIC immigration authorities upon re-entry.
The Maple Leaf Card serves as an immigrant’s proof of lawful entry in Canada. It is valid for five (5) years and renewable. All permanent residents of legal age should bring their Maple Leaf Cards every time they leave their place of residence. Penalties will be given to immigrants who fail to comply with the said requirement.
Maple Leaf Cards are sent to immigrants within 30 to sixty 60 days upon arrival in Canada provided that a mailing address has been provided to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at the port of entry. If such address is not available, immigrants are required to provide the same to the CIC within 180 days from the date of arrival. For more information on Maple Leaf Card, immigrants may call the Permanent Resident Card Call Center at telephone number 1-800-255-4541 in Canada
A permanent resident is required to have a total of 730 days of physical presence in Canada for every five-year period to comply with his/her residency obligation.
It is also possible for permanent residents to comply with this residency obligation even if they are outside of Canada but it should be under the following conditions:
1. Accompanying a Canadian citizen spouse, common-law partner or parent of a minor
2. Employed full-time by a Canadian business or in public service of Canada or one of its provinces
3. Accompanying a permanent resident spouse, common-law partner or parent employed full-time by a Canadian business or in a public service of Canada or one of its provinces
Non-compliance with the residency obligation may lead to loss of permanent resident status. Appeals may be applied at the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board.
Temporary Visits of Permanent Residents of Canada to the United States
Canadian permanent residents holding citizenship from the following countries are exempted from obtaining entry visas for temporary visits to the United States: Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda (British subjects), Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Western Samoa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Filipino permanent residents in Canada have to secure a valid U.S. visa to enter the United States.
Rights and Responsibilities
All permanent residents in Canada have the following rights and responsibilities which are based on Canadian laws and shared values. Many of these rights are defined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
|Rights and Responsibilities|
|RIGHTS & FREEDOM||RESPONSIBILITIES|
|legal rights||to obey Canada’s laws|
|equality rights;||to express opinions freely while respecting the rights and freedoms of others;|
|mobility rights;||to help others in the community;|
|Aboriginal peoples’ rights;||to care for and protect heritage and environment; and|
|freedom of thought;||to eliminate discrimination and injustice.|
|freedom of speech|
|freedom of religion; and|
|right to peaceful assembly|
Canadian citizens have the following rights and responsibilities:
|Rights and Responsibilities of Canadian Citizens|
|Citizens have all the rights listed above and the right to:||Citizens have all the responsibilities listed above and the responsibility to :|
|apply for a passport;||vote in elections|
|run in elections; and|
|vote in elections|
ACQUISITION OF CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP
Canadians are proud of their citizenship. Canadian citizenship is one of the most prized in the world. Every year about 150,000 people become citizens of Canada.
- By Descent
A person born outside Canada after 14 February 1977 is eligible in acquiring Canadian citizenship by descent, if one of his parents other than his adoptive parent is a Canadian citizen at the time of his birth
- By Birth
The following person born in Canada after 14 February 1977 is eligible to acquire Canadian citizenship by birth:
. A person who, before reaching the age of seven years, was found as a deserted child in Canada shall be deemed to have been born in Canada, unless the contrary is proved within seven years from the date the person was found;
A person who, before reaching the age of seven years, was found as a deserted child in Canada shall be deemed to have been born in Canada, unless the contrary is proved within seven years from the date the person was found;
The following are required to become a Canadian citizen through naturalization:
Must have three (3) years continuous residence as a permanent resident out of the four (4) year period of residency obligation;
- Must have a good moral character;
- Must be proficient in either English or French language;
- Must be knowledgeable in Canadian civics
- Must pass the written citizenship exam; and
- Must complete the application process with the CIC.
Retention of Canadian Citizenship
Citizenships retention applies only to Canadians born outside Canada after 14 February 1977, to a Canadian parent who was also born outside Canada to a Canadian parent. This second generation Canadian born outside Canada is required to make an application and meet certain requirements before turning 28 years old.
Loss and Resumption of Canadian Citizenship
The Canadian Citizenship Act, in force from 1 January 1947 to 14 February 1977, contained several provisions for automatic loss of citizenship. Loss could occur through any of the following: naturalization outside Canada; naturalization of parent; marriage; lengthy absence from Canada; service in a foreign military; failure to apply for retention of citizenship; or failure to take up residence in Canada at a certain date or age.
As of 5 May 2005, however, people who lost their Canadian citizenship as minors between 1 January 1947 and 14 February 1977, can apply to resume their citizenship without having to become permanent residents and live in Canada for (1) one year. The requirements concerning official language ability and knowledge of Canada also do not apply to these cases. Concerned individual must, however, make an application and take the oath of citizenship.
A foreigner may be deported from Canada due to any of the following reasons:
- Commission of crimes and unlawful activities in Canada such as espionage, sabotage, subversion, terrorism and violence;
- Violation of human and international rights;;
- Serious criminality and organized criminality;
- Personal health condition deemed as dangerous to public health and safety, or expected to cause excessive demands on health or social services;
- Inability to financially support self or dependents and failure to make arrangements for care and support.
- Use of fraudulent documents for entry in Canada; and
- Non-compliance with the rules and regulations of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).
REGULATIONS AFFECTING FOREIGN SPOUSE / PARTNER OF CANADIAN NATIONAL
Canadian law views marriage as a legal agreement or contract between a man and a woman. Married people are considered equal partners. Marriage laws apply to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Many unmarried couples live together. In most provinces unmarried heterosexual couples who have lived together for a certain period of time have legal status as “common-law” couples.
Violence towards any person – man, woman or child – is against the law of Canada. No one has the right to hit or threaten people or to force them into sexual activities. The law applies no matter who it is – wife/husband, partner, girlfriend/boyfriend, parent or another relative.
An abused person may call the police at 911 or any local emergency number.