Sunday, June 6, 2010

THE GHOST CONSULTANTS

Canada is a very popular destination for Bangladeshi immigrants. Every year thousands of Bangladeshis file applications to Centralized Intake Office in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada for obtaining permanent residence status. Some submit applications to other Canadian Visa Offices in different countries.

It is quiet often than not that you read advertisements in Bangladeshi newspapers about “Immigration to Canada”. Not all of these advertisements however contain accurate information about the Canadian immigration system. Some of the advertisers even do not hesitate to mislead the people about the processing system of the Canadian immigration. Some make fantastic claims such as becoming permanent resident of Canada in a few months or getting status by just investing some money. They also create panic among people by spreading rumour that the Canadian government will change the list of approved occupations soon that has been established as per a ministerial directive. Why do they do that? Because they want more people to rush to file applications right now to increase their revenue in a short span of time.


One must understand that the Citizenship and Immigration Canada follows a standard procedure to asses all applications. There is no favouritism or bias towards or against particular group of people. The discretion of the immigration officer is exercised on the basis of rules and not on whims.

Sometime people become charmed by the office d├ęcor of some unscrupulous immigration consultants and the claims of their mesmerising success stories. There are some self-proclaimed immigration consultants in Bangladesh who will tell a prospective client that they would fill up the client’s application forms and provide advice about the documents to be submitted but will not allow the client to use their names as the official representative. The reason is simple. These consultants are not authorized by the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) and therefore the Citizenship and Immigration Canada will not allow them to represent a client. They are known as ‘Ghost Consultants’. They are working for you illegally and secretly but at the same time making money. These ghost consultants are creating great troubles for innocent applicants. As they are not your official representative and are not competent to give you the right advice you suffer for their mistakes.

So what solution do you have? Just don’t allow anyone to deal with your application and represent you other than a Canadian lawyer of good standing with a provincial law society of Canada or an Immigration Consultant of good standing with the CSIC.

Even if you meet a consultant or a lawyer don’t feel shy about asking him about his professional experience and credentials. No lawyer or Immigration Consultant is allowed to give you any guarantee of obtaining immigrant visa of Canada. Only the immigration officer who will be assessing your application has the authority to issue you the immigrant visa. Your representative whether a lawyer or a consultant is responsible for advising and representing you in the best possible way.

The Citizenship and Immigration Minister of Canada Mr. Jason Kenney has recently declared that the Canadian government will soon replace the CSIC with a new government agency to regulate the service of the immigration consultants. In recent years the CSIC has faced serious criticism for failing to take action against some dishonest and incompetent immigration consultants.

If you appoint a Canadian lawyer who is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada he is required to verify your identity. If you are in Canada he will verify your identity document personally and be satisfied about who you are. If you are in abroad, for example in Bangladesh then your identity must be verified by a Notary Public who will make a declaration about verifying your identity by examining your identity document (passport, driver’s licence, national identity card etc.). You will then present this attestation of your identity to your Canadian lawyer

You should also sign a written retainer (an agreement of service) with your lawyer or consultant about the terms and condition of the professional service so that no ambiguity is created about your respective responsibilities and roles.

Always ask for a money receipt. A Canadian lawyer or an Immigration Consultant is required to deposit your fee to a trust account if he has not already provided the professional service to you. Once the service is provided the lawyer or the consultant must issue you an invoice and then withdraw the money (fee) from the trust account. If you pay the fee after receiving the service the lawyer or consultant does not have to deposit the money to the trust account. He will deposit the fee to the general account of his law or consulting firm and will be entitled to spend that immediately without any hindrance.

CHANGES IN THE AIR?

Yes some changes are going to take place soon. The Citizenship and Immigration Minister has proposed the following reforms to be made to the refugee determination system of Canada:


a. The refugee claimants will be interviewed by Immigration Officers within 8 days of their claim being referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).

b. The interviewing Immigration Officer will gather information about the claim and schedule the date of the hearing.

c. A different public servant will hear the claim at the IRB within 60 days.

d. A refugee appeal division will be formed to hear the appeal of the unsuccessful claimants. However not all the claimants will be eligible to file the appeal. Some exception applies.

e. The government of Canada will designate some countries as “safe” and a claimant from any of those countries will not be allowed to file an appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division but will be allowed to file application for leave and for judicial review to the Federal Court.

f. A failed refugee claimant who is not removed from Canada will have access to the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment and application for permanent residence under humanitarian and compassionate considerations only within one year of the final decision of the IRB.

For details of the proposed changes please visit the website www.cic.gc.ca

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hello, I am from the Philippines.

It seems to me that your 'financial ability' is not a factor in refusing your application for the study permit. The Visa Officer is required to follow the guideline as stated in the Overseas Processing Manual of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada when assessing an application for a study permit. This Manual commonly known as OP 12 clearly states "The Students are required to demonstrate financial sufficiency for only the first year of studies,regardless of the duration of the course or program of studies in which they are enrolled. In otherwords, a single student entering a four-year degree program with an annual tuition fee of $15,000must demonstrate funds of $15,000 to satisfy the requirements, and not the full $60,000 whichwould be required for four years. Officers should be satisfied though that the probability of funding for future years does exist, i.e., parents are employed; scholarship is for more than oneyear."

The Visa Officer had doubt if you would return to the Philippines after completing your study. This is a very difficult ground for a rejected applicant to overcome. Nowhere it is said how to satisfy the Visa Officer that a student would eventually return to her country of origin. However when submitting the study permit application an applicant can file proof of her ties to the country of origin. Example , an applicant has been offered a job in her home country. She will be hired for the job once she completes her study. Or the applicant has a property that she should look after upon her return. Or the applicant has her plan of getting married and start her own family in her home country etc.

The Federal Court has set aside the decision of a Visa Officer when it is based on stereotypes or generalizations (Hernandez Bonilla v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) 2007 FC 20.) I am not aware of what the Visa Officer has stated in explaining his reasons for decision to reach his conclusion that you would not return to the Philippines. If he made a mistake in assessing your application you can now file an application for Judicial Review to the Federal Court of Canada. Alternatively you may again apply for a study permit with required proofs if you have any.

========================================================================
Hello,
My name is Shalini and I am from the Philippines. I have questions and I don't know who to ask to answer them. If you don't mind, it would be really nice if you could answer them for me.

Well, I was accepted to a school in Canada for the semester starting in January a few weeks ago, and I applied for a study permit soon after. I sent them all the required documents but I had no idea that it was so complicated to get a study permit, and I was refused (I just received the letter yesterday, actually).

You posted the reasons for a study permit refusal in your post, and the one I was given was the first one you stated: that I did not satisfy the visa officer that I will return to the Philippines after my authorized period of stay. I know this has something to do with finances and ties to the country, in my case. My dad, who will be the one to support my education and living expenses over there, does have money in his bank acount, of course, but it is not that impressive. Also, since he has only started earning quite well in the past 6 months or so, the bank account isn't even a year old. Anyway, it's somewhat personal, but I really need your advice so I'm going to tell you that the amount of money in his account is only about CAD 52500.

This is actually only enough for a little more than 2 years of tuition and living expenses in Canada and I applied for a four-year bachelor's course. However, my dad is earning more than enough these days and I am sure he will be able to support me until I finish my degree. I would really like to go to Canada and start my studies in January, so I want to re-apply for the study permit, even though there isn't much time left and chances are, well, slim. But is it okay to do so immediately after getting refused? The embassy does allow it, but is it.. Stupid to do it? And if I do re-apply, what can I do to improve my application and documents? My dad has opened two businesses in the past month or so, is it a good idea to show the papers? Should I find a way to show how much my dad earns every month? Is it possible that the reason for the refusal was, not only the lack of ties to this country, but also there not being enough money for the whole bachelor's course as of now? They did not check the box for that, but I would just like to make sure. And in relation to this, do they not issue study permits that are valid for only a year? I am willing to apply on a yearly basis for it.

Well, thank you very much for reading this very long post. Please help me on this. I will be waiting for your reply and I will be extremely thankful for your answers.

Sincerely,
Shalini

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Studying in Canada - By Mr. Rezaur Rahman (Barrister & Solicitor)

All over the world there are millions of students who are aspiring to have higher education in foreign countries. Many of them are interested in coming to Canada, a very popular destination for the young minds. Canada has world class universities which offer high standard of education, that not only provide knowledge to its students but have great edge over their competitors in different parts of the world.

One has to be prepared well before submitting an application to the Canadian High Commission for obtaining a study permit. The first step is to find out the appropriate educational institution that offers the courses the applicant would like to study. The next step would be to calculate the cost of such education. It should include tuition fees, cost of books, living cost including lodging and boarding and transportation and the cost of health insurance. A careful review of all the costs will help the applicant to determine if he can afford to have such education in a foreign land.

Once the monetary matter is settled, the next step is to apply to the educational institution and obtain a confirmation of admission. This confirmation, which is commonly known as the ‘letter of acceptance’ should be submitted along with the application for the study permit.

The final step is to apply to the Canadian High Commission for a study permit. The applicant should fill out Form IMM 1294 which is available at the website of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The fees for filing this application is CAD$ 150.00. The checklist
( IMM 5483 ) must be attached to the application for study permit. All the relevant documents that are asked to be attached to the application must be provided. Since, there is no guarantee that the Visa Officer would call the applicant for an interview, it is better to submit a complete and well documented application form to obtain a better assessment result.

The letter of acceptance for attending an university, college or a technical institution must mention the following:

  1. The name of the educational institution.
  2. Confirmation of the fact that the applicant is admitted to the institution.
  3. The course that will be studied.
  4. The duration of the course or academic session.
  5. The last date for the applicant to register.

The letter of acceptance for attending a primary or secondary school must mention the name of the school, the level and duration of the study.


THE HURDLES:

Getting admission in an educational institution is not a guarantee for obtaining study permit. The applicant, like a sprinter in a race, will have to jump over several hurdles to win his laurel. Once the application for study permit is submitted the Visa Officer will examine a few issues to determine the applicant’s eligibility.

The applicant must satisfy the Visa Officer that he has enough money to bear the cost of his education as well as his daily living. The money may be his own or his guarantor’s. He must provide documentary evidence of having such money or the monetary support. The document includes bank statement of savings for last four months, income tax return, proof of investment. It is helpful to show that the tuition and residence fees have already been paid and money has been transferred to a Canadian Bank Account under the applicant’s name. The Visa Officer may verify the genuineness of the documents submitted. If someone wants to provide financial help to the applicant, that guarantor must submit an affidavit and relevant financial documents to prove his capability to meet his undertaking.

If the study is supported by a scholarship or if the applicant is taking part in a Canadian funded educational program then proof of such funding must be submitted. When a foreign exchange control measure is in force in any country, the applicant from that country must provide proof that he would be allowed by the authority to remit that fund for his study in Canada. However, the applicant may submit proof that fund will be transferred from a third country to Canada where no such control exists.

The applicant must prove that he has made arrangements for return transportation from Canada. The Visa Officer may ask for police clearance certificate to ascertain that the applicant has no criminal record and he is not a risk to the security of Canada.

If the applicant is not a citizen of the country in which he is applying, he must submit proof of his Immigration status. If he requires a re-entry permit to enter the country that issues a passport or travel permit to the applicant, he must obtain that re-entry permit.


THE COMMON GROUNDS FOR REJECTION:

A Visa Officer rejects an application for study permit mostly on the basis of one or more of the following grounds. The following paragraphs are quoted from a letter that was sent to an applicant:

“Based on a careful review of the information contained in your application and all of the documentation that you provide in support of your application, I have concluded that you do not meet the requirements for the issuance of a study permit. The reasons for your refusal are indicated below:

You have not satisfied me that you will leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for your stay because:

You have not demonstrated that you are sufficiently well established in your country of residence.

You have not demonstrated that you or your parents have sufficient income and assets to justify your proposed studies.

Your proposed studies are not reasonable in light of one or more of the following : your qualifications, previous studies, employment, level of establishment, other educational opportunities available in India (the country of the applicant) or Canada, language abilities, or your future prospects and plans.

You have submitted documentations which lacks credibility as part of your application. This has diminished the overall credibility of your submission.

I am not satisfied that you have answered truthfully to all questions put to you.

You have not satisfied me that you have sufficient funds for living costs and tuition for your first year of studies, and return transportation without working in Canada because:

Your or your parents’ income and assets are insufficient to support the studies.

You have not provided sufficient documentation to support your or your parents’ claimed income and assets.
The supporting financial documents you have provided show large deposits inconsistent with your income. You have not provided adequate documentary evidence regarding the origin of these funds.

You have not provided documents that demonstrate the relationship between you and your sponsor (other than your parents).

You have not demonstrated that your sponsor will provide adequate support to cover the cost of your studies.

You have provided financial documentation that I am unable to verify.

Your savings are not credible in light of your family income.

You have failed to comply with our request for completion of a medical examination.

You have failed to comply with our request for an interview. Based on the information provided, you have not satisfied me that you meet the requirements for issuance of a study permit.

You have not submitted a valid letter of acceptance from an educational institution in Canada indicating start date, expected date of completion, program enrolled in, any conditions imposed and any fees paid.

Pursuant to section A40(1)(a) and A40(2)(a) of IRPA, you remain inadmissible to Canada for misrepresentation for a period of two years.

You remain a member of an inadmissible class of persons described in section_____ of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act . As a result, you are inadmissible to Canada.

You remain inadmissible to Canada on health grounds as per section A38 of IRPA.

You have not submitted the requested documentation, namely _______________. Based on the information provided, you have not satisfied me that you meet the requirements for issuance of a study permit.”


A FEW MORE POINTS:

The province of Quebec has its own rules that deals with the foreign students. An applicant who intends to study in Quebec must obtain the Certificat d’ acceptation du Quebec or Quebec Certificate of Acceptance (CAQ) issued by the Quebec Ministry of Immigration and Culture.

A study permit is not required to study the following courses:

  1. A course which is for six months or less that an applicant can complete within the authorized period of his stay in Canada.
  2. A course that is not academic, professional or vocational in nature for example a course on digital photography.
  3. A course that is a part of a tour packages. The course is a secondary activity when the tour is a primary activity.
  4. A course offered in a nursery school or kindergarten.


LAST WORD:
Study about Canada well before you even apply for a study permit.

Copyright © 2007-2008 Rezaur Rahman (Barrister & Solicitor). All Rights Reserved.