Fraud prevention for newcomers

The sheer gall of immigration fraud

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arch each year is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada. It’s an annual opportunity to remind those we work with to use caution in their immigration dealings. The Government of Canada has a very useful web page that echoes the regular messages we post on this web site, such as the cautionary message that follows. If somebody, or some supposed ‘program,’ sounds too good, or too easy, or too cheap to be real, then it almost certainly isn’t real. See what this site has to say about so-called ‘guarantees‘ to prospective newcomers to Canada.

Fake IELTS certificates

Sometimes, it is hard to believe the brazen gall of a crooked scheme unless you read it yourself! One of our staff, on an e-mail account not associated with Upper Canada Immigration, received an e-mail solicitation just flat-out offering to sell anyone an IELTS certificate. Here was the e-mail title: High-quality Original IELTS certificate for sale.

You have to be kidding! A mail-order fake IELTS certificate is about as brazen a scam as we’ve yet seen. We have a page on this web site about common types of fraud that criminals worldwide try to perpetrate against people applying to be legitimate immigrants to Canada. As our web page states clearly, consultants like us provide advice to clients on each and every document they will require, and then we check each and every document we submit on behalf of our clients. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) independently verifies each document in every application all over again.

Criminal offense

Uttering a forged document means altering or creating a document in order to commit fraud, without the knowledge of the proper authorizing party, in this case IELTS. Uttering a forged document is a criminal offence in Canada, illegal under Section 368 of the Criminal Code of Canada. The odds of a fake IELTS certificate working for you are zero! The chances of a fake IELTS certificate sinking your application are 100 percent. And you commit a crime in Canada if you try it.

Mail order IELTS certificates are a way to get the stupid, the dishonest and the gullible to part with their hard-earned money in return for nothing but a guarantee of failure.

Read more…

Beware of ghosts

Ghosts who vanish with your money

Ghost Consultants
Ghost consultants are unregistered and unlicensed individuals masquerading as industry experts. They are ignorant of Canadian immigration law, rules, regulations and changing policies . They  are usually much more expensive than legitimate and registered consultants, and when they vanish, they leave their victims out of money, out of time, and out of Canada.  Beware of them!
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aking news in Canada every few months are cases such as a group of international students from the state of Punjab in India’s north. In that case, more than 700 such students faced deportation from Canada after Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) discovered that Letters of Admission from their education institutions were counterfeit. These fake Letters of Admission, issued in 2018 and 2019 by various institutions, were submitted as evidence in study permit applications on behalf of those students.

At the centre of that case was a now-defunct immigration ‘agency’ operating out of Punjab, whose owner-operator has since  vanished. This ghost consultant had been charging aspiring international students thousands of dollars to assist in the process of obtaining admission into colleges in Canada and to apply for study permits. The students (and their parents) all claim to have been innocently duped by the “ghost” consultant who has now ghosted them.

These students, in addition to being fleeced of their family’s cash (apparently all the transactions were in cash) are being deported from Canada for misrepresentation, and also face a ban from applying to IRCC for at least five years. Similar cases include individuals in Canada on a visitor’s permit sent to work for Canadians without a work permit by employment agencies.

If you won’t spend the time and money to do it properly, how will you find the time and the money do do it over again?

Whether you are in India, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe or anywhere else, this is a cautionary tale. Its lesson is to stay away from ghosts. Use a real immigration consultant. We get it done right, and ironically, do your work faster and less expensively than the ghosts who vanish with both your money and your dreams. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There is more detail on this web site.

Ghostly image by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash

Express Entry opportunities

Opportunity for 1.45 million new Canada residents

The preferred pathway to immigration to Canada is through Express Entry. Draws from among the ‘pool’ of eligible candidates are made regularly. Contact us to get into the Express Entry pool.
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y far, Express Entry is the preferred route to Canada. Between 2023 and 2025, Canada plans to accept some 1.45 million new residents. The plans were announced in late January by Canada’s Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. This total breaks down as: 465,000 new residents in 2023; 485,000 in 2024; and 500,000 in 2025. While newcomers to Canada often often gravitate to urban areas, where many have friends and families to provide networking and social supports, the new plan contains numerous initiatives and regional pathways to encourage applicants to settle in Canadian small towns and rural areas. At Upper Canada Immigration Consultants, we assist many clients with getting into the Express Entry ‘pool.’

French-Speaking newcomers

In 2022 Canada received more than 16,300 Francophone newcomers to minority French-speaking communities across Canada. This is a marked increase in numbers from previous years, mostly because of targeted initiatives of both the federal government and provincial governments, (apart from Quebec which has its own immigration program).

All immigrants contribute to the rich tapestry of our cultural and linguistic profile. French-speaking immigrants are no exception. Canada, now in the final year of its five-year Action Plan for official languages, had allocated $40.7 million for Francophone immigration initiatives. To that end, and in setting its sights on improving that record number of French-speaking immigrants of last year, Canada has launched a targeted campaign to attract skilled French-speaking newcomers.

Study in Canada

Approval process: study in Canada

Upper Canada Immigration works with students and their families.
Students can work with us to obtain study permits and TRVs to travel to Canada to begin, or continue, their study programs. Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
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tudents planning to start school in Canada have fewer barriers to travelling than the previous two years. Immigration, Refugees and Citizen Canada (IRCC) has reverted to its usual procedures in issuing study permits by issuing an approval letter and a temporary resident visa (student) for travelling to Canada.  Students, upon arrival at a port of entry are  subject to an examination by the CBSA, whereupon they can be refused entry, if it is found that information is questionable, or not bona fide. After examining a student and once  the officer is satisfied,  a secure document, referred to a “study permit” is issued, bearing the issue and expiry dates.

To resume their programs and restore revenue generation mechanisms, educational institutions have developed on-line studies  as part of their offering to students, both local and abroad. Recognizing the lengthy processing periods for study permit applications, students must begin their groundwork on obtaining key documents in their respective countries  for their applications, months ahead of their  semester start dates. And more importantly, students must contact us for assistance as soon as they make a decision that they want to come to Canada to study. We will provide advice, insight and guidance on the process.

Read more…

Toronto Star Ad

Our Ontario newspaper display ad

Upper Canada Immigration ad
Our display ad in Canada’s largest-circulation newspaper, the Toronto Star, ran for the first time on Sunday August 16, 2020.
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uring the Canadian COVID-19 lockdown period, newspapers everywhere found their advertising base drying up. It wasn’t hard to figure out: advertisers were squeezed by their revenue hit during the virus. Newspapers, magazines, radio and TV saw their revenues shrink as retail advertisers cut back on media expenses when their buyers were largely staying home.

Here in the Greater Toronto area in Ontario, Canada’s largest province by both population and economy, our largest newspaper chose to spotlight businesses like ours: small businesses owned and operated by people of colour or persons of indigenous origin by offering selected businesses an opportunity to run a display ad in The Star, for many of them their first print ad in Canada’s largest newspaper.

So, we applied, and were chosen, as one of The Star’s participants. Here is the final product! Click the ad to see a full-size rendering.

Much of our business development activity consists of a virtual outreach using social media. We have our own direct mail list. Folks use it to tell us something about themselves, as a preliminary to asking us if we can help them. And a day after the ad ran, lo and behold, the phone rang. That was nice, and I hope we can help the individuals who started by saying, “I saw your ad in the paper.”

If Upper Canada Immigration has helped you, or you know someone who needs help coming to Canada, click or tap our ad on your computer to get a larger version, then print it and give it to your friend, acquaintance or colleague.

Maybe you are reading this, and thinking you need help with your own citizenship and immigration issue. With COVID-19 cases sharply down in Canada, we may be able to meet in person, and we can certainly do business over the telephone, by WhatsApp, Zoom or Skype. If you use Microsoft Teams, we will meet you there as well.

For individuals

  • Permanent residency: Is immigration a bigger challenge during the COVID-19 time? You bet it is! But it can be done, and we’ve landed folks in Canada to begin a new life during the COVID-19 months;
  • Business class: Did you know that Canada is the only country in the world that has free trade agreements with every large economy on earth? If Canada’s access to the world, sound economy, low tax rates, fair and honest business systems could help you serve clients from Canada, maybe we are a fit to help you come to Canada and make your fortune;
  • Spousal and family sponsorships: Once you are relocated to Canada, how do you get your spouse here? Your children? Your parents and maybe your grandparents? We have done it for clients many times. We know how to do it for you;
  • Caregivers: Families in Canada need caregivers to look after their kids, parents and grandparents, and family members with disabilities. Good families, and proud Canadians often originate from a caregiver who came to Canada to help other Canadians;
  • Temporary work permits: Foreign nationals, students and others without status in Canada often need skilled help and advice in gaining landed immigrant status to stay in Canada and build their lives.

Building trades

Construction and skilled trades

Skilled trades workers to help address Canada’s housing shortage are in demand right now. Read this article and see if you qualify to gain permanent residency status in Canada.
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ousing is in short supply in Canada in 2023. The construction industry has suffered from labour shortages, causing fewer new homes to be built. This shortage will continue for years. To address the labour shortage problem faced by the building industry, a pilot program that was previously successful will be expanded in 2023. It will allow 1,000 out-of-status construction workers and their families to obtain permanent residency. This program previously allowed 500 out-of-status workers to apply for permanent residence.

There are more than 140 skilled trades recognized by the Provinces of Ontario. A trade related to the building industry includes such occupations as carpenters, brick layers, electricians, joiners, drywallers, plumbers, roofers, insulation installers, and many others. This time or urgent need for skilled trades is a valuable opportunity to transition from ‘under-the-table’ to ‘above-board’ in your work status.

A trade is classified as either compulsory or non-compulsory. Compulsory trades require that you be a registered apprentice, Provisional Certificate of Qualification holder or Certificate of Qualification holder to legally work in the trade. Non-compulsory trades do not require you to be a registered apprentice or certified journeyperson to legally work in the trade.

Eligibility

This pathway to permanent residence is open only to skilled trades workers who live in Toronto, Durham, Halton, Peel and York regions. They must, among other eligibility requirements, be:

  • Currently living in Canada without legal status;
  • Have knowledge, skills and experience in the construction industry;
  • Currently working “under the table” in the construction industry;
  • Willing to identify themselves to the Canadian Labour Congress and undergo a pre-screening process before being selected for referral to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for final assessment.

Under the current initiative, successful candidates who are selected by IRCC, will have until January 2, 2024 to submit applications for themselves and their family members. Please contact us if you want to apply for permanent residence through this pilot program. The quota is filling up very fast.

Photo by Nate Johnston on Unsplash.

Labour disruption

Strike impacted citizenship, immigration services

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he strike is now over. Canada’s Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the bargaining agent representing many federal government service workers, has reached an agreement to settle a strike involving more than 159,000 of their members. These workers provide a wide range of services, including those under the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Consequently, some services were delayed or not delivered at all. As well, certain physical locations where IRCC services are delivered in Canada had access to the public restricted.

Overseas Services

Visa Application Centre (VAC) offices and overseas locations from where IRCC services are accessed or delivered were unaffected. In-person interviews outside Canada were also unaffected.

Online Services

Some IRCC services remained available during the labour disruption. The public can still:

  • Submit applications online;
  • Mail applications to IRCC processing centres and designated locations;
  • Access personal online accounts;
  • Access some emergency services;
  • Access self-serve, online tools for application tracking.

Services Impacted

Most IRCC services are back to normal. There may still be delays in processing services, citizenship events, issuance of documents such as passports and permanent resident cards, and responses to queries, including ATIP requests.

Client Support Centre and Social Media
The IRCC client support centre, accessed by telephone, is also affected, causing longer response times for those calling in. Queries through social media are also affected; these will not be answered.
Web Forms
Response times for web forms  submitted online are getting back to normal.
If you are in Canada
If you wish to extend your stay in Canada, such applications must be complete, submitted online, and within IRCC regulations. “Maintained status” is achieved only when an application is submitted per prescribed rules.
IRCC in-Canada appointments
Requests from IRCC for in-person interviews may take longer as business returns to normal Scheduled hearings at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) are expected to remain on the scheduled date, although attendees may experience delays in starting times on those dates.
Prioritized Services
Immigration Services, including certain applications that were previously prioritized were affected by the PSAC labour action. Delays in processing should be diminishing.

Caribbean trip 2023

See you again this year

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uring late winter or early spring, Upper Canada Immigration Consultants often travels to  the Caribbean to meet with people who would like to come to Canada to live, work, study, visit or do business. We haven’t been to the Caribbean since just before the COVID-19 outbreak. As air travel becomes less chaotic, we hope to see our potential clients in person again. Many of you are contacting us directly in Canada as it is. Upper Canada Immigration Consultants moved much of our business on-line and through video meetings, much like many other service businesses. Remember that you do not have to meet us personally in order to retain our services to assist you. Use the phone, or WhatsApp, please.

Like most people, we tried to stay safe from COVID-19 – and the seasonal flu virus. We worked from home wherever possible, and avoided travel. Routine things, such as mail and packages took longer to receive, and some services we are used to receiving quickly still take longer than they did in 2019 and earlier. But we all got through it, and we look forward to visiting the Caribbean again in 2023.

Client contact

If you’d like to work with us on an application, or find out if a visit or a move to Canada is feasible, then contacting us is simple. We can safely and securely connect  with you by WhatsApp. You and also  use  e-mail to contact us. We are considering a trip to Guyana, and perhaps Jamaica and Trinidad as well. If one of those places is home to you, and you’d like an appointment to talk with us in person, let us know. If we get enough interest, and it makes sense to fly again, we look forward enjoying the warmth and hospitality of the countries from which so many of our clients aspire to come to Canada.

Canada is accepting nearly 500,000 newcomers in 2023. One of those aspiring Canadians could be you. Talk with us.

Welcome Ukrainians

Expedited temporary resident pathway for Ukrainians

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mmigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, as of March 17, 2022, launched an emergency measure to assist those fleeing the war in Ukraine. The Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) is a special expedited temporary resident pathway for Ukrainian citizens and their family members to come to Canada where they will be safe for as long as three years. This is not a refugee stream.

Under this emergency measure, Ukrainians and their immediate family members, regardless of those members’ nationality, may come to Canada as temporary residents. At the time of submitting their applications, such individuals are also encouraged to apply for open work permits. IRCC is expected to process such applications within two weeks, ensuring that the integrity of various processes to authenticate documents and verify facts are not compromised. Standard background checks and thorough screening will be conducted on applicants before final decisions are rendered.

Ukrainians outside Canada

The application process for individuals outside Canada involves an online application submission and enrollment in the biometrics registry. Applications can be submitted online from anywhere in the world, and biometrics enrolment can be done at any functioning VAC office outside of Ukraine. Such offices can be found in Austria, Poland, Romania and Moldova. VAC offices in Chisinau, Warsaw, Vienna and Bucharest have already been expanded to facilitate increased demand for services.

To facilitate continuity of services for Ukrainians and biometrics enrollment, IRCC has relocated staff, moved supplies and deployed mobile biometrics collection units to strategic locations in Europe. As well, all railway travel for Ukrainians to get to VAC offices and such strategic points in Europe is free of charge. Several application requirements such as processing fees for TRV applications (visitor or work permits) fees have been waived.

More information and FAQs

There is lots more information on how Ukrainians needing refuge can find it in Canada. Check out our web page with more detailed information and frequently-asked questions.

Read more…

COVID-19 Update

Canada and COVID-19

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anadian borders have now re-opened to most travelers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Recent progress in vaccination rates and easing of nation-wide lockdown measures have prompted Canada to allow fully-vaccinated travelers to enter without having to show an individualized recently-obtained Covid-19 test report. However, CBSA officers can still randomly select incoming travelers to take a Covid-19 test at the port of entry. Here is what you need to know when travelling to Canada:

  • Children under the age of 12 years who have not been vaccinated, or who have been partially vaccinated, can accompany their parents into Canada. They, like their parents will not be subject to quarantine measures, and can immediately integrate into school or other activities in the community;
  • For partially vaccinated or unvaccinated dependents, or youth travelling independently between the ages of 12 and 17 years, a 14-day quarantine period applies, as well as pre-testing and post-8th day testing. This procedure applies also to youth of that age group, whether they are accompanying fully-vaccinated or partially-vaccinated adults;
  • For dependents over the age of 18 years who are unvaccinated because of physical or mental limitations, all testing and quarantine policies must be observed;
  • COVID-19 policies of the Canadian government may differ from those of provinces and territories. Travelers must abide by the policies that are the stricter of the two;
  • All travelers must use ArriveCan before entering Canada. This app is downloadable on to mobile devices and is accessible on the web. It is simple to use. Mandatory information must be submitted before entering Canada. Depending on the content of submitted information, ArriveCan will provide notifications and messages to travelers and recent arrivals;
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is now accepting, and processing, most applications for temporary resident and permanent resident visas;
  • Spouses and common-law partners and their dependents can be sponsored by their Canadian family members through the normal sponsorship program. Canada is encouraging these sponsorship applications, and have even deployed additional staff to assess submissions in the quickest possible times;
  • Express Entry draws for federal skilled workers and federal skilled trades which had been put on hold since December 2020 will likely resume this spring;
  • Parents and grandparents program will also resume in 2022 with at least 30,000 invitations expected to be issued to sponsors who had submitted their intent to sponsor since October 2020;
  • As a result of the Russia – Ukraine war, Canada has opened up several temporary pathways for Ukrainians to come to Canada under an expedited process.