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Also available is my new eBook, "How To Immigrate To Canada In The Family Class: The Authoritative Guide Including Qu├ębec And Super Visa Opportunities". Get it at Amazon or the other e-retailers noted above.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cruel Ottawa - reunification statistics exposed

Yes, Canada can be a cold place.

Especially if you are a couple separated by a border (as my love and I are). But even more so if you happen to be unlucky enough to have your spouse or partner in a country like China or from the continent of Africa.

According to an article in today's Star - "The refusal rate for Hong Kong – which also serves Guangdong, Fujian and Hainan in southern China – was 48 per cent last year, the figures reveal. From the Accra office, which serves the West African countries of Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the rate was 46 per cent."

The article sites unnamed Canadian officials who claim the reasons for this disparity is that they suspect fraud in the relationships, but of course, the simplest thing for a low level official (or in some cases, contractor) to do is to say "no", forcing the applicant to make the expensive choice to appeal - a choice that adds an additional year or YEARS to the process depending on where you are applying from. Now add to that the condition that out-of-country applicants are not allowed to visit Canada while their request is under consideration (for fear that they will remain regardless of the outcome of their case).

The online responses to this article are unfortunately full of the vehemence typical of a number of right-wing Canadians, though a voice of reason put the situation most succinctly:

"It would help if there were enough members on the Immigration & Refugee Board to conduct hearings in a timely fashion. It would help more if decisions were not made largely based on the opinions, beliefs, and prejudices of civil servants, who are largely unaccountable because "they can always appeal if they don't like the decision". To correct the problems, however, requires something that the present government does not have - a will to change and a vision of justice.

"Submitted by Northern Cynic at 8:26 AM Tuesday, June 30 2009"

Here's the sidebar on Sponsorship Rejection rates:


When it comes to sponsoring a wife or husband, the country of origin affects the chance of success. Here are Canada's top 5 and bottom 5 visa offices for spousal rejections.


Hong Kong (south China), 48 per cent
(West Africa), 46 per cent
, 34 per cent
Port of Spain
, 33 per cent
(East Africa), 27 per cent


Taipei, 3 per cent
Sao Paulo and Caracas
, 4 per cent
, 5 per cent
, 5 per cent
(Great Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia), 6 per cent

Read the entire article here

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Case argues for access to humanitarian channel

In a case before the Canadian courts, lawyers are arguing that poor immigrant candidates who are applying under humanitarian and compassionate grounds, should have their application fee waived if they cannot afford it.

However, lawyers for the government said the access to humanitarian consideration, as opposed to access to justice in courts and tribunals, is not a right but "an exceptional relief on discretionary bases." (sic)

To me, its another interesting governmental disconnect when you call a process compassionate, yet start it with an act of self-interest (making the applicant pay a fee to be considered). Face it, while it is government's role to provide a range of agreed-to services, legislated by their MPs, it is the bureaucrats role to limit access to those same services. There's nothing like a fee to keep something out of reach.

The government is granting residency in these cases over half the time - which tells you that half the time, these people should have been let in in the first place, if only the case officer considered the WHOLE case. This avenue of last resort for immigrants is in essence a path of extortion. H/C grounds applications are "appeals" - they are heard in front of an appeals official. To say you have no right to appeal a poor judgment unless you can pay (the current standard) is highly undemocratic. Unfortunately, it is not unique to Canada.

If you can pay a fee that covers some of the overhead on your case, that's fine. But if an applicant truly can't, then come on Canada - show some real compassion.

Read the whole story here

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer hiatus

Just a note to my loyal readers that The Mind will be taking a Summertime sojourn of sorts over the next few weeks. Be VERY surprised if you see much new, though I will try and login and keep you updated as I can. For now, travels with my love call me away from the world of immigration and blogging, but have no fear - I'll be back to provide you with the best in Canadian immigration news and commentary before you know it.

And by the way - why aren't YOU taking a break too?!

Cheers! - J

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Canada prepares to get paranoid

Why does it seem at times that the government of Canada takes its lead from the worst of US policies? In an article in today's Globe and Mail, "The incoming head of Canada's spy agency says new rules requiring digital fingerprints and photos at foreign visa offices will be extended to every visitor from any country in the world..."

Newly appointed CSIS head Richard Fadden is quoted, “The intention is to capture everybody,” Mr. Fadden told MPs during an appearance before the House of Commons immigration committee yesterday. “The idea is to increase our capacity to know who is in Canada at a particular point of time.”

Sound familiar?
How does "Fortress Canada" sound to you?

These plans are horribly consistent with the clampdown at US border crossings and only promise to be used as vehicles for discrimination (how's this for code-speak:
“We're going to phase this in and we're going to pick countries where there are more concerns, but the intent is to cover all temporary visitors,” said Mr. Fadden.), as well as provide justification for eventually collecting a database of biometric data on all Canadians.

As Robert Heinlein wisely said, "Love your country, but never trust its government." Remember - they work for you. Tell the Tories you don't want to live in the US.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The doldrums

You know the doldrums - those latitudes near the equator where the winds rarely blow, where the still and the calm marooned sailors before the days of steam and diesel. Those are the latitudes of immigration at times for all of us who are sailing this particular ocean.

I was contacted last week by a man in New Delhi, India who was asking me about how long the process of immigration to Canada can take. I looked it up for him and discovered that for the New Delhi office, the standard - this is typical - wait, is 66 to 72 months. Without any of the complexities - if you had a rock-solid, no-problem immigration - five to six years.

It's no wonder some us feel lost at sea. Once we make a commitment to leave our home country and make a new home, it's like we've left port; we see our country diminish in the background, we see the new land in our hearts on the horizon and we ache to begin our lives there.

But until we know that we will be allowed to make our new lives where we have set our destination, we are at sea, and not knowing which way the wind will blow, or even if it ever will for us...these are our days in the doldrums.