Last month, the Canadian media reported on several instances of Canadian citizens being barred from the United States because they admitted to smoking marijuana, even if they had never been charged with or convicted of controlled substance possession. Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale described the banning of Canadians as a “ridiculous situation” that needed to be addressed. However, in order to examine this issue in the proper context, we should consider how the Government of Canada treats United States citizens who seek entry into our country.
On December 13, 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney and United States Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson signed the U.S.-Canada Visa and Immigration Information-Sharing Agreement (the “Agreement”). The Agreement authorizes development of arrangements under which one country may send an automated request for data to the other country, such as when a third country national applies to Canada for a visa or claims asylum.
On December 8, 2012, CIC published proposed regulations that will authorize the collection and use of biometric data from certain foreign nationals. Starting in 2013, temporary resident visa, study permit, and work permit applicants from certain visa-required countries and territories who seek to enter Canada will be required to have their biometric information (fingerprints and photograph) collected overseas before arriving in Canada.
Foreign nationals who hold work permits in Canada sometimes wonder what will happen to their immigration status if they quit their jobs or are terminated by their Canadian employers. Surprisingly, the termination of a foreign national’s employment does not automatically invalidate his or her work permit or underlying temporary resident status. However, foreign nationals who travel abroad after the termination of their employment might not be able to return to Canada even if their work permits technically remain valid.
Approximately seven months ago, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) launched its Come to Canada Wizard (the “Wizard”). It is a useful tool for prospective visitors, students, temporary workers, and permanent residents. However, the Wizard is still not a substitute for formal legal advice. One important shortcoming of the Wizard is the fact that it assesses only eligibility under the federal immigration categories.
The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration recently issued a fourth set of Ministerial Instructions (MI-4), which came into force on November 5, 2011. According to MI-4, the Federal Skilled Worker program will now have a new eligibility stream for international students pursuing doctoral (PhD) studies at Canadian institutions. This adds an additional 1,000 numbers to the current cap of 10,000, which are available to FSW applicants who do not have arranged employment.
On September 19, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada published Operational Bulletin 346, which authorized the recapture of unused time that would otherwise count against the time limits that are normally imposed on intracompany transferees. As a result of Operational Bulletin 346, now only periods of physical presence in Canada while holding an intracompany transferee work permit will count towards the time limits.
Earlier this month, the QMI Agency reported that senior Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials had said illegal work experience could count towards a permanent residence application filed under a Provincial Nominee Program. Was this fact or fiction?