ASK AN IMMIGRATION PROFESSIONAL – 2021 January Edition: Our most frequently asked questions in a series called Questions for an Immigration Professional.
**All names and details have been changed to protect identity**
Question from Angelica in Fort McMurray, AB:
I arrived in Canada in 2009 as a refugee and was refused refugee status. I did not understand the exclusion order at the time and have stayed inside Canada. I have been out of status since 2009 and have no hope left! I stay with family and must constantly be looking over my shoulder in fear that I will be deported. Since being here in Canada, I gave birth to a beautiful son in 2018 and fear that I will not be able to provide him with an education here in Canada and will be forced to go home!
Answer: Hi Angelica, hope is not lost! 2021 is a year of rejuvenation and renewal for everyone, including you. This is certainly a serious situation that must be addressed! The first step is to overcome your status issue and work towards building a compassionate case for permanent residency.
Keep the faith!
The first step we always take in status issues like yours is to obtain a disclosure from the government requesting all your documents, officer notes, and communications on your file with immigration. We never want to work on correcting your situation while working blind by not having all the information. If you live at an address that IRCC is unaware of, you may have had communications that you never received.
Step two is to determine what file works best for you! There are usually two options in this situation. Because your refugee file decision happened many years ago, you may have an opportunity to apply for a temporary resident permit and humanitarian and compassionate considerations for permanent residency. Likely, you have an enforcement action against you – which means that if you do not work to resolve this issue, eventually enforcement will catch up with you and remove you and your child from Canada. The temporary resident permit allows you to restore your status in Canada – temporarily – so you can take actions to resolve your status long term!
Next, we would build and submit a humanitarian and compassionate considerations application asking the government for an exemption to allow you to apply directly for permanent residency. There are many grounds that are considered in such a file: the best interests of a child – your beautiful son, your establishment in Canada, and the reasons that prevent you from returning to your home country.
Not all hope is lost! This situation is a profoundly serious one – but doing nothing about it can be even more serious.
Canadian studies may go to waste!
Question from Leo in Edmonton, AB:
I graduated from a business management program back in 2018 and I was issued a two year post graduate open work permit that will expire very soon! My original plan was to get six months of work experience in my field and then qualify for a provincial nomination. Then COVID-19 ARRIVED! I have only been able to find labour jobs – paying me just enough to cover my expenses and send a bit of money back home to my family. Because of the pandemic, I have not been able to get the work experience I need to get permanent residency. Help! I feel like my education will be a waste if I cannot use it to get permanent residency here in Canada for myself and my family.
Answer: Leo, we understand your frustration – and so does the government.
In normal circumstances, post-graduate work permits are not renewable. Hence, before COVID-19 came along, you would either have to find the qualifying work experience or change conditions/go home. But we are certainly not in normal circumstances. On January 8, 2021, the Minister of Immigration announced that former international students who hold or held a post-graduate work permit will have the opportunity to apply for an open work permit! This is a unique chance to get an additional 18 months to gain the necessary experience to qualify for permanent residency! This is in response to concerns just like yours.
Rest easy knowing Freedom Migrate offers full representation for the entire process. We help you build your case and prepare you for the permanent resident application to follow. Our prices are very reasonable, and we work hard to build a competitive application for you!
Have a question? Send us your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at 403-520-2277 or text 587-938-3100 from anywhere in Alberta!