International students in Canada Archives - Immigration Lawyer Vancouver, Canada | Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre

HomeTagInternational students in Canada Archives - Immigration Lawyer Vancouver, Canada | Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre

On December 7, 2023, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced that, starting January 1, 2024, international students will be required to have more funds to be granted a student visa to ensure they can afford the costs of living in Canada. Speaking to reporters, the Minister acknowledged that there may be unintended consequences arising from the increase in financial requirements, which are more than doubling from $10,000 to $20,635 to cover the first year of living expenses in Canada, but he felt it was necessary so that students will not feel forced to work to make ends meet. There is already a debate about whether the Minister’s announcement will lead to a noticeable decrease in the number of international students in Canada and whether those who meet the higher financial requirements will truly benefit from this change. In this blog post we will review some of the experiences we have had at our law firm working closely with international students.

At our immigration law office we frequently consult with clients about spousal sponsorships, which involves an application by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner for permanent residence in Canada. These applications are quite commonplace and represent a large proportion of approvals each year. To illustrate, in 2021 over 69,000 foreign nationals were admitted to Canada as permanent residents under a spousal sponsorship and this represented about 17% of the total admissions approved for the entire year.

The Canadian immigration law landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years. New programs and guidelines are being introduced at a fast and furious pace and many of the old rules that govern immigration processing have either been amended or discarded entirely. More than ever it is crucial to recognize the important role that immigration representatives play in our immigration system to advise clients on suitable immigration strategies based on the current legal landscape and to represent them in their applications and in their immigration hearings.

As immigration lawyers we are frequently told by clients “I don’t need a work permit - I’m just volunteering!” Understanding what is considered work and what is considered volunteering is vital to ensure that you maintain valid legal status while in Canada. For those in Canada on visitor status, it is important to know what you can and can’t do without a work permit. Providing services without receiving payment does not equal “volunteering” and in most cases will require a work permit.

Last week’s announcement by Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees Canada (IRCC), the Honourable Sean Fraser, was indeed a welcome development for international students in Canada who have unknowingly fallen prey to unscrupulous immigration representatives.  But let’s be clear - this does not let all Canadian international students off the hook for transgressions while studying.  The onus on all foreign nationals seeking status in Canada is a very high standard and it is worth reviewing to remind students what their responsibilities are while studying in Canada.

Today, June 14, 2023, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the Honorable Sean Fraser, did something truly honorable for international students in Canada who have been victims of immigration fraud by unscrupulous representatives - he introduced a policy directing immigration officers and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers to grant a temporary resident permit to students who have actually studied in Canada and were clearly unaware of the improper actions of their representatives.

In my over thirty years of practice as an immigration lawyer it has been a fundamental principal of immigration processing that applicants should generally apply for both Canadian temporary or permanent status from outside of Canada. While there are some exceptions to this requirement, they have been few. That all changed during the global pandemic with many workers, students and visitors being stranded in Canada with no ability to travel for months and, in some cases, years.

This past Friday, December 2, 2022, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Sean Fraser, and Tourism Minister and Associate Minister of Finance, Randy Boissonnault, introduced a significant expansion of employment opportunities for the spouses and working-age children of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) already in Canada. Recognizing the significant challenges that employers are facing in the current Canadian labour market, the changes introduced will now provide for employment opportunities for the spouses of lower and low skilled workers as well as for their working-age children. This new measure is set to be implemented in January 2023 and will last for a period of two years.

Immigration practice encompasses a broad range of services such as submitting applications to the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Service Canada (ESDC). However, there are complimentary...

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