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2 years…

Two years ago today, I took the leap and launched http://www.RebeccaBTripp.com 🎉

Year 1 was all about creating my business and putting systems in place. I focused on keeping my expenses low and saying yes to any and all opportunities. 

In year 2, I honed in on strategically growing my business; this meant hiring people to help me and saying no to projects that didn’t align with my goals. So what did this look like, you might ask? 

In the last 12 months, I…

✔️ Was interviewed by Fleming College and appeared on three podcasts to discuss my career and legal services, and got my name out there;

✔️ Became a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, adding Legal Representation to my list of services and successfully submitted numerous immigration applications;

✔️ Launched The Applicant Podcast, where every week I release a solo episode or an interview about education, immigration and/or the law;

✔️ Hosted a second paralegal placement student;

✔️ Started teaching immigration law at Ashton College; and 

✔️ Continued growing the legal outsourcing services side of my business and further developed my interests in higher education and business immigration. 

Looking back… it seems like a lot… but I love what I do, so honestly, it doesn’t even feel like work. Though being an entrepreneur means a lot of my work hours aren’t billable, that’s okay because I am working on something that is becoming bigger than me! (And something that I own, not my employer ☺️)

On a side note: By the end of September, my 2022 revenues so far will pass my total annual revenues of 2021! How amazing is that! 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me, inspired me, pushed me, and believed in me. ☺️

Onward and upward! 🚀

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Important Timelines for Express Entry Applications

FAQ

Q: How long do I have to create my Express Entry Profile?

  • 60 days from the date you start it.

Q: Once I submit my Express Entry Profile, how long will it stay in the Express Entry pool?

  • 12 months from the submission date it will automatically expire.

Q: Once I receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), how long do I have to submit my Permanent Resident Application?

  • 60 days from the date of your ITA.

Supporting Documents

Expiration Timelines from the Date of Completion

  • Language Skills Test: 2 years
  • Police Certificate: 6 months
  • Digital Photo: 6 months
  • Medical Exams: 12 months
  • Educational Credential Assessment (ECA): 5 years
  • Translations: No expiration date unless the document changes or becomes expired.

Government Processing

  • Times Skilled Workers (Federal): 26 Months
  • Skilled Trades (Federal): 47 Months
  • Canadian Experience Class: 13 Months
  • Provincial Nominee Online: 18 Months Via Express Entry

For more information on which immigration option is best for you and your business, or for assistance designing your longer-term immigration strategy, reach out to me directly through my contact page.  We can set up a consultation to find the immigration option that works best for your specific needs.

Also, if you are someone who likes podcasts or watching YouTube videos, this blog post is also an episode of The Applicant Podcast!

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog post were accurate at the time of publication. Changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact the accuracy of the information provided above. This blog post is not updated on a regular basis.

Written by Rebecca B. Tripp

Originally posted on July 6, 2022

© Copyright. The Immigration and Paralegal Law Office of Rebecca B. Tripp. All Rights Reserved.

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Canadian Citizenship 101

Being a citizen of a country is something that many people take for granted, and what comes with citizenship status can often lead to some confusion.

In this article, we will explore what it means to be a Canadian citizen as opposed to a permanent resident, which groups of people are born as citizens, who can obtain Canadian citizenship, and how.

Let’s quickly start with some definitions:

https://www.canada.ca/en/services/immigration-citizenship/helpcentre/glossary.html

Canadian Citizenship: A person described as a citizen under the Citizenship Act. This means a person who: is Canadian by birth (either born in Canada or born outside Canada to a Canadian citizen who was themselves either born in Canada or granted citizenship); OR has applied for a grant of citizenship and has received Canadian Citizenship (Naturalization).

Naturalization: The formal process by which a person who is not a Canadian citizen can become a Canadian citizen. The person must usually become a permanent resident first.

What are the Differences Between Permanent Residents and Citizens?

Permanent residents of Canada have many of the same rights and responsibilities as Canadian citizens. Both groups of people are allowed to live and work anywhere in Canada, both enjoy protections under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and both have a right to enter and remain in Canada for as long as they wish. There are, however, several big differences between the two groups:

  • PR holders cannot serve in the army;
  • PR holders cannot vote in any elections;
  • PR holders cannot run for public office at any level of government;
  • PR holders can be deported if convicted of a serious crime;
  • PR holders must apply to renew their PR card every five years, or else they could lose their status;
  • PR holders have a limit on the time they may spend outside of Canada before losing their PR status;
  • The child of a Canadian citizen (naturalized or born in Canada) may automatically be considered a Canadian citizen, regardless of where the child was born. The child of a PR holder, if born outside of Canada, would not enjoy the same status; and
  • PR holders are not issued a Canadian passport.

Who is automatically a Canadian citizen?

  • Most persons who are born in Canada.
    • Unlike many first-world countries, Canada does not have laws against “birth tourism”, which is when parents choose to have their baby in another country so the child may enjoy citizenship status on that country. There are only a few exceptions to this though (as is with all things immigration). The definition of “in Canada” includes persons born on Canadian airspace and Canadian waters, as well as persons born on some Canadian vessels or aircraft.

  • Most persons who are born outside of Canadian to a Canadian parent.
    • There are, however, some exceptions to this rule. Persons born outside of Canada on or after April 17, 2009, to a Canadian parent, are only considered Canadian citizens if the parent was either a naturalized Canadian or was born in Canada. This exception serves to limit the generations of Canadian citizens that are born outside Canada and have no connection with the country. Effectively, this means there can only be one generation of Canadians born outside of Canada.

Who can become a citizen?

  • Permanent Residents
    • PR holders have a right to apply for citizenship and may do so as soon as they meet certain requirements. At the time of writing this article, PR holders may apply for a grant of Canadian citizenship if they have lived in Canada as a permanent resident for three (3) out of the last five (5) years and have filed their taxes. (This is different from maintaining Permanent Resident status, which is two (2) out of the last five (5) years). Some time spent in Canada as a temporary resident may count towards this requirement. As part of the naturalization process, PR holders aged 18 to 54 are required to prove sufficient language skills in either official language and pass a citizenship test.
  • Persons adopted by a Canadian citizen.
    • Such persons are considered to be born in the first generation outside Canada, and therefore cannot pass on their citizenship to a child born outside Canada.

Lastly, some Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: If my passport expires, does that mean I’m no longer a citizen?

A: No! Unlike temporary residence or permanent residence, once you are a citizen, you are a citizen and your passport expiring doesn’t change this. I know many Canadian citizens who do not have valid passports, and that doesn’t make them any less of a Canadian citizen.

Q: How long is the processing time for a Canadian Citizenship application?

A: 27 months! (I know, it’s insane!)

For more information on which immigration option is best for you and your business, or for assistance designing your longer-term immigration strategy, reach out to me directly through my contact page.  We can set up a consultation to find the immigration option that works best for your specific needs.

Also, if you are someone who likes podcasts or watching YouTube videos, this blog post is also an episode of The Applicant Podcast!

Apple Podcast Link: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-applicant-podcast/id1629521182

YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR4jq_cTry0CVEhX3mNJT_g/featured

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog post were accurate at the time of publication. Changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact the accuracy of the information provided above. This blog post is not updated on a regular basis.

Co-written by Lucas Wynheart and Rebecca Tripp

Originally posted on July 1, 2022

© Copyright. The Immigration and Paralegal Law Office of Rebecca B. Tripp. All Rights Reserved.

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Common Mistakes When Filling Out a Canadian Immigration Application on Your Own

Many individuals decide to complete their immigration applications on their own. While the option of not having a legal representative can save you money, it’s important to be aware of the common mistakes people make, as having a refused application on your record could mean a harder time down the road when applying for immigration status (in Canada or any other country you may want to travel to).

In order to avoid a refused or denied application, I’ve pulled together a list of 20 common (and even silly mistakes) that you should be aware of below:

  1. Not reviewing the application checklist AND country-specific checklist

Checklists can be long and intimidating, especially when it comes to deciding which items apply to your case, such as country-specific documents. At the end of the day, they are there to guide you through the application package and to prevent anything from being left out, so make sure you check off every applicable item on both checklists.

  1. Missing supporting documents

If the application checklist, lists a document that you must include, that is it – you must include it or provide a reason as to why it’s not included.

Example: If you are bringing your spouse and children with you to Canada, you must provide proof of your relationship (i.e., marriage certificate, birth certificate, proof of adoption, etc.).

  1. Providing expired (or almost expired) documents

Make sure your supporting documents are valid! Providing an expired document is equal to providing no document at all. And if it’s a required document, such as a police certificate, your application will be considered incomplete. So, make sure you are aware of the validity of the documents you are providing.

For example, a work permit will not be issued for longer than the validity of your passport. If your passport is only valid for one (1) more year, but you are asking for two (2) years, your work permit will only be issued for one (1) year and you will have to obtain a new passport and submit another application.

  1. Not updating the application throughout the processing period

If your documents expire while the application is still under review, you must send updated versions. Same point as above, an expired document is like having no document at all.

For example: If your police certificate becomes outdated before the immigration officer gets to your application, it will be considered “expired” and therefore your application will be rejected. Some immigration officers will reach out and ask for a new one, but this does not always happen, so don’t rely on the kindness of the immigration officer to oversee weaknesses in your application.

  1. Not including all passport pages

Some applications may require photocopies of every page of your passport, not only the “important” ones (such as the biographical or stamped pages). Each and every page of your passport needs to be accounted for if, for example, you’re asked to provide your travel history over the last 10 years. Since officers will cross-reference your passport with your submitted travel history (Form IMM5562), even a single missing page could cause your application to be refused or returned.

  1. Not translating all supporting documents

All documents must be in English or French (ideally one or the other), therefore you may need to translate some of your supporting documents such as your police certificates, National IDs, or educational documents. If they are not translated, your application will be considered incomplete (as the officer is unable to read your application) and it will be either sent back to you or you could receive a refusal. This is easily avoidable. More information on the translating of supporting documents, such as who can translate a document, can be found in the link below:

  1. Not meeting the photo specification

There are specific requirements for photos included with an application, and different requirements based on the type of application. I’ve seen applications be rejected for being off by millimeters. Print the photo requirements webpage for your application, get photos done by a local photo shop or photographer, don’t smile, and don’t wear a white shirt!

  1. Submitting the wrong forms

There are hundreds of immigration application forms that are updated often. Moreover, there are different forms for applications made from within Canada versus outside of Canada. One of your first steps in the application process should be to get your hands on the correct forms. From there you will know what information you need to provide and what supporting documents you will need to include. These forms are also updated often so download the forms right from the Canadian government website, and once you go to submit, double-check they are still the right versions!

To keep your application forms up to date, save this link in your bookmarks: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/application/application-forms-guides.html

  1. Submitting incomplete forms

Once you have chosen the correct forms, make sure you are taking the time to fill them out correctly. While it can be tempting to skip sections that do not apply to you, it is necessary to write “N/A”, “Not Applicable” or “None”. The form will tell you which of the three to include… yes, N/A does not work for all forms. Otherwise, immigration officers reading your application have no way of knowing whether a section or field was skipped because it did not apply to you, or because you forgot to fill it out.

  1. Mistakes within the forms

Application forms can make for long and repetitive work. It is not uncommon to make spelling mistakes, invert numbers or confuse fields. For this reason, it is extremely important to proofread your application at least once. Two eyes are better than one and don’t try to complete all the forms in one sitting. Take your time and go back to them multiple times before submission.

  1. Relying on advice from online forums

There are several online forums where people going through the immigration process help and support each other. While these can be great resources for coping with the stress of immigrating, it is important to avoid following legal advice from unlicensed persons, even if done with good intentions. Remember that applications are different for everyone. They change according to one’s personal conditions and country of origin, and the right answer for one person might lead to a refusal for another.

  1. Not signing and dating the forms

This is a silly one but it still happens often.

One of the last steps of submitting your application is signing and dating the forms. Not all forms require a signature, but if they do and your application is submitted without one, you risk having your application refused or denied. It is surprising how easy it can be to skip a signature field in a hundred-page-long application.

  1. Missing important information

It is very important to make sure you include all relevant and requested information in your application. You cannot leave out any necessary details or miss important facts, despite it being a lot of work. If there is not enough space in a form, attach an additional sheet and include all the information that is required.

For example, missing important information could look like:

  • Not providing your complete travel history.
  • Not listing all family members. In the Family Information form, you must include ALL siblings and children. If there is not enough space, continue a list of your siblings and children on a sheet of paper and attach it to the form. If you have not spoken to a sibling in years, or if your children are adults and not accompanying you, you still must name them in the Family Information Form.
  • Not listing your common-law partner. You must include your common-law partner or spouse in your applications. And, if you don’t include your common-law partner, you will likely be unable to sponsor them in the future.
  1. Including false information (intentionally or unintentionally)

Even more important than making sure you include all relevant information, you cannot include any false information, as this could lead to serious consequences. The use of false information in an application may lead to a finding of misrepresentation, which carries a five (5) year ban on entering the country.

For example:

  • You apply for an Ontario PNP, but you intend to live in Alberta.
  • Listing educational credentials, you did not receive or exaggerating your work experience.  
  1. Falling for trick-ish questions

While no form is built with the intention of tricking applicants, some questions can be a little ambiguous and confusing. It is important to read questions multiple times and follow the instructions to the letter. Also, if two forms are asking the same question, it means you have to provide the answer twice. Don’t assume since you’ve answered a question in one form, that you don’t have to repeat it in another. Look at the forms individually and answer ALL of the questions being asked of you.

  1. Not meeting eligibility requirements

Before submitting any application, it is important to make sure that you meet all the requirements. The process of filling out an application can sometimes be so long that, by the time the application is ready to be submitted, circumstances might have changed and you may no longer meet all the requirements.

  1. Submitting your application incorrectly

There are a few ways to submit your application; online, in-person at the port of entry, or by mailing in a hard copy. If it needs to be submitted by mail, pay close attention to finding the correct address. There are several mailing addresses listed on the government website, and even a perfectly completed application could be sent back if you mail it to the wrong address.

  1. Not leaving enough time for mailing in a hard copy application

This is a specific one, but important nonetheless. It’s important to factor in the time it might take for your application to arrive at a processing center.

For example, if you mail in your application to extend your temporary resident status just before your status expires, but due to Canada’s snail mail it arrives late and after your temporary residence expires, this means your application did not get submitted in time. Your application submission date is based on the day they received it, not the date you put it in the mailbox. Give yourself plenty of time!

  1. Not being mindful of application processing times

Be mindful of how long processing times are for your application. Even before COVID, Canadian government processing times can directly impact your life and ability to move freely. If you have implied/maintained status, when you leave Canada that status is terminated and you have to apply for new immigration status, so be extra mindful of your status document expiration date and processing times as well.

To check processing times, click on this link: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/application/check-processing-times.html

  1. Not paying the right fees

There are hundreds of different applications, all with different costs, and not all applications require online payment of fees. Double-check you are paying the right fee, and paying for it the correct way.

If your application does require a fee to be paid online, make sure you are on the official government website, that you select the correct fee and quantity, and that you print the receipt.

To pay for your application online, click on this link: https://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/fees/pay.asp

To check the application fee list, click on this link:

Final, some bonus Quick Tips:

  • Always include a Letter of Explanation (also known as a Submission Letter)
    • Explain who you are, what you are applying for, and how you meet the criteria of the immigration status you are applying for.
    • If there are any possible concerns the officer may have with your application, just address them in the letter of explanation (hence the name).

This is your chance to speak with the immigration officer, so take advantage of it!

  • Please don’t print out the forms and fill them out by hand. Yes, I’ve seen this happen. Fill them out on your computer and print them once they are complete (verified with barcodes if it is that type of form you are filling out), and make sure to sign and date them before submission.    
  • Have someone else read through your application before you submit it. By the time you are ready to send it in, you have likely been working on it for weeks (if not months) and might be too close to the project to see the errors. As said early, two sets of eyes are better than one!

In conclusion, all of these common/silly mistakes are easily avoidable if you are just aware and mindful of them. The Immigration and Paralegal Law Office of Rebecca B. Tripp offers Immigration Coaching for those wanting to self-represent and can do a complete review of your application in as little as three business days! For more information, reach out to me directly through my CONTACT page. 

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog post were accurate at the time of publication. Changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact the accuracy of the information provided above. This blog post is not updated on a regular basis.

Co-written by Lucas Wynheart and Rebecca Tripp

Originally posted on May 6, 2022

© Copyright The Immigration and Paralegal Law Office of Rebecca B. Tripp. All Rights Reserved.

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PNPs for International Students

Lake Louise, Alberta

It is no secret that Canada relies on skilled immigrants to fill key positions in the workforce. Different provinces, however, have different needs, and so there is a great variety of Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) throughout the country. It should come as no surprise that many of these programs target international students: resourceful, already in the country, receiving a Canadian education and ready to enter the workforce in skilled positions – international students are quite a catch. 

 

This blog entry will briefly explain what PNPs are and how they work, as well as list some of the most popular PNPs for international students throughout the country.

 

What are PNPs?

Immigration to Canada only really happens through the federal government. Canadian provinces and territories, however, have agreements in place with the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. These agreements allow provinces and territories to conduct their own recruitment of foreign nationals via provincial nominee programs. This does not mean provinces and territories control who can move where in Canada, but it grants them the ability to nominate candidates for permanent residence. Since PNPs exist so that provinces and territories can prioritize foreign nationals that would positively affect their individual economic needs, a candidate may only apply to a PNP if they have a real intention of settling in that province or territory.

How do they work?

Some PNPs are designed to work with the Express Entry system. When an Express Entry profile is created, you or your representative have the option to indicate interest in specific provinces or territories. This may lead to the receiving of a notification of interest, after which you may apply to a specific program to receive a nomination. A nominated candidate is awarded up to six hundred (600) points in the comprehensive ranking system (CRS), essentially guaranteeing the receipt of an invitation to apply. 

Some Provincial Nominee programs do not require the receipt of a notification of interest, and can be applied to directly, even before the creation of your profile.  

There are also PNPs that do not work through the Express Entry system. You or your representative can apply to these programs directly and, once nominated, a paper-based permanent residency application may be submitted. Paper-based PNPs may involve longer processing times than their Express Entry counterparts. 

PNPs Targeting International Students

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Vancouver, British Columbia

Express Entry BC (EEBC) or Skilled Immigration (SI) – International Graduate

 

This program from BC is open to candidates who have completed their education at a college or university anywhere in Canada within the last three (3) years. Candidates must also have a valid job offer from a BC employer for a full-time, permanent occupation classified under Skill Type 0 or Skill Levels A or B of the NOC. This program is available under both the non-Express Entry and Express Entry streams of the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP).

 

Express Entry BC (EEBC) or Skilled Immigration (SI) – International Post-Graduate

This program focuses on graduates from master’s degree and PhD programs in the fields of natural, applied or health sciences. This program is also available under both non-Express Entry and Express Entry based streams. Unlike the International Graduate program, however, candidates do not need a job offer to apply.

 

ONTARIO

Ottawa, Ontario

Employer Job Offer: International Student Stream

 

This program allows recent graduates with a valid job offer to apply for a provincial nomination. The job offer must be from an Ontario employer for a full-time, permanent occupation classified under Skill Type 0 or Skill Levels A or B of the NOC. The offer must also be for a position that is urgently necessary for your employer. To qualify, students must have graduated from a program in Canada that takes at least two (2) years of full-time study to complete, or one (1) year if the program requires a completed degree as an admission requirement.

 

Masters and PhD Graduate Streams

These programs allow foreign nationals to apply for a nomination within two (2) years of earning their PhD or master’s degree in Ontario. To qualify, candidates must have lived in Ontario for at least one (1) year in the two (2) years before the application.

 

MANITOBA

Red River, Winnipeg, Manitoba

The province’s International Education Stream (IES) consists of three pathways offered to international graduates whose skills could contribute to Manitoba’s economy:

 

Career Employment Pathway 

This program targets recent post-secondary graduates from a designated learning institution in Manitoba. To qualify, the program must have taken at least one (1) year of full-time study to complete, and must have been completed in the last three (3) years before the application. Candidates must also have a valid job offer for an in-demand occupation. 

Graduate Internship Pathway

Aimed at recent graduates of master’s degree or PhD programs in Manitoba, candidates may qualify for this program if they graduated within the last three (3) years and if they have completed a Mitacs internship, in their Accelerate or Elevate program.

Student Entrepreneur Pathway

This program focuses on foregin nationals with at least six (6) months of experience in operating a business in Manitoba while on a valid work permit. Candidates must be recent graduates from a post-secondary program in Manitoba lasting at least two (2) years, and must be aged between twenty-one (21) and thirty-five (35) years.

 

ATLANTIC PROVINCES 

(New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island)

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia

Graduates from a post-secondary institution in one of the four Atlantic provinces, from a program lasting two (2) years or longer and with a qualifying job offer can apply to the relatively new Atlantic Immigration Program. This is a federal program, rather than a PNP, which means qualifying candidates can apply for permanent residence right away. International students at an Atlantic province may be able to find resources on each province’s website to help them find a qualifying job offer.

For more information on which immigration option is best for you and your business, or for assistance designing your longer-term immigration strategy, reach out to me directly through my CONTACT page.  We can set up a consultation to find the immigration option that works best for your specific needs.

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog post were accurate at the time of publication. Changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact the accuracy of the information provided above. This blog post is not updated on a regular basis.

Co-written by Lucas Wynheart and Rebecca Tripp

Originally posted on April 26, 2022

Photos by Canva

© Copyright The Immigration and Paralegal Law Office of Rebecca B. Tripp. All Rights Reserved.