Immigrate to Canada. Insights from Shireen Kapoor, lawyer in Toronto

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Ms. Kapoor is partner of the law firm ACE LAW LLP and particularly does Immigration, Civil litigation and Business law. She is fluent in Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi and English. She understands the challenges from different parts of society and knows how to find solutions for every situation and knows the ins and outs of the process on how to immigrate to Canada.

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LAWGATE gets a lot of requests from people living in Africa, who are seeking for legal help with regard to immigrate to Canada. Have you made the same observation?

Yes. The primarily reason is that the public welfare, social benefits, security of life and human rights in Canada is very high. Secondly, people prefer to immigrate to Canada over any other country because of its lenient immigration policies.

Is it challenging to get a Visa for Canada?

There are different options to get a Visa for Canada. For one, the immigration policy in Canada categorizes in people who are skilled and qualified. Then, there is a category for people who are looking for investment or who want to open their own business in Canada. There are also different options for moving to a province under the provincial nomination program.

Canada is a large country. The population is so low that once you are out of the main cities, you will not meet any people anymore. Canada has a lot of land, but not enough people. And this consideration is part of the immigration policy here in Canada. Aged and retired population outnumbers the young ones in Canada at the moment.

In fact, I think before COVID, the minister of immigration went public with the statement of immigrating one million people until 2022.

What is the background of this goal?

The goal is to increase skilled young workers who can also provide significant growth to the Canadian Economy.

In fact, Canada needs more investors, farmworkers, metalworkers, truckdrivers, and more skilled people in the tech category. So, there are different categories of open positions that need to be filled. Studying is another option for people who don’t fit in any of these working categories.

Does heritage matter with regard to the immigration process?

The beautiful part about Canada and its immigration policy is that all passports are treated equal. No passport has a special status. Whether you come from Europe, from Australia, or another part of the world, you will be given the same type of eligibility. Except if coming from the US or Mexico. The US and Mexico have a state contract with Canada that contain special rules concerning immigration to Canada (and vice versa), known as the CUSMA.

Do personalities or liquidity matter?

It depends on the category. If you are going for the business immigration or the investment stream, you do not qualify under the skilled stream. In this case money does matter. On the other hand, if you fall under the skilled category, money is not the primarily thing the immigration officer is looking at.

How long does it take to get the citizenship in Canada?

Once you have become a permanent resident, and you have spent three years in Canada within a time period of five years, you become eligible.

In which part of the immigration to Canada process can you help?

Once a person has contacted us I will give an overview of the immigrate to Canada process. I will then ask for the basic background, a CV, and – if relevant – information about the financial investment the client intents. Because some clients do not have a big net worth and their liquidity is low.

So, the clients have to be honest in order to assess the best option possible to immigrate. For instance: People who have crossed the age of 33 or 34 qualify less for the skilled immigration, because in Canada we have a point-based system. You will get less points the higher your age is as Canada already has an old population.

After this first step, we will discuss the further process, the costs and the time schedule. In the following, we will gather all the necessary documents and file them to the authority in charge. Yet, not only do we do the documentation; if it is a business immigration, we also do the business plan, auditing of the business and everything else, that is necessary.

What are the common difficulties that arise?

One problem I have faced is dishonesty of the client in the whole process. This is not limited to immigration though; I also do litigation for example, where I experience the same issues. Once I have discovered inconsistencies, the client needs to be patient while we correct any discrepancies.

This is a process that needs time, and people get impatient due to personal circumstances. This I understand. Still, I appeal the clients to the trust to their lawyer and to the immigration consultant, whoever he might be.

The second problem that arises frequently is that clients don’t have authentic information. They come to us at a stage where their case has been messed up already. There are scams and immigration frauds in the market. Unfortunately, these scams are happening all the time. In fact, it is all over the news sometimes. You must be aware of this and not be afraid to get the license number of the lawyer you are dealing with, or the IRCC number of the immigration agent. Now, this is on the client’s front.

Problems arising at the immigration service are the third common issue. The immigration officer sometimes claims that the business is not something that’s required in Canada. Therefore, the object of business has to be compliant with the laws in Canada and with what is needed.

Last but not least the fourth problem that immigrants are often facing is a problem with the work permit. The reason of refusal of a work permit usually is the authority, claiming that the client will not go back to his home country. Because the home country ties need to be very strong when it comes to a work permit. They want to see that you are going back, even with the visitor Visa. Thus, along the process you will have to present a statement that shows your ties.

You are very passionate about your work! When did you decide to become a lawyer?

I am an immigrant myself; I am from India. In India I was a lawyer as well. What happened is that I needed to do several exams here in Canada and complete some trainings. After that I was able to qualify as a lawyer in Canada.

I have always loved the law and I was always passionate about it. I have opened my own law firm with a partner lawyer in Canada. All this risk that I have taken to do this is because I like the client’s satisfaction when we succeed. This is a very important part of my practice.

What is challenging about your work?

Managing client’s expectations. This can be challenging. Also, sometimes I feel that clients try to not value the time of a professional. I do not appreciate if this happens.

To catch up on the client’s expectations, and for our readers that are about to contact you to immigrate to Canada: How long does the immigration process usually take, if everything works well?

If all is in place, if the client qualifies and the process is going well, then I would say six to eight months. But it also depends on the category. It is also not unusual that the immigration officer is not convinced. In these cases, it is necessary to negotiate with the authority several times. This can delay the process several months. I have seen cases where it took only four months. So, it really depends on the individual case.

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