Express Entry First Draw – 779 Invitations To Apply Issued

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First Invitations To Apply issued to 779 candidates, whom had higher than 886 points under CRS.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has conducted the first draw from the Express Entry pool. during the final week of January.

Number of Invitations To Apply

For the purposes of paragraph 10.2(1)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the number of invitations that may be issued during the period beginning on January 31, 2015 and ending on February 1, 2015 is 779.

Ranking Requirements

Candidates who have been assigned a total of 886 points or more under the Comprehensive Ranking System, received invitations to apply for permanent residence.

“Express Entry is already getting impressive results in its first month. The fact that everyone who was invited to apply for permanent residence in this round of invitations already has a valid job offer or provincial nomination shows that Express Entry is working to fill Canada’s existing labour market gaps.” Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister said, “With Express Entry, highly skilled candidates with a high chance of success in Canada are invited to apply for permanent residence, bringing them to Canada more quickly and easily than ever before.”

To find out if you qualify under Express Entry, please fill out our free online evaluation today.


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Express Entry British Columbia

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Launching of Express Entry British Columbia


Vancouver, British Columbia

Under the Express Entry System, British Columbia is adding a new category in their Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) called Express Entry British Columbia. Nominee Applicants who meet all of the following requirements will receive priority processing of their PNP application, and permanent residence application once they are nominated:

  • Qualify for at least one of the federal economic immigration programs subject to CIC’s Express Entry system
  • Obtain a Express Entry Profile Number and, if applicable, a Job Bank Validation Code, and indicate their interest in immigrating to B.C.
  • Qualify under one of the PNP’s Express Entry British Columbia categories.

The PNP’s new Express Entry British Columbia stream will significantly reduce the application processing time for eligible skilled workers who are willing to live and work in British Columbia. This new stream also allows PNP to use CIC’s Express Entry system to meet B.C.’s specific labour market needs.

Streams under the Express Entry British Columbia including:

  • Express Entry British Columbia – Skilled Worker
    • Express Entry British Columbia – Health Care Professional
  • Express Entry British Columbia – International Graduate
  • Express Entry British Columbia – International Post Graduate

If you are interested in applying to the Express Entry British Columbia, use our online tool to assess your eligibility, or contact us for more information.

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Unveiling the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program

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New Immigrant Investor Pilot Program

CIC announced that Canada will launch a pilot program in January 2015, to attract experienced business persons who can actively invest in Canadian economy, stimulating innovation, economic growth and job creation.

Immigrant Investors will be required to meet certain program eligibility criteria such as language and education level, proven business or investment experience, as well as an investment of $2 million for a period of 15 years and having a net worth of $10 million. Immigrant investors who are selected will be required to obtain a due diligence report from a designated service provider in order to prove that their net worth of at least $10 million has been obtained from lawful, profit-making business activities.

This will ensure that the applicants will have a strong impact in the Canadian economy, and that those admitted for permanent residence will be well prepared to integrate into Canadian business landscape and community. The investments will be gathered into the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Fund, and will be used to seed innovative Canadian start-ups with high growth potential.

This new Immigrant Investor Capital Pilot Program will begin accepting application in late January in the year of 2015, and will provide a pathway to permanent residence for approximately 50 immigrant investors and their families.

The Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program is designed to fulfill the government of Canada’s commitment in Economic Action Plan 2014 to create a more focused and effective pilot program that will ensure that immigrants who come to Canada deliver meaningful benefits to Canadian economy, as part of the transformational changes in order to build a fast & flexible economic immigration system.

The Government of Canada ended the previous Immigrant Investor Program and the Entrepreneur Program as neither program was determined to have contributed to Canada’s economic growth. Research indicated that immigrant investors under the previous programs were less likely than other immigrants to stay in Canada over the medium to long term. By requiring a non-guaranteed investment of $2 million and including more selection criteria for skills and abilities, the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program will test a new approach to immigrant investor program in Canada.

“Our Government is focused on building an immigration system that meets Canada’s economic and labour market needs. Through the launch of this pilot program, we are attracting investors who can make a significant investment and who have the education and proven business or investment experience necessary to achieve success in Canada. As we move forward, our Government will continue to ensure that our economic immigration programs provide a direct benefit to Canada and contribute to long-term prosperity and economic growth.”

 — Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister

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Parent and Grandparent Program Re-Opening January 2, 2015

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Parent and Grandparent program re-opening January 2, 2015

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has announced that the Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP) will re-open in January 2, 2015, with similar admission criteria and application cap as last year. The Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP) is designed for Canadian citizens and permanent residents to bring their foreign parents and grandparents to Canada as Permanent Residents.

CIC will accept applications until the 5,000 cap of complete applications has been reached. the intake of new applications to sponsor parents and grandparents starting January 2, 2015, at 8:00 a.m. Eastern standard time (EST). Applications must be individually packaged. All applications received after the cap has been reached will be returned to the applicant.Applications received before January 2, 2015 will not be accepted and will be returned to the applicant.

Basic Requirements for sponsor:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident;
  • Be 18 years of age or older;
  • Exceed the minimum necessary income level for this program by submitting notices of assessment issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in support of their sponsorship. Sponsors must also demonstrate they have met the minimum necessary income level for three consecutive years. If married or in a common-law relationship, the income of both persons can be included;
  • The sponsor must sign an undertaking to repay any provincial social assistance benefits paid to the sponsor and accompanying family member(s), if any, for a period of 20 years, if necessary. If the sponsor resides in Quebec, an additional ‘undertaking’ must be signed.

Individuals willing to bring their parents and /or grandparents to Canada, can also do so through the Super Visa Program.

For more details about the parent and grandparent program (PGP), please see: Family Sponsorship -Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP)


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Open Work Permit for Spouses and common-law partners living in Canada

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Canada launches pilot program for spouses waiting for permanent residency

December 22, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada launched a one-year pilot program to issue open work permits for eligible spouses or common-law partners who are applying for permanent residency from inside Canada, before the decision on their PR application is made.

Applicants who have already submitted an inside Canada spousal sponsorship application can now submit an open work permit application to CIC. New inside Canada spousal sponsorship applicants can submit their open work permit application along with their PR application package to CIC’s case processing centre in Mississauga. A standard medical exam will be required for the Work Permit Application.

Before this pilot program, Canada’s Open Work Permit only issues to Spousal Sponsorship Applicant from outside Canada. Open Work Permit for Spouses and common-law partners living in Canada allows applicants to work for any employer for a specified period of time while their permanent residence applications are processed. The open work permit would also allow the applicants to receive provincial health coverage while waiting for the decision on their permanent residence applications.

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Getting Ready for Express Entry

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Getting Ready to Launch Express Entry

On December 1, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada Minister, Chris Alexander, announced that the government is one month away from launching the Express Entry – Canada’s new immigration recruitment system. The system will launch at 12 noon EST January 1st, 2015. The first draw for an invitation to apply is scheduled for the last week of January.

The Minister promises the Express Entry will result in faster processing and will allow the Government more flexibility and adaptability when responding to Canada’s changing labour market needs. Those with valid job offers or provincial/territorial nominations will be picked first.

How Express Entry Works

Express Entry will manage Canada’s Permanent Residence applications under the following Economic Immigration Programs:

Provinces and territories will also be able to recruit candidates from the Express Entry system for a portion of the Provincial Nominee Programs to meet local labour market needs.

The Express Entry System has two steps:

Step 1 – Potential Candidates to Complete an Online Profile

  • Complete a Language Test – In order to create a profile, candidates must provide their language test results from a recognized test – IELTS, CELPIP or TEF.  Candidates cannot create a profile without having their individual test information.
  • Have your Education Assessed – Candidates who completed their education overseas must have it assessed by a recognized education assessment body. Only those with at least one year of skilled Canadian Experience in the past three years, OR whose experience is in a skilled trade, are exempt from providing this report.
  • Complete an Online Express Entry Profile  – When candidates have their language test results and their education credential assessment (if required), they can now create a Express Entry Profile. This is a secure form that the candidates will use to provide information about their skills, work experience, language ability, education and other details that will help CIC to assess them. Those who meet the criteria of one of the immigration programs listed above will be accepted into a pool of candidates.

If a candidate does not already have a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) (if applicable), or a nomination from a province or territory, by the time of the submission of the Express Entry profile, the candidate will need to register with Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Job Bank. The Job Bank will help connect Express Entry candidates with qualified employers across Canada.

Step 2 – The Highest-Ranked Candidates in the Pool Will Be Invited to Apply for Permanent Residence

  • Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) – A points-based system will be used to score and assess a candidate’s profile and rank them in the Express Entry Pool. Express Entry candidates will be given a score out of 1200, based on the four parts of the CRS formula:
    1. Skills and experience factors (key to economic success for immigrants once in Canada)
    2. Spouse factors (such as language skills and education)
    3. Skills transferability (including education and work experience – factors that when combined, result in better chances of being employed, and higher earnings)
    4. Additional points for those with a nomination from a province or territory or a valid job offer.
  •  Invitation To Apply (ITA) – Candidates have 60 days to submit an online application for permanent residency after receiving the ITA.

What Happens if a Candidate Does Not Get an Invitation to Apply?

The Express Entry Profile can stay in the pool for up to 12 months. If candidates do not get an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence within 12 months of submitting an Express Entry profile, they may submit a new profile. If they still meet the criteria, they will be eligible to re-enter the pool. This will prevent backlogs and ensure quick processing times.

Getting Ready For Express Entry

If you are wanting to apply under Canada’s new immigration recruitment system in the beginning of 2015, here are some suggestions to get ready for Express Entry.

  • You will need to take a language test. According to the new Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), candidates’ language ability will be one of the most important factors in order to rank higher in the pool. CIC will use your language test results to see whether you are eligible to immigrate to Canada under one of the immigration programs under the Express Entry. You will need to meet certain Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) in order to gain more point in CRS. You can click here to see how CLB works
  • If your education experience are from outside Canada, you may need to have your educational credentials assessed against Canadian Standards
  • You will need to understand the Skill Type/Occupation of your work experience, as well as what do you plan to do in Canada. to find out the details of your skill type. Jobs in Canada are classified by what are called National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes, which are divided by skill level and skill type.

Quick Facts to Know About Express Entry

  • No Eligible Occupation List: As of January 1, 2015, the eligibility for Express Entry will not include a list of eligible occupations. Candidates will need to demonstrate that they have worked at least one year in a skilled occupation within the past 10 years.
  • Fully Electronic Processing System: The entire Express Entry process, including steps one and two, will be conducted online.
  • Language Proficiency required prior to entering the pool: Candidates will have to demonstrate proficiency in an official language of Canada, either English or French, in order to enter the Express Entry pool. Candidates will not be able to enter the Express Entry pool without submitting language test results that meet the eligibility requirements for one of the federal economic immigration programs.
  • Profiles in the Express Entry Pool are editable: News showing that candidates can update their profiles in the pool. This means that candidates will be able to maneuver within the Comprehensive Ranking System if they gain additional points
  • Invited applicants have 60 days to file a complete application: If an applicant gets an invitation to apply, but fails to submit a complete immigration application and all supporting documents, the applicant will not have a second opportunity to file the an application under the same invitation to apply.

“With the launch of Express Entry in January, our Government will build on our strong and proven record of helping immigrants succeed, and helping Canada’s economy thrive. Starting January 1st, we will be able to select the top economic immigrants who will contribute to our economy, labour market and communities.”

 – Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada


For more information about the Express Entry and to learn how we can help, please contact us.

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Canada Is Welcoming 260,000 – 285,000 New Immigrants In 2015

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Canada Announced Annual Immigration Plan 2015

Canada Government announced its annual immigration plan today. The Government of Canada is planning to welcome between 260,000 to 285,000 new immigrants in 2015. which is approximately 19,000 more admissions planned over the year of 2014.

The 2015 levels plan achieved the highest planned level of admission in recent Canadian history. The increase of admissions for 2015 also demonstrates the government’s commitment to reducing processing times as well as the large economic immigration program backlogs.

Here is a brief summary of estimated immigration increases for 2015:

  • 64.9 per cent for economic immigrants (181,300),
  • 24.4 per cent for family class (68,000), and
  • 10.7 per cent for humanitarian and compassionate cases (29,800).

Increasing admission levels will also help with the launch of Canada’s new application management system, Express Entry, on January 1, 2015. The 2015 levels plan allows admissions space to process existing applications as well as new applications that will be received for main economic programs under Express Entry. The new system will enable Canada’s immigration system to be more flexible and responsive to the needs of employers, as well as to changing economic conditions and priorities.


“The Government of Canada is proud to table our immigration plan for 2015, which strengthens our government’s focus on long-term economic growth for all Canadians. Through the 2015 immigration plan we will welcome a record number of individuals who will contribute to our economy and labour market, while also ensuring that we reunite more families and continue to provide assistance to the world’s most vulnerable populations. As we prepare to launch Express Entry in January 2015, this plan will help us attract skilled immigrants who are most likely to succeed.”

Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister

For more information, please Contact Us

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What’s the Difference between an Immigration Consultant or Lawyer

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What’s the Difference between an Immigration Consultant or Lawyer

When searching online for the difference between immigration lawyers and immigration consultants, you’ll find various opinions. It’s no surprise that when an opinion is written by a lawyer, it favours lawyers over consultants. When written by a consultant, it favours consultants. It’s a given one promotes its own profession over another, especially when they are in competition for business.

When I am asked this question, I am always happy to answer it. Given our firm is a combination of lawyers and consultants, my answer is somewhere in between. Yes, there is a slight difference of what services they can offer. However, for most immigration cases, the critical question is not what profession is better, but what individual is the most professional, trustworthy and has the relevant experience and knowledge for your case.

Here are the two main differences between the lawyer and consultant profession:

  • Services: When it comes to practicing immigration law, lawyer and consultants can offer most of the same services. Lawyers however can represent a client in federal court for complicated cases, whereas a consultant can only go up to the appeal tribunal level when there is an issue with an application.
  • Education: Lawyers graduate from law school, having studied various areas of law over a three year period, plus articling with a firm and writing the bar exam. They typically specialize in two or three areas once they graduate. In contrast, consultants do a 6 to 12 month course specifically on immigration law, and write a national exam. Both programs have a prerequisite of university.

For complicated cases, it’s crucial the applicant has a lawyer or consultant who can provide proper representation. When it is possible the application could go to the federal court, having a lawyer from the beginning of the process (at submission) may be a wise idea. Keep in mind that while consultants cannot go to the federal court, not all lawyers are interested handling these type of cases either.

Furthermore, education is only part of the equation to being a qualified lawyer or consultant. Experience and ability to interpret and apply the law are extremely important. To say all lawyers or all consultants are more experienced than the other is false. Both lawyers and consultants must start somewhere when they enter their profession. They equally find their own niches as well. One lawyer may be an expert at family sponsorships, whereas a consultant may be more experienced with temporary foreign workers. There are over 60 immigration programs. It’s hard for any professional to be an expert in all.

Regarding fees, both consultant and lawyer fees can range among their own peers and between professions. It is true that often immigration consultants charge less for some cases than a lawyer would, but not always. We’ve seen both lawyers and consultants fees range between $8,000 – $10,000 at one firm, and $3,000 to $5,000 at another, for the same service. Our recommendation is to do your research. Get a sense of what the market rate is.

At the end of the day, it’s your future in Canada. Choose a professional, whether it is a lawyer or consultant, that you feel is right for you. Ask about their experience. Meet them in person or on skype when possible. Read client reviews and testimonials. Know their fees. You want someone who is professional, experienced and trustworthy. Remember, you could have a great or bad experience with either an immigration lawyer or consultant.

At Bell Alliance, we have a combination of lawyers and consultants. Our lawyers are experts in Real Estate, Estate Planning and Corporate Law. While they are sometimes involved in an immigration case, its our regulated immigration consultants who work intimately with our clients on immigration matters. Our lawyers and consultants collaborate with and support each other, which in turn gives our clients confidence that all their legal matters can be taken care of under one roof. As a team, we offer clients a one-stop shop for their individual, family and business needs – immigrating to Canada, buying their first home, re-doing their wills or setting up or expanding a business.


Author: Heather Bell

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Canada’s Business Express Program launched in Bulgaria & Romania

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Citizenship and Immigration Canada launched a new Business Express Program (BEP) in Bulgaria and Romania, in order to make it easier and faster for business persons from these countries to come to Canada.

Earlier this year, Canada has successfully launched Business Express Program in India, Mexico and China with visitor visas issued ideally within 3 days as well as an approval rate of close to 100%. As an important part of further strengthening Canada’s relationship with Bulgaria and Romania, The BEP will make business travel from both countries easier and visas quicker to get.

Reliable companies from Both Bulgaria and Romania, whose employees frequently travel to Canada for business purposes will be invited by the Canadian Embassy in Bucharest to take part in the program.

“Canada values its strong relationship with European Union members and wants to maximize the opportunities before us to increase prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic. The Business Express Program will facilitate legitimate business, tourism and trade. It is an indication that ties between Canada and our European partners are strong and getting stronger. ” — Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister.


For more information, please contact us.


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New Changes to Canadian Passport Applications

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CIC announced new changes to  Canadian Passport Applications. These changes will take effect on October 20, 2014.

ID Requirements for Adult Applicants

General Adult Applicants (Applicants age 16 and over) will need to provide the proof of identity document issued by a federal or provincial/territorial government authority, or local equivalent abroad, and must contain all of the following elements:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Gender
  • Photo
  • Signature

If an applicant couldn’t provide a single piece of identification that meets all the requirements, then they will be able to provide multiple pieces of ID documents that will fulfill the requirements together. However, all pieces of identification must be linked by at least one common element.

Assume A Relationship Surname on Your New Canadian  Passport

For applicants that are applying for a new passport using an assumed relationship surname that is different from the name by birth or on the citizenship certificate, the applicant will need to submit at least one of the following documents showing the relationship surname that are requesting, issued by a federal or provincial/territorial government authority, or local equivalent abroad, along with the birth or citizenship certificate:

  • Marriage Certificate
  • Common-law Relationship Certificate
  • Court Order issued by a court of law in or outside Canada
  • Certificate to dissolve a registered common-law relationship
  • Resumption of Surname Certificate

Legal Name Changes

Applicant applying for a new passport with a legal name change, will need to first modify the proof of Canadian Citizenship to reflect the new legal name.


For more information, please contact us.

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