Archive for February, 2012

Canada Enforces Economic Sanctions Against Iranian Immigrant Investors

Henry Chang | February 16, 2012 in Canadian Immigration | Comments (0)

On November 22, 2011, in response to an assessment of Iran’s nuclear program by the International Atomic Energy Agency (“IAEA”), Canada imposed new sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act, S.C. 1992, c. 17 (“SEMA”). Among other things, the Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations (the “Regulations”) prohibit financial transactions with Iran, subject to limited exceptions.

For example, the prohibition on financial transactions does not apply to payments made pursuant to contracts entered into prior to November 22, 2011. In addition, Canadians with relatives living in Iran are still able to send funds to family members, provided those relatives are not specifically listed individuals and provided transactions do not exceed $40,000.00.

Unfortunately, these exceptions are of limited benefit to many Iranian citizens who may be seeking permanent residence under one of Canada’s immigrant investor programs. Iranians applying under the Federal Immigrant Investor Program, the Quebec Investor Program, and even investor streams under various Provincial Nominee Programs may be subject to these economic sanctions.

On January 20, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) issued Operational Bulletin 378 (“OB 378″), which provides instructions on how it will apply these economic sanctions. According to OB 378, CIC offices are instructed to continue processing applications for permanent and temporary residence of Iranian nationals and persons residing in Iran in accordance with normal procedures. However, in cases where applicants need to show that they can or have transferred funds to Canada, such as the Federal Investor Class, applicants should be informed that they may face restrictions in transferring funds to a Canadian financial institution and should be referred to the text of the Regulations.

OB 378 further states that persons affected by the sanctions on financial transactions, whether they be applicants for a visa or already in Canada, may apply for permits from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (“DFAIT”) that authorize specified activities or transactions that are otherwise prohibited under the sanctions. This permit process should be taken into consideration by CIC officials when assigning a deadline for submitting evidence that funds can be transferred to Canada or an investment made, prior to refusing an application from an Iranian national or person in Iran for failure to transfer the required funds or investments.

Fortunately, the above economic sanctions do not appear to prohibit Iranian citizens from qualifying as immigrant investors through the investment of funds held in third countries. Iranian applicants fortunate enough have access to such funds should not be affected by the Regulations.

CIC Provides Guidance on Concurrent Filing of Work Permit Extensions Without an Approved LMO or CAQ

Henry Chang | in Canadian Immigration | Comments (0)

CIC has been providing guidance to foreign nationals seeking extensions of their work permits through the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta (“CPC Vegreville”), while waiting for a Labour Market Opinion (“LMO”) or a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (“CAQ”) to be approved.

According to CIC, if a foreign national is ready to submit a work permit application to CPC Vegreville but is waiting for an LMO or CAQ, the application may still be submitted but only within two weeks of the expiry date of his or her existing work permit. In addition, proof that the LMO/CAQ request was made must also be included with the application.

Applicants who are submitting work permit extensions to CPC Vegreville under the above circumstances must therefore do one of the following (as applicable):

  1. They must include a copy of the LMO/CAQ application sent to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada/Immigration Québec;
  2. They must include a copy of the receipt confirmation number, if the request was done online; or
  3. They must indicate the following in Section D of IMM 1249:
    • The date the LMO/CAQ request was sent;
    • The office to which it was sent;
    • The employer’s name; and
    • the confirmation number for the submission, if available.

If the LMO/CAQ confirmation number is not available at the time of filing, applicants must contact CIC’s Call Centre and provide this information within two months of CPC Vegreville’s receipt of the application. Failure to do so may result in CPC Vegreville refusing the application.

CIC has also advised that applicants who are waiting for their CAQ may not submit their extension applications online. Instead, paper applications must be submitted by mail in such cases.