Tag Archives: permanent residence

This Mistake Costs People Permanent Residence in the United States


this mistake costs people permanent residence in the united statesIt doesn’t seem fair – you’ve put in time, effort, and probably no small amount of money into applying for and maintaining your legal immigration status in the US. But US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is now saying that you’re not eligible for permanent residency any longer. This isn’t uncommon. Many people make the same mistakes that costs them their permanent residency status. Read on to learn what the mistake is and how you can avoid it.

The Case of the Servano Family

In the early 1980s, two Filipina women moved to the US separately. These women became legal permanent residents. One woman had a son, Pedro Servano. The other woman had a daughter, Salvacion.

Each of these women applied for green cards on behalf of their unmarried children. Pedro and Salvacion came to the US. Salvacion became a registered nurse and Pedro completed his residency in Pennsylvania. They married in New Jersey in 1987. Over the years, they became parents to four children, all born in the US. Things were going well for the Servano family – the parents successfully renewed their green cards every ten years.

A problem arose when Pedro and Salvacion attempted to apply for US citizenship. USCIS discovered that the couple had been secretly married in the Philippines in 1985 before they came to the US, meaning that they weren’t eligible to come to the US as unmarried children of legal permanent residents. The US government issued an order of deportation for the Servanos.

Honesty Is the Best Policy

The Servanos probably didn’t think it was a big deal that they were secretly married. After all, who would find out about it?

As it turns out, the US government did. Their little white lie affected the Servanos in a big way.

You might be thinking, “Well, I wasn’t secretly married, so my permanent residency status in the US should be safe and sound.” It doesn’t have to be a secret marriage that causes problems. Withholding information or outright lying will jeopardize your permanent residency status in the US and could cause you to be deported.

Examples of Withholding, Omitting, or Lying about Information

Issues you might not think are terribly important to tell the US government when you’re applying for a green card or for citizenship could later come back to haunt you.

The US requires that permanent residents are physically present within the country for over six months every year for a minimum of three years. Let’s say you didn’t quite fulfill those requirements – maybe you had to go back to your home country to take care of an ailing relative, or perhaps you decided to do some traveling and see the world. “What if I don’t put down the exact dates that I was in the country?” you may think, “no one will know.” That’s not true. USCIS can check your passport and learn the truth. You might lose your permanent residency status and be barred from becoming a citizen.

Even something that happened in your country of origin could affect your green card application or status. Here’s an example: Joe was caught driving in Toronto under the influence. Ultimately, his record was expunged. A few years later, he met Heather from New York City. They fell in love, decided to get married and move to the Big Apple. On his application for permanent residency, Joe didn’t mention the traffic violation because he figured it had been expunged and his record was clear. The US government doesn’t see things that way – it has a very broad definition of arrests and convictions. Joe’s failure to disclose the violation caused the couple endless headaches with USCIS.

It’s possible to withhold, omit, or lie about information non-deliberately. It’s possible that you didn’t understand a question or section of the application, so you answered it as best you could. Let’s take Maria, for example. Maria’s native language isn’t English, and she has trouble deciphering the forms. There’s a health questionnaire, but because Maria doesn’t understand all of the words for the conditions listed, she doesn’t know how to answer some questions accurately. She guesses about several health conditions, including one she actually has. Maria writes that she doesn’t have them, but when USCIS finds out she does, the agency denies her application.

Turn to an Immigration Expert to Obtain Permanent Residency Status in the US

Do you want to avoid mistakes that could prevent you from becoming a permanent resident in the US? You need to talk to an expert in immigration law who will help you fill out your forms accurately and honestly.

Are you interested in immigrating to the US or Canada? Contact VisaPlace today.

All our cases are handled by competent and experienced immigration professionals who are affiliated with VisaPlace. These professionals consist of lawyers, licensed paralegals, and consultants who work for Niren and Associates–an award-winning immigration firm that adheres to the highest standards of client service.

Click here to book a consultation with an immigration professional orfill out our FREE assessment and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Published on: May 10th, 2016Published by: Michael Niren

5 Things Canada Can Do to Attract Needed Immigrants

5-things-canada-can-do-attract-immigrantsThis September it was announced by Ottawa that temporary foreign workers applications had dropped by 74 per cent for the period of July and August, compared to 2012’s application numbers.

The government claims these figures show its reforms to the current immigration program has been “successful”, although in the long-term it could create a problem for future recruitment in the area. It’s also at odds with the government’s other goals such as protecting Canadian jobs, as well as the investment of employers that goes into temporary foreign workers.

5 Things Canada Can Do to Entice Temporary Foreign Workers

So, what can Canada do to ensure enough immigrants are attracted to the country while still protecting Canadian jobs and the investment employers put in? Winnipeg immigration lawyer R. Reis Pagtakhan (who has over 18 years of experience in his chosen field) had a few things to say (five, in fact) on actions the federal government can take to ensure the best results for immigration in Canada, via an opinion piece for CBC news.

Probationary Permanent Residency Program

Pagtakhan started by saying:

“First, it is time that the federal government should call the temporary foreign worker program what it really is – a probationary permanent residency program.”

In his article, he suggests that referring to people as temporary foreign workers sets the impression that these workers are merely temporary, when in fact some could in fact have a bright future in Canada, if they wish.

Federal Government Needs to Backs Up Changes with Action

“Secondly, changing the name of these types of employees will only work if the federal government backs up any changes with action.”

The government has actually been promoting the temporary foreign worker program for probationary permanent residency via something called the Canadian Experience Class, which Pagtakhan suggests should be expanded. This would help to protect Canadian employers’ investment in foreign workers.

A Change to the Canadian Experience Class

“Thirdly, the federal government should change the Canadian Experience Class to allow all temporary foreign workers the ability to apply for permanent residency.”

Currently, the Canadian Experience Class is very restrictive and only allows those with a certain skillset to apply. Pagtakhan recommends opening this up to all temporary foreign workers.

Allow Probationary Permanent Residents to Apply for Permanent Residency

“Fourthly, the federal government should allow probationary permanent residents to apply for permanent residency immediately upon arrival, as opposed to waiting for one year.”

According to Pagtakhan, temporary workers have already been triple checked by the time they arrive in Canada, and should be allowed to apply for permanent residency as soon as they set foot on Canadian soil.

Government Should Stop Mixed Messages Regarding Immigration

“Finally, the federal government should stop its mixed messages on immigration.”

Saying one thing and doing another seems to be a by-product of the Canadian federal government, and moving forward the government needs to have a clearer message that immigrants are welcome to the country and are necessary for economic growth.

Contact us

If you are looking to immigrate to Canada and are in need of immigration services, contact the team of experts at VisaPlace today. Use the online form to book an initial consultation to find out more about how our services could benefit you. We’d be happy to help.

Published on: November 28th, 2014Published by: Michael Niren

Doctor gets immigration to Canada

Busy Physician gets his Canadian Permanent Residence

I am a busy physician and I wad referred to Niren and Associates. After a meeting, I entrusted my application to their hands. Sonia Grewal was handling my case and did a sterling job of quarter-backing the entire process.doctor immigration to canada

One year later I have my PR and am thoroughly satisfied. She made herself available at ungodly hours sometimes and had the patience to allow me to pester her with many emails. I have never been refused access to see her also, right unto the day of her engagement. I am truly grateful and pleased and satisfied and recommend her the firm highly to all out there.

Big thumbs up to Sonia!

T George

Published on: November 18th, 2014Published by: Michael Niren

5 Factors Required in Order to Apply for Canadian Citizenship

(Below is a transcription of this video)

Hello, my name is Michael Niren. I’m an immigration lawyer, and I’m here today to talk to you about applying for Canadian citizenship.

The 5 Factors Required to Apply for Canadian Citizenship

There are essentially five factors that you must take into account when applying for Canadian citizenship, and I’m here to discuss them with you.


The first factor is age. You have to be 18 years old or older in order to apply for citizenship. It’s that simple. If you’re younger than 18, you’re going to have to wait.

Residency Requirements

The next factor is residency requirements. You have to have resided in Canada for three years or 1,095 days in the past four years of applying for citizenship. You may be able to count the days you spend in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident.


The next factor is language. Canada has two official languages, English and French, and it is imperative that you know one of these languages. Sometimes you can know both, but so long as you know one. If you are between the ages of 18 and 54, you will be required to prove your ability to speak one of these languages.

Criminal History

Criminal history. The following are a list of reasons why people may not be able to apply for a citizenship. Number one, if you’ve been convicted in the last three years; number two, if you’ve been currently charged; number three, if you are in prison; number four, if you are under a removal order; and number five, if you are under investigation for a crime. So those are reasons why you may not be able to qualify for a citizenship.

Understanding of Canadian History

And the last factor to keep in mind when applying for citizenship is your knowledge of Canada. To become a citizen of Canada, you must demonstrate an understanding of Canadian history and values. You’ll be tested on this.

Are You Interested in Applying for Canadian Citizenship?

So I hope this video has helped you understand what are the factors when applying for Canadian citizenship. Thank you very much.

Contact our experienced team today, and let us help you with your Canadian Citizenship application.

Published on: November 13th, 2014Published by: Michael Niren

Residents Advised to Apply for Citizenship Before Citizenship Act, Bill C-24

citizenship-act-bill-c-24Many Canadian residents are being urged to apply for Canadian Citizenship in advance of some of the changes due to be brought into place following the introduction of the Citizenship Act Bill C-24.

There has been a lot of worry and confusion concerning future citizens and permanent residents of Canada, and how they should react to the new bill, so we’re going to go over some of the facts below.

Applying for Canadian Citizenship in Anticipation of Bill C-24

Although Bill C-24 is now law, some of the biggest changes expected to raise controversy will not actually kick in until next June, and in a nutshell, the new bill makes citizenship harder to achieve, and easier to lose.

Free Workshops Available

Luckily for residents in working-class Rexdale have been given access to a free citizen workshop run by the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic, which is helping immigrants and future immigrants (many with families in-tow) better understand how the changes will affect them.

One community legal worker, Aytaj Aliyeva, was recently involved in passing information on to members of her community. She said: “We are advising you to file your application as soon as possible if you are already eligible.”

Changes that are due to kick in next June (2015) include a raise in the exemption age for the language and citizen test to 65 (previously 55) and the requirement for applicants to have been present in the country for a total of four years out of six, rather than the previous three out of four, according to the Star.

Executive director of the Rexdale legal clinic, Ann McRae, stated: “We want to tell people it’s not too late, and they should take advantage of the old rules.”

Where the Confusion Lies

Because the changes – in many cases – were rushed through, there has been a bit of confusion over which rules apply, when, and to whom, and it’s said that immigrants who are the least educated and language proficient will be most affected by the new regulations.

Avvy Go from the Metro Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic highlighted the fact that many residents had lived in Canada for a long period of time and have lives there: “They have jobs, families and are well-integrated in the community but must wait till they turn 55 to apply for citizenship because they know their English is not good enough to pass the test.”

Now, if these older citizens do not apply in time, they will have to wait until they turn 65 to be exempt from the language tests, leaving many out in the cold with the chance of losing their permanent residency in the meantime.

One resident who will be affected is Xiao Gang Yin, a Chinese immigrant due to turn 55 years old in August, who has resided in Toronto since he arrived back in 1999.

Are You Concerned About Citizenship Act, Bill C-24?

If you are affected by Citizenship Act Bill C-24, or are in need of immigration services, contact the team at VisaPlace to book a consultation and find out more about how we can help you.

Published on: November 6th, 2014Published by: Michael Niren

Requirement Changes to the Live-in Caregiver Program

changes-to-live-in-caregiver-programAs recently reported in the Vancouver Sun – Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced that the federal immigration department has dropped the live-in requirement from its caregiver program. The federal government has also divided the program, which offers permanent residence to caregivers after working two years in Canada, into 2 streams – Child Care and a new Health Care Provider category. It has also, for the first time, imposed a cap on the program of 5,500 per year, divided evenly between the two streams. The government typically receives about 4,500 applications per year through the program, according to a Citizenship and Immigration Canada news release.

The cap will allow the government to process new permanent resident applications from live-in caregivers within six months, instead of the current three years. This will reduce the time the mostly female caregivers are separated from their own families to about two and a half years. Caregivers must work for two years before they can apply for permanent resident status.

The government also announced an immigration target of between 260,000 and 285,000 for 2015, an increase of 19,000 over 2014. Economic immigrants — such as skilled workers, investors and entrepreneurs — will constitute 65% of overall admissions, with the remaining 35% divided between family class and refugees.

We will report more on this and other related immigration stories as the information becomes available.

Do You Wish to Apply for the Live-in Caregiver Program?

If you have immigration questions, VisaPlace is here to guide you through the immigration process. We work with qualified immigration lawyers who can help you with your Live-in Caregiver Program
application. Contact us to book a consultation.

Published on: November 5th, 2014Published by: Michael Niren

Humanitarian, Compassionate Decisions No Longer Shielded from Review


Great news for Canadian immigrants! Last month, it was revealed that humanitarian and compassionate decisions made by visa officers regarding immigration are now no longer protected from review, due to a recent ruling on a Winnipeg case, which had been awaiting a Federal Court of Appeal decision.

Humanitarian, Compassionate Cases No Longer Protected from Review

The recent Habtenkiel case had Canadian lawyers waiting on tenterhooks, as it could easily have ended with a detrimental result slamming the door on many humanitarian and compassionate appeals. Instead, many have expressed gratitude over the Court’s decision.

Although the case brought with it a milestone decision with highlighted an important catch-22 in the immigration system, the young woman involved, Raheal Habtenkiel, did not win the appeal that would have allowed her to enter Canada as a legal immigrant.

Habtenkiel v. Canada

Raheal was born out of wedlock and was not listed by her father, Issak Habtenkiel, as one of his children when he applied to immigrate to Canada in 2009. He and his wife didn’t acknowledge Raheal, who was 13 at the time, due to cultural shame in the Eritrean Orthodox Christian community.

However, after coming to Canada, Habtenkiel and his wife experienced a change of heart and spent hundreds of dollars for legal fees and DNA testing as a means of proving Raheal was their legitimate child.

Unfortunately, Habtenkiel’s application was denied based on the infamous “excluded family member” rule, imposing a lifetime ban on sponsorship of any family member if an immigration officer does not get the chance to examine them at the time of the family member (or sponsor) first immigrating to Canada.

What This Controversial Ruling Means for Future Humanitarian & Compassionate Cases

This controversial ruling means that if a child or spouse is not acknowledged at the time of immigration, even due to a misunderstanding, miscommunication, legal advice or simple administrative error, CIC will refuse to accept these people as family members later down the line.

Raheal’s 2012 application to join her family included letters from both of her parents, and copies of emails sent from her half-siblings – also in Winnipeg – along with correspondence from a priest at her father’s Winnipeg church, her school based in Khartoum, and a letter from her mother that stated she was giving up guardianship of Rahael to her father.

The above may sound like strong enough evidence for most courts to take seriously, however the visa officer who interviewed her “didn’t feel there were strong enough humanitarian and compassionate reasons” for Raheal to join her dad.

The catch-22 situation was revealed when the Habtenkiels tried to apply to the Federal Court for a judicial review, finding they could not until all methods of appeal had been exhausted. However, it was impossible to file for appeal due to the Immigration Appeal Division’s refusal to hear it. Why?Because Raheal wasn’t considered a family member.

The ruling, made on July 25 this year, means that applicants who have been refused can now bypass the appeal process and seek judicial review of a visa officer’s initial decision.

Are Interested in Immigrationg to Canada on Humanitarian & Compassionate Grounds?

If you’re in need of immigration services and feel you may have a legitimate case to immigrate to Canada under Humanitarian & Compassionate grounds, contact VisaPlace. We work with qualified immigration lawyers who can help. Contact us to book a consultation.

Published on: November 3rd, 2014Published by: Michael Niren

US Relaxes Immigration Rules to Support Specialists and Their Families


Back in May, two new rules were proposed to relax US immigration rules in order to provide more support to highly skilled immigrants and specialists, along with their families.

Immigration Rules to Support Specialists and Their Families

The proposed rules will hopefully include a provision that will allow the spouses of skilled immigrants to work, and should make things easier for workers in specialist fields such as technology, science and engineering, according to officials.

US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said of the new rules: “These individuals are American families in-waiting. Many tire of waiting for green cards and leave the country to work for our competition. The fact is we have to do more to retain and attract world-class talent to the United States and these regulations put us on a path to do that.”

Proposed Regulation Changes

Overall, there are two regulation changes that have been proposed to come into play; the first of which would mean that spouses of those working in specialist fields and possessing H-1B visas would also be able to work in the US while their spouses await the response from ongoing green card applications.

Currently, visa holder spouses are unable to work, so this would be a positive change and would lift some of the financial strain immigrants have to go through while awaiting green cards.

According to Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, such a change could have a positive impact on up to 97,000 immigrant workers during the first year of implementation, and up to 30,000 a year following on from that.

The second new regulation to be proposed would allow employers access to a wider range of ways to document immigrant professors and researchers who are outstanding in their chosen fields of work.

Rejuvenating the US Immigration System

Pritzker is a supporter of President Obama’s drive to rejuvenate the US immigration system, allowing the country to “staple a green card to the degree of graduate students, instead of forcing potential innovators and job creators to leave after being trained at US universities.”

However, not everyone’s a fan of these proposed changes. Senator Jeff Sessions, a known opponent of immigration reform, claimed the administration is acting in a way that could make things harder on American workers by overflowing the labour market, lowering the amount of jobs available and reducing wages.

The Republican-led House of Representatives were quick to shun a sweeping immigration bill passed by the US senate last year, as it was viewed as a potential threat to the US economy.

Are You Interested in Immigrating to the U.S?

If theses proposed U.S. immigration changes affect you, or you are in need of immigration services, contact the team at VisaPlace today in order to book an initial consultation and find out more about how our services could benefit you.

Published on: November 1st, 2014Published by: Michael Niren

Skilled Immigrants ‘Express Entry’ Launch


The Canadian government began recruiting in 50 separate occupations back in May in order to prepare for the launch of the highly anticipated Express Entry program at the start of next year.

The new program is set to offer skilled immigrants a means of gaining express entry as permanent residents to work in jobs where there is a considerable shortage of Canadian workers.

‘Express Entry’ Launch

According to the government, the express entry program will make up for shortcomings in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (FSWP), and help to ensure that skilled and specialist workers can settle comfortably in the country in order to catch up with the country’s growing labour demand.

According to Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, the new program has become a “top priority” for his department, and will launch on January 1.

How Skilled Immigrants May Benefit

Skilled immigrants could benefit from express entry having applied via the FSWP, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), along with the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and also via a section of the Provincial Nominee Program.

On May 1, the Canadian government started accepting 25,000 applications under the FSWP, a significant increase from last year’s 5,000 applications.

Eligible Professions that Immigrants May Apply

In other great news, the number of professions that are eligible for immigrants to apply for has also been doubled. The country is now actively recruiting skilled immigrants for the FSWP for the 50 occupations below: (via CBC News)

  • Senior managers for services including financial, communications and other business (0013)
  • Senior managers for trade, broadcasting and non-classified services (0015)
  • Financial managers (0111)
  • Human resources managers (0112)
  • Purchasing managers (0113)
  • Insurance, real estate and financial brokerage managers (0121)
  • Healthcare managers (0311)
  • Construction managers (0711)
  • Home building and renovation managers (0712)
  • Managers for natural resources production and fishing (0811)
  • Managers in manufacturing (0911)
  • Financial auditors and accountants (1111)
  • Financial and investment analysts (1112)
  • Security agents, brokers and investment dealers (1113)
  • Financial officers (1114)
  • Professionals in advertising, public relations and marketing (1123)
  • Supervisors, finance and insurance office workers (1212)
  • Property administrators (1224)
  • Geoscientists and oceanographers (2113)
  • Civil engineers (2131)
  • Mechanical engineers (2132)
  • Electrical and electronics engineers (2133)
  • Petroleum engineers (2145)
  • Information systems analysts and consultants (2171)
  • Database analysts and data administrators (2172)
  • Software designers and engineers (2173)
  • Computer programmers and interactive media developers (2174)
  • Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians (2232)
  • Construction estimators (2234)
  • Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians (2241)
  • Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics (2243)
  • Inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety (2263)
  • Computer network technicians (2281)
  • Nursing coordinators and supervisors (3011)
  • Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (3012)
  • Specialist physicians (3111)
  • General practitioners and family physicians (3112)
  • Nutritionists and dietitians (3132)
  • Audiologists and speech-language pathologists (3141)
  • Physiotherapists (3142)
  • Occupational therapists (3143)
  • Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists (3214)
  • Medical radiation technologists (3215)
  • Medical sonographers (3216)
  • Licensed practical nurses (3233)
  • Paramedical occupations (3234)
  • University professors and lecturers (4011)
  • Psychologists (4151)
  • Early childhood educators and assistants (4214)
  • Translators, terminologists and interpreters (5125)

Are You a Skilled Immigrant Interested in ‘Express Entry’?

If you’re in need of immigration services regarding ‘Express Entry’, contact the experts at VisaPlace today to book a consultation.

Published on: October 30th, 2014Published by: Michael Niren

CIC Announces Spousal Sponsorship Targets for 2014


Back at the end of 2013, it was announced by Immigration Minister Chris Alexander that the CIC planned to welcome almost 50,000 sponsored partners, spouses and children this year.

Spousal Sponsorship Targets for 2014

There’s still time to apply for those looking to sponsor their partners, spouses or children, although it should be noted that from August 1, the age of dependent children who can be sponsored has dropped to under 19 years of age, even if children older are full-time students, or financially dependent on their parents. (The only exception to this is children who require their parents’ care due to a mental or physical condition.)

Spousal Sponsorship Spaces Available

Last December, the CIC released its annual immigration target levels report, which highlighted 68,000 out of a grand total of 260,000 immigration places were to be reserved for families, with 48,000 of that number to be for spouses and children. The other 20,000 were reserved for parents and also grandparents.

However, the Canadian government also recently changed some of its key regulations regarding spousal sponsorships, in particular bringing in a new conditional residency status which requires partners or spouses to be residing together for two years once they get to Canada, before the spouse or partner in question is awarded with their permanent residency status.

Another rule involves the government not allowing applicants sponsored partners to apply to sponsor a new partner within five years of their own sponsorship.

Spousal Sponsorship Controversy

According to officials, these two changes regarding spousal sponsorships have been put in place in order to minimize the number of cases of marriage fraud in the country, but already there has been controversy. Some think the two-year residency requirement may, for example, make spouses suffering from abuse feel that they have to stay with their spouse or partner for the minimum two years as the only way to attain their legal status in Canada.

The Canadian government also announced a new quota of 5,000 applications for new parents and grandparents to cover 2014.

CIC Minister Jason Kenney stated: “The Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification is on track to meet some of the goals of cutting in half the backlog and wait times in the Parent and Grandparent program. It is very important that we continue to make progress and not return to the old broken system with wait times as long as a decade – that would be unfair to families.”

Are You Interested in Spousal Sponsorship?

If you wish to sponsor your spouse, or require immigration services of any kind, contact VisaPlace to book an initial consultation today and find out more about how we can help you.

Published on: October 25th, 2014Published by: Michael Niren