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Canadian Legal Services Independent Class Application

What is an Independent Class application?

Independent applicants for permanent residence in Canada are processed on the basis of their individual skills and the likelihood they will contribute to the Canadian economy. Canada's Independent Class program utilizes a "points" based scale which requires that the applicant attain a total of at least seventy (70) points to qualify for permanent residence in Canada. The applicant will also have to establish that they are medically admissible to Canada under the provisions of the Immigration Act .

Please note carefully that Canada's Independent Class program is scheduled to change substantially in the year 2001. Qualified Applicant's are well-advised to file their cases now under the existing regulations to ensure that their cases are processed under the current, favourable standards. Hulka Porter LLP' case assesments are limited to the present regulatory framework.

It is important to note that the visa officer may in his or her discretion refuse to issue a visa to an applicant who does attain a score of seventy (70) or more points if the officer feels that the points awarded do not truly reflect the immigrant's chances successfully establishing him or herself in Canada. Conversely, the visa officer also retains the discretion to issue of immigrant visa to an applicant who earns fewer than seventy (70) points.

How does the points scale work?

The Immigration Regulations , 1978 require that, when considering an application made by an independent applicant, the visa officer consider the criteria set out in the Schedule 1 of the Regulations . These criteria are as follows:

1 Education (16 points maximum)
2 Education and Training Factor (18 points maximum)
3 French or English Language Ability (15 points maximum)
4 Age (10 points maximum)
5 Occupational Demand (depends upon occupation)
6 Demographic Factor (standard award of 8 points)
7 Experience (8 points maximum)
8 Arranged Employment (10 points maximum)
9 Designated Occupations (10 bonus points)
10 Close Relatives in Canada (5 points)
11 Personal Suitability (10 points maximum)

If the applicant attains at least sixty (60) points in the first ten categories above based upon the application forms and documents submitted to the Canadian Consulate, Embassy or High Commission abroad, the applicant will generally be invited to attend for an interview with the visa officer to determine that applicant's Personal Suitability score.

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What if I have no experience in my occupation?

At least one (1) year of employment experience in the occupation listed on your application is required. The only exceptions to this general rule are for those applicants who will work in a Designated Occupation (shortage occupations in Canada) and for those who have secured Arranged Employment in Canada (a validated job offer).

We may be able to locate suitable employment for you through the Porter Mathews Placement Services Inc., a licensed placement company affiliated with the Hulka Porter LLP Law Firm. Please fax or e-mail your CV to the attention of Mr. David Sanders, Director of Placement Services for assistance with Canadian employment opportunities.

Subsection 11(1) and (2) of the Immigration Regulations , 1978 provides that a visa officer shall not issue an immigrant visa to a person who applies for landing as an independent applicant if that applicant fails to obtain any points in the experience or occupational demand categories, unless that person has arranged employment in Canada. It is therefore critical to carefully review the occupation list in force at the time the application is filed as in many cases the applicant will qualify in more than one occupation category.

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What is the Independent Class application procedure?

Applications for Permanent Residence in Canada as a member of the independent class may be filed with any full-service Canadian Consulate, Embassy or High Commission abroad, in the case of applicants who are outside of Canada or the United States. For those applicants in Canada or the United States, the application may be filed at the Canadian Consulate General - Buffalo, New York Area Processing Center. The applicant does not have to file his or her application with the Consulate nearest their home country although this tends to expediate processing.

The application procedure entails a preliminary assessment of the documents provided by the immigration officer. The officer will then determine whether the applicant has at least sixty (60) points without counting the maximum ten points available in the Personal Suitability category.

The officer may then schedule an interview for the applicant or, in cases where the applicant has earned more than seventy (70) points without consideration of the Personal Suitability category, the officer may waive the interview altogether.

Once an application has been approved on the basis of points awarded, the applicant will be required to obtain police clearances and undergo a medical examination. If the applicant is cleared medically and criminally, an immigrant visa will ordinarily be issued to the applicant.

In total, the application procedure typically takes between six (6) and fifteen (15) months to complete from the date of filing through the date of visa issuance. Processing times very greatly from one Consulate to the next so it is important to select a Consulate that has a good track record in handling Independent Class cases.

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Can my family members apply with me?

Spouses of Independent Class applicants can apply together with the principal applicant as a spouse or they may request that their credentials be examined under the Independent Class categories along with the principal applicant's. Minor children (under age 19 or full-time dependent students over 19) may also be included in the principal applicant's application.

What are the Canadian Government application fees?

Application fees for most Canadian immigration matters are expensive. The government application fee for permanent residence cases in $500.00 (CN) per adult applicant (includes spouse) over age 19. Dependents or children of the applicant under age 19 must pay a $100.00 (CN) application fee. In the event of approval, the government charges a $975.00 (CN) "Right of Landing Fee" for each adult applicant over age 19 (includes spouse).

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Will I qualify for immigration to Canada?

Please complete our on-line Consultation Form and post all requested information so that we may conduct an assessment of eligibility for you. We will try to assess your case within 24 hours of posting.