Category Archives: Immigration Law

Open Spousal Work Permit Pilot Program Extended Again

It was expected that, the pilot program for the inland processing of open work permit applications for spouses and common-law partners in Canada will be extended, as there is no reason for this program to end. Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada set this program to expire on July 31, 2020.

This pilot project allows eligible common-law partners and spouses who reside in Canada and are undergoing the sponsorship process to apply for a temporary residence as workers and remain in Canada under the worker category until their permanent residence application is finalized.

The open work permit does not require a specified employer and the temporary worker has the option to work for any employer in Canada. This program ensures that applicants are able to contribute to their families and to the Canadian economy while their sponsorship applications are processing.

An open Spousal work permit can be extended if for any reason the permanent residence application takes longer than expected to process. Applicants need to make sure that they apply for their extensions before their current work permits expire.

Require assistance in preparing an open work permit application or inland spousal or common-law sponsorship applications? Contact Luba Dinkova at

The Start-Up Visa Program provides entrepreneurs with permanent residency and a connection to business partners. It enables immigrant entrepreneurs to launch innovative businesses that will create jobs in Canada and, eventually, to compete globally. The Program also links these entrepreneurs with private sector groups in their new country who have experience working with start-ups and who can serve as an essential resource and champion for their success.

These are the top five best attributes of Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program:

  1. The program supports innovative business.The Program encourages the establishment of innovative businesses in Canada that can create jobs and compete on a global scale, benefitting the Canadian economy.
  2. No investment requirement.Unlike other Canadian business immigration programs, applicants under the Start-Up Visa Program do not need to invest any of their own funds into their Canadian business. Funding can come from a Canadian venture capital fund, Angel Investor, or business incubator.
  3. No net worth requirement.Many applicants are unable to immigrate to Canada because they cannot explain where their money came from. With no investment requirement, the Start-Up Visa does not require applicants to substantiate their assets or source of funds.
  4. No management experience requirement. Most other programs only accept applicants with business ownership or management experience. This Program only requires applicants to have an innovative business idea that can garner support from a designated Canadian investor.
  5. Processing times are fast.Applicants can receive permanent residence in a little over a year, much faster than any other business program.

For more information on whether you qualify for the Start-Up Visa Program contact Pace Law today.


Vince Lalonde leads the global investor immigration Practice at Pace Law. He advises financial institutions, government bodies and developers on the legality, viability and marketability of their investor immigration projects and programs. He was instrumental in opening up the Chinese market for several successful immigration products, including PEI PNP, Saskatchewan PNP, Singapore Investor, UK Tier 1 Investor, St. Kitts Citizenship, and Dominica Citizenship by investment programs. Vince advises international investors seeing citizenship or permanent residence abroad on the most suitable investment option to help them achieve

Irregular vs. Illegal. What’s In A Name?

There is an argument over whether Canada should be using the words “irregular” or “illegal” when it comes to people crossing the border illegally.

Canadian Immigration Minister Hussen has been walking a tightrope this week, declaring that people who “cross the border illegally,” are not illegal, because once they step over the border, they are asylum seekers. Hussen knows that this could be alleviated by closing the Safe Third Country loophole but, for whatever reason, he and the rest of the government have decided not to do that. Until they do, the problem will continue.

Tweets And Consequences

The trouble stems from the fact that no one ever thought the 49th parallel would have a refugee problem. But over the past couple of decades, the US let their illegal immigration problem balloon to the point where roughly 11 million people are now living the US illegally. Then along came 2016 with Trump and his mouth, followed by a “Welcome to Canada” tweet from the Canadian PM. Tens of thousands of people have since crossed the Canadian border illegally, with hundreds more coming each month. That’s where we stand today.

While I feel that the impact of Trudeau’s original tweet might be slightly overstated, it certainly set the stage and allowed the Canadian government to do….nothing. By spring of 2018, the problem of migrants illegally crossing the border had grown to the point where Canada had more illegal border crossers in the country than the Syrian refugees (25,000) they had accepted only a couple of years prior.

The government’s response to this problem is now apparent. It is to declare that there is no problem. There have been no policy changes, and the Safe Third Country loophole remains open. The word irregular now dominates their language, a word that I as a Canadian and US immigration lawyer with over 30 years of experience had never seen or heard in my lifetime until now.

Labels Matter

Language is important. The use of the term irregular as opposed to illegal assumes that people entering Canada from the USA are refugees – not economic migrants, not people looking for a better job, not people looking for good health care or a better school for their children – and that as refugees they are entitled, by international law, to flee across the border even if they do not first try to enter at official ports of entry.

This narrative works in countries that are bordered by despotic regimes and countries with backward political systems. In the case of America, however, whatever one feels about Donald Trump, the US has not yet descended into a state where one can sympathize with individuals who walk across the border knowing full well that they should be entering through ports of entry.

If anything, the use of the word irregular is a pretext for pretending that these migrants entering from the USA are indeed fleeing from harm when in fact they have no reason to fear persecution in the United States, at least not yet. Instead, they are using their flight from foreign shores to the USA as the argument for why they should be entitled to claim refugee status in Canada. Indeed, Minister Hussen’s spokesperson admitted as such back in April, when referring to Nigerian refugees who were crossing into Canada via the US:

So far this year, the majority of illegal migrants arriving in Canada are Nigerians who have recently been issued U.S. travel visas.

“It is apparent that they obtained those visas with the express intent to actually go to Canada,” said Hursh Jaswal, communications director for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen.

As with the word persecution, the words asylum and refugee have become increasing malleable. The definition of refugee in pop culture and conventional wisdom has now become, “A person who wants to live somewhere else.” It has certainly taken on that definition in the press and on social media. It seems the government has gravitated to this definition, as well.

There is an argument to be made for the introduction of a new concept in international immigration law – that of a displaced person seeking status. Such a new concept would have to entail legal sponsorships by citizens of the target country to enable the migrants to enter and settle there. But that is not what is involved here. For this reason, I disagree with the linguistic gymnastics pertaining to “irregular” entrants, and believe it does a disservice to legal immigrants and bona fide refugees around the world.

Manitoba Is Open For Business

Manitoba Is Open For Business

The province of Manitoba is now accepting applications under the newly launched Business Investor Stream (BIS).

The BIS is separated into two pathways for applicants:

  1. The Entrepreneur Pathway is designed for applicants seeking to open or buy an existing business in Manitoba.
  2. The Farm Investor Pathway is for those who wish to establish and operate a farm in rural Manitoba.

Under the Entrepreneur Pathway, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Official language proficiency of at least CLB 5
  • Minimum of 3 years full-time work experience as an active business owner or senior management role of a successful business; or farm management
  • Minimum Canadian high school diploma equivalent
  • Verifiable personal networth of at least $500,000 CAD
  • Present a Business Plan and conduct a Business Research Visit
  • Sign a Business Performance Agreement (BPA) with the province after an application is approved

Under the Entrepreneur Pathway, applicants must be willing to invest at least $250,000 CAD in an eligible business in the Manitoba Capital Region or $150,000 CAD outside the Manitoba Capital Region.

Under the Farm Investor Pathway, applicants must invest at least $300,000 CAD to establish a farming business in rural Manitoba. The application requirements are similar to those of the Entrepreneur Pathway, with a focus on farming experience and ability.

Successful applicants will receive a letter of support that will enable them to apply for a Temporary Work Permit to establish and operate a business in Manitoba, and thereafter satisfy the terms of the Business Performance Agreement. Applicants may qualify for a provincial nomination and ultimately permanent residence after they have operated their businesses for at least 6 months.

Canadian Immigration Options For Business People

The terms investment immigration and business immigration can be quite misleading to the average person who doesn’t have in-depth knowledge of the Canadian immigration system.

I often receive inquiries from business persons who assume that merely establishing or purchasing a business in Canada can satisfy the requirements for acquiring permanent residence status in the country. This isn’t entirely true, but it’s not entirely wrong, either.

Immigration Program Choices

Canadian Immigration Options For Business People

In a general sense, business immigration requires someone to make an application for permanent residence in Canada under one of the available business/investment programs. An application can be made to the federal and/or the provincial government depending on the program of choice.

At this time, there are two types of investment immigration which business persons may explore: Passive Investment, and Active Investment.

Passive investment

A passive investment means that you are giving your money to someone else for their use. You don’t have to operate a business or manage anything. You just hand over the money.

Right now, this option is only possible through the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP). Qualified applicants must enter into an agreement to invest with the government of Quebec through authorized financial intermediaries.

Active Investment

The active investment options is ideal for entrepreneurs who possess transferrable experience and skills and prefer to either establish or purchase an existing business in Canada. However, applicants may not necessarily have the freedom of choice with respect to the Canadian location of their future business.

Canada has ten provinces and three territories, some of which have a Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). Many of these programs offer entrepreneur streams to attract business persons. For the province, it’s a matter of attracting good people who will add jobs and create economic growth in the community. Therefore, qualified applicant must show a true intention to live in the province. Additionally, most provinces impose refundable performance bonds to confirm the seriousness of applicants.

Work Permits

Business persons who do not wish to participate in any of the above options, but still wish to establish a business in Canada, may qualify for work permits instead of permanent resident status. A work permit allows an applicant to run/manage their own business, but doesn’t automatically qualify an applicant for permanent residence in Canada.

We Speak Your Language

Selecting a lawyer can be a tough decision.

As a client, you are putting all your faith into this person, their team and their firm with the hope that they will get the outcome they want and need.

Trust is a big part of the process. Often trust comes from someone’s ability understand and communicate with you in a language where nuances and intent is understood.

English is not the primary language of 22.9 per cent people in Ontario. For many, English language proficiency is lacking for day-to-day need, let alone details of a complex legal case.

Equally, if a lawyer is unable to effectively communicate to his or her client the legal case, the settlement or ligation process will be strained and be in jeopardy of not reaching its maximum outcome.

At Pace Law, we are proud that many of our associates are fluent in their own native languages as well as many others – 37 to be exact.

Sometimes it can be hard to discuss personal matters with a lawyer, however, the reason for this shouldn’t be because of a language barrier.

When recalling details of an event, people often think about them in the language most comfortable. Having to transfer these feelings and details to a different language can result in the minimization of certain elements and facts.

The ability to communicate in a native language means better support around the legal process as people seek access to benefits, mediation with insurance companies, or have discussion on the immigration processes.

The ability to speak your language is one of the first ways we help gain your trust.

To speak to one of our multilingual lawyers:

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Canada Immigration Guide

Have you been thinking about making a move to Canada? If so, you could probably use a little help to learn about everything from getting started with a passport and visa to employment in Canada, residency and other things you will need to know about before crossing the border to start your new life in Canada.

Canadian law requires a passport to enter the country unless you are a citizen of the United States. U.S. citizens must have in their possession valid proof of identity and proof of citizenship whether they have a passport or not. If you are not a citizen of the United States or Canada however, you will not be allowed entry without your passport.

Things to Know About Canada

  • Canada has a population of more than 36.29 million people
  • Canada is made up of 9,984,670 square kilometers
  • Canada has the longest coastline in the world
  • Canada’s motto, A Mari Usque ad Mare means “From sea to sea.”
  • Canada is the 2nd largest country in the world, right behind Russia
  • Canada is known as the most educated country in the world with more than half the population holding a college degree

Useful Information for Travelers

  • Currency in Canada: Canadian Dollar
  • Largest cities in Canada: Toronto, Ontario (pop. 2,731,571) Montreal, Quebec (pop. 1,704,694) Calgary, Alberta (1,239,220)
  • Primary Languages: French (more than 7.5 million native speakers) and English (more than 20.2 million native speakers)
  • Religions: Christians (67.3%) No religion (23.9%) and Islam (3.2%)

Top Reasons People Move to Canada

  • Canadians place a high value on education and if you have children, they will be able to attend some of the best schools in the world.
  • The crime rate is low, especially when compared to the United States.
  • Gun ownership is low and violent crime is very rare.
  • The country is very diverse with people from many countries.
  • The economy is one of the strongest in the world.
  • Quality of life is excellent.
  • Canada has universal healthcare and even expats may be eligible for a health card depending on the type of visa they hold.
  • Canadians have a great sense of humor. As a matter of fact, some of the leading comedians hail from Canada including Jim Carrey, Howie Mandel, Leslie Nielsen and Dan Aykroyd.

Reasons You May Not Want to Move to Canada

  •  You may have to pay taxes in the United States as well as Canada. Depending on IRS requirements however, you may be exempt from paying U.S. taxes.
  • Immigration can be expensive, and it is not easy to move to Canada. Everything will be scrutinized when you try to relocate to Canada and even if you are a skilled professional, it can take several years to gain residency.
  • The cost of housing is high.
  • You won’t find a Target or Trader Joe’s in Canada, but you’ll quickly get used to the chain stores that Canada offers.

You can answer some questions pertaining to eligibility for immigration to Canada on the Canadian government website at this link:

Once you take the assessment, the page will direct you to what steps you must take next to immigrate to Canada.

 Working in Canada

If you are not a Canadian citizen, you will usually need a work permit to work.

For United States citizens, the processing time for a work permit will often take two weeks or longer. You will need to provide credentials to the government to be approved as a skilled worker. These credentials include:

  • Proof of education (diploma, degree, certificate)
  • Proof of work experience
  • Your professional credentials (certificates, degree)

Study in Canada

As with working in Canada, you will need a study permit if you are not a citizen. Study permits are usually provided only for the time it will take you to complete your program as well as an additional 90 days after school to stay in the country. The 90 days can be used to make plans to move away or even to extend your stay.

Students who will be enrolled in a course that takes six months or less to complete do not need a study permit.

Visiting and Residency

You can apply online for a visitor visa to be able to travel to Canada and stay for a short time but for a permanent resident visa, you will need to file under a specific category. These include:

  • Family class
  • International adoption
  • Skilled worker class
  • Business class
  • Quebec-Selected
  • Provincial Nomination

It can be time consuming to obtain permanent residency in Canada. You will need to provide some important paperwork to immigrate legally.

Documents and Other Requirements:

  • Medical certificate
  • Criminal record check
  • Skills assessment test
  • Education proof
  • Application fee
  • Immigration interview
  • Language test results
  • Proof of sufficient income
  • Visa application

Fees for immigration range from $75 for an application fee to more than $1000 for an application fee and are subject to change at any time due to regulations that change frequently.

Canadian Immigration and Moving Agencies

Changes To The Quebec Investor Program


The province of Quebec has made some changes to its investor immigration program. The major changes are:

  1. Candidates must have net assets of at least CAD $2,000,000 (previously $1,600,000).
  2. The investment candidates must make has increased from CAD $800,000 to $1,200,000.

The program is currently closed and will not be accepting new applications until around August, 2018. There is no word yet on the date range for the future intake of applications, nor how many applications will be accepted.

A Good Option: The Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship By Investment Program

Here is a brief overview of the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment program.

Why It’s Good

  • An Antiguan passport allows visa-free travel to over 100 countries. This includes travel to the UK, Hong Kong, and countries in the Schengen Area.
  • The application process can take as little as three months.
  • You do not have to go to Antigua and Barbuda during the application process.
  • Dual citizenship is allowed.
  • There is no tax on worldwide income.
  • The program is relatively inexpensive compared to other Citizenship by Investment programs. High net worth individuals can apply by making a $100,000 contribution to the National Development Fund. (There are other investment and real estate options available for a higher value; contact me for details).
  • There are no strenuous residency requirements. You – and any family members on the application – must reside in the country for 35 days out of 5 years.

How To Qualify

In order to qualify for the program, you must have a high net worth, a clean bill of health, and no criminal record.

If you are seeking visa-free travel options, contact us to discuss the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program. It could be exactly what you’re looking for.

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program Accepting Applications

Ontario flagThe Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program is open. Please browse the Ontario government’s information below on which streams are accepting applications, and contact us if you feel you would make a good candidate:

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is pleased to announce that the federal government, recognizing the success of the OINP and its importance to Ontario’s economy, has increased the province’s 2018 allocation by 600 nominations to a total of 6,600.

The OINP is now accepting applications to the following streams:

You must access the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) e-Filing Portal directly from the OINP website. The link to the e-Filing Portal is located on each stream webpage.

The OINP is monitoring the intake of applications with respect to the limits of Ontario’s federal nomination allocation in 2018. Applicants will be informed when the OINP is no longer accepting applications via the OINP Updates webpage.

Please refer to the recently updated Application Guides before applying as some criteria and processes have changed as a result of the Proclamation of the Ontario Immigration Act, 2015 on January 1, 2018. Carefully review the application guide to ensure you meet all stream criteria.

In addition, the OINP will resume issuing Notifications of Interest (NOIs) to applicants who qualify for Ontario’s Express Entry Human Capital Priorities (HCP) Stream.

Please monitor the Program Updates page for news about when the OINP will begin accepting applications for the Masters Graduate and PhD Graduate Streams.