Justice Khosa’s point by point rebuttal of Sharif family’s conflicting public statements

Pakistan

The wait is over. The apex court just delivered the ‘historic verdict’ in the most anticipated Panama case today.

It was neither a clean chit nor a disqualification. As expected, the citizens find themselves confused and unclear as to what this legally convoluted and complex decision – that apparently does nothing substantial in the eyes of common people – could mean for the people involved in it or politics in general.

It seems the verdict remains what the political parties take out of it to suit their interests. The PML-N declared ‘victory’ while the opposition welcomes it with mixed feelings.

The people demanding PM’s disqualification contended with the fact that the verdict was split 3-2 among the five-judge bench, with two dissenting notes in the judgement by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed. The two judges ruled against PM Nawaz Sharif, saying he should be disqualified, whereas the other three were in favour of forming a JIT.

Following are the problems and weak points that the verdict identifies in the PML-N’s narrative:

PM’s address to the nation: A plethora of contradictions and unclear stance

PRIME MINISTER MUHAMMAD NAWAZ SHARIF ADDRESSING THE NATION ON APRIL 5, 2016.

Pointing out problems in the PM’s address to the nation on April 5, 2016, the verdict spells out problems for the PM’s own stance. It goes on to cite following problems:

* Did not mention setting up and sale of the factory in Dubai at all.

* Did not explicitly mention any particular resource for acquisition of the properties in London.

* Did not mention that the sale proceeds of the factory in Jeddah were used to acquire the properties in London but maintained that the proceeds were used by his two sons for their new business.

* Did not even hint at any investment made in Qatar and the subsequent settlement upon which the whole edifice was built by his children.

* Proceeds of sale of the factory in Jeddah mentioned as the source of funds for his two son’s business but the said sons maintained that investment with Al-Thani family of Qatar was the source of funds for Hassan Nawaz Sharif business.

PM’s address to the National Assembly: New things with unmentioned details

In his address, the PM claimed his father reached Dubai for the purpose of business and established a factory with the name of Gulf Steel comprising of 10 lac square feet of area.  This factory, he said, was sold for $9 million and established another factory in Jeddah which was again sold to buy flats in London.

However, the verdict notes legal complexities and casts doubt:

* Setting up and sale of a factory in Dubai mentioned for the first time.

* No reference made to any investment in Qatar.

* Clearly stated that no money for the factory in Jeddah or the flats in London went from Pakistan. However, it was not clearly stated that no money went from Pakistan for the factory in Dubai.

* The stance about “purchase” of the flats in London was not supported by his children and he produced nothing before the nation, the National Assembly or this Court to explain or justify the claimed purchase.

* In his address to the nation he stated that sale of the factory in Jeddah was the source of funds for his sons’ business but in this address he stated that proceeds of sale of the factory in Jeddah were used to purchase the flats in London.

Sharif’s evidence in the Supreme Court: A suspicious sudden and unprecedented denial

Nawaz Sharif submitted his statements before the apex court. In his statements, he outrightly denied the ownership of property in London, a previously unmentioned ‘fact’ while his clarifications for London flats.

The court notes:

* Never denied possession of the four properties in London.

* Never said that the said four properties belong to his children.

* Did not mention sale of the factory in Jeddah being the sources of funds for acquisition of the flats in London as mentioned in his speech in the National Assembly.

* No mention of the factory in Dubai, the factory in Jeddah or any investment in Qatar.

Mrs Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif contradicts children

Mrs Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif, first lady of Pakistan, while putting weight behind husband’s claims that the flats were indeed “purchased”, also contradicts the stance of her children.

The honourable court observes that:

* Children were studying in London in the 1990’s.

* Supported her husband’s stance that the flats in London had been “purchased”.

* Contradicted the stance of her children that the flats were acquired in 2006.

Mariam Nawaz Sharif retracts her claims to protect father? The court finds so!

In an interview aired on Geo News on November 8, 2011, Mariam said: “I do not have any property in Central London, in fact far from it, I do not own any property even in Pakistan. I live with my father. I fail to understand from where they have dug out properties belonging to me, my mother, my sister or my brothers.”

However, the court, while citing this interview, finds it inconsistent with her current stance. The court notes: ” In 2011 she denied that she or her siblings owned any property in London whereas her stance before this Court is that her brother Hussain Nawaz Sharif owns the relevant four properties in Central London since 2006 and she is a trustee of those properties for the said brother since 2006.”

Mariam makes new questionable claims

Salman Aslam Butt, the counsel for Sharif family, submitted a joint concise statement of the children of Nawaz Sharif including Maryam Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz.

It was contended that Maryam Nawaz was not and had never been the beneficial owner of any of the properties or the entities and she had never made any contribution/payment in relation to the consideration or expenses pertaining to the properties or the entities nor had derived any benefit therefrom.

The court was further informed that the entities were being managed under a trust arrangement for the sole benefit of respondent No. 7, Hussain Nawaz with Maryam Nawaz, respondent No. 6 being the trustee thereof.

However, the court found that the claims were new and unfounded. It said: “Did not mention that she was a trustee for respondent No. 7 in relation to Nielsen Enterprise Limited also.”

Mariam contradicts her own statements, gets grilled more by the court

Mariam had further informed the court that she came to know of the settlement in Qatar regarding the flats in London in 2005 when she was asked to become a trustee for her brother. By saying so, she, unwittingly, puts herself in trouble as she is on record to say that she never knew about the flats, even in 2011 she expressed obscurity.

The court points out two loopholes in the new ‘unfounded’ claims:

* That meant that she knew about acquisition of the flats in London by one of her brothers since 2005 but in her interview in 2011 she categorically denied knowledge of any property of his brothers or sister in London.

* She maintained that she had been asked to become a trustee for her brothers in respect of the flats in London in 2005 whereas the flats had statedly been transferred in favour of her brother in 2006. This established that the flats were already owned by the brother since before the so-called settlement of business in Qatar.

Hussain Nawaz Sharif: New contradictions and ‘stories’

In an Interview with journalist Hamid Mir on Capital Talk, Hussain Nawaz said: “The sale of the factory in Saudi Arabia fetched “us” a very good amount and that money was then “officially transferred” to Britain.”

He further said: “From that officially transferred money to Britain I had obtained three properties in London through “mortgage”. Those properties are still mortgaged and the mortgage amount is still being paid for them gradually. “We”, again said “I”, had “purchased” those properties in 2006.”

“All the assets were distributed in 2005 whereafter my father ceased to have any “legal” connection with his sons’ businesses but according to Shariah “everything belonging to me is his” and even I am owned by him.”

The court found new claims and ‘stories’ as unsubstantiated. The claims, the court maintained, lacked all neccessary proofs.

The honourable court points: 

* No document produced to show that any amount was officially transferred from Saudi Arabia to the United Kingdom after sale of the factory in Jeddah.

* No proof of any mortgage created for acquisition of the properties in London has been produced.

* The story about mortgage was a totally new story and completely contradictory to the other stories based upon purchase or settlement in Qatar.

* A document produced by respondent No. 1 before the Court showed that after the death of Mian Muhammad Sharif in 2004 his inheritance had been settled in 2009 with distribution of assets.

* Under Shariah respondent No. 7 was not an heir of his grandfather Mian Muhammad Sharif and, thus, he did not inherit anything from him in 2004. After the death of the grandfather in 2004 all his assets, including any investment in Qatar, automatically devolved upon his heirs including respondent No. 1. So, respondent No. 1 was one of the owners of the assets which were statedly transferred in favour of respondent No. 7 in 2006 and that is why respondent No. 7 might have said that “everything belonging to me is his”.

Claims of Sharif family completely destroyed, belied: Honourable court

In one of the interviews, Hussain contended that in 2005 he sold a factory in Saudi Arabia and proceeds of that factory were used to purchase these properties. “This is the source and there is nothing except this.”

“The factory that was installed in Saudi Arabia was sold in 2005 by us and a part of those proceeds was used to purchase the properties in London. The companies that were holding those properties were purchased.”

The court responds vehemently to this completely baseless claims. It says: 

* The subsequent stand that the properties in London had been acquired through a settlement of an investment in Qatar stood completely destroyed.

* The subsequent statement of the gentleman from Qatar to the effect that bearer shares of the relevant companies were delivered to respondent No. 7 in exchange of settling approximately 8 million US Dollars from an investment in Qatar was completely belied.

A case of obvious and deliberate suppression of facts: Court

A Joint concise statement filed by children of premier Sharif which dates back to November 07, 2016, said: “Source of funds, resulting in vesting of beneficial ownership of the entities and, consequently the properties in Respondent No. 7, in January 2006, was the investment made by late Mian Muhammad Sharif, in the year 1980, from the sale proceeds of his steel business in Dubai.”

The court calls it a ‘deliberate suppression of facts’:

* The first statement of the gentleman from Qatar was dated November 05, 2016 but that was not mentioned in this concise statement filed two days later.

* A case of obvious and deliberate suppression of facts. Qatar was not even mentioned.

* The statement of the gentleman from Qatar dated November 05, 2016 mentioned the amount of investment but this concise statement did not.

* Did not mention setting up or sale of the factory in Jeddah which, according to respondent No. 7’s interviews, was the source of funds for purchase of the properties in London.

New story of PM’s children about Qatari involvement underwent a sea change, lacks proof: Court

Joint supplementary concise statement filed by respondents Sharif children of November 15, 2016 had said that the four flats in London had been purchased by Al-Thani family of Qatar through two offshore companies, the said family had allowed late Mian Muhammad Sharif and his family to use the said properties whilst bearing all the expenses relating to them including ground rent and service charges and ultimately in 2006 the account between Al-Thani family and Respondent No.7 was settled through which the properties were transferred to him by delivery of the bearer shares of the companies to a nominee of respondent No. 7.

The court refutes the claims and expresses shock over new change, the verdict says:

* The story jointly put forward by the children of respondent No. 1 underwent a sea change. Al-Thani family and investment in Qatar was introduced and permissive user of the properties in London was disclosed.

* Contradicted by respondent No. 8’s interview with BBC in 1999 according to which he was then a student living in these flats which had been taken on rent and the rent for the same was sent from Pakistan on a quarterly basis.

* Contradicted by both the parents of respondents No. 6, 7 and 8 who have consistently maintained that the said properties had been “purchased” or “bought”.

* No material produced to show who paid the utility bills and taxes, etc. relevant to the said properties before 2006.

Hassan Nawaz contradicts mother, gets contradicted by father and Qatari man

In an interview on Hard Talk, BBC London in November 1999, Hassan Nawaz categorically stated that he was a student with no earnings of his own, he did not own the relevant flats in London but he was living in the same on rent and the money for his living in those properties came from Pakistan on a quarterly basis.

However, the court notes extreme contradictions and inconsistencies with other family members, it says:

* Contradicted by his mother who had told Guardian newspaper of London that the said flats had been “bought” because the children were studying in London.

* Contradicted by his father who never talked about taking the relevant flats on rent.

* Contradicted by two statements of the gentleman from Qatar who maintained that permissive possession of the flats had been given to the family of Mian Muhammad Sharif with no charge.

The world’s best country? The results are in

Can you spot the winner? - chungking - Fotolia
Can you spot the winner? – chungking – Fotolia

The world’s best country? According to an annual ranking by the media company US News, it’s Switzerland. Given its high GDP per capita (11th best in the world, according to the IMF, at $60,787) and life expectancy (2nd overall, at 83.4 years), history of pacifism, and fantastic Alpine scenery, that’s hardly surprising.

At a glance | Why is Switzerland so great?

Less expected is the country taking third spot: the UK. US News reckons Britain (which has the 28th best GDP per capita; 20th best life expectancy; a history of warfare; no Alpine scenery) is better than Germany, Japan, Sweden, Australia and Norway. What’s working in its favour? The rankings take into account nine categories: Adventure, Citizenship, Cultural Influence, Entrepreneurship, Heritage, Movers, Open for Business, Power and Quality of Life, but certain factors are more important. Citizenship (“cares about human rights, cares about the environment, gender equality, progressive, religious freedom, respects property rights, trustworthy, well-distributed political power”) contributes to 16.95 per cent of the overall ranking, for example, while for Heritage (“culturally accessible, has a rich history, has great food, many cultural attractions”) it’s just 3.17 per cent.

It turns out Britain is pretty awesome too - Credit: This content is subject to copyright./Loop Images
It turns out Britain is pretty awesome too – Credit: This content is subject to copyright./Loop Images

A total of 80 countries were considered; the top 50 is as follows:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Canada
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Germany
  5. Japan
  6. Sweden
  7. United States
  8. Australia
  9. France
  10. Norway
  11. Netherlands
  12. Denmark
  13. Finland
  14. New Zealand
  15. Singapore
  16. Italy
  17. Luxembourg
  18. Austria
  19. Spain
  20. China
  21. Ireland
  22. United Arab Emirates
  23. South Korea
  24. Portugal
  25. India
  26. Thailand
  27. Russia
  28. Brazil
  29. Greece
  30. Israel
  31. Poland
  32. Saudi Arabia
  33. Mexico
  34. Qatar
  35. Malaysia
  36. Turkey
  37. Czech Republic
  38. South Africa
  39. Indonesia
  40. Vietnam
  41. Panama
  42. Argentina
  43. Philippines
  44. Peru
  45. Egypt
  46. Hungary
  47. Costa Rica
  48. Morocco
  49. Croatia
  50. Sri Lanka

The list is at odds with last year’s Telegraph Travel Awards survey of more than 70,000 readers, who named New Zealand, for the fourth consecutive year, their favourite country. The Maldives came second, followed by South Africa, Japan and Burma.

Best countries

Our ranking, of course, was based on the experience for the traveller, rather than quality of life for citizens.

Each year a handful of organisations – including PwC, Mercer and The Economist – also rate the world’s cities, according to “liveability”. They placed London, Melbourne and Vienna, respectively, at number one. Your favourite city? That would be Cape Town.

Which really is the worlds best city?22 reasons why Cape Town is the world’s best city

Refugee vetting in U.S. and Canada already ‘extreme,’ experts say

Canada and the U.S. are closely aligned when it comes to screening migrants.

A displaced Iraqi boy waits to receive food aid at the al-Khazer refugee camp. Canada and the U.S. have similar measures for screening refugees before they come to North America.
A displaced Iraqi boy waits to receive food aid at the al-Khazer refugee camp. Canada and the U.S. have similar measures for screening refugees before they come to North America.  (MAHMUD SALEH / AFP/GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO)  

U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans for “extreme vetting” of migrants may seem a stark contrast to Ottawa’s “openness” approach, but the two countries’ systems are more closely aligned than many people would like to believe.

Trump’s stance on immigrants and refugees cannot be more different from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s. That contradiction was on full display at their joint news conference at the White House after the two leaders’ recent first meeting in Washington.

“We cannot let the wrong people in and I won’t,” Trump told to reporters, vowing a program of “extreme vetting” for migrants. “It’s much more than toughness. It’s a stance of common sense.”

Trudeau added, “We continue to pursue our policies of openness towards immigration and refugees without compromising security.”

Despite the general impression that Canada has more tolerant and lax border security than its neighbour to the south, experts on both sides of the border say the countries have similar security screening processes to keep suspected terrorists and criminals out.

“We’ve had a very close partnership with Canada. Canadians are our trusted counterparts. Obviously there’s a tremendous amount of information-sharing between our intelligence and law enforcement services,” said John Sandweg, former acting general counsel to the Department of Homeland Security and former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“I have never had a sense that there are any concerns about the quality of the Canadian screening. Certainly, there’s a sense in the U.S. that Canada is more open and welcoming than the U.S., but not in a way that compromised security or adopted lesser standards from the security perspective.”

In January, Trump created an international uproar when he signed the executive order to suspend America’s refugee program and immigration to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — out of terrorism concerns. The moves have been blocked by U.S. courts.

Sandweg said the U.S. already has a thorough screening system, especially for refugees, with multi-layered interviews, biographical information and biometrics matching, as well as multiple checks against databases and watchlists run by different intelligence and enforcement agencies.

The U.S. State Department, Homeland Security, National Security Directorate, National Counterterrorism Centre, FBI, Department of Defense, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are all involved in the process, which includes at least three interviews, three fingerprint screenings and three background checks.

“I have no idea how you can enhance the vetting system (more) than it already is. It is run against the entire U.S. holdings. It is not just looking for just name matches. It is also looking for links and association of friends and family members to addresses and telephone numbers, any sort of matches that might raise suspicion,” said Sandweg.

Displaced people wait in line with their possessions to be relocated to other camps outside Mosul, Iraq, in November. Trump created an international uproar when he signed the executive order to suspend America’s refugee program and immigration to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries out of terrorism concerns.
Displaced people wait in line with their possessions to be relocated to other camps outside Mosul, Iraq, in November. Trump created an international uproar when he signed the executive order to suspend America’s refugee program and immigration to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries out of terrorism concerns.  (SERGEY PONOMAREV)  

“The officers are exceptionally versed in the conflict areas, in the history and culture. They are very skilled in terms of ferreting out people’s stories. Things like barring someone from the country could sound appealing to the public but I don’t think it is a real improvement in any way.”

Peter Showler, former chair of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, pointed out that none of the 19 terrorists in the attacks on the U.S. on September 11 were refugees and none were from the seven countries included in Trump’s travel ban. In European terror attacks, including those in Paris and Brussels, most were either born or raised in Europe, and many were of Moroccan descent.

Showler said Republican politicians and media in the U.S. like to paint Canada as “the weak link” in the North America’s security parameters and blame Ottawa for lax border enforcement.

“It is all fear-mongering nonsense,” said Showler, who recently worked as a consultant in Beirut for the United Nations Refugee Agency. “In Europe, those involved in the attacks were second-, third-generation immigrants who were petty criminals, disengaged in the host country and converted to be terrorists. It is so much easier to find a scapegoat than to look at the real security issues. It is easy to dump on the refugees.”

Toronto immigration lawyer Robin Seligman said the U.S. and Canada are much more aligned in their border enforcement since the Sept. 11 terror attacks on America.

Both countries have adopted similar measures, including the use of biometrics technology, to screen overseas travellers before they come to North America. In Canada, the global case management system has been in place for years to allow authorities to access migrants or visitors records for such things as criminality and personal details.

The U.S. and Canada systematically check the others’ visa and immigration databases for immigration and border related purposes, including visa and refugee resettlement applications, for third country nationals, said Immigration Canada spokesperson Nancy Caron.

In 2013, the bilateral information sharing based on a biographic match (name, date of birth and passport number) was implemented. The biometric-based information sharing began in 2015, which helps facilitate legitimate travellers and protect against identity fraud.

“The impression of us being lax in security is incorrect. Officials here know ahead of time if the person trying to come in ever had a deportation order or was a criminal,” Seligman said.

“Trump’s extreme vetting rhetoric is just for public consumption. It is not backed up by any substance. The hysteria is unjustified. Canada is doing a good job at vetting.”

Despite the general impression that Canada has more tolerant and lax border security than its neighbour to the south, experts say the countries have similar security screening processes to keep suspected terrorists and criminals out.
Despite the general impression that Canada has more tolerant and lax border security than its neighbour to the south, experts say the countries have similar security screening processes to keep suspected terrorists and criminals out.  (DELIL SOULEIMAN)  

How refugees get to Canada

Those destined for resettlement from camps overseas are first screened by the United Nations Refugee Agency, whose “refugee status determination” process includes detailed interviews, and biometric and anti-fraud measures such iris scanning. The registration data is then entered into a global system. War criminals are flagged.

The refugees are then triaged and about 1 per cent of them are selected for resettlement by countries like Canada and the U.S. The most vulnerable individuals such as women, children, the elderly and sick are given priority. The others will remain in their initial host country, with the expectation that they would be repatriated to their homeland when the circumstances change.

Canadian visa officers then interview the candidates, identify any inconsistencies in their stories, collect their biographical information and biometric data such as fingerprints and digital photos, and run their names through databases of the Canada Border Services Agency, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, RCMP and Interpol.

Upon arrival at the port of entry, the border agency again checks the identity of the new arrivals as the last gatekeeper. Enforcement officials retain the right to turn away travellers based on suspicions about their identity or documents.

Those refugees who make it to Canada on their own and then make inland asylum claims don’t have to go through the United Nations screening, but they must still undergo all the checks and clearances to be considered admissible to Canada before they are scheduled for an asylum hearing by the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

How refugees get to the U.S.

The same screening by the United Nations Refugee Agency applies to refugees destined for resettlement from camps. Candidates referred to the U.S. are interviewed by the Department of Homeland Security, which looks for fraud and considers credibility. Officers also verify the refugee’s biographical information, take fingerprints, and gather details on the individual’s history, refugee experience and other information. The officers then decide if the person qualifies for refugee status under U.S. law.

Multiple, detailed security checks are carried out by the State Department and Homeland Security based on the refugee’s information, comparing biometrics, personal data, and the refugee’s application against U.S. government databases and terrorism watchlists from security, counterterrorism, military and intelligence agencies. The process includes three background checks and three fingerprint screenings.

Cases are then reviewed at U.S. immigration headquarters, while some are referred for additional assessment before final approvals by Homeland Security.

Refugees must go through a final security check before leaving for the U.S. and upon arrival at an American airport.

Asylum seekers inside the U.S. must file their asylum claims within one year of their arrival. They must go through extensive fingerprinting, background and security checks to determine eligibility before their cases are reviewed by asylum officers.

Source: Department of Homeland Security, State Department, Human Rights First

Canada’s New Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program a Fresh Opportunity

Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program – 2017

Through this program, the federal government — together with the governments of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island — aim to welcome 2,000 newcomers and their families to the Atlantic region of Eastern Canada in 2017. Much of this region is sometimes referred to as ‘the Maritimes’.

Background

 
In July, 2016, Canada’s Minister of Immigration met with the provincial premiers (heads of government) of the four Atlantic provinces. Together, they worked to establish a new immigration pilot program for the region. The federal and provincial government alike recognize that these provinces need more newcomers who can establish themselves in the labour market and local communities.The three-year pilot program has been established to help address resource gaps that sectors are facing, and to help businesses attract and retain global talent. The program will also support population growth, help to develop a skilled workforce, and increase employment rates in the region.The pilot program forms part of an overall Atlantic Growth Strategy that will focus on the following five priority areas:
  • skilled workforce and immigration;
  • innovation;
  • clean growth and climate change;
  • trade and investment; and
  • infrastructure.
According to the targets announced in Canada’s 2017 Immigration Plan, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program will facilitate the entry of 2,000 principal immigrants into Atlantic Canada in 2017.

Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program: the next steps

All principal applicants arriving in Canada under the pilot program will have a job offer from a designated employer and an individualized settlement plan for themselves and their family.Starting in early March, 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will begin accepting applications for permanent residence through this program.
 
 

How the pilot program works

This is an employer-driven program, with significant involvement from employers in the provinces.
Once a designated employer finds a candidate who meets their employment needs and the program criteria, that employer will need to first offer them a job. Employers do not need to go through the process of obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) under this program.
Once the candidate has accepted the job, the employer will connect the candidate with a designated settlement service provider organization for a needs assessment and to develop a settlement plan. Employers will also support the long-term integration of the new immigrant and his or her family, if applicable, so they can reach the goals of their settlement plan once they arrive in Canada.
Employers that need to fill a job vacancy quickly will have access to a temporary work permit, so that the candidate and his or her family can come to Canada as soon as possible. In order to obtain this work permit, candidates will need:
  • a valid job offer;
  • a letter from the province; and
  • a commitment to apply for permanent residence within 90 days of the temporary work permit application.

Employer designation

Employers that would like to hire skilled immigrants under the pilot program must apply to the province(s) in order to receive designation. Employers with locations in multiple provinces will require separate a designation for each province. Employers must meet certain requirements, including a commitment to support the newcomer and his or her family as they integrate into their new life in Atlantic Canada.

Candidate requirements

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program has two programs for skilled workers:
  • Atlantic High-Skilled Program
  • Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program
and one program for international student graduates:
The work experience, education, and job offer required will depend on whether the individual is applying as a worker or as an international student graduate. The other requirements are the same for both.See the table below for a review of the requirements.
 
Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program (AISP)
Atlantic High-Skilled Program (AHSP)
Atlantic International Graduate Program (AIGP)
Job offer from a designated employer
  • Full time
  • Indeterminate
  • NOC 0, A, B or C
  • Full time
  • One-year contract
  • NOC 0, A or B
  • Full time
  • One-year contract
  • NOC 0, A, B or C
Skilled work experience
  • One year in occupation related to job offer
N/A
Education
  • Completion of at least high school
  • Educational Credential Assessment or Canadian credential is required
  • Two-year post-secondary diploma from a publicly funded learning institution in the Atlantic region
Language
Level 4 of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) in English or the Niveau de compétence linguistique Canadien in French
Provincial endorsement
Letter of endorsement
 

Ottawa ends ‘4-in-4-out’ rule for migrant workers

Liberal government eliminates notorious rule that kicked out migrant workers after four years, ending what critics dubbed the ‘revolving door’ for indentured labour to Canada.

Ottawa has eliminated the notorious “4-in-4-out” rule that kicked out migrant workers after four years, ending what some critics call the “revolving door” of indentured labour to Canada.

“In many ways, the four-year rule put a great deal of uncertainty and instability on both temporary workers and employers. We had the sense that it was an unnecessary burden on applicants and employers, and also on officers who process applications,” Immigration Minister John McCallum said in a news releaseposted late Tuesday.

“We believe this important recommendation . . . requires rapid action, which we are taking today.”

The former Tory government introduced the rule in 2011 to ban migrant workers from returning to Canada for four years after they worked here for four.

“We’re caught off guard by the announcement. Everyone was expecting it in January, but this is a positive development,” said York University political science professor Ethel Tungohan, who specializes in migrant activism.

“Many migrant workers have felt insecure with their status because of this rule. This is the result of the hard work by advocacy groups who have been lobbying the government for change.”

Ottawa said it will also require low-wage employers to advertise openings first to the under-represented groups in the workforce — youth, persons with disabilities, indigenous people and newcomers — before they fill the positions with temporary migrant workers.

However, the percentage of low-wage migrant workers at a business will still be capped at 20 per cent for employers who accessed the program before June 20, 2014, and at 10 per cent for those who did after that date.

McCallum did not provide details on how the government is going to develop more pathways for eligible migrant workers to become permanent residents.

“This repeal is a first step which came about because migrant workers organized against an unjust rule that resulted in thousands of deportations and migrants becoming undocumented,” said Syed Hussan of the Coalition for Migrant Worker Rights Canada.

“We need permanent status for migrant workers already here and (for) those that were uprooted and forced out, for it to be really meaningful.”

Atlantic premiers and federal ministers announce immigration boost

 



Watch Now

WATCH ABOVE: The Atlantic premiers along with the federal Liberals have announced details of a pilot project designed to spur the region’s lacklustre economy. Global’s Marieke Walsh has the details on a program that could bring 2,000 more immigrants and their families to the East Coast.
The Atlantic premiers have announced details of a first-in-Canada pilot project designed to boost the region’s flagging economy through immigration, with a particular focus on ensuring that newcomers don’t join the steady stream of outmigration to other parts of the country.

Under the plan, the government will accept up to 2,000 immigrant applications in 2017, with increased numbers in the following years depending on performance.
“So it could be something like 4,000 people, and that number is scheduled to rise in coming years, depending on how well we do,” said John McCallum, the federal minister of immigration.
He said the immigration component will be largely driven by the provincial governments and their specific needs.

“We will be open to a variety of skill classes, and we, in my office, will work with each government to develop a plan specific to their own province with a focus on particular occupations, particular regions and with a focus on engaging companies to not only recruit the immigrants but to undertake measures to keep them here,” he said.

The details were announced Monday at a meeting in Prince Edward Island of the premiers and a number of federal cabinet ministers.

Program to pilot in Atlantic Canada

McCallum said the two levels of government will look for ways to ensure that once immigrants arrive, they’ll stay in a particular region. He said that could include efforts to expedite credentials for different jobs.

He said while the program will be a pilot project in Atlantic Canada, it could be the model for the rest of the country in years to come.

When asked what’s being done to entice people who have left their provinces to return, New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said attracting new people and repatriating residents is all part of the same effort.

Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan agreed.

“I truly believe by succeeding on immigration we will make Prince Edward Island a more attractive place in terms of repatriation,” MacLauchlan said.
He said the workforce in his province must grow in order to create sustained prosperity.

Existing unemployed residents won’t be overlooked

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball said while increased immigration is necessary, it doesn’t mean that existing residents that are unemployed will be overlooked.

“Newfoundland and Labrador will always continue to invest in our residents who are ready and looking for employment. We will continue to train those that are under-skilled and looking for work,” he said.

Ball also stressed that the immigration plan is only one of the five pillars in the new Atlantic Growth Strategy.

Details will later be announced dealing with innovation, clean growth and climate change, trade and investment, and infrastructure.

“Our fundamental goal is to increase the number of good paying jobs and opportunities here in Atlantic Canada,” said Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development.

He said the growth strategy won’t be just another report that gathers dust.

“It’s legitimately about us focusing on areas of action and we can really move the agenda forward in a collaborative manner where we align our priorities and resources and we are outcome driven,” he said.
© 2016 The Canadian Press

Canada’s new passport requirements come into effect this month


http://globalnews.ca/video/embed/2916422/#autoplay

WATCH: Here’s what you need to know about Canada’s new passport requirements coming into effect
Canada’s new passport requirements come into effect in late September, forcing Canadians with dual citizenship to carry a valid Canadian passport to enter the country when travelling by air.

Starting September 30, all air travellers must have the appropriate documents to travel to Canada before boarding their departing flight.
“A valid Canadian passport is the only reliable and universally accepted travel document that provides proof that you are a citizen and have the right to enter Canada without being subjected to immigration screening,” reads a statement posted on the Canadian government website.

READ MORE: Travelling to Europe? Canadians and Americans may require visas soon

The new requirement, known as an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), was introduced earlier this year but hasn’t been strictly enforced. However, the government had been encouraging dual citizens to obtain a valid Canadian passport.

“Leniency will be shown to travellers who are caught unaware until September 29, 2016,” reads a notice on the Government of Canada website.

Prior to the change, Canadians who hold dual citizenship were able to enter Canada with their foreign passports and use a driver’s licence or citizenship card to prove Canadian citizenship. Now, air travellers must have either a valid Canadian passport; a Canadian temporary passport; or a Canadian emergency travel document for proof of citizenship.

READ MORE: How easy is it to travel with a Canadian passport?

The new requirements only currently apply to air travel.

American citizens and American-Canadian citizens can still fly into Canada on a valid U.S. passport.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

An overview of proposed changes to the Citizenship Act – Canada News Centre

An overview of proposed changes to the Citizenship Act

An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act was introduced today. The changes in the proposed legislation would provide greater flexibility for applicants trying to meet the requirements for citizenship, and help immigrants obtain citizenship faster. They would also repeal provisions of the Citizenship Act that allow citizenship to be revoked from dual citizens who engage in certain acts against the national interest. Additional changes are also proposed to further enhance program integrity.

Repealing the national interest grounds for citizenship revocation

Legislative changes that came into effect in May 2015 created a new ground for citizenship revocation that allowed citizenship to be taken away from dual citizens for certain acts against the national interest of Canada. These grounds include convictions of terrorism, high treason, treason or spying offences, depending on the sentence received, or for membership in an armed force or organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada.  The Bill repeals these new grounds. All Canadians who commit crimes should face the consequences of their actions through the Canadian justice system.

The ability to revoke citizenship where it was obtained by false representation, by fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances will remain in place. The Minister would continue to have authority to revoke citizenship in basic fraud cases, such as identity and residence fraud (which constitute the majority of cases), and the Federal Court would continue to have authority to revoke citizenship in cases where the fraud is in relation to concealing serious inadmissibilities concerning security, human or international rights violations, war crimes, and organized criminality.

Repealing the intent to reside provision

Since June 2015, adult applicants must declare on their citizenship applications that they intend to continue to reside in Canada if granted citizenship. The provision created concern among some new Canadians, who feared their citizenship could be revoked in the future if they moved outside of Canada. The Government is proposing to repeal this provision. All Canadians are free to move outside Canada. This is a right guaranteed in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Reducing the length of time someone must be physically present in Canada to qualify for Citizenship

To help immigrants achieve citizenship more quickly, the Government is proposing to reduce the time required to be spent in Canada for citizenship for adults to three years (1095 days) within the five years before applying for citizenship. This will mean applicants can apply one year sooner than they can now. This offers greater flexibility for immigrants who may need to travel outside of Canada for various personal or work reasons.

Currently, the Citizenship Act requires applicants to be physically present in Canada for four years (1,460 days) within the six years immediately before applying for citizenship.

Allowing time in Canada before Permanent Residency to count toward the physical presence requirement

Under the Citizenship Act, people cannot count time they spent in Canada before becoming a permanent resident towards meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship.

The changes in the new Bill would let non-permanent resident time count toward the new three year physical presence requirement for citizenship, for up to one year. Under this change, each day that a person is authorized to be in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident could be counted as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship.

These changes support the Government’s goal of making it easier for immigrants to build successful lives in Canada, reuniting their families and contributing to the economic success of all Canadians. The time credit will also encourage skilled individuals to come to Canada to study or work, and benefits groups like protected persons and parents and grandparents on visitors’ visas.

Eliminating the 183 days of physical presence requirement

The Bill proposes to remove the supplemental physical presence requirement, as keeping it would not allow applicants to benefit from the new non-permanent resident time credit. Applicants would no longer need to be physically present for 183 days in Canada during each of four calendar years that are within the six years immediately before applying for citizenship.

Amending the age range for language and knowledge requirements

Since the first Canadian Citizenship Act in 1947, citizenship applicants have had to have an adequate knowledge of English or French, as well as knowledge of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. Previous changes to the Citizenship Act expanded the age range of applicants who must meet the language and knowledge requirements from those aged 18-54 to those aged 14-64.

The Government is proposing to return to the previous 18-54 age requirement, removing a potential barrier to citizenship for applicants in both the younger and older age groups. For younger applicants, learning English or French and having an adequate knowledge of Canada is already achieved through schooling. For the older age group, language skills and knowledge of Canada are offered through a wide range of integration services.

Adult applicants aged 18-54 would still be required to provide evidence that they understand English or French and are able to hold a short conversation about common topics, understand simple instructions, and use basic grammar. They are also required to pass a knowledge test on Canada and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

Program Integrity Enhancements

A number of changes to further enhance program integrity are also proposed.

  • Conditional Sentences: Currently, the Citizenship Act prohibits a person under a probation order, on parole or incarcerated in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison from being granted citizenship or from counting that time towards meeting the physical presence requirements for citizenship.  However, the provisions do not include conditional sentences (i.e. sentences served in the community with certain conditions) served in Canada.  So currently, an applicant who is sentenced to a conditional sentence order could be granted citizenship or count that time towards meeting the physical presence requirements for citizenship. These amendments would change that.  This change would apply to both new applications and those still being processed.
  • Maintaining requirements for citizenship until Oath takingThe Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act introduced a rule that would not allow applicants to take the oath of citizenship if they no longer met the requirements for citizenship after the decision was made. Before this change, there was no authority to prevent an applicant in that situation from taking the oath. The time between the decision and taking of the oath is typically two to three months. However, the rule only applies to applications received after June 11, 2015, when the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act came into force, and not to applications received before that date.

The proposed change would require all applicants to continue to meet the requirements of citizenship until they take the Oath, regardless of when their application was received.

  • Ability to Seize DocumentsUnlike existing authorities under the Immigration and Refugees Protection Act, citizenship officers did not have the authority to seize fraudulent documents.  This Bill would change that, giving citizenship officers authority under the Citizenship Act to seize fraudulent documents provided during the administration of the Act, including during in-person interviews and hearings. This improves the ability for Citizenship officers to carry out investigations and prevent further use of fraudulent or suspected fraudulent documents.

Major changes to Canada’s immigration system expected in fall, says Minister John McCallum

Mississauga News

By Nouman Khalil

NX-BM-SAF-Immigration_2___GalleryThe Trudeau government is ready to introduce changes to the current
immigration system, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship John McCallum announced Wednesday while visiting Peel region.
McCallum’s visit to Peel was part of the government’s nationwide consultation process to bring essential changes to the immigration policy that was promised by the Liberal Party during the 2015 election campaign.
In Brampton and Mississauga, the minister met local members of parliament and stakeholders and discussed issues related to immigration. Top of the agenda is speeding up the process of family class immigration.
 “We’re working to meet our single most important commitment to reduce the processing time for family class,” said McCallum. “Right now, it takes approximately two years for a husband and wife to be reunited… it is unacceptable.”
McCallum said the Liberal government inherited a system that is presently creating concerns within the community and his team is working to streamline it by introducing a new and improved policy.
The new system – with changes to family and skilled class, economic category as well as visitors’ visa policy – is expected to be introduced in the coming fall season.
“We want to streamline the admission of economic immigrants as well as refugees and family class. We are going to make it much easier for international students to become permanent residents,” said the Markham-Thornhill MP.
In competition with other countries like Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, he said the government currently working to give international students more points and make it easier for them to come to Canada.
“International students are at the top of the government’s list to become permanent residents because they are young, educated, and fluent in English or French,” said McCallum, adding the government is also working to improve visitors’ visa procedures, which are creating problems, especially in Chandigarh, India.
“Chandigarh is not the only place facing problems. We are determined to make it easier for people – particularly for visitor visas, weddings and funerals. We are determined to find a timely solution for it. Soon we will have a much quicker entry process,” said McCallum.
The minister said it’s a great achievement that the Trudeau government recently brought in 25,000 Syrian refugees in just four months on humanitarian grounds.
“The project has gone very well. It really makes me proud to be a Canadian because so many Canadians have come out to support this project. We stand out as a country that has truly welcomed refugees,” said McCallum.