Entry to Canada could once almost have been considered a minor formality. However, in today’s changing world, shifting economic and political factors have caused a swing away from that customary ease of admission. Unfortunately for most people, they are unaware of these developments and many only discover them upon the rude shock of being turned back at the Canadian border. As things are, this experience is disproportionately common among those with criminal records.
This post was written with the aim of assisting potential visitors to Canada with their entry by making them aware of the dynamics behind the scenes. It is based on information gleaned from several sources, and in particular the excellent article on the Foreign Worker Canada website available here: http://www.duicanadaentry.com/news/news-and-articles/news-articles/rise-in-complications-at-the-canadian-border.
Canadian DUI Entry – The Factors
To minimize the chances of disappointment at the border, it is important to understand the likely reasons behind why an immigration official might be trying to refuse you entry. Here are the most significant factors:
• The downturn of the economy in Canada
• Numerous changes in Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) regulations over a short period.
• Changes in staffing policy at Canadian border checkpoints.
By no means is this an exhaustive list; the factors listed above are simply the main reasons as assessed from the news and administrative sources. Let us explore them further.
The Economical Downturn in Canada
Canada has not been immune to the effects of the global recession – unemployment among Canadians has risen to levels that could not have been anticipated in previous years and the knee-jerk reaction the Canadian government has adopted has been to implement a protectionist policy regarding employment.
This involves reducing the number of immigrants who are awarded work permits required to obtain employment in Canada.
There is a way around this for individuals who are qualified in certain fields – the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). These documents allow an immigrant to be granted a Canadian work permit because he or she possesses a skill or trade that is in demand and Canada which the locals cannot satisfy. An LMIA exempt work permit holder has equal rights to Canadian employment opportunities.
For a non-Canadian, entry at the border should be simplified if they are in possession of a LMIA exempt work permit. Unfortunately, the LMIA documents are summarily assessed at the border by border agents and it seems, from the previous experiences of permit holders, that this assessment is a somewhat arbitrary process. These officers may possibly have friends and family who are struggling to find employment and human nature has the potential to make them loath to do what they might see as �giving a job away’.
Regardless, an LMIA exempt work permit is one of the simplest ways of obtaining entry into Canada.
Modifications to the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Regulations
While on the topic of LMIAs, it is prudent to delve into the recent spate of changes that the Canadian government has applied to them.
Several people in possession of these documents have confidently walked up to the immigration booth only to be told that the rules have changed and their applications are no longer valid. Often times, these unsuspecting individuals have referred to websites and/or lawyers who have not kept pace with the amendments.
To make the most of your LMIA, ensure that you have obtained and verified the very latest information from official websites and a reliable immigration professional.
The Specter of Terror
Canada has joined a long list of other countries in falling victim to terrorist attacks in recent years. With the widespread perception that Canada has a policy too lenient when it comes to immigration and dangerous immigrants, the unavoidable immediate consequence of the terrorist threat has been a tightening of border policy.
The regrettable but inevitable fact is that a criminal record is bound to raise eyebrows at the border, even if the conviction has no connection whatsoever to terrorism.
Border Checkpoint Staff
Canadian border checkpoints are manned by officers from two different departments – Immigration and Customs.
Anecdotal evidence indicates that the former are relatively lenient when it comes to individuals with criminal records, probably because their job description is more people-focused. Conversely, customs officers were found to be far less likely to be accommodating, likely the result of their enforcement-centric border responsibilities.
It is not clear whether this change in staffing policy is coincidental or a deliberate shift in government policy but if you can somehow ensure that a Canadian Immigration official reviews your documents, it seems you will be more likely to gain entry, even with a criminal record.
The Smart Approach
All these factors, and many besides, affect to some extent your chances of being allowed to cross the border. Simple things like being polite, dressing reasonably well and having all your documents in order go a long way in projecting a good impression in spite of a criminal record.
Be prepared and give yourself the best chance of being permitted entry and be sure to find out more from the http://www.duicanadaentry.com/ website.