As the tide of immigrants flood into the UK from Eastern Europe there’s another tide that’s emigrating out. It seems that almost as fast as people come in, there are almost as many that want to leave. Except they’re two different groups and strangely enough it’s a case scenario that’s being replicated elsewhere in the world. And one of the main target countries is Canada.
Simplified Application Process (SAP)
According to Canadian statistics, their embassies receive thousands of applications to immigrate every year from all over the world and 75% of these come from people in the subcontinent incorporating India and Pakistan and also the Middle East. To make the whole process a trifle ‘easier’, on 1 September 2006 the Canadian government introduced the Simplified Application Process (SAP).
Under previous legislation the principal applicant was required to complete and submit a series of five forms with additional paperwork for his/her spouse and any dependents over the age of eighteen. These had to be accompanied by all the relevant documentation which would commonly include copies of passports, marital and educational certificates and proof of qualifications as specified. And then the whole package to be forwarded to London
Under the SAP, applicants will be requested to complete and submit what would appear to be a straightforward three-page application plus filing and fees and an authorisation form if the individual is using a representative. And that gets forwarded to London. After a period of approximately 2 months you get notification of receipt and will be advised that there will then be a waiting period of 42 months.
‘But it isn’t as simple as people will make it sound,’ says Brian Telfer, a certified Canadian immigration consultant. ‘SAP doesn’t replace the present paperwork; it simply defers the final moment when full documentation is required. There are hundreds of people in the business of immigration consultancy and some of them are Canadian. But there are many who are practicing illegally and large numbers have not as yet passed the exams necessary to comply with Canadian requirements. Licensing was meant to protect the public but it has been a total fiasco.’
Unscrupulous Cashing In
One of Telfer’s major concerns in the early stages was that the papers would overflow with advertisements from the unscrupulous promoting a smooth and easy way to immigrate to Canada. And his prediction has proved to be true in many regions where ‘consultants’ are advertising fast track immigration through SAP for as little as US$300. But there is no fast track. Additionally, he doubts the competence or desire of many so-called consultants to do more than simply pass the form to the applicant and give but basic instructions as to completion. The rule of thumb therefore for westerners is to scan the small print with a fine toothcomb and understand how the new system actually works.
‘We have processed immigration applications for over 16 years and during that time nobody has filled in the forms correctly,’ he says. ‘There have always been errors.’
Under the 2002 Immigration Act it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all details are correct. Transposition of numbers between form and certificate (one reading 07/10 while the other reads 10/07 for example) could result in a rejection. This might be construed as a simple clerical error but it could equally be regarded as misrepresentation; a common reason for rejection.
Submitting the right and current information
Another deep abyss that may well go unnoticed by the unwary is the necessity for documentation to be current when the SAP form is submitted even though those papers will not be requested for several years. A further implication here is that qualifications gained after the initial submission may not be considered eligible as they will not have appeared on the original forms. And finally Telfer emphasizes the importance of detailing job descriptions in line with the corresponding details cited on the National Occupation Classification list.
‘If descriptions of experience are not accurately consistent with the specifics detailed by the Canadian government, applicants will not achieve the necessary 21 points for that category; another common reason for rejection. This [SAP] is actually a 'fool's paradise'. If you do not ensure that all your paperwork is in place at the beginning and that you qualify under the selection process, there’ll be a 'rude awakening' in a few years' time.’
And just to cheer us all up, Telfer predicts that because of the SAP, the increase in applications will be so great that the interim waiting period will stretch from 42 to 65 months. Good luck.
Written for Nexus/Expat Network
By Rob Flemming