interpretation was different from
how other ports of entry were
dealing with similar circumstances. This permitted my client
to re-attend at the port of entry to
apply for his work permit.
When clients come to us with a
scenario where a foreign national
requires a work permit, our job as
immigration advisors is to conduct an analysis of where to best
submit the application.
Often, because of tight time-frames, we advise foreign nationals, if eligible, to make their work
permit applications at a port of
entry into Canada. This process
requires that the foreign national
present his or her application to a
Canada Border Services Agency
(CBSA) officer for processing.
However, the discretion
these officers hold certainly
influences our practice in preparing these applications.
CBSA officers’ role
CBSA was created in December 2003, as the agency responsible for border enforcement,
customs services and immigration enforcement. CBSA officers
screen foreign nationals entering
Canada and hold the power to
remove those who are in the
Pursuant to the Immigration
and Refugee Protection Act and
its regulations, CBSA officers
have been given discretionary
powers to make decisions
regarding the merit and issuance
of work permits at ports of entry.
Although some officers can be
facilitative to foreign nationals
presenting work permit applications, it is important to remember that the key mandate at the
port of entry is “enforcement”
and this impacts the approach
taken in preparing applications
by business immigration lawyers.
CHUCK STOODY / THE CANADIAN PRESS
A Canadian border patrol officer checks vehicle as it returns to B.C. from the U.S. via the Peace Arch Border Crossing.
A recent experience
I want to share a recent experi-
ence of a client for whom I pre-
pared a work permit application.
He attended at a land crossing on
a Saturday afternoon but was
turned away because he did not
have a valid temporary resident
visa (TRV) to enter Canada and
was deemed ineligible to apply for
a new work permit. The regula-
tions state that certain foreign
nationals may apply for a work
permit at the port of entry if they
are exempt from requiring a TRV.
In this case, the client held a valid
visitor record, which permitted
him to re-enter Canada if his
return followed only a visit to the
United States (which he had
done); therefore, he was exempt
from requiring a TRV. Nonethe-
less, he was not permitted to make
his work permit application with-
out a TRV.
Influence on immigration practice
So how does a file like this influence the way we practice business
immigration law? First, the documentation supporting the work
permit application has to be complete, but that in itself is not
enough. We need to outline to
CBSA officers the eligibility of our
clients to attend at the port of entry
with their work permit applications. We also need to educate our
clients on the process and be satisfied that they understand their eligibility and remind them of the
discretion that CBSA officers hold.
Although clients may have a
complete application package, I
inform them that there is always a
“wildcard” at play—the “officer’s
discretion wildcard”—which can
present, at times, unpredictable
and unexpected outcomes.
We also need to ensure we are
up-to-date not only on immigration law and policies but with our
contact lists of CBSA offices at
various ports of entry.
Finally, we need to be available to clients when they attend
at the port of entry so that, if
necessary, we can discuss the
concerns of the CBSA officer at
the time the client is making
the application. I have learned
that remaining courteous to
officers is a positive means of
fostering communications with
them, which will undoubtedly
help us in our practice of immigration law. n
Helen Park is an immigration
lawyer practising with Ackah
Business Immigration Law with
offices in Calgary and Vancouver.
Most-wanted list fraught with difficulties
Continued From Page 15
When the cons of the proposal
were outlined, the officials
observed: “The release of this
information would highlight a
person’s case to the public, pot-
entially leading to the person
being at risk when removed, pot-
entially leading to a positive Pre
Removal Risk Assessment.”
In at least one case so far, a
person was found to be at risk
as a result of the publicity sur-
rounding his being placed on
the list. His family was attacked
in his home country and his life
was threatened. If the purpose
of the list is to enlist public
support to allow CBSA to
remove people, then the use of
the list in cases like this is com-
pletely counterproductive and
must be reconsidered.
Lorne Waldman is the first
president of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers. He has
practised immigration, refugee
and human rights law in Toronto
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