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March 31st 2003

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At the time of implementation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of June 28th 2002, a transitional period was specified in the legislation. This period was recommend by Canadian Parliament as a necessary measure to allow as much of the existing backlog as possible to be cleared out under the Regulations in effect at the time that applications had been made. This transitional period will end on March 31st 2003, at which time all applicants who have not received an interview waiver, or attended a successful selection interview, will be subject to the new selection criteria described at the following here.

Applicants who submitted cases prior to January 1st 2002 will be required to achieve a pass mark of 70 points or greater, Those whose cases were submitted on or after January 1st 2002 are required to meet a pass mark of 75 or greater. In either case, the legislation also contains provisions by which Canadian immigration officers can approve or refuse an application, regardless of the score of the applicant, based on the provisions of “substituted evaluation.”

By the end of February, most visa offices had announced that all scheduled interview slots had been filled, and began advising applicants to prepare to meet the requirements of the new criteria. In addition to the selection criteria, however, existing applicants are also being required to meet new provisions concerning the submission of applications, including new requirements for the format of documents, new form requirements, and the common requirement for submission of objective test results to demonstrate skill in one of Canada’s official languages.

As important as the criteria itself, the new provisions concerning the presentation and format of the application can be critical to the outcome of the application.

Amid the objections of applicants, legal professionals, and politicians alike, the retroactive manner of the implementation of these new laws and the laws themselves are part of a continuing debate inside Canada’s courts. Only as these actions resolve themselves will the final outcome of the legislation, and of the applicants affected, become known.