Canadian Lawyer

October 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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38 FEATURE TOP 10 IMMIGRATION BOUTIQUES the growth in immigration to Canada. It now has a staff of more than 100, with U.S. offices in Philadelphia, Providence and Vail. It offers a full range of Canadian and American immi- gration services for employers, temporary workers, individuals and their families. It also has a sizeable sports immigration practice. "Our expertise is the border and crossing it," says Green. Before the pandemic, "a lot of companies didn't even recognize there was a border" when it came to moving or hiring staff, given the predictability in getting visas approved, but that has certainly changed today, says Green. Now it is all about "who can get in and if you can get in, can you get an exemption from the 14-day quarantine rules." While the pandemic has created more business, it has also created challenges in dealing with things that were once much simpler. "There are less travel and fewer work permits, but each one takes that much longer to do." With the current situation, Green says, the biggest challenges he has had recently is getting work permit approvals under tight deadlines, especially in areas such as sports. Green adds that there is a pre-approval process for getting into Canada, where you can get an advance ruling on these matters rather than going to a port of entry and trying your luck. But the time it is taking for getting those pre-approvals processed has changed dramatically. It has gone "from two or three days to two or three months, because everyone is looking for an exemption from quarantine." The firm has also seen an increase in cases where Canadians abroad are looking to get their paperwork done for their families. "Say someone moves to England, gets married to someone there and now has three kids but never got citizenship papers for those kids," says Green. "Now everyone wants to have to make sure they have those papers in order because it makes it a lot easier to deal with those travel restrictions." Green says the firm is also seeing an increase in calls from what he calls "21st-cen- tury couples" — those who have long-distance relationships but have not had them formal- ized by marriage or length of time to make it a common-law relationship. He points to one example of an athlete client of his who could not get a visa for his fiancée, because "there is no legal definition of 'fiancée' in immi- gration law." However, solving this issue by getting married in one country or the other has become problematic, Green says, given the quarantine rules — and having a Zoom wedding, even if possible, "isn't recognized for immigration purposes." While the current immigration system generally works, Green says, he sees areas where discretion could be used to alleviate painful situations — such as someone not being able to cross the border to visit a seri- ously ill family member in Canada or a family breakdown situation he describes in which a 20-year-old son was attacked by his father (the father was charged) and was denied

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