Posts in Immigration
Hot Off the Press: Sponsorship Breakdown

The new English version of Sponsorship Breakdown is now available in Punjabi, Spanish, simplified and traditional Chinese, and (online only) French.

Sponsorship Breakdown was revised in the fall of 2017 to reflect changes to immigration law — most importantly, the elimination of conditional permanent resident status. This booklet is for permanent residents who need help when their sponsor stops supporting them.

Hot Off the Press - Sponsorship Breakdown

Back in stock! We’ve revised Sponsorship Breakdown to reflect changes to immigration law — most importantly, the elimination of conditional permanent resident status. We’ve also updated the chapter about applying for welfare and the section listing community groups and other help. Sponsorship Breakdown is for permanent residents who need money and other help when the person sponsoring them in Canada stops supporting them.

Continued funding for immigration and refugee legal aid
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Thanks to discussions between the federal and provincial governments, the Legal Services Society has received a commitment for additional immigration and refugee funding that will ensure the continuation of services through the end of our fiscal year (March 31, 2018). Earlier this year, continuation of these services was in question due to a lack of funding to keep up with the increased demand. We would like to thank everyone who took time to bring this important issue to the attention of elected officials, the media, and other influential organizations. Your efforts made legal aid and refugees a topic of public debate and have helped the Legal Services Society get additional funding to help those who are most in need of assistance as they try to start a new life in Canada.

The two levels of government continue to discuss funding for the 2018/2019 fiscal year. LSS has provided them with an analysis of the anticipated demand for immigration and refugee services, which indicates that a significant increase to our funding will be needed to provide these services for the entire year.

Additional federal funding for immigration and refugee legal aid

The Legal Services Society has received confirmation that the federal government will provide additional funding to ensure continued legal aid services for immigrants and refugees. LSS announced last month it would stop taking applications for immigration and refugee services effective August 1, 2017, due to a lack of funding to keep up with increased demand.

The new funding allows LSS to maintain services until November 2017 and federal-provincial discussions regarding immigration and refugee legal aid in BC are concluded.

“Refugees are an extremely vulnerable group. Many have faced persecution and torture and they need help to navigate our complex legal system,” said Mark Benton, QC, Chief Executive Officer of the Legal Services Society. “This new funding demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to helping those who need our support and assistance.”

The need for increased funding is the result of the global refugee crisis, which resulted in a 145 percent increase in legal aid refugee cases at LSS over the past three years. The new funding is necessary at this time because LSS, unlike other legal aid plans, cannot reallocate funding from other services to cover a deficit in immigration services.

Sponsorship Breakdown Update

A change in law means that a section of our booklet Sponsorship Breakdown is no longer accurate. Conditional permanent resident status no longer exists (the Canadian government ended this condition recently). If someone is a permanent resident, immigration officials won’t ask them to leave Canada if they separate from their spouse, unless they believe the marriage wasn’t genuine. The information in our booklet about conditional permanent resident status is no longer accurate and can be ignored. We’re in the process of updating the booklets in English and all other languages, but that process will take some time. In the interim, we will continue to distribute the existing edition, with an alert on the order page.

If you’re a community worker and have existing copies in your office, please inform anyone you give a copy to about this change.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to send them to publications@lss.bc.ca.

[Update] LSS will no longer accept applications for immigration and refugee cases effective August 1, 2017

Update: The Legal Services Society has received confirmation that the federal government will provide additional funding to ensure continued legal aid services for immigrants and refugees. --

Effective August 1, 2017, the Legal Services Society will no longer accept applications for immigration and refugee cases due to a lack of funding. The global refugee crisis has resulted in a 145 percent increase in refugee cases over the past three years. Funding for refugee services, which is provided by the federal government, has, however, not kept up with demand. LSS must stop issuing new contracts for immigration and refugee services on August 1 to ensure it has enough money to pay for those contracts that have already been issued. For more information see our FAQ.

Hot off the press: Need Help with Your Refugee Claim
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We’ve reprinted the Spanish version of Need Help with Your Refugee Claim? infocard and translated the card into three new languages: Dari, Kurdish, and Pashto. It’s also available in French. All versions are available in print and online. This card promotes legal aid services for refugees. It highlights the LSS immigration phone service and intake hours at the Vancouver legal aid office.

Hot off the Press — Sponsorship Breakdown

This booklet is for permanent residents (and conditional permanent residents) who need money and other help when the person sponsoring them in Canada stops supporting them. It covers differences in immigration status and the various factors that affect the welfare application process, with a new emphasis throughout the booklet on helping those who’ve been abused. It also provides contact information for community groups around BC. The translated booklets are based on the 2014 English edition, with four exceptions. The translations:

  • include the new name of the federal government department: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada);
  • contain a revised definition of the term “dependant” (formerly the age of majority according to the federal government was 22, but now it’s 19, the same as the provincial government definition);
  • include changes to the description of how people apply for welfare (now online only); and
  • include updates to email addresses and phone numbers in the Who Can Help chapter.

The 2009 versions of Sponsorship Breakdown (in all languages) are no longer current; please recycle.

We’re currently running low on the English print version of this booklet and anticipate running out later this month. We’re starting work on a reprint, but it may be some time before the English will be back in print. In the meantime, the booklet continues to be available on our websites.